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10 of the Quietest Places in the World

Muir Woods National Monument
Hallo, mein Name ist Tamara!

Tamara Hinson is a UK-based freelance writer who loves snowboarding, scuba diving, and cycling. Her favourite regions include East Africa, Asia, and South America and her happy place is the mountains.

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Hi, I'm Tamara!

Tamara Hinson is a UK-based freelance writer who loves snowboarding, scuba diving, and cycling. Her favourite regions include East Africa, Asia, and South America and her happy place is the mountains.

Mehr anzeigen

In an increasingly noisy world, silence is hard to come by. Luckily, a growing number of organizations and individuals are going all out to find silent spaces, whether it’s Quiet Parks International, founded to recognize places with minimal noise pollution, or people such as acoustic engineer Gordon Hempton, who’s spent much of his life searching for the world’s quietest locations. Here are 10 spots where you can enjoy the sound of silence.

Zabalo River, Ecuador

Native tribal man going down a river in the Amazon Forest inside a handmade boat.
Zabalo River is located deep inside the Amazon Forest. | Bildquelle: Photo Spirit / Shutterstock

This remote river offers an escape from the noise of daily life.

The area around Ecuador’s Zabalo River was declared the first Wilderness Quiet Park by Quiet Parks International in 2019. You’ll find this waterway deep in the Amazon rainforest, in an area that the organization says has fantastic bioacoustics (the sounds of living things). In other words? The only thing likely to disturb the silence is the croak of a frog or flutter of a hummingbird’s wings. The river is also in the heart of a sprawling chunk of wilderness that covers over 1 million acres (404,680 hectares), and the lack of noise pollution is largely a credit to the Indigenous Cofán people, who’ve been the custodians of this protected area for thousands of years. But if you can't make it all the way to the river, you can still take a trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

Yangmingshan National Park in Taiwan.
This national park consists of noise-muffling forests and wildflower-filled valleys. | Bildquelle: Navigator805475 / Tripadvisor

Silence can be found even in urban areas.

This park was awarded Urban Quiet Park status by Quiet Parks International in 2020—proof that green spaces in built-up areas don’t always come with a soundtrack of honking horns. Areas that obtain Quiet Park status must have noise levels of below 45 decibels (equivalent to the sound levels in the average library) and a maximum of eight short “noise disturbances” (none of which can exceed 65 decibels) an hour. What’s impressive is that this particular park is less than a 1-hour drive from Taipei (meaning it's easy to visit on a day trip from the city) but maintains a low volume largely due to its size—4,377 square miles (11,336 square kilometers) of noise-muffling forests, hills, and wildflower-filled valleys.

Orfield Laboratories, Minneapolis, US

A view from anechoic room in a laboratory.
Orfield Laboratories is an echo-free chamber like the one pictured above. | Bildquelle: emre topdemir / Shutterstock

Where sound goes to die ... and intrepid astronauts go to train.

Affectionately known as the place where sound goes to die, the soundproofed anechoic (or echo-free) chamber at Minneapolis’s Orfield Laboratories has been used as a testing ground for NASA astronauts, many of whom struggle with the total silence of space. It’s won the Guinness World Record for the planet’s quietest spot (twice), and members of the public keen to experience total silence (-13 decibels, to be precise) can sign up for the Orfield Challenge—the chance to spend 1 hour in total silence ... without going into panic mode when you realize you can hear the sound of your own heartbeat. And once you're done, you can take a (blissfully noisy) tour of Minneapolis to shake off the existential dread.

Zurich, Switzerland

Houses overlooking a canal in Zurich, Switzerland.
Although Zurich is a city, it's considered one of the quietest. | Bildquelle: Greg Kendall-Ball / Viator

Even in cities you can find the sound of silence.

Love the thought of living in a city, but would rather avoid the constant noise? Consider heading to Zurich—a top spot for chocolate tours and scenic day trips—which, according to tests carried out by the World Hearing Index and the World Health Organization, has the lowest noise levels of any city. The rankings came out of over 200,000 audio tests conducted in more than 50 of the world’s largest cities, and while European destinations bagged the top spots, some stateside quiet can be found in Portland, Oregon, the American city with the least noise pollution on the list.

One Square Inch of Silence, Washington State, US

A hiker on a walkway in Olympic National Park, Washington.
A singular remote spot in Olympic National Park is known as the world’s quietest spot. | Bildquelle: f11photo / Shutterstock

Small but mighty when it comes to quiet time.

In 2005, after years of audio-related research, Emmy Award–winning acoustic ecologist (which might just be the world’s coolest job title) Gordon Hempton declared that a remote spot (which he marked with a red stone) in Washington’s Olympic National Park was the world’s quietest spot. The lack of noise pollution in this park, known for its beautiful rain forest, is partly due to the presence of one of America’s largest coniferous forests, which muffles sound in a park encompassing 900,000 acres (364,220 hectares) of wilderness. Today, park authorities encourage visitors to keep noise to a minimum, and pilots have even acknowledged making minor route adjustments to avoid flying over the spot.

Microsoft's Building 87, Redmond, Washington, US

Microsoft Corporation headquarters in Redmond, Washington, US.
Microsoft Corporation headquarters in Redmond, Washington. | Bildquelle: vladdon / Shutterstock

Microsoft is home to one of the quietest rooms in the world.

Do you often bemoan background noise and the lack of silence in today’s hectic world? After a few minutes in Microsoft’s Building 87’s three anechoic sound chambers, it’s highly likely sirens, engines, and your neighbor’s ridiculously loud television would sound like music to your ears. The noise level in these chambers comes in at -20.3 decibels, and it’s used by audio engineers to test items such as microphones and speakers. The bad news? It’s not currently open to the public, but virtual tours are possible. Or you could simply do a scavenger hunt of Microsoft's hometown.

Älvsjöskogen Nature Reserve, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm Archipelago on the Baltic Sea in the morning.
Some of the quietest spots in Stockholm include a forest glade, a ravine, and mossy bedrock. | Bildquelle: NAN728 / Shutterstock

There's no place for noisy devices in this tranquil nature reserve.

In 2015, the city of Stockholm launched its Guide to Silence project, designed to highlight quiet places in and around Sweden’s capital city, and Älvsjöskogen Nature Reserve subsequently made the cut. Signs are used to indicate the quietest spots (these include a forest glade, a ravine, and an area covered by mossy bedrock), and visitors are encouraged to preserve the area’s silence by walking slowly and turning off mobile phones. We’re feeling calmer just thinking about it.

Steinmetz Hall, Orlando, US

Steinmetz Hall in Orlando, Florida.
Steinmetz Hall is famous for its perfect acoustics. | Bildquelle: Matthew Kaiser 7 / Shutterstock

An impressive feat of soundproofing engineering in Florida.

While the Royal Ballet and Jennifer Hudson have both performed at this Florida concert venue, deep inside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Steinmetz Hall earns a spot on this list for its perfect acoustics. The space has an N1 sound rating—the lowest level at which humans can detect sound. If you were to sit here alone, you’d be able to hear your heart beating, an effect achieved through the use of rubber pads surrounding the auditorium, allowing it to effectively float inside the building in which it’s located. A fun fact? This accomplishment is especially impressive given the venue’s location—Florida soil apparently transmits noise incredibly well. Who knew?

Muir Woods National Monument, California, US

Large Redwood trees at the Muir Woods National Monument.
Muir Woods National Monument takes many precautions to remain as quiet as possible. | Bildquelle: topseller / Shutterstock

An easy, and quiet, day trip from nearby San Francisco.

In 2001, rangers at Muir Woods National Monument became concerned that noise pollution had prompted species such as pileated woodpeckers and northern spotted owls to abandon the area, and looked at ways to restore the silence. Today, signs throughout the park call for quiet, and a decibel meter near the park’s entrance measures visitors’ voices. Maintenance vehicles are powered by electricity rather than gas, and park employees are asked to switch engines off, rather than letting them idle, when stationary. For that reason, you'd be better off exploring the area on foot.

CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, Western Australia

Night Sky, Hyden, in Western Australia.
The vast expanse in the Australian outback makes it perfect for a radio telescope. | Bildquelle: jamesteohart / Shutterstock

Western Australia is home to both some ridiculously remote and unbelievably beautiful spots.

Welcome to one of the world’s most remote locations, home to very little apart from the world’s largest radio telescope. Its purpose? To listen to radio waves from outer space, which is only possible in truly remote areas, simply because the radio telescopes don’t just detect radio waves from space—they also pick up similar frequencies to digital TV broadcasts and 4G mobile networks. Additionally, the area surrounding the site, a vast expanse in the Western Australia outback, is a designated Radio Quiet Zone, meaning electronic equipment such as mobile phones, radios, and televisions must be turned off. While you're in the area, make the most of the region's remoteness for a spot of stargazing or hot-air ballooning.

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