To travel is to see the world. But to see what exactly? From the Swiss Alps to Cape Town, Tuscany to Sydney, we picked out some of our favorite landscapes from around the globe with villas that provide ideal vantage points. (Read: incredible views.) Here are 10 homes to pinch yourself over—as dreamy as they are, you won’t believe you’re awake.
The Lodge at the Hills (Queenstown, New Zealand)
The Crown Range mountains lie between Queenstown and Wanaka, and somewhere in the middle, south of Arrowtown, is where you’ll find The Lodge at the Hills, a home perfectly suited to revel in the surrounding scenery. The views from The Lodge look straight out of Middle Earth—and that’s because they are: the Lord of the Rings trilogy filmed several scenes, including the Gladden Fields clip, in the Crown Range mountains. In real life, there’s hardly a home in sight from The Lodge, but its sprawling property includes a helipad to arrive in style, and one of the most beautifully-surrounded tennis courts you’ll see. The home sits just beside the Hills golf course, which has 18 private holes that Lodge guests can play, plus one exclusive par three hole for Lodge guests only. This home was built to enjoy the New Zealand landscape both inside, thanks to glass-enclosed living areas, and outside, courtesy of alfresco dining and lounge areas. Consider this property your private playground.
Sirocco (Verbier, Swiss Alps)
The world has few landscapes dreamier than the Swiss Alps in winter, and that’s thanks to some of Europe’s tallest mountains. Sirocco is a ski chalet in Verbier, an Alpine village in Switzerland’s southwest known for steep slopes and a resort culture that skiers consider one of the world’s best off-piste areas. It’s close to Verbier Golf Club and the town center, but it sparkles for its far-reaching views. What can you see from the home? Look to the south and spot one of the Alps’ most prominent mountains, Grand Combin, which lies next to the Italian border and close to France, too. Mont Blanc (french for White Mountain) is the highest mountain in the Alps, spanning across Italy and France. And then there’s the mythical Matterhorn, the so-called king of mountains, the world’s most photographed mountain, and the best reason to bring a good camera with you to Sirocco. Proximity to world-class skiing is another major plus: find Les Creux ski lift less than a mile and a half away, and Verbier ski lift less than two and a half miles away.
Castello di Vicarello (Grosseto Area, Tuscany)
Tuscany’s rolling hills are postcard-worthy from nearly every vantage point, and the Grosseto area offers its own spin on Italy’s peaceful countryside. Vineyards wind between forests and every so often, a sprawling estate with an historic-looking property breaks up the greenery with century-old bricks crafted into an architectural marvel. One of those is called Castello di Vicarello, a private residence with eight luxurious suites served by an acute staff on 30 acres. In its immediate surroundings, find a white rose garden, lavender plants, and olive trees. Beyond that, nearly 100 acres of hiking trails surround the property. The best lookout here is the villa’s rooftop terrace, which demands a visit for each and every sunset. This modernized 11th-century castle, thanks to idyllic natural surroundings, is a choice venue to celebrate a wedding anniversary—in fact, in 2017, World Boutique Hotel Awards named Castello di Vicarello one of the world’s six most romantic getaways. All that considered, expect love at first sight.
L2 Residence (Koh Samui, Thailand)
Koh Samui’s L2 Residence is a different kind of dreamy—its jungle treehouse feel, enclosed by natural surroundings, brings guests back to their childhood. The landscape may be at its dreamiest when the skies turn a magical pinkish hue at sunset. The multi-level home’s clever architecture follows the natural slope of the hillside it’s built on, so as you navigate the home from top to bottom, you descend toward the water. Throughout the villa, floor-to-ceiling glass walls let you peek out over the Gulf of Siam and its endless views. Those glass walls can be opened to let the warm Koh Samui breeze flow inside. Each of L2’s three bedrooms has its own private balcony decorated with outdoor furniture, so couples can enjoy some downtime that’s easy on the eyes. A series of additional decks and terraces offer new vantage points, and comfy sunbeds provide the perfect place for an afternoon snooze—that way, when you wake up, your dreams become reality.
Ocean House (Oahu, Hawaii)
Its location at land’s edge in the exclusive Portlock community near Hawaii Kai gives the Ocean House a unique perspective back toward the main land near Honolulu. Even its indoor living spaces feel like they’re practically outdoors thanks to an open concept layout and glass sliding walls that open to the terrace. The home cleverly takes advantage of its surroundings, best demonstrated by three of its bedrooms that easily open to alfresco living areas. From the Master bedroom, just one or two steps puts you at oceanfront with a sparkling vista, and a signature bathroom opens up brilliantly to let you peek out toward the water while still in privacy. Under a shaded lanai, a living and dining area boasts some of the best views—from there you can see Diamond Head, an ancient volcanic crater that’s a staple of the view from Waikiki and other parts of Oahu.
Sailrock Resort Beachfront 4 Bedroom Villa B (South Caicos, Turks and Caicos)
The first thing you should know about South Caicos’s Sailrock Resort is that it’s private. Nestled in near seclusion along pristine Caribbean Sea beaches, the luxury Turks and Caicos resort is a relaxing setting with landscapes that amaze. Sailrock’s beachfront villas are well-suited for families or groups, and the four-bedroom Villa B (pictured above) suits a party of eight. Elevated 25 feet above sea level to create exceptional views, there’s only sand between the home and the ocean. With 25 feet of uninterrupted beachfront at your disposal, you only share the beach with a select few neighbors staying at the resort. Here are some of the ways this villa takes advantage of its surroundings: two outdoor shower gardens, one on each side of the property, where trees creep over the walls for effect; a large swimming pool with a pool terrace and terrace garden that face the ocean; a Great Room with large glass doors that make the ocean visible; and four bedrooms, positioned at each corner of the home, that each leads out to its own terrace. And the famous turquoise Turks and Caicos water? The home is smartly positioned so you can admire it almost anywhere you turn.
Casa Yakunah (Sian Ka’an, Riviera Maya)
Unlike many of the other properties featured here, Casa Yakunah isn’t built to show off its dreamy landscape from all parts of the home. Nestled on a narrow stretch of land within Riviera Maya’s pristine Sian Ka’an reserve, you won’t find tall glass doors at this Mexican casa, though some living spaces have shutters that open to a preview of what’s to come. Tall thatched ceilings hide the outside, adding a feeling of seclusion. And not all the bedrooms have views—two of the five open to terraces with jungle surroundings that hide the ocean and seclude its guests from any surroundings. But those far-reaching views are there, and Casa Yakunah does provide some spectacular ways to enjoy them. For one, head up to the rooftop, where an alfresco dining table and L-shaped pool are great gazing points over the Caribbean Sea. Down below, walk down a set of tree-lined stairs toward Boca Paila Beach—Casa Yakunah has 325 of beach frontage—and your whole world will open up. Better yet, sneak through to the other side of the isthmus (across a road) where a boardwalk leads you to a palapa on the Caapechen Lagoon.
Sea Lion (Cape Town, South Africa)
Sea Lion is a simply stunning home. Its signature view, best enjoyed from the rooftop pool or landscaped terrace, shows off the best of both worlds in South Africa’s second biggest city: In the foreground, you’ll see the waterfront Sea Point suburb, a lively collection of colorful markets, sandy beaches, and busy promenades. And in the distance, you’ll gaze at miles and miles of South Atlantic Ocean. The home’s back neighbor is Lion’s Head, a mountain peak worth hiking all the way to 669 meters above sea level to enjoy completely unobstructed views over Cape Town. And Sea Lion is a treat for the eyes at every turn. Inside, the stylish villa resembles an art gallery filled with only the most stimulating and colorful works. Each bedroom has one standout painting, which sets the tone for the room and pairs brilliantly with its decor. This home doesn’t just have dreamy landscapes—it’s a dream to behold everywhere you look.
Footprints (The Garden, Barbados)
The white interior at Footprints doesn’t stimulate; it simplifies things. Quieting your mind and promoting a sense of calm and serenity, the white walls, white furniture, and white linens send a signal that the star of the show is what surrounds you. Its decor won’t steal your senses, so that the breathtaking island of Barbados setting can. Situated on Alleynes Bay Beach (on the west-facing Platinum Coast), Footprints is all about the sand and sea. So while at first glance you may glean that its defining color is white, you’ll later learn that the most important palettes at Footprints are green for the surrounding trees, blue for the sparkling Caribbean water, and yellow for the shining sun that so often graces the island with its welcome presence.
Bungan Beach House (Northern Beaches, Sydney)
Situated at the northern edge of Bungan Beach, sweeping views of the Pacific are the main draw from this beach house north of Sydney, and the strip of sand at Bungan is always in your peripherals. A short pathway connects guests from the home to the beach. Flowing nicely from inside to out, outdoor living spaces are set up around these views to ensure every picture is panoramic and every memorable moment has the perfect backdrop. Extending from the main living area, the home’s balcony has both a pergola and a lanai that not only provide varying options for taking in sun or shade, but also give the Australian home an old-school Polynesian vibe. The ocean-view master suite has the best look at the Pacific, and the other three rooms enjoy views of it too. No matter which part of the home you’re in, oceanside living takes over and sweeping views become your new normal.