Noise, pollution, pickpockets – forget the big cities the next time you plan a holiday.
These towns may be a bit trickier to reach, but unlike London in summer, they offer a true escape.
Many of these inhabitants live without supermarkets, running water and even Netflix.
But nestled in some of the most spectacularly remote pockets on earth, their sense of freedom is palpable, and gives new meaning to the phrase “off the beaten track”.
Gasadalur Village, Denmark
In 2002, the population of Gasadalur had dwindled to 16, largely because of the difficulty of getting in and out of the remote area.
The town is nestled between the highest mountains of Vagar, and until 2004 inhabitants had to scale the 400m high mountain to reach the next village.
Now, a hole has been blasted through the rock so villagers can drive through. The population had risen only slightly to 18 in 2012.
Grainau village, Germany
Sitting at the base of Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, Grainau village is the dream base camp for avid hikers, surrounded by 100 kilometres of walking trails.
The quaint alpine village offers more than just outdoor activities, too: it’s famous for its spas and baths.
If only all fishing villages looked like this. Reine fits just over 300 inhabitants into its 0.29 square kilometres, and has been a commercial fishing centre since 1743.
Today, unsurprisingly, tourism is equally as important to the picturesque town.
Bled Island, Slovenia
In the middle of Lake Bled sits Bled Island, which boasts a small number of religiously significant buildings.
The Assumption of Mary Church was built in 1655 and was traditionally a place for pilgrims.
Don’t think you’re the only one to appreciate the romance, though – weddings are held here regularly and it’s considered good luck for the groom to carry his bride up the church stairs.
Holy Trinity Monastery, Greece
This rock once housed 24 Eastern Orthodox Monasteries, six of which are still active and open to visitors.
The church was constructed between the 14th and 15th centuries and is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
You might even remember the monastery as a hideout for James Bond in the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only.
The tiny town of Huacachina is built around an oasis in the Ica region of Peru.
Just 115 people live in the resort town, which has increasingly attracted tourists interested in dune buggy rides and sand-boarding.
Legend holds that a native princess created the lagoon, and now lives in it as a mermaid.
Just over 400 people have settled on this rocky cliff in eastern Greenland, with a name that translates to “Big-house dwellers”.
The town was founded in 1825 by Inuits, who happily hunted the wildlife in the area, including seals, walruses, narwhals, polar bears and Arctic foxes.
Today, inhabitants still make their living from whale and polar bear hunting.
All images via Shutterstock.