Sure, living in major metro hubs, such as New York or Tokyo, has its benefits. Chock-full of culture, energy, and constant motion, these urban environments can be as addictive as a drug for millions of people. But the lifestyle is also not for everyone. Indeed, for those who crave the blissful sound of nothingness, rest assured there are some stunning places out there for you to live—but they almost always come at a steep price.
Far from neighbors and close to nature, these eight homes offer something many preach but rarely practice: getting away from it all. If nothing else, living in these homes will help fulfill John Muir’s (the influential author and environmental) legendary creed: “Keep close to nature’s heart… It will wash your spirit clean.”
Just remember, out here, there’s no such thing as a quick trip to the store.
#1 House on the Vestmannaeyjar Archipelago –Elliðaey Island, Iceland
Elliðaey is the third largest island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago located south of Iceland. It measures 110 acres across and only home to a single building: a hunting lodge built by the Elliðaey Hunting Association. This solitary cabin is surrounded by little fauna and wildlife but offers spectacular views. The association uses it for hunting puffins on the island.
#2 When, apart from isolation, you create your own microclimate (Place Unknown):
#3 Village of Gásadalur – Vágar, Faroe Islands
Located on the island of Vágar in the Faroe Islands, this tiny village only became accessible by car in 2004. In 2012, Gásadalur had a population of 18. While possessing breathtaking views, its inaccessibility makes the site both difficult to visit and difficult to live in.
#4 The Crystal Mill – Crystal, Colorado, USA
A wooden “power plant” built in the 1890s, the Crystal Mill is on Colorado’s Crystal River. The difficult-to-access structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 5, 1985. The site remains privately owned and is not “open for public inspection.”
#5 Casa do Penedo (House of Stone) – Guimarães, Fafe Mountains, Portugal
While this Portugal home appears to be straight out of The Flintstones, it was actually built in 1974. The structure receives no electricity, so candles are the preferred form of lighting. Used as a holiday retreat, Casa do Penedo is still made up of the four original boulders with which it was built.
#6 Katskhi Pillar – Imereti, Georgia
A church dedicated to Saint Maximus sits atop the Katshki Pillar at about 130 feet high. The church contains a wine cellar and a crypt, among other features. The pillar wasn’t climbed by researchers until after 1944. Abandoned and ruined, the original church was restored from 2005 to 2009.
#7 Meteora – Thessaly, Greece
A complex of monasteries in Greece, Meteora can be translated as “suspended in the air.” The monasteries rise from precipitous sandstone pillars. Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
#8 Ghost town – Kolmanskop, Namibia
A ghost town in the Namib desert, Kolmanskop was formerly a mining village. Today, it’s more of a tourist destination (despite its remaining abandoned). Though it was once a bustling town, the local depletion of diamonds ultimately led to its dereliction.
#9 Paro Taktsang – Paro Valley, Bhutan
A cliffside Himalayan Buddhist temple, Paro Taktsang is also known as the Tiger’s Nest. The monastery was built in its current iteration in 1692, but the site was renovated in both 1958 and 2005. The cliff on which it sits rests at an elevation of 10,240 feet.
#10 Xuangongsi – Heng Shan, Shanxi, China
Also known as the Hanging Temple, Xuangongsi is a temple built into the cliffs near Mount Heng. The temple, supported by beams embedded in the cliffs’ bedrock, is said to have been constructed by a single man.
#11 Tristan da Cunha – Tristan, Atlantic Ocean
Better known as Tristan, Tristan da Cunha is a group of islands distinctive for being the most remote archipelago on the entire planet. As of 2014, the island has a resident population of 297. The main settlement on the island is named Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.
#12 Lukomir – Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The stone houses of Lukomir, a remote settlement high in the Dinaric Alps, are accounted for one of Europe’s longest continually inhabited villages. During the winter, snow isolates residents from other highland populations, and the only means of traveling into or out of Lukomir is by foot or on skis.
#13 McMurdo Station – Antarctica
A US research center in Antarctica, McMurdo Station is the continent’s largest human settlement, with a population that can reach 1,200 in the summer. McMurdo occupies the southernmost harbor in the world and is served by three seasonal airports.
#14 Adrere Amellal – Siwa Oasis, Egypt
Adrere Amellal is an ecolodge in the Siwa Oasis, one of Egypt’s most secluded settlements. Due to its isolated location, the Siwa Oasis has developed a culture of its own, with characteristic pottery and wedding jewelry. Reaching the hotel is no easy feat, but those who make the journey are able to enjoy the oasis in peace.
#15 Chess Pavilion – Mount Hua, China
Mount Hua is considered one of the scariest hikes in the world, and reaching the Chess Pavilion requires some fortitude. Those who make it are rewarded with a 360-degree view from the lofty point.
Would you like to live in any of these houses? Please tell us about it in the comments!