For years, pictures of a mysterious lonely white house on the side of a green hill, on a remote, desolate island surrounded by the ocean as far as the eye can see, have made the rounds on the internet, earning the location the unofficial title of the world’s loneliest house.”
The archipelago of Vestmannaeyjar consists of a cluster of small islands off Iceland’s southern coast.
The northeasternmost of these islands, Elliðaey (or Ellirey), is home to an iconic single house sitting alone on a grassy, sloping pasture.
It’s an idyllic location that has remained uninhabited since the 1930s, making this seemingly well-maintained man-made building’s presence even more mind-boggling.
Rumors and hypotheses about the lonely home of Elliðaey Island have been swirling around online over the years, including that it was designed as a zombie apocalypse refuge by an eccentric businessman, or that it was the property of a religious extremist.
At one point, even the Icelandic singer Bjork was rumored to own the island retreat and even to be in talks to buy the island from the authorities.
None of the above hypotheses turned out to have been valid. The true tale of the world’s loneliest house is not worthy of conspiracy theories like that.
Actually, it is just a hunting lodge built in the 1950s by the Elliðaey Hunting Association, whose members use it to hunt puffins when they come to the deserted island. How the island still has a hunting club is mysterious, given that no one even lives there, but that’s how things stand, apparently.
Interestingly, until the 1930s, when they eventually decided to migrate to more settled regions of Iceland, in search of better prospects, a handful of families still lived on Elliðaey Island.
They knew, however, what they were leaving behind an abundance of Atlantic puffins and fish, so they occasionally returned to the island to hunt. Perhaps that is how the hunting association began.
While the Elliðaey hunting lodge continues to be maintained in good condition by the hunting association of the island, it is still not the world’s most comfortable home.
Living in the middle of nowhere does have its benefits, but they certainly do not involve electricity, running water or indoor plumbing.
However, it does have a sauna, fed by a system of rainwater collection, and even a fence around it, which is just plain strange given that no one lives there.
It is classified as a nature reserve and a protected area since Elliðaey Island is a major breeding area for storm petrels and other sea birds, but that doesn’t seem to deter members of the Elliðaey Hunting Association from coming here and, well, hunting birds.
However, if you just want to enjoy the natural beauty of this area, day trips to some of these abandoned islands are provided by tour companies operating in the Vestmannaejar archipelago.
So there you have it the world’s loneliest house is actually really lonely, but there’s nothing very remarkable about it.