World’s Remote Iceland: St’ Helena

World’s Remote Iceland: St’ Helena

One of the world’s most remote islands – famous for being here Napoleon was exiled – is about to open for tourists.

St Helena, a small, craggy island in the South Atlantic Ocean, hasn’t seen many people in the past for good reason: It’s one of the most remote inhabited places in the world. But you can still use British pounds.

Until 2017, it took five nights by boat to reach the British overseas territory, which is nearly halfway between southern Africa and Brazil. Today, with weekly commercial flights and the recent arrival of high-speed internet, the government is hoping to breathe new life into a fledgling tourism industry that welcomed about 2,100 leisure travellers in 2023.

The island has just a little more than 4,000 residents, or Saints as they call themselves, and is likely to attract a certain kind of visitor.

“It’s people with a real desire to travel and learn rather than, ‘let’s go somewhere to have a bit of sunshine and some nice food,’” says Emma Phillips, whose husband, Nigel, is St Helena’s governor.

After all, weather can be unpredictable and supplies occasionally run low when you’re 1,200 miles from the nearest continent.


“You’ve got to be prepared to embrace all of that,” Phillips says, while extolling the island’s welcoming locals, rich history and natural wonders. “Come with an open mind.”

The site of Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb, known as the Valley of the Tomb

Perhaps best known as the site of Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile from 1815 until his death in 1821, St Helena features multiple heritage sites honoring the deposed French emperor. Visitors can tour his homes and his original burial grounds. His remains were returned to France in 1840.

e capital city, Jamestown, is an eclectic mix of new and old. British Georgian-era colonial buildings house small retail and grocery stores. There are a couple DVD rental shops — remnants of the island’s pre-high-speed internet days.

For a workout with a view, climb the 699 steps of Jacob’s Ladder on the edge of town. The 600-foot-high outdoor staircase was originally a donkey-powered cart track used to transport goods between the city and fortifications on the cliffs above.

Plantation House, two miles south of the capital, is a grand Georgian mansion built in 1792 by the British East India Company, which administered St Helena until 1834. Now the official governor’s residence, the house features a collection of royal portraits and original furnishings, including antique china and a chandelier from Bonaparte’s final home.



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