The world’s highest settlements revealed from the Peak District and the Rockies to Peru
Some people really do live the high life – because they call extremely lofty settlements home.
Here MailOnline Travel reveals, in ascending order, the world’s highest hamlets, towns and cities. Some are accessible only by dangerous hairpin-laden roads, some are snowed in for half the year and some are so remote the only TripAdvisor reviews are for the local volcanoes.
Scroll down for a peek at populations surrounded by peaks.
Flash, UK – 1,519 feet
The highest village in Britain is Flash, pictured. It sits on the border of three English counties – Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire – and is known for its long snowy winters
Flash has a population of around 200 people and in olden times was known as a centre of illegal activities
Located in the Peak District National Park, the village of Flash is the highest settlement in the UK at 1,519 feet above sea level.
It sits on the border of three English counties – Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire – and is known for its long snowy winters.
Flash has a population of around 200 people and in olden times was known as a centre of illegal activities, including prize-fighting and counterfeiting money.
Valdelinares, Spain – 5,540 feet
The village of Valdelinares, pictured, is in the Sierra de Gúdar mountain range in Spain at an elevation of 5,540 feet
Sitting at 5,540 feet, Valdelinares, in the Sierra de Gúdar mountain range, is the highest settlement in Spain.
It has a population of just 141 people but in the summer months numbers swell with hikers and mountaineers.
And during the winter skiers and snowboarders flock to the nearby ski resort.
Charlotte Pass, Australia – 6,444 feet
The village of Charlotte Pass in New South Wales, which is the highest settlement in Australia. Temperatures often drop to -10C here
The village is named after Charlotte Adams who, in 1881, became the first European woman to climb nearby Mount Kosciuszko
The highest village in Australia is Charlotte Pass in New South Wales, which sits 6,444 feet above sea level.
It has an alpine climate meaning that temperatures regularly drop below minus 10 in the winter, when it transforms into a ski resort.
The village is named after Charlotte Adams who, in 1881, became the first European woman to climb nearby Mount Kosciuszko.
Ushguli, Georgia – 6,900 feet
For most of the year, Ushguli in Georgia is inaccessible due to snow. It sits at 6,900 feet and is home to a population of just over 200 people
If you want to visit Ushguli in Georgia then pick your moment carefully, because this hamlet, 6,900 feet up in the Greater Caucasus mountains, is blocked in by snowfall for long periods of time.
Visitors who time it right get to explore a Unesco world heritage site with a spectacular 12th century church.
And the views, as any of the 200 people who live there will attest to, are amazing.
Khinalug, Azerbaijan – 7,710 feet
Khinalug sits in the Greater Caucasus mountains, 7,700 feet up from sea level – and its population of 2,000 people endure temperatures of -20C in winter
There is nowhere higher or more remote in all of Azerbaijan than Khinalug.
It sits in the Greater Caucasus mountains, 7,700 feet up from sea level – and its population of 2,000 people endure temperatures of -20C in winter.
The frigid conditions have never been a barrier to settlement, though. The first residents arrived more than 5,000 years ago.
Shimshal, Pakistan – 10,200 feet
Shimshal, pictured, located on Pakistan’s border with China, sits at an elevation of 10,200 feet. It was inaccessible by road until 2003
Located on Pakistan’s border with China, Shimshal is the highest village in the country at an elevation of 10,200 feet.
It has just 400 residents and had been inaccessible to motor vehicles until 2003, when a road was built to the village.
This hairpin-turn laden road, though, is not for the faint-hearted – it’s considered one of the most dangerous in the world.
Saint-Véran, France – 10,461 feet
The picturesque village of Saint-Véran in France, which is located in the Alps and sits an elevation of 10,461 feet
The highest settlement in France, Saint-Véran, is located in the Alps in the south west of the country.
It has a tiny population of just 249 people and sits at an elevation of 10,461 feet.
Although it has a small number of settlers, numbers often swell as the small commune is popular with tourists with a head for heights.
Alma, USA – 10,578 feet
Alma has a population of just 270 and is home to the highest branch of the United States Post Office
Feeling peaky: Alma is surrounded by five mighty 14,000ft mountains
The highest incorporated town in the United States, Alma, in Colorado sits at an elevation of 10,578 feet.
And as the town’s website points out, it’s surrounded by five ’14ers’ – Sherman (14,007), Mt.Bross (14,172 feet), Mt. Lincoln (14,286 feet), Mt. Democrat (14,148 feet), and Mt. Cameron (14,238 feet).
It has a population of just 270 and is home to the highest branch of the United States Post Office.
La Paz, Bolivia – 11,942 feet
The bright lights of the city of La Paz in Bolivia twinkle at dusk. The South American capital sits at an elevation of 11,942 feet in the Valley of the Andes
Claiming the title for the highest capital city in the world is La Paz in Bolivia.
The South American city sits at an elevation of 11,942 feet in the Valley of the Andes.
But despite being the capital, the city, with a population of 789,541, is only the third biggest in Bolivia, behind Santa Cruz de la Sierra (population 1,364,389) and Cochabamba (900,414).
Kibber, India – 14,200 feet
The village of Kibber in India, located in the Spiti Valley of the Himalayas, is set at an elevation of 14,200 feet
Located in the Spiti Valley of the Himalayas, Kibber in India is set at an elevation of 14,200 feet.
There are around 80 houses in the village, which has a population of 366, and it relies on agriculture for its main income.
Despite its remote location, Kibber boasts a civil dispensary, a high school, a post office, a telegraph office- and a community TV set.
Parinacota, Chile – 14,435 feet
The tiny village of Parinacota in Chile sits on a path to a volcano, 14,435 feet above sea level. It is well known for its 17th century church, which is pictured above on the right
Located close to Chile’s Lauca National Park, the tiny village of Parinacota sits on the path to a volcano, 14,435 feet above sea level and is populated by just 29 people.
Its most notable building is the 17th century church that has stone walls and a hand-painted fresco inside.
The nearby volcano of the same name is, by all accounts, mightily impressive and is critically acclaimed on TripAdvisor.
Karzok, India – 15,000 feet
Karzok is situated on the shore of Lake Tso Moriri in India at an elevation of 15,000 feet. It has a population of just over 2,000
Karzok, on the shore of Lake Tso Moriri in Kashmir, India, sits at the lofty elevation of 15,000 feet.
The village has a population of just over 2,000 and is home to the Drukpa Buddhist Korzok Monastery.
Agriculture is the biggest industry in Karzok – popular crops are barley, oats and vegetables.
Komik, India – 15,050 feet
Buddhist monks walk down a hill to the village of Komik, a remote village near India’s border with Tibet that sits 15,050ft up
The entrance sign to Komik declares it to be the world’s highest village with a road – and who are we to argue?
This remote Buddhist village near India’s border with Tibet sits 15,050ft up.
It has a population of just 130 residents, with the village described as a collection of whitewashed mud-and-stone houses.
La Rinconada – 16,728 feet
The highest all-year-round permanent settlement in the world is La Rinconada in Peru, which is 16,700 feet above sea level
The highest permanent settlement in the world is La Rinconada in Peru, which is 16,700 feet above sea level.
It is located near a gold mine in the Peruvian Andes and due to the elevation, temperatures rarely reach more than 10 degrees.
The town hardly attracts any tourists as it has very limited accommodation. And altitude sickness is a very real possibility.
La Rinconada hardly attracts any tourists as it has very limited accommodation