Most of us live in apartments or private houses. Everyone is accustomed to the fact that there is work, schools, shops and other establishments nearby that are necessary for our civilian life. How about settling on an island? Yes, yes, on a small piece of land half the size of Red Square and located among the water. Neither the Central Department Store, nor “Pyaterochka” across the road, nor the road itself. Why are there shops, if in your neighbors, at best, there will be only silent trees and equally taciturn (in human language, at least) birds and animals. Not ready yet? Then let’s just find out how things are on the ten smallest islands where people live right now.
1. Bjarnarei, Iceland
This island is located near southern shores of Iceland. Its dimensions are such that a person will definitely be able to bypass the entire territory in one day. Bjarnarei cannot boast of a vigorous life activity – from the vegetation on the surface of the island there is only grass, there are no permanently living animals here either. The island would have long been recognized as uninhabited, if not for … a lonely house, covered with legends. The history of the building is not known for certain, just like who lives (and what, after all, eats) in the house today. There are suggestions that during the breeding season of petrels, hunters arrive here by helicopter.
2. Mont Saint Michel, France
She is the mountain of St. Michael. This island, located on the northwest coast of France, is essentially a fortress on the water. A small piece of land is surrounded by walls and towers from below, houses and various buildings are located in the middle of the island. The Benedictine Abbey is rightfully considered the crown and main attraction of Mont Saint Michel. In addition to the spiritual and historical significance, the monastery is also a real decoration of the island – as soon as the sun begins to set, Mont Saint-Michel turns into a picturesque place thanks to the illumination of the abbey. This amazing island with many cultural values attracts from 1.5 to 2 million tourists annually.
3. Loreto, Italy
This For many centuries this beautiful place has been attracting with its solitude. Loreto is a small private island and castle on Lake Iseo in northern Italy. Initially, monks lived on it, at the end of the 5th century a monastery was built here, which existed for several centuries, and, finally, abandoned in the 16th century. During a visit to the island of Cardinal Carlo Borromeo in 1580, a hermit named Peter lived here. At the end of the 15th century, it was the property of the nuns of the monastery of Saint Chiara, and in the 16th century it was abandoned. Now it is a private residence that has become a real gem of Lake Iseo in Italy.
4. Dunbar, Honduras
As in the case of the island of Bjarnari, a piece of land called Dunbar contains only one building on its surface. However, further comparisons are useless – after all, on the rocky Dunbar there is a luxurious private villa, which actually occupies the entire territory of the tiny island. The owner of such an extravagant dwelling eventually felt that six bedrooms would be too much for him alone, and began renting out his apartment as a hotel. Needless to say, the island hotel is in good demand and is not empty – it is small, and there are always enough seekers of an unusual holiday among tourists and diving enthusiasts.
5. Gospa od Skrpjela, Montenegro
Again an island, on the territory of which there is a historical spiritual monument. This time we are talking about Gospa od Skrpiela, which is located near the town of Perast in Montenegro. On the surface of the island there is a church of the Mother of God, built by hand in 1630 as a talisman for sailors on voyages and wanderings. However, 47 years later, the temple was badly damaged as a result of an earthquake, and the form in which the church appears to our eyes today, it acquired only in 1722. The monastery is the only building on the island – indeed, it is difficult to place something else on an extremely narrow piece of land with an area of 3000 square meters.
6. Saint George, Montenegro
To visit the next island on the list, we will not need to fly to another country, and we will not even need to change the region of deployment. What’s really there, from Gospa od Skrpjela to the island of St. George is so close at hand that this distance, if desired, can be crossed by breaststroke. There is also a shrine here – another Benedictine abbey, although the building is much more modest than on Mont Saint Michel. In addition to the church, the island’s surface is occupied by a small forest, which creates a very picturesque landscape. However, it is necessary to admire the views from afar – the island is closed for visits by ordinary people.
7. Island on Lake Galve, Lithuania
But on the island in the middle of Lake Galve, they are very glad to see curious tourists. The reason for their appearance here is the ancient Trakai castle, built about 6 centuries ago. Indeed, this is now rarely where you can see: a real brick castle, as if descended from the pages of a fairy tale, and even on a separate island! In addition to the fact that the building itself is an architectural and historical monument, the castle also houses the Trakai Museum, illustrating all stages of the life and development of this city. Alternatively, you can go boating around the castle island, enjoying a romantic evening and a magnificent view of the illuminated fortress.
8. Pontikonissi, Greece
The famous land plot in Greece has also found its place in our ranking. Pontikonisi is the place where people are in perfect harmony with nature. The island has a lot of vegetation and trees, which makes it a real home for many birds and animals. The waters around the land are literally filled with different types of fish. The human footprint on the island is present in the form of a functioning monastery – the holy monastery is located exactly in the middle of Pontikonisi, surrounded by forest. By the way, the second name of the island (Mouse) is also associated with the temple. The fact is that the stone staircase leading to the monastery looks very much like a mouse’s tail from afar.
9. Visovac, Croatia
As you can see, in most cases, a miniature island becomes inhabited by literally one building. Often such a building is a temple. Visovac in Croatia is no exception. The island has an almost perfect circle shape, and there is a Franciscan monastery on its territory. The shrine is surrounded by several dozen cypresses and other trees: together with the ministers of the church, various birds and animals share life on the island. In general, who else, if not monks, can settle on a separate piece of land, stretching The coastline of which is only half a kilometer (it is easy to calculate how many times a day you can go around Visovac up and down).
10. Wilhelmstein, Germany
One has only to look out of the corner of our eye at the Wilhelmstein Island, as it immediately becomes clear where we flew to contemplate the next representative of our hit parade. An artificial piece of land in the form of a rectangle, the sides of which are verified, it seems, up to a centimeter. Also striking is the austere building erected exactly in the middle of the island. This is definitely nothing more than German precision! The island was originally built as a fortress on the water. A man named Duke Wilhelm Schaumburg-Lippe with his help planned to defend his own county and built a military college here. In fairness, the idea worked (the island really managed to repel the enemy’s attack), but after Wilhelm’s death. Today there is a museum.
11. Lake Bled Island, Slovenia
Well, here we got to the fun part. How, the church in the woods again? In fact, this is so – on the island of Lake Bled there really is the Mariinsky Church with a bell tower of medieval construction. Thousands of lovers come here every year to not only register their relationship, but also to get married, having passed before that on 99 happy steps leading to the temple. The uniqueness of this piece of land lies in the optical illusion that accompanies its contemplation. The fact is that if you look at the island, being on the same level with it, you get the feeling that it is simply hanging in the air! Increases the visual effect during fog. Therefore, this island is also called “flying.”
12. South Bass, USA
The smallest tourist island in the world is located in the part of Lake Erie, which belongs to the US state of Ohio. Its small area could accommodate a small brewery and a winery, where the indigenous people of these places work. In total, no more than 400 people live on the island. Tourists come here not only to taste local intoxicating drinks, but also to go boating on the lake and live in nature in campsites.
13. Kay Kolker, Belize
This island is located in the Caribbean Sea, 20 miles off the coast of Belize. It is here that the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere is located.
Less than 1500 people live on the island. Until the middle of the 19th century, Kay Kolker was uninhabited, only occasionally British ships came here to replenish water supplies or for simple repairs. But then Mexican refugees appeared here who planted coconut trees and founded a fishing village with sandy paths, which has now become a very popular, albeit small, resort. The island even has an airstrip, although it is still vulnerable to hurricanes.
14. Saba, Lesser Antilles
In the Caribbean Sea, west of Saint-Martin is the island of Saba, which has a population of 1,200. It is best to visit it in January-March. It is called the “untouched queen of the Caribbean” for its unspoiledness. There are practically no tourist infrastructure and places convenient for swimming on it. But on the other hand, this dormant volcano, which has become an island, is very attractive for divers. There is a unique marine park here.
15. Corvo, Azores
On the Azores, lost in the vastness of the Atlantic, the most secluded and tiny is the island of Corvo. An atmosphere of peace and tranquility reigns there, and the nature and green landscapes of the island, flowering hills, picturesque lakes and rocky shores delight those travelers who were able to climb such a distance with their pristine beauty. But the name of the island, meanwhile, translates as “the island of crows.”
In the center of the Atlantic, a subtropical climate reigns, thanks to which you can go fishing, diving, explore the island in detail on leisurely walks or enjoy fresh seafood almost all year round. On Corvo, in the only village of Vila Novo do Corvo, about 500 people live, they are all very welcoming. In a very cozy tiny town, houses are built of black stone, with cobbled streets streaming between them. The way of life here is absolutely pastoral, all the locals know each other very well. It has become an old tradition here to close houses with wooden locks, which are made by local craftsmen. Residents still use them, emphasizing their friendliness and openness.
16. Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
In the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Argentina, there is a group of disputed islands (Falkland Islands for Great Britain and Malvinas for Argentina), among which the smallest one bears the proud name of the Sea Lion. The local waters have a very rich fauna: elephant seals, penguins, killer whales. Seven locals keep order on the island, and for tourists the island becomes available in early October, and the season closes in April.
17. Little St. Simons, USA
Only 25 people live and work permanently on this island, and the rest are tourists. The islet is located in the waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Georgia and is part of the archipelago of the Golden Isles of Georgia. The island has pristine clean sandy beaches and pine groves. The peak of the tourist season is in the spring.
18. Benguerra, Mozambique Islands
In the Mozambican archipelago, there is the island of Benguerra, on which there is a national marine reserve. There are many different types of birds: flamingos, terns, kingfishers, egrets, cormorants. One and a half kilometers east of the island, there is a coral reef, which is very popular among divers vacationing in Mozambique. Very beautiful corals grow here, clown fish, small sharks, sea bass and a variety of bright coral fish live. Here, nature has formed a unique pool among corals, which is called the “aquarium”, and which is ideal for snorkeling. In the north of the island, African dhow boats scurry on the horizon, some of which carry fishing nets, while others bring tourists to the coral reef. In the tropics of Mozambique, summer reigns all year round. But it is best to come here in a dry and slightly cooler season in May-November, that is, in winter for Mozambique. But from December to January it is too hot here, and tropical showers fall in February-March.
19. Yap, Micronesia
This an island in the South Pacific is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. Only part of the island is intended for tourists, while the other is given over to agriculture. Scuba diving is excellent here.
1200 people constantly live on the island – they are simple, friendly, calm, smiling people, like on other islands. Guests do not bother them if they respect their lifestyle and traditions.
The local tribe has the hardest currency in the world – stone money. And not small coins, but three-meter circles weighing several centners. The rate of each coin rose if a person was sacrificed personally for it. For example, if during a trip to the island of Palau, where the “mint” was located, the head of the family died, then all the “hard currency” owned by his relatives rose in value. Until now, walking along the stone paths in the thickets, you can see these huge stone treasures, thoroughly overgrown with moss.
20. Madeleine, USA
Among the 22 islands of the Apostle archipelago, only Madeleine is inhabited. 300 people live here permanently. The best time to relax here is in May-October. In summer you can even play golf, ride a bike or kayak, in winter you can ski or throw snow dust on snowmobiles.