www.thetravel.com

21 Images Of Unusual Towns That Look Fake (But Are 100% Real)

For all those enthusiastic tourists, who rarely get enough of traveling, we’ve put together an incredible list of unique places. And if you wonder what exactly makes them unusual, the secret lies in their flat-out peculiar location. As a frequent traveler, you might’ve thought that you’ve already seen most of all those places, drowning in ultimate mystery; however, you’d be stunned to see how wrong you’ve been all along. Not only do these towns look entirely fictional, but they are set in the oddest locations imaginable. For instance, some of the following places boast underground stores, galleries, churches, and even 4-star hotels. Well, today you’ll be exploring a unique plethora of unusual places, built in the most unexpected and bizarre locations.

From cities with underground attractions to towns sitting right to an active volcano, today we’ll be walking on the wild side of the road. Forget about Milano, Paris or New York – they’ve already lost their innocent charm anyway – and explore entirely different destinations instead. Now go ahead and join us on our daring virtual tour through the most unusually located towns around the world.

21 Kolmanskop, Namibia Located In The Heart of The Desert

Via Anshar Photography

Often described as Namibia’s Ghost Town, Kolmanskop is a virtually deserted town partially buried by sand dunes in the desert, news.com.au explains. This boom-to-bust place features not only an eerily quiet setting, but it’s also richly packed with sand dunes. But most interestingly, the town sits amid the plains of the desert and features stately homes, a casino, a hospital, and even an actual theatre, weburbanist.com reveals. But unfortunately, a great part of them was ravaged by the encroaching dunes and wind. All of these factors have left the otherwise charming town feet deep in Namibian sand.

20 Longyearbyen, Svalbard - The Town, Engulfed In Mystery, And Something Else

Via ThorNews

Best known as the world’s northernmost settlement, Longyearbyen is a sterile town where time has lost its original meaning. Here, the clock’s pendulum no longer swings steadily and evenly. Nothingness and quietness now prevail over the spirit of every living thing.

In fact, the town of Longyearbyen is not only an unusual place to explore, but it happens to be enclosed by a 70-year graveyard. Also, according to Brightside.me, this spooky settlement is ill-famed for its brutally frosty climate.

"The town where you cannot pass on" features severe environment and temperature that prevent dead bodies from decomposing. Therefore, the unfortunate fellas who passed away are usually transported to the closest cemetery, which is in Norway.

19 The Town Straddling Two States

Via Spiegel

Unlike the creepy town of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, this German exclave won't give you the chills; however, there’s still something else about it that can make your eyes pop out of your head. This otherwise charming place borders two state lines, Brightside.me shares. Administratively, it’s part of Germany, but economically, it belongs to Switzerland. Well, it sure isn’t the first time that you’ve heard about towns straddling two states; however, this one is the most unusual of them all, and here are a few reasons that prove it. Firstly, it’s the only German town with the Swiss franc; secondly, this town has got two official postal codes; and lastly, the residents of the town can have German and Swiss phone numbers.

18 Welcome To Hell – Just Kidding!

Via Anynewsbd

Founded in the 1830s, this oddly named town in the state of Michigan sits three miles southwest of Pinckney. The devilish town, formed around a serious of businesses, was only a stretch of barren land before George Reeves built a sawmill there. Eventually, the newly-built town was expanded to a gristmill and a distillery, Brightside.me details, with its first tavern and a general store. Few theories surround the unusual name of the town. One concerns the town’s "hell-like" location and conditions, including mosquitos, thick forest covered and extensive wetlands. The other one relay the story of a few German travelers who, at the sight of the town, exclaimed: “So Schone Hell”. In German, the word “hell” means “bright”, so it’s got nothing to do with any abyss-like definition.

17 Slab Town - The Last Free City In America

Via Earthly Mission

Apparently, the last free city in existence is located in California; however, you’ll certainly not believe where exactly it was built. This oddly named city is densely populated with hobos and retirees, Brightside.me reveals, but there are also people who came here because they had nowhere else to go. The residents of the Slab City either live in improvised shanties or in trailers, far away from civilization. Here, in Slab City,  people live without electricity or running water. But on the bright side, if any at all, there are no taxes and rents either. This is exactly how the city got its pseudonym; and thanks to its almost non-trackable address, Slab Town is now famous as the Last Free City in America.

16 A Town Inside A Cave

Via The Mirror

Any Star Wars fan will surely recognize Matmata as Luke’s home; however, there’s still more to this unique place than meets the eye. This small Berber-speaking community lives in underground dwellings that remain greatly inhabited even to this date. Brightside.me also reveals that these cave-formed houses were built in the late 90s, and many of the locals still prefer them to the traditional 21-century homes. This settlement in Tunisia features trench-like passageways and tiny houses positioned in multiple pits with lots of rooms. Those passageways connect all of the pits, thus facilitating the daily lives of those living in the Cave Town.

15 A Town Under One Roof In Alaska

Via Atlas Obscura

Indeed, there seems to be an odd town in Alaska that’s located in the 14-level building of a former military facility. The structure is said to feature lots of shops, police station, church, and even an entire hospital. The aim of building the city of Whittier in such a weird location was to cut down on the costs of heating, Brightside.me reveals. It turns out that the weather in a place like Whittier, Alaska, is so cold that the city officials had to find a way to deal with the issue. Gladly, it did without forking over hundreds of thousands of dollars for further projects.

14 A Town In The Open Sea

Via Medias.rs

Neft Daslan is an industrial town in Azerbaijan, best known for its unusual location – it sits on metal platforms in the open sea, right above an oil field. The town – also known as the Oil Rocks – lacks any resident population, and the reason is quite self-explanatory. After all, who would want to build a life in a place that virtually knows no civilization? Interestingly, though, over 2,000 people come here to work in shifts for several months, Brightside.me says. But even these professionals show no interest in moving out and settling in a town like this.

13 A Town Lodged Between Rocks

Via Civitatis

This charming Spanish town is regularly visited by tons of tourists, and the rock foundation of the city certainly sparks their curiosity. Setenil de las Bodegas in Spain is built into a huge basalt rock, Brightside.me reveals, so wherever you go, you’ll certainly notice rocks hanging overhead – it probably works as the sky there. Most surprisingly though, the rocks might actually seem as if they’re going to fall; however, they’ve been holding since the break of dawn. Unlike some of the other places, which aren’t that attractive to visit, this one is totally worth the trip.

12 Coober Pedy, Australia

Via Vice

Founded in 1915, Coober Pedy is a mining town that exists entirely underground. Even today, the opal-mining town remains the largest one in the world, Brightside.me reveals. But that’s hardly the only interesting feature about it. Once it was established, it soon dawned on the minors that it'd be a lot better if it remained underground. The temperature above usually jumped over 125 Fahrenheit.

All in all, Coober Pedy boasts stores and lots of facilities, but all were built underground. Also, the mining town is known as the Whiteman’s Hole, and it seems to be quite a peculiar town with an even more unusual location.

11 Miyake-Jima, Japan

Via AxelGlobe

Miyake-Jima is, in fact, located inside an active volcano, which forces the residents to wear gas masks wherever they go, ba-bamail.com says. Strangely enough, Miyake-Jima in Japan was built super close to Mt. Oyama, so the blaring of alarm sirens isn’t at all uncommon in the area. When the alarm system goes off, it prompts all of Miyake-Jima's inhabitants to put their masks on to minimize the breathing of toxic fumes from the volcano. In 2000, the residents witnessed the worst eruption of the volcano in its history. It was later estimated that the mountain had released up to 20,000 tons of sulfuric-dioxide.

10 The Town In The Blue Land

Via Travel Addicts

This otherwise lovely Moroccan destination is found in a unique location where everything seems to be painted blue by the Jewish inhabitants. According to ba-bamail.com, Chefchaouen is an incredible town and a great tourist attraction thanks to the blue-ish character of the place. The town, which features about 200 hotels, cozy stores, and beautiful landscapes, was painted blue in 1930. Even today, Chefchaouen in Morrocco still caters to the influx of Asian, European and American tourists. Additionally, it’s said to be the biggest manufacturer of Hashish in the exotic country of Morrocco.

9 Kingdom Of The Little People, China

Via Herro Asia! - WordPress.com

There’s a good reason why this Chinese town is called “The Dwarf Town”. Because of the discrimination little people faced due to their size, they created a new community in China called The Kingdom Of The Little People. By the time the settlement was ready, they already had their own police force and fire department. Today, the unusual homes in the Dwarf Town, hidden in a place far from the Sichuan Province, boast super unique shapes, ba-bamail.com reveals.

8 The Town Of Villages Is Set In A Restricted Area

Via Realtor.com

Known as America’s most hospitable hometown, The Town of Villages in Florida is actually located in a restricted area that’s off-limits to people under 19. In fact, this retirement town boasts over 9 country clubs, 2 downtown squares, and 30 golf courses. Also, the majority of the population here is over 50-years old, ba-bamail.com shares.

From cozy stores and top-rated restaurants, serving delicious dishes, this charming town in Florida is, indeed, an exciting place to visit; however, sadly, there’s one major downside to it, and it concerns the ever-increasing STD infection rates.

7 The Town Built On Top Of Another Settlement

Via South China Morning Post

Kowloon used to be a densely populated city with over 50,000 people living in 6.5 acres in size. But after its demolition in the late 90s, the city became virtually abandoned. Established by the Chinese military in the 1700s, Kowloon served as a local fort until 1950. Eventually, the city became a hot spot for criminal activity, and since Kowloon no longer had real authorities, people built their homes on top of other structures, which, of course, went against the law. But in the end, this turned Kowloon into a super bizarre town built on top of an unusual settlement.

6 Castellfollit de la Roca Sits On The Edge of A Cliff

Via Wikivoyage

Castellfollit de la Roca is often considered quite a wonderful place in the area of Catalonia. But outside of its beauty, there’s something else that makes visitors want to visit it. Apparently, Castellfollit de la Roca was built in quite a strange place, right amid basalt cliffs between two rivers. Here, most of the structures look as though they’re hovering right on the edge of the cliff, thus creating the illusion that they may collapse at any moment. Another interesting fact about the town is that it’s super small in size, touropia.com says. But honestly, it doesn’t stop tourists from coming to Castellfollit de la Roca anyway.

5 Mesa Verde - The Cliff Town

Via American Cowboy

Situated in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde is similarly sandwiched between basalt cliffs, touropia.com reveals. Mesa Verde may be a small town that is home to cliff dwellings of the ancient Anasazi civilization, but it also keeps an important archeological treasure. In 1300, the ancient Anasazi people fled the area, but the ruins that they left behind can still be explored.

Most of the houses are built inside shallow caves an under-rock overhang running along the canyon walls. Some of these houses are as large as 100 rooms. Some of the most famous houses are Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace.

4 Ganvie, Benin, Was Built On Stilts

Via Kuriositas

In case you wondered, the largest lake town/village in Africa is built exactly on Lake Nokoue in the area of Benin. The unique town of Ganvie, established in the 16th century, resembles a neighborhood of over 3,000 structures, all standing on stilts on the surface of Lake Nokoue, weburbanist.com says.

With a population of 30,000, Ganvie, Benin, is also often referred to as Africa’s version of Venice since it’s built on stilts on the surface of a lake. But apart from the peculiar location, the residents of Ganvie mostly rely on fishing and canoes to get around and provide for their families.

3 Halong Bay Floating Town, Vietnam

Via tabigo.asia

Another floating city that boasts a unique location is Halong Bay in Vietnam. This lovely place is set up right on the surface of the water; however, unlike the African example, this one isn’t backed up with stilts. Instead, it floats freely which makes living on the bay quite easy for the area’s fishers, weburbanist.com says. Also, the first two settlements of Halong formed about two centuries ago. Most interestingly, the only timeframe when the area hasn’t been awash with floating homes was during wartime. From 1947 - 1954, Vietnam was at war with the French.

2 Hilo, HI – The Volcano City

Via TakeTours

The city, which is also near Hawaii’s National Park, is located super close to an actual crater. The volcano, Mauna Loa, is thought to have produced lava at a super high rate and is also riddled with lots of rifts and vents. In 1880, lava from Mauna Loa covered a large area that is now within the city limits, travelandleisure.com reveals. Sadly, the same scenario played out again a few years later when a flow came within 3-4 miles of Hilo, Hawaii. Gladly, lava flows are often quite slow, so it leaves residents with enough time to flee the area as quickly as possible.

1 A City Sitting Atop Mountains of Garbage

Via Behance

This Egyptian city might once have been a lovely, welcoming place, but now it looks like it’s drowning in trash. According to ba-bamail.com, the country seems to have been struggling with it for decades. So, until the city officials of Cairo find a way to make their system work, Manshiyat Nasser simply remains a trash city. Interestingly, the residents were willing to help their city do away with the trash. But to make it happen, they had to play the role of unofficial garbage collectors for Cairo. As a result, these people even earned the nickname “Zabbaleen” (Garbage Folks in Arabic).

References: brightside.me, ba-bamail.com

More in Destinations