1Cliffside Capsule Hotel (Peru)
The Nature Vive Skylodge Hotel in Cusco, Peru, consists of three transparent capsules attached to the side of a cliff, 1,312 meters above the beautiful Sacred Valley, once the home of the Inca Empire. Reaching this unique place is an adventure in itself, but once inside the pods, thrill-seekers can enjoy stunning views of this natural paradise.
Each of the three 24×8-foot hanging capsule suites is made from aerospace-grade aluminum framing and weather-resistant polycarbonate. The rooms can accommodate up to eight people and are furnished with four beds, a small dining area, and a separate bathroom. The transparent walls allow visitors to enjoy an almost 360-degree view of the Sacred Valley while four ventilation ducts let in the fresh mountain air. High-quality mattresses, cotton sheets, down pillows, quilts, and curtains for privacy are provided to ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible.
Reaching the three suites would be impossible for most tourists as it involves navigating very high, vertical sections of a mountain that would usually only be accessible to experienced rock climbers. However, Nature Vive Skylodge has created a "via ferrata"— a mountain path with a permanently-installed safety system — that allows virtually anyone to reach the hotel. Still, it's no walk in the park as visitors are required to climb metal ladders, cross narrow bridges and hang on to metal cables to reach their destination.
A package including one night's stay, the adventure of actually reaching the hotel and a zip-line descent will set you back $300. It is, however, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
2Fangweng Restaurant (China)
Trekking in the mountains means having to survive on packaged food, but not if you're in China. There's a particular mountain in the Hubei Province, 12 km north of the city of Yichang, where you can experience fine-dining on the side of a cliff. Located in the Happy Valley of Xiling Gorge, the Fangweng Hanging Restaurant offers a breathtaking view of its natural surroundings to adventurers brave enough to set foot inside.
The nondescript brick building that acts as an entrance to the Fangweng Restaurant simply doesn't do the place justice, and it's only after you pass through it that you can give yourself a pat on the back for discovering such a unique venue to experience Chinese cuisine while admiring the natural beauty of the Xiling Gorge. However, if you're afraid of heights, the 30-meter-long narrow concrete bridge hanging on the side of a vertical cliff overlooking the Yangtze River might just be your worst nightmare.
The Fangweng Restaurant offers a variety of local specialties including freshwater fish, duck, pork and even turtle, either smothered in vegetables or spiced up with hot peppers and chili powder. Even if you're not a fan of Chinese food, hanging on the side of a cliff and taking in all the natural beauty of the surroundings is definitely worth the visit.
3Pole House – Australia
Beachfront property is known for having impressive views, but the Pole House by F2 Architects brings this concept to a new level. That's because the Fairhaven Beach home is elevated off the cliff where it is situated, letting guests see far beyond the immediate scenery and ensuring the road between the house and the beach is entirely out of view.
The view isn't the only surprising thing about this incredible home. The fact that it is perched so high off the ground creates the illusion that the structure is floating in midair when viewed from the pathway leading to it.
If you simply love this house and desperately wish you could stay here, then you'll be happy to know it's a rental property available for about $2500 a week.
4Holfam House – Australia
Situated on the edge of a 70-meter high cliff in Dover Heights, Australia, the plan of Holman House references Picasso's painting, The Bather. It was completed in 2004 by architects Durbach Block Jaggers.
The house contains a complex series of fluid living spaces set within a meandering perimeter that arcs, folds and stretches in response to weather, landscape and panoramic views. The living and dining areas cantilever out over the ocean, allowing for dramatic views up and down the coast.
5Aescher Guesthouse and Restaurant – Switzerland
A room with a view that is off the beaten path? The Mountain Guest House is 4,500 feet up and clinging to the foot of a cliff. It is built directly into the rock face of the Ebenalp mountain in Appenzell, Switzerland.
There are no TVs and just a single toilet. All 40 of the beds are in boarding-school style dormitories, but hikers flock here throughout the summer for the unrivaled peace and quiet.
Only accessible by a narrow mountainside path, the guest house is more than a century old and so isolated it is only open from May to October.
Claudia and Beny Knechtle-Wyss have opened their home to guests for the last 27 years. In 2012, it was named "mountain guest house of the year" by the UNESCO International Council on Monuments and Sites.
6St. George Orthodox Monastery (West Bank)
The spectacle of the Monastery of St George — a cliff-hanging complex carved into a sheer rock wall in the Judaean Desert, overlooking an unexpectedly lush garden with olive and cypress trees — is one of the most striking sights in the Holy Land. The monastery's picturesque setting is in a deep, and narrow gorge called Wadi Qelt — a cliff face pocked with caves and recesses that have offered habitation to monks and hermits for many centuries.
The monastery was destroyed by the Persians and then rebuilt by the Crusaders before falling derelict. It wasn't until 1878 when a Greek monk, Kalinikos, came to live here that the monastery started to look like its former glorious and cliff-hugging self. Kalinikos finished his renovations in 1901.
7Cliffside Toilet – Siberia
The Kara-Tyurek weather station's lone toilet sits cliffside over 8,500 feet above sea level in the Altai Mountains of Siberia and is considered the most extreme toilet in the world. It serves a 5-man staff that is only visited once a month by a postman who collects weather data, and a helicopter that delivers food, water, and wood (there are no trees on the snowy mountain) for the stove each autumn. While the crew must be daring, in general, to work in this extreme and isolated environment, the nerve they must endure with each bathroom visit is enough to make you soil yourself.
The terrifying toilet has been in use since 1939. Kara-Tyurek, which translates as "black heart" in South Altayan, has been described as “the most unromantic place possible.” In defense of the lavatory, the spot features some unbelievable views one might describe as romantic — just not while defecating above the clouds.
8Refuge des Cosmiques Hut – France
Thirty minutes from the Aiguille du Midi is a frequently used hut in the Mont Blanc massif. The Refuge Cosmique, situated at 3613 meters above sea level, is open throughout the summer months with 148 beds, but has just ten beds available during the winter.