When it comes to the buzz of crowds versus the seclusion of the lesser-known corners of the world — to each his own, really. However, as the pandemic, that we've cursed enough for disrupting our roaring twenties as far as travel goes, forces us to accept social distancing as a reality, we can't help but fall in line. Here are six cities that happen to be among the least crowded places of the world or those with the lowest population density — for whenever you get down to making that travel shortlist. As they say, here's to the ones who dream:
Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis
A tropical heaven waiting to be discovered, Basseterre, capital of the tiny island nation of St Kitts and Nevis, is home to just over 10,000 people. The city, famous for its quaint Georgian architecture and stone churches, is the oldest in the eastern Caribbean. The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a must-visit for the astounding views of the ocean and Nevis from the top. The scenic railway is also worth a ride, but we recommend hiking up Mount Liamuiga instead.
The population of Vaduz as of 2017 was 5,450. There is a lot to do in Liechtenstein’s capital, which is also its financial centre. Art lovers can find their jam at the stunning Kuntsmusuem Liechtenstein, while those into history will be drawn to the medieval fortress that is Vaduz Castle or the neo-Gothic Saint Florin Cathedral. Soak in the modern urban zeitgeist walking around Stadtle Street or splurge on some fine wine straight from the royal vineyards. What’s the best part? You can easily get around on a bicycle or motorcycle.
Spread over just 16 sq km, this little European haven, surrounded by Italy, is one of the least-visited places in the world. It is home to just over 4,100 residents, and is popular for its steep, cobblestoned streets, the Three Towers fortress, situated atop Mount Titano, and the stately Basilica di San Marino. Do not forget to partake of the lively food scene that is bursting with Italian influences in one of its many cafés offering views of the valley and the Adriatic Sea.
Castries, Saint Lucia
Another Caribbean gem, St Lucia's capital is the undisputed king of white sandy beaches and has a bunch of architectural delights to boot. The northern city is also famous for its vibrant shopping scene — fill your suitcases with handmade crafts and souvenirs at Pointe Seraphine and La Place Carenage's duty-free shops. Castries has quite a few unique offerings too, like a monkey pod tree that is four centuries old, and the delightful Derek Walcott Square — perfect for admiring the city's trademark architecture.
Longyearbyen, Svalbard (Norway)
Only the truly curious decide to visit the Arctic marvel that is Longyearbyen. Home to polar bears and a little over 2,000 people from apparently 50 different countries, Longyearbyen in the Svalbard archipelago has quite a few opportunities for exploration. Go for sledding expeditions, marvel at the exhibits inside the the curious Svalbard Museum and the North Pole Expedition Museum or tick off visiting the world's northern most church. Pay a visit to the modern Noah's Ark — the Seed Vault that stores a million different seeds beneath the Svalbard permafrost. Don't forget to sample some local delicacies in its brilliant home-grown restaurants.
Cayenne, French Guiana
The population of this historical city might be on the higher side compared to the rest of this list, but the sights that await you more than make up for it. Go looking for Henri Charriere in the prison at Devil's Island — a structure that is now a relic. There's plenty for natural world lovers (the Guiana Amazonian Park), astronomy buffs (the Kourou Space Centre) and food connoisseurs (get a taste of that native cassava and cayenne pepper), too.