Seeking a departure from the monotony of mainstream tourism, our journey takes us to some of the most remote and highest villages across the globe, from middle America to the peaks of Egypt. Along the way, we’ll delve into local activities, accommodations, and uncover fascinating stories about these timeless elevated villages.
Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
Civita di Bagnoregio, or “The Dying Town” (La città che muore), appears to float above the clouds on misty days, as though it were a town ascending to heaven. Founded by the Etruscans over 2,500 years ago, it stands atop a volcanic rock plateau 1,440 feet above the Tiber river valley. Accessible solely by footbridge, the town’s decline began in the 16th century due to earthquakes, wars, and erosion. Despite these challenges, Civita di Bagnoregio has seen a resurgence in tourism, with its population swelling to around 100 during summer months and dwindling to just seven in winter.
Situated at an altitude of 6,900 feet, Ushguli is one of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe. For six months of the year, snow blankets the region, preserving its 12th-century architecture and traditional way of life. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ushguli is a testament to the enduring spirit of the Svaneti people.
Al Sogara, Oman
Hidden within the cliffs of the 2,980-meter-high ‘Green Mountain’ in Oman, Al Sogara is a 500-year-old village that only received electricity and phone lines within the past decade. This isolated community is sustained by a brilliant irrigation system that dates back to 500 AD.
Alma, the highest incorporated municipality in the United States, is home to the country’s highest post office. With a population of approximately 298, Alma’s Main Street resembles a classic frontier town.
Kibber, a village nestled high in the Spiti Valley of the Himalayas, is so remote that it has become a wildlife sanctuary since 1992. At an altitude of 14,200 feet, it is the highest motorable village in the world during the warmer months.
Flash, the highest recognized village in the United Kingdom, is situated in the picturesque Peak District of Staffordshire. Though it may appear innocent today, the isolated village was once a haven for outlaws engaged in counterfeiting and cockfighting.
Nestled in the French Alps, Saint-Véran is one of the “most beautiful villages in France” and the third-highest village in Europe. A quaint alpine destination, it offers skiing, cheese-tasting, and the opportunity to observe local shepherds tending to their flocks.
Sainte Catherine, Egypt
Saint Catherine, situated at the foot of the Sinai mountains, is Egypt‘s highest village and home to the world’s oldest library. A place where the three major Abrahamic religions coexist peacefully, Saint Catherine houses a UNESCO-listed Orthodox Christian monastery that still operates today.
The allure of these elevated villages lies not only in their stunning locations but also in the resilience of their inhabitants, who have managed to preserve their cultural heritage against the odds. Whether it’s the breathtaking views or the enchanting history that calls to you, these villages offer an unforgettable experience that truly elevates the soul.