Do the students renting the house down the road keep you up all night with their wild partying? Do the local cats dig up your freshly planted garden? How about your next-door neighbour’s smelly cigarette smoke drifting through your open window? Although examples such as these may leave you wishing you lived somewhere different or pining for a holiday, let’s take a moment to think about the people who really do live in taxing locations. The grass is not always greener – and even if you’re just heading to these places on a holiday, you might want to check out our travel insurance policies first to make sure you’re covered for any unexpected accidents…
Bajina Basta, Serbia
For 45 years this tiny house in Serbia has stood on top of a rock in the middle of the Drina River. Milija Mandić, who is known as ‘Fungus’ by his friends, built the house, which has survived many flood and been rebuilt and reinforced a number of time, back in the late 60s. Fungus reaches his home by kayak.
Not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights, Ronda in the Málaga region of Spain is split into two – the old town and the new – by a 100m canyon, called El Tajo. Houses precariously sit right on the cliff edge, with windows and backdoors opening up on to the terrifying drop.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Sinkholes are formed when the bedrock of the earth is slowly worn away by erosion until there is just a thin layer of soil or rock on the surface and a hole underneath, which then gives way to dramatic effect. Sinkholes have appeared in various locations in recent years, such as the US and Sweden, but perhaps the best known is this 30-storey-deep hole in Guatemala.
Lake Kivu, DR Congo/Rwanda
Underneath Lake Kivu, which lies between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, there are 2.3 trillion cubic feet of methane gas and 60 cubic miles of carbon dioxide. If these gases reached the surface and were released, which is thought to be a serious concern, then it could live up to its nickname as the Lake of Death.
Not much is known about this extremely remote island in Iceland, which is home to just a single lonely house and only accessible via a boat from the mainland, a rope or helicopter. Various reports suggest that the Icelandic government gave singer Bjork the island and house as a gift for her contribution to music. Day-to-day life must be ‘oh so quiet’.
Towan Island, UK
This house in Cornwall in England up an 80ft rocky island off the coast of Newquay is only assessable by a suspension bridge. An elderly couple recently chose to sell the property after they decided that it was becoming too difficult to navigate the 100ft suspension bridge. It is now available for holiday rentals and has been rebranded as the House in the Sea.
Äscher cliff, Switzerland
This secluded house is hidden away the Äscher cliff, between Wasserauen and Ebenalp. It has been renovated and turned into a restaurant – perhaps the world’s loneliest? – and is only visited by hikers in the know.
Mount Merapi, Indonesia
Living near a volcano is seriously dangerous. Villagers who live close to Mount Merapi are more than aware of this – the local volcano has famously erupted a number of times in recent years. In 2010, after scientists’ warnings, people living in a 10km radius were told to evacuate. The photo shows a local woman getting on with her day-to-day life as smoke bellows out of the volcano.