Stunning Airbnb rentals you have to see to believe

Vacations are usually the perfect time to explore new areas of the world, visiting places you've never been, and experiencing attractions that you can't find in your own hometown. Because of the focus on exploration, when you dream about faraway getaways, where you'll stay when you get there is often a detail forgotten until the last minute. Typically, a hotel right in the heart of the city or a bed and breakfast in a cozy beach town will do just fine — because where you sleep at night shouldn't matter as much as the vacation itself, right? Well, maybe not.

Rental sites like Airbnb offer an experience that differs from a traditional stay at a hotel. Many homeowners offer up their homes to rent by the night so that vacationers can experience comforts they wouldn't otherwise get at a hotel. But don't be fooled — this doesn't mean you're limited to staying in a lovely house with a picket fence (though you can totally find that if that's your thing). 

What about living like royalty for a few nights in your very own castle? How about you and a few friends rent an entire island for a week? From the insanely gorgeous to the insanely quirky, here are ten Airbnb rentals that you need to see to believe.

Underground hobbit hygge

For fans of The Hobbit, you can now live just like Bilbo Baggins, except you don't have to travel to a faraway (imaginary) land to do so. This underground Hygge house, located in Orondo, Washington, is a hobbit-lover's dream. Before even entering the house, you're greeted by a bright green circular door and adorable potted plants, with a lovely stone walkway. It's beyond charming from the outside, but it gets even more incredible once you walk in.

Stone and wood completely make up the interior of the hobbit house, with circular windows that look out to insurmountable views. Little nooks of the home are perfect for relaxing with a book, or curling up next to the fireplace, created within a wall made of stone and rock. 

And if you think the architecture and decor are the only things that makes this rental unique, think again. This home is tucked away in the mountainside of the Columbia River Gorge, and a trek through the surrounding land is almost as amazing as the home itself. According to the homeowner, "the majority of your neighbors will be deer, rabbits, birds and grouse. It's 2 miles up the mountain and although there are houses, it gets more remote the closer you get to the hobbit hole." 

If the mountains are calling, do yourself a favor and stay at this one-of-a-kind hobbit home for a complete mountain getaway experience.

Irish castle

Have you ever wanted to live somewhere fit for a king? Well, maybe you can't purchase a castle… but you can rent one! This medieval castle can be yours when visiting Galway, Ireland, where you'll be spending your nights in the master bedroom — the castle's highest room.

Although the castle has been refurbished, its local stone and oak beams keep the castle looking as traditional as it can — but with the comforting addition of some modern technology, like solar water heating, to make your stay more comfortable. This 600-year-old historic building is beyond gorgeous, and though it comes with some quirks (there's a bath in the living room!), it's worth your while to stay here. 

The homeowner says to expect "lots of winding staircases… there are some cobwebs, and it gives you the real Irish castle experience. It's not pristine, it's not perfect, but it's a real castle." So, if you've always dreamed of living like royalty for a few days, make your trip here and you surely won't be disappointed.

Zen treehouse

You don't have to be a kid to want to live in a treehouse. Case in point: this incredible secluded treehouse rental, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Located minutes from the city's downtown area, you'll feel transported to a nature retreat as soon as you spot this hidden gem. It's whimsical and romantic, with string lights lining the treehouse and along the rope bridge that gets you from one area to another.

The treehouse's three separate areas (which the homeowner identifies as representing mind, body and spirit) are all connected by rope-bridges, and all have large windows that look out to beautiful foliage, and each area has it's own little perk —  relax on the hammock in the Spirit area, read a book on the couch in the Mind area, or get the best sleep of your life in the Body area — really, there's no wrong choice here. If you want to be immersed in the elements and enjoy a calming trip, this treehouse rental might just be exactly what you need.  

Your own private island

Have you ever wished that you could simply live on a private island to get away from everyday life? While it may not be something you can do for a lifetime, it can be something to do for a week — though it will cost you a pretty penny (to say the least). In Malolo, Fiji, you and five friends or family members can rent an entire island villa. There is not a single person there, other than yourselves, and a staff of eight to tend to your every whim.

Your jaw will drop when you walk into the villa, with spacious rooms, 360-degree views of an immaculate blue ocean, a balcony that has an infinity pool, and tons of day beds for relaxing. Don't worry about going out to restaurants for food: this rental is all-inclusive, meaning meals, snacks, and drinks are included within the cost. On-site chefs will whip up whatever you want, whenever you want. 

The owner of this island says to "Your captain is ready with the boat to take you snorkeling, island hopping, visit the local village or off to do some handline fishing in the local area. The surrounding waters provide perfect conditions to let loose and have fun with stand up paddle boards, kayaks or just swimming off the beach." So instead of daydreaming of a private island oasis, start saving and make that dream a reality.

Glass treehouse

There's something beautiful about the idea of living in a glass house. Of course, it's not the most private way of life, but imagine being able to see nature no matter where you look? Instead of building your own glass house, perhaps just rent one instead. This modern glass treehouse in Atlanta, Georgia is tucked away up in the trees, with tall ceilings and two levels that bring in so much natural light, you'll wonder if you really are indoors.  

Everything about this rental screams modern, with clean lines and open spaces that have minimal decor but still manages to have major style. This place is technically two units, but can easily be combined and rented as one. And, once you have enough of Mother Nature, you're just minutes from the bustling city of downtown Atlanta!

Escape the grid

If you're passionate about the environment, then this off-the-grid home, nicknamed "Earthship", located in Taos, New Mexico, is exactly where you should be vacationing. Built entirely by the owner, Earthship is environmentally conscious, generating it's own electricity and even catching rain water by itself. And even though the decor is minimal, it's nice to know that staying in a place like this doing good for the environment — it even has it's very own greenhouse for growing plants!

If you're worried that getting an off-grid experience means no creature comforts, think again. This house not only has WiFi, but also a flat-screen tv, a big refrigerator, and a washing machine for your laundry needs. 

If you're all about the great outdoors, Taos Ski Valley is nearby, where you can go skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. The neighborhood is very quiet, so you can come here to relax and recharge without worrying about crowds of tourists or a bustling city scene.

A stylishly decorated windmill

Visiting the Netherlands is on my bucket list for a good reason: fields of tulips, canals that flow between city streets and, of course, windmills. Windmills are so beautiful to look at, but imagine if you had the chance to live in one? This windmill rental in Abcoude, Netherlands, will sell you on the idea if you've never considered it before.

When renting this windmill, you get the entire space to yourself. You'll be surprised at how spacious a windmill can be when you walk inside. Pops of color make this surprisingly light and airy space fun and inviting, and the wood-beamed bedrooms are beyond cozy and charming. You can enjoy meals outside on the picnic bench, but if you feel like going into town, Amsterdam is only a few miles away. A fun getaway on the outskirts of a dream-worthy city? Sign me up!

Bright and nautical houseboat

This charming houseboat is available to rent in Charleston, South Carolina, and is perfect for anyone who longs to live on the water. Listed for "people looking for a tranquil, private and quiet getaway," this small but spacious houseboat is perfect for up to three guests, with vaulted ceilings, reclaimed wood floors, and nautical-inspired decor.

The houseboat is located in a private ship that overlooks the Charleston Harbor and the Ravenel Bridge. If you're unsure about this because you tend to get sea-sick, don't let that dissuade you — the marina where the boat is docked in "has a sea wall which dilutes the waves. There is still a small amount of wave action and you'll feel a slight rock from time to time." I don't know about you, but falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, with a gentle wave rocking me to sleep, sounds like the perfect addition to a relaxing vacation.

Stay in a yurt

Before passing over this next rental in Geneva, Florida due to preconceived notions about yurts, you should probably read on. A yurt is usually a round tent that was traditionally covered by animal skins for nomadic people who dwelled the country. But this yurt rental is most definitely more modernized, with fabric instead of animal skins, plus it has modern amenities like air conditioning, a full bath, and even a porch equipped with a fire pit and barbecue grill.

If that doesn't change your mind, then maybe the vaulted ceilings with a 5-foot skylight will pique your interest. Described by many guests as "the most romantic" stay, it's recommended that you bring a bottle of wine and take in the sunset or the night sky on your deck. If you'd rather stay in, just relax on your couch and look up at the skylight. An added bonus: two friendly alpacas named Bobo and RJ will be your neighbors for the duration of your time here — while they might not add to the romance side of things, they certainly bring a one-of-a-kind factor to this rental!

A giant seashell-shaped house

If you're desperate to stay somewhere that has the ultimate "wow" factor, you can stop looking because this seashell house in Isla Mujeres, Mexico is it. Architect Eduardo Ocampo built this seashell house as a vacation home for his brother, a famous painter, to pay homage to the seashells that were everywhere on the island. Ocampo created a space inside that is stark white and round, much like the inside of a shell, with ocean-inspired decor like coral sculptures and seashell shower heads. It's truly a stunning piece of architecture, but also provides renters with amenities like Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

Instead of spending your money on a boring hotel, why not spend it on a home that will have every visitor gawking? On it's page, the homeowner says that "if crowded pools, lobbies and the 'tourist bubble' are not your idea of an escape then the seashell house may be the perfect place for your stay in Isla Mujeres." I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind spending my vacation collecting seashells and living in one.