We all need to rewild ourselves every so often. We all need to switch off from technology, escape our comfort zones and go in search of more unusual, exciting and possibly daring experiences, such as venturing into the wilderness with little more than a backpack.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a collection of off-the-grid places to stay across the UK, Europe and North America. Places that take it back to basics in order to shine the spotlight on nature’s untouched beauty. Retreats set in miles of nature, where you finally get to unplug, rest and reset as you explore the remote world around you – a true tonic for the soul.
From the dramatic coast of Devon to the rugged islands of Norway to the mountainous trails of British Columbia, here are the off-grid escapes you deserve to experience.
Best of Britain
We might not know exactly where this woodland cabin is right now – as its exact location changes every four weeks to reduce its footprint on the land to almost nothing – but we can tell you that this cabin knows exactly how to re-awaken your connection with Mother Nature. Inspired by both the tiny house movement and the uptake in off-grid living, this cosy hideout is the perfect escape for the adventurous traveller and their family. With a cladding exterior, perfectly-positioned window and a look that organically blends into the surrounding trees, this is a low-impact move into cut-off living. | Sleeps: two (plus two children)
Even for the wilds of Scotland, the Isle of Skye stands out as being epic. From jagged mountains to glistening lochs, velvet moors to nerve-rattling sea cliffs and then, to top it all off, there are the mist-covered headlands of the Cuillin mountains all of it making a must-explore destination – and there’s nowhere better to base yourself than Black H. A minimalistic black hut that has been purposefully designed to embrace the incredible landscape, this luxurious, private and modern bolthole sits on the west coast of the island, staring out at the best parts of nature. Watch the sunrise from bed or see it set from the living room, this off-the-grid stay boasts floor-to-ceiling windows across one side so that you can still enjoy the nuances of Skye life before and after your island adventures. | Sleeps: two
Surrounded by swathes of wildflowers, a willow maze to the front and a labyrinthe of nature trails winding their way through the wilderness on your doorstep, Oak Tree Cottage is the creme-de-la-creme destination for taking in the Welsh wildlife. Enjoy the sounds of nature as you sip on your morning coffee, explore the Teifi Marshes nature reserve and rub the goosebumps off your arms as you spot everything from kingfishers to barn owls, otters to water buffalo from any one of the marshland bird hides. Tweeting never felt so tranquil. | Sleeps: four
There are remote stays and then there are remote stays. The Beach Hut is the latter; a slate shack tucked at the back of its very own part-rock, part-sand cove and is almost-completely camouflaged into the cliffs surrounding it. And if that’s not off-grid enough for you, The Beach Hut can only be reached on foot down a steep path. Translation: backpacks only. Once down, take your pick of postcard-perfect views. Relax in the side-by-side hammocks as the sun drops below the horizon or lap up the endless sea views as you whip up supper, before climbing the ladder up to your bed, the stars on show through the porthole window. This is an escape. | Sleeps: two
Best of Europe
Perched atop the craggy rocks of this ancient landscape on the outskirts of the Arctic Circle, this fisherman's cabin hugs the jagged scenery of Norway's Vega Island leaving you with some of the most breathtaking and serene views anywhere. And the best part: this traditional "naust" boathouse offers you a digital detox, swapping the comfort of TVs and hi-tech gadgets for still waters, kayaks, dramatic panoramas, a night sky lit up by the aurora borealis and the beauty of living simply, forever in awe of everything around you. | Sleeps: seven
The ancient streets of Abruzzo are unlike any off-the-grid destination you have ever experienced. Connected by narrow passageways, sun-soaked pizzettas and a maze of age-old alleyways, this Italian paradise of abandoned villages has been left behind by time. All except Santo Stefano di Sessanio, which was revived by a brave visionary and turned into a scattered hotel made up of over 30 restored houses. Surrounded by rolling hills, speckled woodlands and unspoiled nature, this centuries old village is one of the most remote and tranquil destinations in Europe; a place that lets you experience the bygone beauty of a medieval village, with a few modern comforts thrown in. | Sleeps: a lot
Nowhere does off-grid experiences quite like Iceland; a country that boasts waterfalls and glaciers, geothermal landscapes and awe-inspiring rock formations. But when it comes to remote stays, one place is a cut (off) above the rest: Hotel Budir. Just a few steps from the ice-cold Atlantic, this is a beachfront hotel like no other.Surrounded by a cocktail of lava fields, the Snaefellsnes glacier and the ocean, this hotel is a truly surreal place – but in the best way. Boasting the best of Icelandic comforts, from the roaring open fires to the sleek lounge room, this place was designed to celebrate the dramatic landscapes and natural beauty of Iceland in every way, while letting you relax into your remote stay – and it’s just 2 hours from Reykjavik. | Sleeps: 28 rooms
Best of North America
Lace up your hiking boots, throw an adventure pack on your back and soak up the brain-melting views of The Sunshine Coast Trail; a 180km hiking path that takes you from hut-to-hut as you explore the ancient pine forests north of Vancouver. That’s right. Hut-to-hut hiking. From climbing mountain peaks so high you get to see the snow-capped Rockies and Vancouver Island before descending back down into a landscape of vast forests and secluded lakes, each one inviting you in for a wild swim. And the best part: each of the 14 huts along this trail is free for you to use as an overnight base before you restart the adventure come sunrise. Welcome to the wilderness; the off-grid, always-moving, forever-exploring wilderness. | Huts: free, on a first come first serve basis
Built in 1954, this completely off-the-grid desert homestead is a solar-powered homage to the Old West and an exciting refuge from modern-day living. Surrounded by yucca trees, weather-rounded boulders and panoramic views of the desert, this retreat feels a thousand miles away from everything you once knew. Stargaze from the outdoor bathtub, keep cool in the cowboy steel pool or swing side-to-side in a shade-blessed hammock as you stare in amazement at the otherworldly landscape. And inside, the off-grid escape continues with the rustic decor, streams of natural light and vintage finds filling the place, while the cactus-splattered Mojave is right there on your doorstep. | Sleeps: six
Think of New York and your mind starts dancing with images of skyscaping towers, car-honking streets and a city that never sleeps. But this retreat in South Kortright is a world away from all of that. Powered by solar energy, this is a modern yet rustic hideaway that is tucked into the hillside on a remote 20 acres of land overlooking the Catskill Mountains. And that’s just the start of your off-grid escape because surrounding this bolthole is a plethora of herb gardens and fruit trees and blueberry bushes that you can use to inspire your dishes as you cook up a foraged feast in one of the dreamiest kitchens around. | Sleeps: two