There are many villages around the world that draw tourists due to their uniqueness. This article is a compilation of 30 such villages from around the world which every traveller must try to visit at least once in a lifetime.
1. FLOATING VILLAGES, HALONG BAY, VIETNAM
Halong Bay is located at the shore of northern Vietnam. The bay is famous for its beauty and mysterious allure. Halong Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is also considered as one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the world. Dating back thousands of years, Halong Bay has been populated by small local communities living on floating villages tucked away in between the karst, sunken mountains. At the centre of the bay lies an area of 330 sq.km that consist of islands, caves and its famous floating village. People have inhabited the area for centuries but made no damage to the heritage. In fact they preserved the unique beauty of the bay. The beauty of the bay is remarkable enough to make it to the big screen. Filming of some movies have been done in the Halong Bay area. What’s unusual about the karst towers at Halong Bay is that the beautiful place inspires not just geologist but also artists, scientists and painters to come together to explore and understand the landscape.
2. BIBURY, ENGLAND
Bibury is a charming village, nested in the eastern hills of the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, just a short drive from the capital of Cotswolds – Cirencester. It has also earned its title as ‘the most beautiful village in England’ by William Morris, the famous artist. In Bibury, Arlington Row is regarded as England’s most iconic and photographed site. It is famous for its honey-coloured stone cottages with their steep pitched roofs. Other most attractive spot in Bibury is the Bibury Trout Farm. It is one of the oldest and most attractive trout farms in England. The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, a Saxon church, is delightful to see with its medieval windows and stained glasses. Moreover, Bibury comes under one of the most famous locations in Cotswolds as well as in England also, because the quintessential cottage and pretty riverside location comes under the must visit spots. Don’t miss a visit to the beautiful gardens at Barnsley House at Barnsley, 3.3 miles away.
3. AIT-BEN-HADDOU IN MOROCCO
Ait-Ben-Haddou, located on the foothills in the Ounila Valley is an Ighrem or Ksar (fortified village), along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Recognized as a UNESCO site, the Ksar is one of the most extraordinary Kasbahs in Morocco. This giant fortification, which is made up of six kasbahs and nearly fifty Ksours (individual kasbahs), is a great example of clay architecture. The village sitting on a hilltop is decorated with a labyrinth like series of sandstone colored towers and walls. The village is divided into two parts. The modern part is filled with souvenir shops and parking lots and the traditional part is full with Kasbahs, small streets and alleys, palm trees and decorated motifs. The community areas include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts, a fortification and a loft at the top of the village, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish) and the Sanctuary of the Saint Sidi Ali or Amer. Climb to the top of one of the neighboring hills to get a magnificent view of the village. Sunrise is best time to get a photo shoot from the neighboring hills.
4. HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA
Hallstatt, one of Austria’s oldest and possibly most photographed villages and an UNESCO heritage site, is located between Stalberg and Graz in the Salzkammergut Lake district of the country. This was once a quiet and inhabited place but in recent years Hallstalt has become one of the most popular places to visit in Austria. There are a few options for arriving in this spectacular Alpine village, but the best way to experience this famous location is with a ferry ride across the lake. This village is a very small one and you can walk from one end to the other in a few minutes but there are handful of sites located inside the village which will take few hours to explore. The world first salt mine is also located here and there are few stunning salt caves which can be visited by tourists. The Hallstatt Ossuary, also called Charnel House or the Bone House, is the most unusual spot to visit in Hallstatt. In this small cave-like room, over 2,100 skulls and various other human bones are perfectly stacked along the walls. The World Heritage Skywalk above 350 meters over the top offer panoramic view of the entire region.
5. JUZCAR, SPAIN
Juzcar is located 113 km away from Malaga and 25 km from Ronda in Spain. Juzcar is the first ever Smurf town in the world. The transformation of the village is owed to the fact that every single building here are painted blue; the houses, the church, the cemetery and the town hall, embrace the premier of the world renowned film The Smurfs 3D. Once with the village dramatic transformation into a fairy tale realm, tourism started flourishing. After the positive reactions the residents voted to keep their homes blue permanently. In Juzcar not only the buildings are still blue, but they are still accompanied by the giant murals and portraits of Smurf characters, with statues of The Smurfs also standing on street corners. So, as you walk through the village you may meet many characters of The Smurf on your way. The walls are adorned with Smurf scenes and giant toadstools which makes for a great fun activity for children. Hence, this village is a must visit for those who love art.
6. EZE, FRANCE
Eze, located between Nice and Monaco, is a hilltop village in France that dates back to the Middle Ages. It owes its name to an ancient Egyptian goddess, Isis. The village surrounds the ruins of a 12th-century castle. It was shaped by the Romans, Moors and the House of Savoy. The village was built on top of the rocky outcrop for security reasons, and its stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea. As you wander through the cobblestoned sloping streets you will find ancient fountains, archways, superbly restored stone houses, shady square and quiet courtyards. The structures here are several hundred years old, and the oldest building in Eze is the beautiful Chapelle de laa Sainte Croix built back in 1300s. The village of Eze is also famous for its greenery, like you can visit the exotic Jardin Exotique, the botanic garden where an impressive collection of cactus, plants and rare vegetation surrounds the remains of an ancient chateau. This botanical garden has spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean, Monaco, Monte Carlo and the hills below. Do have a drink or a lunch during the day time at Chateau Eza. The restaurant here has some of the best views and picture opportunities.
7. INLE LAKE, SHAN STATE VILLAGE, MYANMAR
The villages around Inle Lake are located in the middle of Myanmar in the western Shan state. The lake is shallow, 13.5 miles long and 1 mile wide. This lake is famous for its floating villages and gardens. Here, the local people live in a unique way with their living communities based entirely on water. There are ten different Shan ethic groups living in the villages around the lake. In these villages you will find wooden houses which are built on stilts and the fisherman steer their one-man boats with a characteristic rowing style, wrapping one leg around their oar. Hydroponic tomato farming is also big here, based on an aquabiotic system in use since the 1960s. Cruising along channels hemmed in by floating gardens is simply sublime. Numerous monasteries can be found on the land and its shores. You will find many handicraft workshops also as handicraft is an important part of the local economy apart from fishing. The natural and unpolluted scenic beauty of the Lake and its surrounding villages makes it as one of Myanmar’s most popular destinations for travellers.
8. LAMAYURU, LADAKH, INDIA
Lamayuru is a small village between Kargil and Leh in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The wh