10 UNIQUE TOWNS AROUND THE WORLD
The world is full of intriguing places, some of which are incredibly unique, some of which are so extraordinary that it's hard to believe they exist. Here us our picks for the 10 most unique and fascinating towns around the world
10 ) GIETHOORN - NETHERLANDS
This idyllic village of Giethoorn has no roads, and the only access is by water over the many beautiful canals or on foot over its wooden arch bridges. The locals use punters to get around and cars have to remain outside the village. Located in the province of Overijssel, there are 6 km of canals and farmhouses with thatched roofs dating back to the 18th century. Hugely popular in summer, the town has no shortage of restaurants and guesthouses overlooking the peaceful canals.
09) KO PANYI - THAILAND
Koh Panyi, located at the mouth of Phang Nga bay off the coast of Thailand is a charming Muslim fishing village built with a combination of wooden and concrete piles on the side of Panyee Island and partially over the water.
You can take a day tour from nearby Phuket that will allow you to visit this extraordinary community and see with your own eyes the 18th-century houses, the mosque, and the floating market. The fully functional village has a school, a health center, lots of small souvenir shops, and a handful of large restaurants facing the Andaman Sea.
There are even bungalows offering overnight accommodation. Worth seeing is the floating football pitch, built by the village children using old scraps of wood and fishing rafts.
08) BARENTSBURG - SVALBARD
The once grand mining town of Barentsburg is located in the remote Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, midway between Scandinavia and the North Pole. It’s part of Norway but occupied by Russia and mined by Ukrainians. During the winter there is no sunlight, temperature rarely rises above 0 and the only way to reach the town is by snowmobile from Longyearbyen. The village offers all amenities you'd need in order to have a decent life : from a swimming pool and gym to a bar, a restaurant and even Russia's northernmost consulate. There is also a massive bust of Lenin, a popular attraction often photographed by the few visitors and a symbol of the history of the town.
07) AUROVILLE - INDIA
Peacefully nestled in the Viluppuram district near Pondicherry , Auroville, meaning the "City of Dawn", is an experimental spiritual community set up with the objective of human unity where people from all countries can enjoy a life of peace and harmony with each other beyond their religious beliefs. It was founded in 1968 by spiritual guru Mirra Alfassa popularly called "The Mother" and is today home to 3000 inhabitants from more than 50 different countries.
You can visit Auroville, meet the progressive citizens, and practice silent reflection at the Matrimandir.
06) TIEBELE - BURKINA FASO
Burkina Faso is by no means an area frequented by tourists, but at the base of a hill overlooking the surrounding sun-drenched West African savannah lies an extraordinary village. Tiébélé is a delightful labyrinth of mud houses each decorated with colorful geometrical patterns and also animals and human figure motives. These elaborate decorations express the rich culture of the Kassena tribe, one of the oldest in the country who settled here in the 15th century.
05) ALBEROBELLO - ITALY
Alberobello is an original and picturesque town, one of a kind in the world. The historic center is entirely made up of trulli, which are dry stone huts with conical roofs embellished with decorative pinnacles of various shapes.
These characteristic funny looking cone-topped stone houses are prevalent throughout the Puglia region but nowhere more concentrated than in Alberobello itself. Staying in a trullo is a unique experience worth to try at least once in a lifetime!
04) MATMATA - TUNISIA
Matmata is a village in the south of Tunisia, famous for its cave dwellings which house some of the local Berber population. The village's most famous resident is not a local however – or even native to this planet. A Matmata troglodyte house was used as Luke Skywalker's house in the original Star Wars film. Residents and tourism officials have eagerly embraced this fact, and it’s sometimes hard to tell whether Matmata's visitors are more excited by the Star Wars connection or the unusual architecture.
03) JUZCAR - SPAIN
The small hillside village of Juzcar had been one of the white towns of Andalusia, with buildings traditionally whitewashed. Everything changed in the spring of 2011, when all the buildings in town (even the church) were painted blue and decorated with iconic Smurfs characters to celebrate the premiere of the upcoming Smurfs 2 movie. The residents reacted positively to the new look, and voted to keep the blue color. Suddenly a thriving tourism industry was born bringing thousands of tourist each year, curious to see the world's only Smurf Village.
02) SLAB CITY - USA
In the middle of the Sonoran Desert, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, you’ll find a community of around 150 permanent residents living off the grid with no official electricity, running water, sewers, toilets and law enforcement. Slab City, or The Slabs as it’s called, is a snowbird community used by squatters and recreational vehicle owners from all over North America. Together they have formed a unique and lively community with creative artworks abounding all around, bars, a church and an impressive open-air nightclub with live music performances.
01) COOBER PEDY - AUSTRALIA
Located in the Outback, Coober Pedy is a small and remote town hundreds of kilometers from the nearest settlement.
It is self-described as the ''opal capital of the world'' and the opals are the only reason why there is a town. Most of its population is made up by miners who realized it was much cooler to live underground instead of dealing with the scorching temperatures in the desert lands.
It's not just homes down there, most of the town's social life takes place underground where you will find many cafes, museums, hotels and even a church. A town more unique than rare !
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