[Photo at top: Secluded Intown Treehouse in Atlanta, via Airbnb]

Tree house? Check. Castle? Check. Train? Check. Discover all these and more with our list of the most unusual Airbnb rentals. Whoever said holiday accommodation had to be predictable?

Visit The Pyramids

No, not Egypt, but Iceland. This unusual summer house features two pyramids at each end and is nestled in the heart of Iceland’s famous Golden Circle Route. The large deck area invites you to relax outdoors, but if you prefer to relax indoors, soak in the whirlpool bath in the warm knowledge that it is heated by geothermal energy.

LOCATION: Laugarvatn, Iceland. SLEEPS: 6.

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Escape To The Earthship

If you’re not familiar with the concept of Earthships, previously featured on Grand Designs, they are off-grid dwellings, often made of mud and/or upcycled materials that catch their own rainwater and generate their own electricity. This stunning example on the high desert mesa outside Taos still offers all the modern comforts of home.

LOCATION: Taos, New Mexico, USA. SLEEPS: 4.

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King Of The Castle

Dairsie Castle – just 15 minutes drive from St Andrews – offers visitors a taste of historic Scotland. Don’t worry about damp and draughts, though, the castle was rebuilt and restored to its original medieval character in the early 1990s, so you can expect all the modern comforts and conveniences.

LOCATION: Fife, Scotland. SLEEPS: 13.

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Contain Your Excitement

As if the prospect of staying in a converted shipping container wasn’t enough, this space also happens to contain a contemporary art museum – the Inkijkmuseum. Guests have the chance to stay in Room B of this micro-museum, which houses of 150+ small works of art, offering you a new perspective on the art of living.

LOCATION: Eindhoven, Netherlands. SLEEPS: 6.

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A Tropical Paradise

This charming wooden cabin is an idyllic Costa Rican escape, enclosed by four acres of private property and overlooking a man-made lake. Located just 30 minutes from San José airport, one hour from popular beach towns and two hours from Monteverde Cloud Forest, this is a perfect base from which to explore the country.

LOCATION: Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica. SLEEPS: 2.

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1001 Nights

While you could choose to stay 1001 nights in this original Afghani yurt, we’re assuming that a shorter stay might be more convenient. Sited in a quiet private garden on the outskirts of Nuremberg in northern Bavaria, this small but romantic tent features all the exotic design flourishes that you might wish for.

LOCATION: Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany. SLEEPS: 2.

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Up In The Trees

Located just a stone’s throw from downtown Atlanta, it’s easy to see why this property is ranked as one of the most wished-for listings on Airbnb. The treehouse exudes a relaxed, Southern charm with a romantic décor complete with antique furniture and organic linens.

LOCATION: Atlanta, Georgia, USA. SLEEPS: 2.

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Here Be Dragons…

If you’re obsessed by the plot twists of Game of Thrones, then you will relish the chance to stay at a property known locally as The Dragon House. Located just a couple of hours from London and a couple of miles from the beautiful Suffolk coast, this oak-framed house features a host of fantasy-filled touches to exude more than a hint of Westeros-chic.

LOCATION: Westhall, Suffolk, England. SLEEPS: 2.

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Wild, Wild West

Enjoy an authentic Western experience by staying in an original sheep wagon. First used by ranch hands when they set up camp from the 1920s up until the 1970s, the shelter is now fitted out with modern amenities. Located at the heart of a 30,000-acre ranch, this is your base for an epic outdoor adventure.

LOCATION: Shirley Basin, Wyoming, USA. SLEEPS: 4.

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The Shape Of Things To Come

Located on a commune near the southern tip of Spain, looking onto the Strait of Gibraltar, this cosy geodesic dome offers a chance for peace and contemplation, recharging mind, body and spirit. If you prefer more strenuous activities, the kite-surfing mecca of Vale de Vaqueros is just 7km away.

LOCATION: Facinas, Andalucia, Spain. SLEEPS: 3.

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Floating On Air

Fishing For Compliments

Enjoy a generous slice of vintage Americana by staying in an old Airstream travel trailer that has been stripped down and converted into a sleek modern studio. As if that weren’t enough, it is sited atop a private bluff with unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape and the endless ocean beyond.

LOCATION: Malibu, California, USA. SLEEPS: 6.

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Few places in the world are as picturesque as Santorini in Greece. Imagine, then, that you could stay in a traditional fisherman’s cave in Oia (pronounced ‘la’), arguably the most famous of all the villages in Santorini with views onto the nearby volcano and island beyond. The only problem might be having to leave…

LOCATION: Oia, South Aegean, Greece. SLEEPS: 5.

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Let The Train Take The Strain

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The chance to sleep in a converted Edwardian railway carriage on the edge of Cardigan Bay is a true treat for anyone in love with the romance of vintage railways. More than that, however, the rental gives visitors the chance to discover the rugged beauty of the West Wales coast and to spot bottlenose dolphins in the waters below.

LOCATION: Cardigan Bay, Wales. SLEEPS: 5.

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Above And Beyond

Sample the high life with a stay at this bungalow villa on stilts above the tropical waters below. The accommodation forms part of the Golden Palm Tree resort with access to facilities ranging from high-speed internet to dining and spa services. A taste of paradise…

LOCATION: Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia. SLEEPS: 4.

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Bubbling With Excitement

If you’re really looking for something completely different, then how does a stay in a giant bubble sound? Bizarre as it may seem, the chance to sleep in a comfortable, secluded abode, while still being exposed to the surrounding nature, offers a truly unique perspective on your environment.

LOCATION: Dournazac, Limousin, France. SLEEPS: 2.

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Wind Power

The first thing you might notice staying in this restored windmill is the building’s massive strength and solidity – complete with 18-inch walls. Aficionados of Britain’s industrial past will also appreciate other preserved features such as the upright shaft in the former mill, giant spur wheel and sack hoist. All this, plus the rural charm of the Kent countryside.

LOCATION: Benenden, Kent, England. SLEEPS: 2.

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Hip To Be Square

Stay in a Dutch cube house and sample cutting-edge architecture first-hand. The cube house concept was conceived by Piet Blom, who had the idea to tilt the conventional house and plant it on a hexagonal column. The effect resembles the canopy of a tree on a strong trunk. Sounds strange? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…

LOCATION: Rotterdam, Netherlands. SLEEPS: 4.

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A Glass Above

The casaBARTHEL could be the ideal location to finally pen that book you always dreamed of writing or to paint a landscape masterpiece of the surrounding vista. Located on a private estate with full use of the facilities, including swimming pool and barbecue, this could also turn out to be a memorable way to sample Italian family life.

LOCATION: Florence, Tuscany, Italy. SLEEPS: 2.

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Away From It All

Located on five acres of land, this beautiful Romany caravan offers a chance to enjoy a slower-paced vacation. Like all small space accommodation, the caravan somehow manages to find ingenious space-saving solutions, while still offering most of the mod-cons you would want – plus the rugged beauty of Cornwall.

LOCATION: Bush, Cornwall, England. SLEEPS: 2.

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Tokyo Story

Fed up with remote caves and romantic castle stays? Embrace the 24-hour energy of Japan’s great metropolis with a slice of contemporary cool, courtesy of this spacious apartment in the heart of the bustling Ginza district – a perfect base for shopping forays and cultural trips.

LOCATION: Ginza, Tokyo, Japan. SLEEPS: 4.

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Article by James Lee-Tullis

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