10 Dream Homes for Hermits

Hidden havens

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Tired of the rat race? Dreaming of getting away from it all and craving an abode with an unobstructed view? We've got the dream homes for you. While some of these sequestered Shangri-Las may not be entirely in the middle of nowhere (and some have even become tourist attractions because of their unique settings), they nonetheless offer inspiration for daydreaming of an existence unharried by the hustle and bustle of modern life. Which one would you choose to call home?

Plougrescant, France

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Behold Brittany’s "Castel Meur." With nothing but giant granite boulders for neighbors, this well-supported house in Plougrescant, a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor in northwestern France, is the picture of seclusion. Built in 1861, it was designed to take advantage of the topography as a means of protection from wind and storms (and passersby?). The charming abode remains in the original family.

Katskhi, Georgia

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The building topping this limestone monolith in the Caucasus Mountains was once the sacred home of the Stylites — the Byzantine "pillar saints" who believed that such extreme seclusion was the sure road to prayer and contemplation. After being abandoned for years — understandable, given it's location — the Katskhi Pillar is now inhabited by a lone monk, whose provisions are winched up to him from supporters below.

Thousand Islands, Canada/U.S.

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To be officially considered one of the 1,864 islands in the Thousand Islands — an archipelago that spreads across the Canada-United States border in the Saint Lawrence River — the land mass must remain above water year-round and support at least two trees. Just Enough Room Island, pictured here, does just that. It's an excellent place to avoid neighbors but not so good for long strolls and sleepwalking.

Ellidaey Island, Iceland

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See the little house-shaped speck on the island? Guess what? It's really a house. On an island. On an uninhabited 111-acre Icelandic island named Ellidaey, to be exact. This sweet fishing house is owned by the Ellidagrim Islands Society and is accessible by rope (to climb the cliff) or for non-mountaineers, by boat. Although the commute may be rigorous, the house does include a detached sauna which will surely make the trek worthwhile.

Gaspra, Ukraine

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Perched on the edge a 130-foot cliff above the Black Sea in southern Ukraine, the Swallow's Nest castle now serves as a restaurant, but even so, it's a vision of seaside seclusion. Built in 1913 by a German noble, Baron von Steingel (a name so well-suited to the castle it deserves mention), this neo-Gothic beauty brings to mind the fairy tale castles of Germany. Just on a cliff, in the Ukraine. (Oh, to be a swallow.)

Meteora, Greece

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Back in the 11th century, monks colonized the nearly inaccessible sandstone peaks of Meteora in central Greece. Eventually, 24 Greek Orthodox monasteries were built on these "columns of the sky," affording intrepid pilgrims the solitude required for their devotion. The Holy Monastery of Rousanou/St. Barbara, pictured here, was founded in 1545; since 1988, it has been occupied by a small group of (lucky) nuns.

Fafe Mountains, Portugal

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In another example of the house-and-boulder-sandwich school of architecture, Casa do Penedo or the House of Stone, is nestled between four different boulders in Portugal's Fafe Mountains. Illuminated by candlelight — there is no electricity — the little rock hideaway also boasts a fireplace and a swimming pool carved into stone.

Fogo Island, Canada

Photo: Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism/YouTube

Located near the Newfoundland community of Joe Batt’s Arm on Fogo Island, this off-the-grid studio was designed by Todd Saunders and is used by artists during residencies granted by the Fogo Island Arts Corporation. (If this setting doesn't inspire you, there may be no hope.) Adding to the sequestered appeal is that Fogo Island is one of Newfoundland's special "outport" communities, a local term used to describe small, isolated coastal settlements.

Sarangkot, Nepal

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A charming, round structure made of stone, perched on a mountain ridge, with sweeping views of the Himalayas? Yes, please. Just up from the village of Sarangkot in Nepal, the vistas from this spot are nothing short of breathtaking. Looking across to the Himalayas affords a spectacular view of the pyramid-shaped Machhapuchchhre, a 22,943-foot peak that is considered sacred to Shiva, and thus, remains illegal to climb ... but ideal for gazing upon from one's front porch.

Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

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The small town of Hikkaduwa on the southern coast of Sri Lanka attracts tourists for its striking beaches and assorted activities offered by the Indian Ocean. But just to the north is a spot so off the beaten path that it requires transportation by boat to visit. The Buddhist temple, Seenigama Vihara, is built on its own island and is the epitome of exotic seclusion, complete with world-class diving and snorkeling to keep the spiritual (and sporty) hermit amply occupied.