19. The Boy’s Village in Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK
In the early 1920’s, a Welsh philanthropist named David Davies created a summer camp for boys who were the sons of the local coal workers. Instead of playing in the unhealthy and polluted mining town, the kids would be able to run around near the beach and breathe in the fresh air during the summer months. It was called The Boy’s Village in Vale of Glamorgan. The entire camp was 3 acres, and it included a courtyard, church, dorms, and a gym.
In 1940, the camp was briefly taken over by the military during World War II, until it went back to civilian use in 1946. Later in the 1960’s, a business owner tried to use it as a youth hostel. But by the 1990’s, the facility had to shut down. In the 2000’s, the facility continued to deteriorate, and some of the buildings even had to be torn down. In 2021, it went up for sale at the value of the land, which was £495,000 (almost $700,000). At the time this article was written, the land is no longer listed, but it’s hard to tell if they actually found a buyer for the 3.5 acre abandoned campground.
In 2014, builders in Turkey planned that these would be luxury vacation villas called Burj Al Babas. Each of the buildings was modeled after a French chateau or castle. At first, 350 people agreed to buy one of these homes, and they began developing the vacation destination. But then, construction was put on hold. After getting in $200 million of debt, the builders ran out of money and abruptly had to walk off the job. During an interview, they said that if they got an additional 100 interested buyers to buy castles, they could break even. But only a handful of new buyers actually wanted them. So the company went bankrupt in 2018, and the 350 owners were out of luck, having invested into a dream that turned out to be a nightmare.
Now there are hundreds of identical Disney-esque castles just sitting there without any plans to complete. Unfortunately, this plan seemed to be poorly thought out, and I personally don’t see the appeal in this at all. There aren’t many people who can afford to spend $500,000 on a vacation property in a foreign country. And even if they could afford it, why would they choose to go to a remote place in the middle of Turkey, along with hundreds of other identical houses? Most people want a vacation home near the ocean or a ski resort. If you want to see more about this ghost town, I highly recommend watching the video on the Yes Theory YouTube channel. While it’s clear that someone is still around the town as a caretaker, no one is living there.
Back in the 1940’s, a man named Curtis Howe Springer invented the name Zzyzx, declaring that it was now the last word in the English dictionary. With this plot of land, he created a new town in California to build the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa in 1944. In reality, this was federal land, and he was only allowed to use it due to mining claims on 12,000 acres. But Springer bottled water from the springs on the land, and he sold them to desert travelers. He also made the resort into a ranch with animals and many attractions.
However, in 1974, this plan came crashing down when the federal government decided to claim the land back. In 1976, California State University began to use the buildings as their Desert Studies Center. This is still a property with such a strange history, that it has become the subject of books, documentaries, and more. The National Park Service has officially closed Zzyzx, also known as Soda Springs to the public. But that doesn’t stop curious travelers from stopping by to look at the site in the desert where a health spa once stood.
16. The Wild West Ghost Town of Cerro Gordo, California is Being Restored
The town of Cerro Gordo, California was originally established in 1865. At one point, there were 4,500 coal miners living in the town. This was very much a “wild west” town, because the local police wouldn’t enter the town at all. The workers were expected to figure out their own problems. Because of this, someone was killed in a fight at least once a week. As you can imagine, this lifestyle wasn’t meant to last forever. The town is so high up in the mountains, and it was eventually abandoned.
A man named Brent Underwood purchased the town for $1.4 million in 2018, and started a YouTube channel called Ghost Town Living. On the channel, you can see his journey to bringing Cerro Gordo back to life. Most recently, in the summer of 2021, Brent started rebuilding the hotel so that he can accommodate tourists who want to come visit. If this sort of thing interests you, I highly recommend watching Brent’s channel. You get to see all of the steps in the process, and learn a whole lot about restoring and re-establishing a small town.
15. Only One Resident Left in this Italian Village Called “Alianello”
Thisvillage on the top of a mountain seems like something out of a fairytale. It’s difficult to even wrap your head around how they managed to build this beautiful place hundreds of years ago. But in 1980, there was a devastating earthquake that destroyed the entire village. Roofs of buildings collapsed in on themselves. The damage on many of the buildings was so expensive, it wouldn’t make sense to try to repair it. Most of the homes are at a point where they would need to be torn down. It was declared “unfit” for humans to live in 1980, and the Italian government created an eviction order. But it took until the year 2000 for it to be completely abandoned. They moved out of the historic buildings and created a brand new village a few miles away.
A retired man named Vincenzo still lives there as the caretaker. He says that he isn’t afraid of living there alone, because it is filled with so many happy memories. The town only had 300 residents before the earthquake, so it felt like an extended family. If you ever wanted to visit, it would be difficult. On a YouTube channel calledExplomo, they go on an adventure to visit the abandoned village. After carefully navigating their car on tiny mountain roads, they still had a long hike up the mountain on foot after they found a place to park. Technically, each of these old houses still belong to the respective property owners, even if they’re not living there right now. The explorers on Explomo came across one or two brand new houses that were built by people attempting to revive the village, but they are uninhabited.
14. Story, Indiana, USA, is Still a Quaint Little Ghost Town
The town of Story, Indiana was originally founded in 1851 by a doctor named George P. Story. He owned 173 acres of land, and called it “Storyville”. Dr. Story chose to build houses, stores, a church, and a school house on the land. (Obviously, he was the town doctor!) Things were great until the Great Depression, which is when most people had to leave to find work elsewhere.
The entire town was sold to a married couple in the 1970’s for just $65,000. They fixed up the general store, and turned it into a bed and breakfast. And another set of buyers in the 1990’s tried to fix it up even more to accommodate tourists as a historic ghost town. But it went up for sale again, this time for $3.8 million. Eventually, the town was purchased. Now, the town has an inn, a dairy barn, and it hosts guests as a wedding venue.
13. El Mortorio, Asturias, Spain is an Entire Renovated Village
Most of the abandoned villages and ghost towns on this list are run down, and there is little hope that anyone will buy and restore them. But with El Mortorio in Asturias, Spain, the opposite happened. Someone bought and completely restored the village before putting it on the market in 2017. You can even watch a YouTube video showing drone footage of the entire village property. The village went up for sale for £1.6 million, which is roughly $2.2 million. Here in the United States, that amount of money will buy you one mansion in a good suburb, or a modest apartment in New York City.
This idea of buying an entire village with scenic mountain views for the same price as one mansion here in the US is a bargain. There are 12 individual buildings, and plots of land big enough to build an additional 20 houses or shops. Technically, it’s not a ghost town, even though it’s relatively empty. Someone is taking care of the property, and it’s a private residence. The current owners also run a hotel on the property. As of 2021, it still seems to be up for sale. Maybe the reason why it’s so hard to sell is because this village is so rural, you’d have to travel far away to get your basic necessities for shopping, hospitals, and more. And I can’t imagine that you could get cell service, let alone an internet connection.
12. Johnsonville, Connecticut, USA Maintains Old World Charm
When Johnsonville, Connecticut was first established in 1804, it was a booming mill and twine-making town. But there was a fire, and the mill burned down. This means that the entire town stopped functioning. Without a working water mill, people couldn’t do their jobs, and everything crumbled after that. A millionaire named Raymond Schmitt bought the town as his personal home, and he preserved the historic buildings. Once a year, the Schmitt family allowed locals to visit the property for a summer arts festival.
The owner has been trying to sell the ghost town since 2015 for $3.5 million. It was nearly sold in 2017, until the buyers had to back out on the deal. Despite the fact that this is a bargain to buy an entire town, no one had the money or the patience to maintain this property. Finally, someone committed to restoring the town in 2018, and offered a much lower price of $2.4 million. The new buyers are a religious organization called Iglesia Ni Cristo, also known as Church of Christ. They plan to turn the 62-acre property into a recreation and sport center for their church members.
One of the biggest properties on this list is the Crete Senesi Hamlet in Tuscany Italy, which is on the market for $9.5 million. It’s a 741 acre property located in the beautiful Val d’Orcia region. The property includes an olive grove, as well as vineyard, which is perfect for anyone who has dreams of opening up an Italian winery.
Even though you’d be buying an abandoned farm and ghost town, there is still a lot nearby. Just 20 minutes away are two towns called San Giovanni d’Asso and Pienza. So you’d still be able to buy your groceries and other amenities as you spend the time to revive your own hamlet. Some of the buildings left on the property are a cheese factory, dining hall, a church, barns, and six different apartments. It was once the home of a noble family, but it could just as easily be transformed into a hotel or wedding business.
This next property was already purchased by a Dutch couple, but it’s still worth mentioning on this list. It was so affordable, even Gwyneth Paltro recommended it as a Christmas gift on Goop. The Galician village called Pontevedra Hamlet sold for just €150,000 or $176,205. The sale included barns, a granary, and multiple buildings on the property.
Even though the buying price is low, the renovations are likely to cost much more. According to El Pais, the Spanish government and European Union typically give buyers grants of €200,000 to help restore historic buildings. But in reality, the total to renovate the property is likely to cost a total of €600,000.
For more than 500 years, a village called San Severino di Centola in Italy had a thriving community of people. But now, the village founded in the 10th to 11th century has been abandoned. The ruins are all that remains after people decided to move to other cities. In the village, there are several houses, a church, and even a castle.Today, there is only a foot path that leads from the moden village of Centola up to the old ruins of Severino di Centola. There are deep, narrow gorges of the Mingardo River that the locals have nicknamed “Devil’s Throat”.
In the 17th Century, the village was taken over by the Normans and the Swabians under the house of Aragon. However, after the War of the Vespers and the plague, the village was abandoned once again. Unlike some of the other villages on this list, this one’s not for sale. Locals have completely given up on trying to save it. However, if you were interested in buying it, there’s probably a way to contact the Italian government to see if they would allow you to update this historic site. When there’s a will, there’s a way.
8. High Plains Drive Movie Ranch: The New Mexico Ghost Town
If you have ever imagined owning a ghost town that looks like a movie set, this is it. The 205 High Plains Drive Movie Ranch is a 58 acre town located in Catron County, New Mexico. The town was originally built in the 1880’s, and it was called the Town of Gabriella.
Like most western ghost towns, the village was famous for being overrun by an outlaw. There are stories of a man called Thomas “Black Jack” Ketchum who lived in the small village. Today, there is still the saloon, a photography studio, the billiards hall, and more. The previous owner has used this property as a hotel, and there have also been weddings there. If you’re interested in paying the $1,600,000, the property is up for sale on Sotheby’s Realty.
This property is currently called the Tone River Wilderness cottages under its original owner. These 20 cottages in Western Australia are surrounded by 100 acres of land. This property is set up more like a campground, rather than a working village. While it could potentially be renovated into year-long homes, most investors are looking into this as a wilderness retreat.
When it was originally listed, the retreat was going for $718,000. But the property actually sold for $635,000 in 2019. Considering how much property prices have inflated since 2020, the person who bought this ghost town actually got a great deal. Once they fix up the 20 houses on the property, they may be able to sell the individual homes to families, and make it into a true town, rather than a campground.
Imagine being able to get the deed of an entire town for free. Well, that’s exactly what happened with the crumbling village of A Barca in Cortegada, Spain. The local municipality decided that it was time for someone- anyone to buy this town and try to bring the 12 houses back to life. So they listed the town for free, so long as the interested party paid for the realtor’s management fees. The mayor spoke with The Guardian, explaining that he also expects a professional development plan, keeping in mind that they want the restored village to bring in tourist dollars.
There is also a condition that whatever business is developed on the land must hire locals from the nearby town of Cortegada, to prevent young people from leaving the city. Back in 2014, the BBC traveled to Spain to film the ghost village of A Barca, advertising to the rest of Europe that they had a chance to purchase a $0 town. Of course, this village isn’t really free. It would take millions of dollars to overhaul the buildings and land to make it ready for a new business, and to accommodate tourists to travel there. While there was a lot of initial news coverage of the free hamlet, there hasn’t been much news as to whether anyone took them up on their offer, or if it was far too difficult of an undertaking.
There are very few ghost towns on this list that are located in the United States. That’s because real estate is so notoriously expensive here. Buying an entire town in the middle of nowhere might allow you to live out your own version of Schitt’s Creek. For the cost of a mansion in the suburbs of a city ($3.8 million) you could be the proud owner of an entire village called Tiller, Oregon.
This town is 225 miles south of the bustling city Portland, Oregon. It has a total of six houses, including one with an apartment that’s perfect for renting. There is also a gas station, and just one shop that was used as a general store. Believe it or not, there are two people still living in the town. They are a retired teacher, and a preacher for the nearby church. So their two houses are the only properties in the town that are not up for sale.
Technically, this is one of the ghost towns that never went up for sale. But it still deserves to be on this list. Way back in 1908, Kolmanskop, Namibia was a part of a territory called German South-West Africa. A railroad worker named Zacharias Lewala found diamonds while he was digging in the sand. His German supervisor named August Stauch realized that the area was actually lush with diamonds. Soon after, the German government began moving in as a diamond mining settlement. Of course, the government also called it a “Sperrgebiet”, which is a National Park where the public was not allowed to enter for any reason. Soon enough, the town grew to be a fully functional German town. There was a hospital, ballroom, power station school, theater, casino, sports hall, and an ice factory. They also built a tram and railway link to the nearby town of Lüderitz, Namibia.
However, the success of the town relied heavily on the diamond mining industry, since it was the reason why they were there in the first place. In World War II, the supply of diamonds started to deplete from the land. Eventually, there was a new diamond rush a few hundred miles away. So many of the miners packed their bags and left for greener pastures. The town wasn’t officially abandoned until 1956. Today, tourists and photographers need a permit if they want to enter the town. All of the homes are filled with several feet of sand, and it’s very eerie to see. With enough time, the town may eventually be completely buried by the desert sands.
3. Historic Nomadic Town of Magical Nipton, California
This large 80 acre property is a California ghost town called the Historic Nomadic Town of Magical Tipton. The good news is that it is already remodeled and ready to become a tourist attraction under a new owner. Some of the buildings on the property include a hotel with 5 rooms to rent, a trading post, a restaurant, a bar, and a general store. There is also an old school house, teepees to represent the original Native American homes, as well as cabins.
Among all of these buildings, there is also plenty of land to accommodate a campground. There is a bathroom facility, water hookups, and more. There is even a solar yard to help power everything on the property. So, in a lot of ways, this isn’t really a “ghost town” at all, because someone has already gone in to do all of the hard renovation work for you. If you’re looking to start a business, all of this can be yours for $2,750,000.
If you’re interested in potentially buying an investment property in the United Kingdom, Alberllefenni, Wales might be a great option. For $1.6 million, you could buy a total of 16 houses. The surrounding area also has loads of agricultural land. This could be perfect for someone who is looking to bring in rental income and start a farm. The property also includes a forest with walking trails.
There is a town called Machynlleth nearby, which was the ancient capital of Wales. It helps you cover all of the needs you and your tenants would be looking for in terms of a grocery store, museums, shops, schools, and other amenities. The only catch is that many of the buildings need to be repaired. It could be a huge investment to buy the land and get it in the shape it needs to be before you could earn income from tenants. The first offer fell through in 2020, and it was put back up for sale in 2021. If you’re interested, you should hurry, because the real estate agents say that it’s a very popular listing among investors.
A few years ago, there was a small hamlet of four houses for sale right in the middle of the Aveyron mountains of France. Originally built in the 12th Century, the Romanesque buildings and castle were made of both stone and wood. The houses were all up for grabs at the price of $917,000.
A woman named Rain Haron and her husband decided to buy the property and move from California to France. Their journey was documented on a blog called Complete France, and it gives you a good idea as to what you should expect if you moved to a ghost town in the middle of Europe. They shipped all of their belongings over, but it took months to arrive. Over the course of 8 months, they renovated the property to make it good enough to live in. Now, her husband continues his work as a real estate agent, selling French properties to English speakers.