Living near a volcano is pretty damn dangerous. Just ask the people of ancient Pompeii and they’ll happily confirm that fact, although we’re not quite sure how you can get in touch with them these days. They’re probably not on Facebook.
If you think residing in a landlocked location near one of these explosive wonders is a bit risky though, spare a though for the Japanese residents of Aogashima island in the Philippine Sea. They live on a volcanic island just 3.5km in length and 2.5km wide, in the middle of a volcanic crater.
Now, volcanic eruptions can be severe at the best of times, and while this particular volcano hasn’t erupted since 1781 – when it erupted for four straight years – it is still considered a Class-C active volcano. If it erupted now, it’s safe to say there wouldn’t be much chance of escape for the residents.
The island’s population is just under 150 people, which while low is possibly more than you would expect for the most isolated inhabited island of the Izu archipelago. To be a bit more specific, the island is 358km, or 222m, south of Tokyo, so despite the scenery, it’s possibly not the most realistic holiday destination.
Approach the amazing Monemvasia island in Greece from one side of the ocean and you wouldn’t think there would be a single person on it, other than maybe the odd hiker.
Turn around and see it from the other side of the sea though, and you’ll see a packed out village, hidden from the rest of the world by the giant rock behind.
The island is a municipality in Laconia, Greece, and it was actually only separated from the mainland after an earthquake in the area in 375 AD. It’s now connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway 200m long.
Of course, the site was used as a medieval fortress back in the day, and too right. It’s certainly got that Helms Deep quality about it…
Notably larger than the first two islands included on this list, Nihauu encompasses a full 69.5 square miles, but it’s completely off-limits to all but relatives of the island’s owners, US Navy personnel, government officials and invited guests.
Let’s cut a long story short – if the mythical Area 51 actually does exist, it’s surely got to be here. The island is commonly known as “The Forbidden Isle” after all.
According to a census taken back in 2009, the population of the island is only 130, but that’s only counting human beings, and not all the Martians and other critters hiding in the super-duper-top-secret alien hideout base.
The people of Ni’ihau are known for their craftsmanship and speak Hawaiin, but the island is actually owned by the Robinson family – not the same lot that sponsored Tim Henman – after they purchased it in 1864. They’ve since turned down offers of over one billion dollars from the US government for the island. Sounds like aliens to us.
4) Tristan de Cunha
This is the most remote inhabited island group in the world. It doesn’t have an airstrip, it’s only home to just over 250 people, and between the lot of them, they share just eight surnames. Just like Wales.
Strangely enough – or not depending on your knowledge of the merciful, selfless and ever-giving tenure of the British Empire – the islands actually have a British post code, but Amazon do take a while to deliver. After all, the island is 2,000 miles from the nearest continent.
5) Vulcan Point
Thought you were smart? Thought you were ready to learn, ready to adventure and to live out all those tales you had heard about the wonders of the world?
Well welcome to Vulcan Point. It’s far too confusing to ever really understand, and we can guarantee it’s going to mess with your head. Why? Well, because Vulcan point is the world’s largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island.
Let’s try and explain. The island is in the Philippines, or the Luzon Island to be exact. Taal Lake is on Luzon Island, and in Taal Lake is Taal Volcano, which itself is an island. Deeper yet in the inception mind-disaster is Crater Lake on Taal Volcano, and in the middle of that? Vulcan point!
This doesn’t have a population of course, but it’s a popular tourist attraction. On another note, we’re sorry for ruining the rest of your day.
The smallest independent island country in the world is only eight square miles, and it’s only bigger than two other countries in the world – the Vatican City and Monaco.
Of course, the Vatican City has the pope and a load of security dressed in hilarious outfits, and Monaco has a bunch of billionaires chucking money off yachts and one hell of a famous Grand Prix, so what’s Nauru got? Money laundering!
After their natural reserve of phosphate was nicked and the wealth of the island was depleted, the place became a bit of a hot spot for money laundering, and it had to ask Australia for a bit of help.
These days, it’s normally only inhabited by a handful of natives and asylum seekers looking to get to the land of Oz. It’s no Monaco, that’s for sure.
7) Pitcairn Island
The Pitcairn Islands are a bit odd. They’re inhabited by the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians who accompanied them back in the late eighteenth century.
For anyone unfamiliar with the tale, the mutiny of the Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty took place in 1789, with a crew of angry sailors taking command of the ship from Captain Lieutenant William Bligh and shoving him and 18 others off in rescue boats.
Nevertheless, Bligh made an amazing escape to Timor and returned to England in 1790. The mutineers meanwhile set up camp on Pitcairn Island, and their descendants still live on the South Pacific, 18 square mile setting over 3000 miles from New Zealand.
There’s under 50 residents now, all still from the original nine families, and most are leaving to go to the mainland. With all inhabitants originating from four main families, Pitcairn is the least populous national jurisdiction in the world. Sounds like Lieutenant Bligh came out on top after all.