These Travel Destinations Prove That “Quiet” Doesn’t Mean “Boring”

When introverts want to get away, they want to really get away. You’re unlikely to find them crammed on a bus with other tourists or playing drinking games by a cruise-ship pool. Good-time travel for introverts allows time and space for quiet contemplation of the world’s many wonders.

With that in mind, we present to you a range of ideas for introvert-friendly vacations. And remember that when cost is a consideration, timing is everything: off-season travel is less expensive. And, by the way, less crowded. Which is fine with us.

flaneur-1 copy

Be a flâneur in France

The definition of the word flâneur has evolved over time from male dandies who strolled the streets to people who enjoy being quiet spectators of life swirling around them. To be a flâneur is to enjoy the great theater of the street. Historian Anaïs Bazin once wrote that “the only, the true sovereign of Paris is the flâneur.” In other words, in Paris, flâneurs rule! So settle into a sidewalk café—perhaps Café de Deux Moulins in Montmartre, made famous in the movie Amelie—and let the world go on around you. For more information, check out the Paris tourist bureau. 

Queen-Mary

Relinquish control on the Queen Mary 2

If your image of a cruise is a frenzy of fun and too much food, you’re not entirely wrong. But that’s only one kind of cruise. A transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 is something else entirely. There are few places that are as no place as halfway between the continents in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Look around—books lie open but forgotten in laps; conversations have trailed off; people sit gazing at the great nothing surrounding the ship—lulled, hypnotized, and silenced by the ocean and the empty horizon. Bliss.

Oregon

Contemplate your place in the universe in Oregon

The Oregon coast is not the seashore of umbrella drinks and limbo contests. It’s got a pensive vibe, with waves dramatically crashing on the rocks, sandy beaches that invite long thoughtful walks, and dense rich forests that march right up to the ocean. In high season, it’s popular with families, and Cannon Beach hosts a large and famous annual sandcastle competition. In the off-season, the coast is quieter, except when storms blow in from the Pacific—a natural spectacle all the more delightful when you’re cozied up in a room with a view.

 

Pontresina

Take a long view in Pontresina

With access to three of Switzerland’s most famous ski resorts, the town of Pontresinanestled in a valley in the Bernina Range, one of the Alps’ ranges—is skiers’ paradise. But as the snow gives way to green and wildflowers (except on the most towering  peaks), the skiers give way to hikers—and Pontresina is no less inviting. Take a cable car or mountain railway up the mountain to lunch al fresco with magnificent views, then hike back down on impeccably groomed trails through pine-scented forests. With more than 350 miles of trails, you’re unlikely to encounter crowds, but you will find benches with long valley views perfect for rest and reflection.

British-Islands

Enjoy the beach without the bustle on the British Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands are among the Caribbean’s most visited; some days, St. Thomas is like a mall on Black Friday. But on the British Virgin Islands, a particular favorite of yachters, you won’t have to fight for a space on tranquil beaches. Skip the bustling capital of Tortola, and opt instead to hobnob with yachters. Ensconce yourself in a luxurious villa or resort on Virgin Gorda. Enjoy the casual barefoot beachfront life at tiny Jost Van Dyke—a three-by-four mile island with fewer than 300 inhabitants and a cluster of smaller islands off its east end—when you want to get away from your getaway. Or pack a snorkel or dive gear to meet the sea creatures who make their home in Horseshoe Reef, surrounding the island of Anegada.

grand-canyon

Kick back with the kids at the Grand Canyon

If you can stand a little are we there yet?, take the kids to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, and show them unspoiled nature. Far more remote and less populous than the canyon’s South Rim (no tour buses!), the North Rim has only one lodge. It’s open May through October, so you’ll need to book a year in advance. (The rim may be visited after October, but services are limited. Once snow starts falling, the roads are closed.) Or reserve a campsite, and sleep amidst the Ponderosa pines. Along with soaking in views of astonishing scale, you can explore the woods (look for black-and-white Kaibab squirrels, unique to the area). Mule trips and free ranger programs are available.

Galapagos

Get on the way, way back machine on the Galapagos Islands 

Only small cruise ships ply the Galapagos Islands, and tour groups are limited to 20 people at a time, so the only crowds you’ll encounter here will be blue-footed boobies, cormorants, iguanas, seals, and the finches that inspired Darwin’s theory of natural selection. The fearlessness of these protected creatures, which have never been hunted, adds to the sensation of entering a land untouched by time. These volcanic islands are stark and scrubby but dense with biology, geology, and history. Tourism is threatening this sensitive ecosystem, so do visit, but do the world a favor, and choose a ship that has earned Smart Voyager certification.

Road-trip

Let your mind roll across the United States

If you’ve never driven across the United States, then you don’t really know how big it is. Go it alone, or grab a not-too-chatty friend and hit the highways. A road-trip playlist is fun, but silence can be soothing. Open the window, and let your brain air out. And be sure to stop often to visit roadside attractions, to see the major sites (Grand Canyon—required viewing), or just to get out of the car and smell the soft moist south, the hot spicy tang of the desert, and the bracing piney air of the mountains. Flying is travel, but a road trip is a journey.

England

Walk it off in England

Base yourself amidst a historic collection of Tudor half-timbered homes in the pretty market town of Ludlow, England, which dates to 1086, when the Normans constructed its imposing castle as part of a line of defenses against the Welsh. From there, put on sturdy shoes to walk the green and rolling countryside of Shropshire. Rural and sparsely populated, Shropshire has 3,500 miles of right-of-way (walking access on private property), where you might encounter more sheep than people. Walk from village to village to the castle ruins over craggy rocks and across rolling pastureland.

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  • All places are good for introverts if they are in a harmony with themselves. Either it’s a noisy city or calm and quiet village.

    • warriorinside

      YES! Very much so. You can be an introvert anywhere and I actually find it easier to be an introvert in a loud and noisy place.

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  • Guys I am a travel lover and have plans of visiting Ireland. I would love to hear from those who have visited this place that what are the do’s and donts and like what are the best places to visit and where I can best food and of course great wine!

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  • RSR1DRIVER

    I personally am in favor of the cruise. Nothing like being in the middle of somewhere where there is literally nothing around you but water.When I was on my first years ago, I went on a walk by myself to the top of the ship late at night, just was in awe of a wonderful breeze, the sound of water and nothing, I mean no other lights or structures around, no matter which way you looked and pitch black. Describing it doesn’t do it justice.

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  • Lexi

    I just drove across two states recently and I have to say that I agree about driving being a journey. We saw so many little places you’d never see when flying!

  • LynneO

    Death Valley in November or December. Awesome.

  • JKahnweiler

    These places are fabulous for helping extroverts chill too. Thanks for a great piece Sophia!

  • Clo

    Driving through parts of Nevada can offer amazing solitude and rare, stark beauty.

  • Susannah

    You won’t believe how cheap it is in these places and how stunning: Sintra (Portugal), Alvor (Portugal – avoid summer months), Sao Miguel (Azores islands – Portugal). I am from Portugal but I live (and love) England. Many, many, small villages that are just paradise.

  • Tangerine

    Oh yes. The trip that I will be forever glad I did was hitch-hiking from Chambersburg PA to Perris CA. That was in pre-mobile 1982. It wouldn’t have happened had I not decided to quit waiting for others and just make it happen myself. It’s nice to meet kindred souls along the way too though.

  • Darn you Sophia. Now I have a longer wish list for my travels. What a great selection with fabulous photos! Thanks.

  • Jelena

    Thanks for a great list of quiet places. However, they’re mostly out of my reach (I spent five days in Paris) and I’ll try to find places closer to home that radiate the same quiet energy. ☺

  • Bill Sanders

    I am so glad I found you (thanks to James Altucher). I love taking a walk in the moonlight when the rest of the world is sleeping. The deer look at me before trotting away to a safe distance. I listen to the frogs, squirrels and birds. Your travel suggestions are excellent.

  • draftycranium

    I took myself camping at the Great Sand Dunes in southwestern Colorado last weekend to witness the lunar eclipse. As the sun set I walked in from my campsite, climbed up and settled atop a dune. Once the sky was nearly dark the moon came up out of a mountain peak. The phases of the eclipse created winds to accompany them with precision, like a ballet score. When the moon was full again, I did not need my flashlight to find my way back to the trail and into camp again. Solitary adventures like this are crucial in order to deepen your relationship with the Universe and your inner self.

  • Alex Willging

    There are a lot of good places for introverts outside the major cities of the world. When I did a study abroad trip to Ireland in college, we visited Rossaveal, a small island of the western coast. Everyone else rode bikes around the island or took horse-drawn carriages. I opted to walk up the main hill by myself and visit the empty lighthouse at the peak, with plenty of silence and photo opportunities along the way. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

    • Judit Veres

      Alex, I only found on google maps in Ireland Rossaveel, but it isn’t an island. would you be so kind as to explain where exactly is this island to find? That would be very kind of you.

      • Cat Toy

        As Mr. Willging posted his comment 9 months ago, I’m happy to help out as I’ve just stumbled upon this today for the first time.

        A google search for me verified Alex’s statement and her is a wiki page for Rossaveal
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rossaveal and it says it is “the main ferry port for the Aran Islands in Galway Bay. It is about 23 kilometres (14 mi) from Galway city.”

        • Judit Veres

          Thanks a lot, Cat Toy! 🙂

  • Nancy Hooyman

    I agree, I have been to all the American places on this list and they are perfect. I have always wanted to do the QEII crossing, now I know why.

  • Mal

    The drive across the US has been on my bucket list forever — I will make it happen! 🙂

  • Dee Zehms

    I feel more refreshed just by reading the descriptions! Adding some of these to my bucket list. Thanks!

  • Paul Dunthorne

    Loved reading about all the exotic places – though I had the privilege of living for 2 years in Paris, so completely agree there – but then came your last suggestion: my home area for the last 15 years. South Shropshire and Herefordshire, along the Welsh border, are so beautiful and so empty, a secret paradise. Just don’t expect 24/7 sunshine – bring your raincoat.