22 Insanely Isolated Homes, Towns, and Buildings around the World

Everyone can use some peace and quiet now and then. A camping trip or a weekend in a cabin in the woods can usually take care of that. Certain people would rather live on the fringes of society. Nothing sounds better to them than a house with no neighbors for miles in the middle of nowhere. For some people, this isn’t just a fantasy, but their actual lives. Check out out some of the most isolated homes from around the world. Isolated places aren’t built just for living in, so we’ll take a look at some other remote places as well.

1. Just Room Enough Island

Just Room Enough Island is one of the most isolated homes in Canada.
Wikimedia Commons

In the middle of Canada’s Saint Lawrence River near Alexandria Bay, is an island called Just Room Enough Island. This tiny island is one-thirteenth of an acre and has a small vacation home built in the 1950s. When the tide is high, water gently laps against its walls. If it’s low enough at this isolated house, the owners can set up some chairs and enjoy the view without a single neighbor in sight.  

2. Elliðaey, Iceland

This isolated home on Elliðaey, Iceland

South of Iceland is the small island of Elliðaey. The only building on the 110-acre island is an isolated house that is unoccupied most of the year. There are plenty of puffins, though! Funnily enough, some believe that Icelandic singer Björk lives on the island. This misconception stems from a 2000 speech by the Icelandic prime minister where he said she could live for free on the island. Sadly, she never made a move.  

3. Bishop Rock, Great Britain

Remote light house in the UK
Julian Pierce

Twenty-eight miles from Cornwall is Bishop Rock. This tiny island is in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest island with a building on Earth. A storm destroyed the original lighthouse in 1847, but builders completed the current lighthouse in 1858. Impressively, this lighthouse is tied with Eddystone Lighthouse for the tallest lighthouse in England.  

4. Paro Taktsang

Paro Takstang is a remote Buddhist temple in Bhutan
Thomas Wanhoff

Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, Paro Taktsang is a Buddhist temple on a cliffside in Bhutan’s Paro Valley. Tenzin Rabgye, Bhutan’s ruler, completed the monastery in 1692. After a fire in 1998, Bhutan’s government finished restoring the site in 2005. The cliff where the structure sits is at 10,240 feet above sea level. 

5. The Holy Trinity Monastery

The isolated Holy Trinity Monastery
Photo by Thomas Depenbusch

In the hills above Meteora, Greece, are twenty-four Orthodox Christian monasteries, six of which are still functioning. The most iconic is the Holy Trinity Monastery. Constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries, this site sits on cliffs 400 meters in the air. To reach the site, you have to climb 130 steps carved into the cliffs.  

6. Katskhi Pillar

Katshki PIllar in Georgia
AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov

Dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries, the 40-meter tall Katshki Pillar in Georgia holds a small Christian church at the top. A lone monk has lived at the top for twenty years. He performs necessary upkeep and, in return, gets to enjoy the fantastic views. One messed up thing is that women are still not allowed to climb the Katskhi Pillar, even today.  

7. Village of Gásadalur

The remote village of Gásadalur

Two hundred miles north of Scotland are the Faroe Islands, a tiny archipelago of 50,000 people. On the island of Vágar, a small village called Gásadalur first became accessible by car in 2004. Its remoteness is because mountains surround it. This gives it breathtaking views but makes it extremely difficult to get to. As of 2020, only eleven people live in these extremely isolated homes.    

8. Sphinx Observatory

The Sphinx Observatory in the Swiss Alps
Julius Silver

The Sphinx Observatory is in the Swiss Alps 3,500 meters above sea level. It holds the record for the highest altitude building in Europe. Decades of railroad construction in the Alps made it possible for workers and material to get within 100 meters of the site. It opened in 1937, and Switzerland has steadily upgraded it with groundbreaking technology since then. Today, tourists can access the site via an elevator drilled through the mountain to a rail station. 

9. Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Riccardo Gangale and the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food

This next one is extremely isolated for an important reason. It lies on Spitzbergen Island in Norway, around 1,300 km from the North Pole. Known as the “Doomsday Vault,” designers chose Svalbard Global Seed Vault’s location because it’s cold, removed from civilization, and lacks earthquakes. It stores seed variants from around the world to protect them from global crises and future extinction. Norway built the facility in 200 by boring through sandstone into a mountain. You can see some of the structure outside, but most of it is deep inside the mountain.  

10. Hermitage of San Colombano

Hermitage of San Colombano

Located in Italy, the Hermitage of San Colombano is one of the few on this list that isn’t “remote” per se. You can see this from the road, but it certainly sends a message that they don’t want to be disturbed. Originating in the 14th century, the Hermitage of San Colombano rests precariously on a cliff over 100 meters in the air.

11. Casa do Penedo

This isolated home in Portugal called Casa do Penedo

This house in the Fafe Mountains in Portugal reminds us of something from the Flinstones. Four large boulders comose most of this structure built-in 1974. People use the house as a vacation retreat, but leave your phones at home – there’s no electricity or running water in this unique home.  

12. La Rinconada

La Rinconada

This town of 17,000 in the Peruvian Andes is the highest inhabited settlement on Earth. It sits 4,100 meters (16,700 ft.) above sea level. It quickly grew from a small camp to a bustling town because of its proximity to gold mines. It’s probably the most dangerous place to live on our list. The town has no sanitation, and Hypoxia is a significant issue due to the altitude.  

13. Tristan da Cunha 

Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha is a remote chain of islands in the South Pacific. They have the distinction of being Earth’s most remote inhabited archipelago. The island only has 250 permanent residents, all of whom live on Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. Getting there seems like it could be a real pain. There’s no airstrip on the island, so visitors must take a six-day boat ride from South Africa.  

14. Supai

Supai

Located in Arizona in the United States, Supai is considered the most remote town in the Southern United States. The town of 208 is actually inside the Grand Canyon and is the Havasupai Indian Reservation capital. Eight miles from any road, you can only access it by foot, helicopter, or pack animal, giving these isolated homes the distinction of being the only town in the US to get mail delivered by mule.  

15. Halley VI Research Station

Halley VI Research Station

Deep in Antarctica, the Halley VI Research Station is the headquarter of the British Antarctic Survey. The six comes from the fact that five other Halley Research Stations have fallen prey to Antarctica’s inhospitable environment. This is one of the few structures that wasn’t built on location. Britain prefabricated and tested them in South Africa before shipping them to Antarctica. Portability is vital because they set up Haley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is quickly moving towards the ocean. 

16. Eso Hotel

Eso Hotel

You might remember this location from the film Quantum of Solace, where it featured prominently as the villain’s lair. The Eso Hotel is located in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Before you hop on Travelocity and start booking at rip, you should know the hotel is not open for public use. It is used solely by researchers at the European Southern Observatory. 

They designed the hotel to impact the desert as little as possible. They constructed it in a natural dip, so only the garden dome is visible on the horizon. The region only gets 1cm of rain each year, so tankers regularly refill its reserves.

17. Siwa Oasis

Siwa Oasis

Siwa Oasis in Egypt is a remote town of 30,000, about 350 miles south of Cairo. It’s famous as the home of an oracle of Ammon during Ancient Egypt. Tourists still visit these ruins to this day. The remote location has resulted in its own unique culture famous for unique pottery and jewelry. Adrere Amellal, an ecolodge in the area, is one of the best places to stay.

18. Hanging Temple

Hanging Temple, China
DCIM\100MEDIA\DJI_0041.JPG

Known informally as the Hanging temple, Xuangongsi is built into the cliffs close to Mount Heng in China. Legends say that a lone monk named Liaoran began construction 1,400 years ago. Oak beams embedded in the rocks support the temple precariously on the cliffside. It is the only temple in the world representing all three Chinese traditional religions: Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.  

19. Lukomir

The isolated homes of Lukomir
Martin Brož 

High in the Dinaric Alps of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Lukomir. This remote town is considered one of the longest continually inhabited places in Europe. If it snows, as it often does in mountainous areas, Lukomis is cut off from the outside world. Residents would have to travel by foot or skis to reach the outside world. One fun fact about Lukomir is that locals believe the nearby Rakitnica Canyon is where dragons come from. 

20. Chess Pavilion

Chess Pavilion
Alessandro Vernet

Mount Hua is a scary hike, so getting to the Chess Pavilion takes some skill. The stairs carved into the mountain are steep and come without handrails. The alternative cliff side path will have you walking on planks sticking out of wood along a vertical mountainside. Once you get to Southern Peak, you’ll reach the Chess Pavilion and one of the world’s most incredible views.  

21. Ittoqqortoormiit 

Isolated homes in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

On the eastern shore of Greenland, Ittoqqortoormiit is the most isolated town in an already isolated part of the world. Home to narwhals, polar bears, seals, and walruses is one of Earth’s coolest places. To get to this town of 450 people, one must take a helicopter in from the nearest airport.  

22. The Kerguelen Islands

The Kerguelen Islands are one of the most isolated places on earth.

There are no original inhabitants on the Kerguelen Islands. This rocky, inhospitable region is in the Southern Indian Ocean. The only people who occupy this island are 45 – 110 French scientists. They live primarily on Bizet sheep and what vegetables they can grow in Greenhouses. Ships only travel to the island four times a year, so it isn’t easy to get to!

Pretty amazing right? Can you believe people live in these isolated houses, villages, and buildings?

Alan Behrens

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