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The 10 Strangest, Most Remote Mailboxes Around the World

Discover the world’s historical, funky, and bizarre mailboxes.

Of course, sending a photo via private message or sharing it on social media is quicker. But before all this technology, anyone who traveled would send a postcard back home. It was the best way to give a snapshot into what a place looked like.

But does anyone still send postcards? Is it only the old generation that still uses snail mail?

Mailboxes have a beauty all of their own. Across continents, styles, and eras, you’ll find a mailbox in the most unexpected places.

Whether you send the postcard to your family with the “wish you were here” message or to yourself, postcards are beautiful, physical mementos of your travels. Plus, there’s something satisfying about sending old-fashioned mail. On paper. With a stamp.

Oh, and send me a postcard when you get there.

1 OF 10

Vatican City—Not Where You’d Expect

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums bring people from all over the world to bask in the Vatican City’s historical, spiritual, and architectural importance. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a city within Rome now, would you?

As the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City also has its own postal service. While you can buy and send your postcards in the main post office in St. Peter’s Square, there’s another less-known letterbox tucked away from the stampede of tourists. You’ll find it in the least expected place: on the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica. To reach it, you’ll first have to climb the steep steps up to the dome (the cupola) and, on your way down, you’ll then find the inconspicuous postal box on the roof of the Basilica—right under the cupola. Imagine that!

2 OF 10

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador—Based on an Honor System

On the island of Floreana in the remote Galápagos Islands, you’ll find a different postal system: Post Office Bay is a simple wooden barrel first set up in the 18th century by whalers and seafarers. These seamen would leave their letters in the barrel in the hope that others would pick them up and deliver them on their behalf.

Out of all the mailboxes from around the world, this is an unconventional but functional one that, surprisingly, still works to this day. The barrel has been replaced many times over the years and, if you visit it today, you’ll find it covered in stickers and notes from passing-by travelers.

In any case, visitors drop their postcards and are free to sift through other people’s mail and pick up any addressed somewhere near where they live. The idea is that you either post it to the recipient or, better still, hand-deliver it.

With no stamp, sending letters and postcards from Post Office Bay is free and based entirely on an honor system. Delivery can take days, weeks, or even years (!), but acts as proof that there’s still good in this world.

3 OF 10

Susami Bay, Japan—Under the Sea

The quaint fishing village of Susami in the Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, earned its place on the map when, in 1999, a local postmaster installed a mailbox 32 feet beneath the surface to help boost tourism.

Since then, other underwater postboxes have popped up around the world, but the one in Susami Bay remains the most famous one AND it holds the Guinness World record as the deepest postbox in the world.

With divers from all over the world visiting Susami Bay, to date, over 40’00 postcards have been sent from this underwater mailbox. All you need is a waterproof postcard and stamps readily available from the local dive shop. And for an extra kick, you can also buy edible squid-ink-based postcards. Ehm, thanks?

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Illinois, USA—Bigger Is Better

The small town of Casey in Illinois is made for giants. Scattered around are some of the world’s largest items, including a rocking chair, wind chime, crochet hook, and a pitchfork. You’ll feel like a hobbit walking around, under, and inside these monumental sculptures. Naturally, there’s also the largest mailbox in the world.

This letterbox is fully functional, and your visit wouldn’t be complete without sending a (normal-sized) postcard.

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Vanuatu—On Top of a Live Volcano

In the smattering of the Vanuatu islands, you’ll find tropical forests, excellent dive sites, and warm Pacific hospitality.

But most people travel to Vanuatu to see Mount Yasu—one of the most active volcanos in the world. It’s easily accessible (almost scarily so), and with the earth rumbling beneath your feet, you can walk to the top of the volcano, peer into its crater, and watch the lava and smoke spew high into the air.

And then, there it is. A mailbox perched on the rim of the live volcano. The Volcano Post comes with special stamps (sought-after by my stamp collectors), so you have to send a postcard. It would be almost rude not to. And don’t worry if it’s smudged with ash. It’s the thought that counts.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—A Rarity

Okay, mailboxes in Rio de Janeiro are a rarity more than anything else. They went the same way as phone boxes—almost extinct. Sadly, mainly because of petty theft and vandalism.

So if by any chance you stumble upon a letterbox in Rio de Janeiro, the least you can do is take a photo with it. Chances are that it’s going to be an iconic piece of Brazilian heritage, so keep your eyes peeled!

7 OF 10

Taipei, Taiwan—Leaning Mailboxes

Upright. That’s how you’d describe any mailbox around the world.

Not in Taipei.

In 2015, a typhoon wreaked havoc in the city, leaving in its wake destruction and casualties behind. But two traditional green and red mailboxes on Longjiang Road survived the storm. Not unscathed though, as they now lean at a comical angle.

The bent mailboxes continue to serve their purpose but have also become a tourist and social media attraction. Feel free to be creative when taking photos with these cool Taiwanese letterboxes.

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Greenland – Santa’s mailbox

Here’s a quick quiz for you.

Where is Santa Claus from? And where does he live? (Check all that apply).

The North Pole





Your answer will largely depend on where you live and your upbringing.

Across North America, it’s said that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole. In the UK, he lives in Lapland, Finland. But then Norwegians believe his residence is in Drøbak, Norway, whereas for the Danish, it’s in Greenland.

(And then kill-joy historians claim Saint Nicholas—who inspired Santa Claus—was from Turkey).

Regardless of the answer, what matters is what YOU believe. And if you want to experience some of the magic of Christmas, in Uummannaq, Greenland, you can see Santa Claus’ huge mailbox (and his workshop, of course). Every year, letters from all over the world are directed to Santa’s address in Greenland, and in the spirit of Christmas, his elves are busy replying to them all.

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Morokulien, Norway/Sweden—A Mailbox Between Countries

Borders between countries can be places of conflict—or unity, peace, and friendship. Such is the case of Morokulien, a speck of land between Norway and Sweden. Even the name is a mashup of Norwegian and Swedish words (“moro” and “kul”, meaning fun).

Put briefly, in 1914 a peace monument was erected on the border to mark 100 years of peace between the two countries. And along the international border, you’ll also find an information center with its own postal service. Fun fact: you can send a letter using one or both countries’ stamps.

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Mossel Bay, South Africa—a Sailor’s Shoe

South Africa’s first mailbox was fashioned out of an old sailor’s boot hung under a tree in Mossel Bay, South Africa, in 1500.

The Portugues Captain Pedro D’Ataide was responsible for it. His intentions were noble: after suffering great losses in a storm, he left a message informing other seafarers of the damage and warning them of the rough waters in the East. The letter was found one year later, in 1501, by the Portuguese fleet, and the tree became the de facto post office for sailors.

The 600-year-old tree still stands proud, and beneath it, there’s now a large shoe-shaped letterbox you can use to send letters and postcards using special stamps.

Fittingly, the Post Office Tree is in the ground of the Bartolomeu Dias Museum—the first European navigator to round the tip of Africa in 1488.