With the rise of Airbnb in the last few years, travelers have more opportunities to stay in alternative accommodations on their holidays. For those who aren’t familiar with the platform, Airbnb is an online service where members can rent out rooms or houses in a way that works almost like bed and breakfasts, but homeowners aren’t licensed businesses. Airbnb tends to be much cheaper than staying in traditional hotels, and guests are often treated to uniquely tailored experiences.
On Airbnb, guests can choose from private rooms, houses, apartments, yurts, treehouses, earth homes, igloos—anything you can dream up. For those who look for a unique holiday, look no further than renting on Airbnb.
10 Studio Earthship - Taos, New Mexico
Nestled in the desert of Taos, New Mexico, is an earth home that looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Studio Earthship, the home’s title on Airbnb, collects its own rainwater, generates electricity, and even regulates its temperature—staying at a cool 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.
While technically off the grid, the home is equipped with all modern amenities, including Wi-Fi, Netflix, and electricity. The house, though compact to conserve energy, sleeps four people comfortably and even has a large tub to soak in after a long day in the desert.
9 Afghani Yurt - Nuremberg, Germany
Of course, it’s easy to find traditional yurts in Afghanistan, but it’s rare to find one so immersive in Bavaria of all places. Yet, hosts Ina and Alexander have meticulously recreated a yurt in their garden. While the yurt has electricity, in order to adhere to tradition as much as possible, there is no cable, Wi-Fi, or running water (the tent is equipped with a toilet and wash basin).
All the love and attention to detail in the yurt makes up for its lack of amenities, and the decorations have all been collected from around the world. Guests will experience of staying in an old-fashioned yurt while being just steps from the bustling city of Nuremberg.
8 Here Be Dragons - Westhall, England
As a child, you might have fantasized about fighting dragons, but now you can stay in a charming English country house—that's also being attacked by a dragon. Of course, the dragon that wraps itself around the home’s chimney is a sculpture, but a magnificent one at that.
There are two rooms available for rent in the home, both with large en-suite bathrooms. The quirky charm of the house doesn’t end at the dragon, and inside, each room is painted a different colour with an extensive collection of whimsical decorations.
7 Fisherman's Cave - Oia, Greece
There are few places in this world more idyllic than Santorini, which sees millions of tourists each year. But rather than staying in one of the island’s hotels, why not book a fully immersive accommodation and stay in a fisherman’s cave in Oia?
There are a few to choose from in the popular Santorini neighbourhood, but perhaps the most traditional is hosted by Panos (book early to avoid disappointment—this cave is quite popular!). Located just on the edge of the Santorini caldera, this Airbnb has the comfort and view needed for the perfect holiday.
6 Tatami Room - Osaka, Japan
Japan has a lot of interesting traditions, and one, for Westerners, is sleeping on the floor. It’s not exactly what you think—there are soft mattresses that are laid out on the floor to sleep and often rolled up in the morning to make more space, and that’s exactly what you’ll get in Osaka’s traditional tatami Airbnb.
Tatami is a type of floor mat used in traditional Japanese houses like the one on Airbnb. The house was built over 70 years ago by host Mariko’s grandparents, and you can be sure to receive a warm welcome here.
5 Underground Hygge - Orondo, Washington
The most committed Lord of the Rings fans will probably take the pilgrimage to the picturesque film sets in New Zealand or stroll the grounds of Oxford where J.R.R. Tolkien studied, but if you can’t make it that far, you can rent out your own hobbit hole in Orondo, Washington.
Located along the Columbia River Gorge, which looks like it could be right out of Middle Earth, the interior is just as you’d imagine a hobbit would decorate it. And the adventure doesn’t stop there—the property sits on six acres of land so guests can wander about the beautiful landscape.
4 Cob Cottage - Mayne Island, Canada
Once you’ve checked “sleep in a hobbit hole” off your list, you can check out this cosy fairy house. This cob cottage on Mayne Island, about halfway between Vancouver and Victoria, is made of natural materials with regard to the environment around it.
The cottage comfortably sleeps two people, and despite its compact size, is located on a large patch of land complete with sheep, chickens, and orchards. If you’re not already sold, Superhost Alexis even offers to pick up guests at the ferry dock.
3 AirShip 2 - Scottish Highlands, UK
What better way to see the panoramas of the Scottish Highlands than from the glass walls of AirShip 2? This little pod house offers unparalleled views across the Sound of Mull towards Tobermory and Ardnamurchan Point, you’ll hardly want to leave it.
The home was designed by British architect Roderick James to be as sustainable and energy efficient as possible, so guests will have a guilt-free holiday. The property even has an Airbnb Plus rating, which means it was inspected to ensure quality.
2 Inkijkmuseum - Eindhoven, Netherlands
If staying in a house is too mainstream for you, try spending a few nights in the Inkijkmuseum, a fully-operating contemporary art museum. The museum is located in a 19th century wash house of a former linen factory, while the Airbnb is in a converted shipping container beside it, so guests have all the privacy they need.
Tourists visiting The Netherlands usually flock to Amsterdam, but the smaller city of Eindhoven is just as charming, starting with the eclectic Inkijkmuseum. Located right on the river Dommel, the home is close to the city centre and all it has to offer.
1 Mushroom Dome Cabin - Aptos, California
Superhost Kitty claims her mushroom dome cabin is rated the #1 Airnbnb in the world, and if it isn’t, it’s certainly up there. If you plan on booking the cabin, be sure to plan well in advance, because weekends are usually booked out 9-11 months ahead.
With a flawless five-star rating from over 1,300 reviewers, the mushroom dome is one of the most popular rentals on Airbnb. The home features a geodesic dome in the forests near Aptos, California, just south of San Jose. Three people can fit in the cabin on this off-grid holiday home.