Are you a globetrotter? Do you like when your blood runs cold and the hair on the back of your neck stands up? If so, then you may be one of those tourists who get a certain kick out of exploring allegedly haunted places, like spooky castles in Europe or abandoned asylums in the US.
But that’s not all. You may have visited some locations linked to tragedies (like Chornobyl, to make an example) and enjoyed learning more about the related events. Don’t let that guilt settle in your stomach, though — humans naturally crave knowledge. It gives us a deeper understanding of the world and the history we (luckily) didn’t witness, even if these stories can be too much to digest for some.
When it comes to traveling, we’re drawn to the uncommon and unusual things that give our destinations character and purpose — although they may be a little more than we bargained for. But this type of tourism isn’t always associated with tragedy or disaster. Sometimes it can just be a creepy place that gets your adrenaline going. And trust us, there are plenty of those out there!
Whether you’re into urban legends and haunted houses, spooky museums, ghost-filled graveyards, or more sensitive locations that are cemented in our minds for their tragic past — rest assured, you’ll find what you seek right here.
A crater deep in a natural gas field is just the kind of place we’d expect to find Satan himself hanging out. It was set alight in 1971 to prevent the emissions of poisonous gases. The gases were estimated to burn out in a few weeks, but the crater is still on fire after 50 years.
Ready for the deadliest hike in the world? Located in Shaanxi Province, this terrifying route is famed for being the most dangerous hike. Though no official statistics are kept, it’s been estimated that around 100 people have found death on the walk.
If you’re looking for a place that will make your blood freeze, the Catacombs of Paris might be just the spot. The catacombs are a vast underground ossuary that holds the remains of 6 million people, created to fix the problem of Paris’ overflowing cemeteries. As you walk through the catacombs, you’ll see a sign that reads “Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la Mort” (“Stop! This is the empire of Death”).
Originally designed to hold 250 people, this asylum ended up housing over 2,400 patients. Back in those days, patients could be admitted for even the most trivial reasons. These included asthma, laziness, and even greediness, which led to an overwhelming number of accepted patients and a shortage of staff members and beds. Now, tours in the facility give visitors a chance to see how people lived — or better, tried to survive — in this creepy building.
Edinburgh Castle’s history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison, and fortress is so rich that it is literally bursting with tales of the past — some particularly grisly. We’re not gonna spoil much, just know that most of them involve ghosts, brutal executions, a gruesome underground city, and a haunted graveyard.
When notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton were held there, you know you have a historic landmark in front of you. Operational until 1971, it was famous for its solitary confinement system: inmates lived alone, ate alone, and were even hooded whenever they had to leave their cell. As with most abandoned places, it has been transformed into a haunted house, and its authentic environment makes for an instantly immersive experience.
People usually have their own “bucket list” destinations. And then there are the “I’m not sure if I want to go there” destinations. The Island of Dolls in Mexico is definitely an example of the latter. Here, Julian Santana Barrera, the owner of the island who passed away in 2001, scattered dolls everywhere — he believed they would chase away the spirit of a young girl who drowned years ago.
Often cited as one of the most haunted places in the world, Winchester Mystery House actually had a pretty normal past. Owned by Sarah Winchester, widow of magnate William Wirt Winchester, the house became a tourist spot following the woman’s death. We cannot confirm whether it’s a real haunted house, but the countless rumors and myths, added to the Victorian and Gothic architecture style, make the mansion a must-see for any horror fan.
One of London’s bloodiest mysteries is linked to the name of Jack The Ripper. Is it worth taking a tour to investigate the key events, maybe when it’s pitch dark outside, for a unique travel experience that will make your skin crawl? Absolutely!
Port Arthur is the location of the worst massacre in modern Australian history. In 1996, Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 23 others in a brutal mass shooting — which led to significant changes in Australia’s gun laws and extensive restrictions on all firearms. The place, now a UNESCO site, also served as one of the penal sites built during the British Empire.
Now an industrial warehouse hosting haunted house attractions on Halloween, it was once an asylum with a history of disappearing people, harsh conditions, medical experiments, and brutal violence. No wonder the facility closed down in 1952 following an investigation. After years of decadence, this utterly scary place reopened in 2011 as a haunted attraction.
This 19th-century home was the site of one of America’s most famous unsolved murders. In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally killed in their home. Their daughter Lizzie was the prime suspect but was acquitted at trial due to a lack of evidence. Today, visitors can tour the house where it all happened — and even sleep there! According to Martha McGinn, one of the previous owners of this renewed bed-and-breakfast, the room where Abby Borden was found dead is the most requested room.
If you want to experience the horror of a haunted inn, look no further than the Ancient Ram Inn, which enjoys the reputation of being one of the most haunted inns in England. This scary-looking historic building has a fascinating history and a few other-worldly visitors to boot!
Stories of ghosts, aliens, and urban legends contribute greatly to the popularity of Hoia Baciu Forest, situated west of Cluj-Napoca. The unearthly atmosphere of this place is enhanced by its crooked trees, and if you want to enjoy the full spooky experience, we advise you to join one of the many night tours!
A Gothic-Renaissance castle and one of the “Seven Wonders of Romania,” Corvin Castle is reported to be a haunted location. The palace exudes a creepy atmosphere as you explore the dungeons where prisoners were tortured.
The Forbidden City, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), served as the Chinese imperial palace for a long time. It’s named for its status as forbidden to commoners, who were not allowed inside the complex. Today, it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in China — but visitors report being creeped out by all sorts of strange phenomena.
Located on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower has a reputation for its grim atmosphere and as a place of torture and death. Night-shift workers at the Tower of London have reported seeing ghosts belonging to nobles from the past, including Anne Boleyn, Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey, and Margaret Pole.
Known as The Witch House, this spooky-looking place is actually a historical museum and the last direct trace of Salem’s witch-hunting events still standing. It once belonged to Judge Jonathan Corwin, who was involved in the 1692 Salem witch trials, when over 200 people were accused, and 19 were executed by hanging. We couldn’t leave this place out of a list of creepy travel destinations — if not for its appearance, at least for its dark past.
Venice’s tiny Poveglia Island, which sits between Venice and Lido, is a place like a few others. For over a century, the island was used as a quarantine zone for those affected by plagues and later as a mental institution allegedly used to torture patients with crude lobotomies. Visitors are prohibited, except in rare cases when writers, photographers, and TV show producers are granted permission to conduct business here.
Gettysburg is the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle, with more than 50,000 estimated casualties, and a turning point for the conflict. Visitors are left with a sense of dread as they walk through its grounds and learn more about its history.
Despite its peaceful history, the Stanley Hotel has gained a reputation for paranormal activity, especially following the publication of Stephen King’s The Shining, which contributed significantly to its fame. The place — for its remote location, grand size, and desolation — inspired the Overlook Hotel in King’s bestselling novel and the movie adaptation. It was also the filming location of the related miniseries directed by Mick Garris.
Wolfsegg is a charming remote town in Germany, and you know what all charming remote towns have in common: their own peculiar castles that are rumored to be possessed! Burg Wolfsegg is an 800-year-old castle, apparently haunted by a “White Woman,” whom locals say frightens off any visitors who pass by.
Take a medieval castle, and make it spooky. That’s Akershus Fortress for you! It’s considered one of the scary places in Norway with the highest level of ghost activity, and this is more than enough reason for us to want to visit it.
With its 135 years of grandeur, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel has welcomed guests from royalty to Hollywood stars. A famous urban legend about room 873 has become a staple among mystery hunters — but according to a staff member, who debunked the mystery, there are far creepier stories at Fairmont Banff Springs that people have never heard of.
This location provided possibly the most viral ghost photo of all time, the “Brown Lady” descending the staircase. For centuries, there have been unsettling suggestions of this ghostly figure in a brown dress wandering through the hallways of Raynham Hall. The haunting became famous when photographers from Country Life magazine claimed to have captured it on film.
The Queen Mary is a stately ship-turned-hotel in Long Beach, California. The ship was first christened in 1934 by Queen Mary herself and was retired in 1967. Following the Queen Mary’s permanent docking in California, people started to spread stories about the ship being haunted. Unfortunately, the hotel and its attractions are temporarily closed for repairs to keep it from sinking, so you’ll have to wait some more before visiting this creepy travel destination!
What is now a chic Manhattan restaurant housed in a landmark building was once Aaron Burr’s carriage house, a creepy location with a dark past of prostitution, unsolved disappearances, and death. It’s said there are more than 20 spirits in the building today — the most famous being those of its former owner, Aaron Burr, and his daughter Theodosia.
Toronto has its own really majestic castle that legends say could actually be haunted. We can’t confirm the claims, but we know for sure that Casa Loma is a spectacular spot for visitors — and a favorite filming location for movies and TV shows as its Gothic architecture provides a unique backdrop.
It can’t get creepier than this. Built in the 1800s, Sallie House is said to be haunted by the ghost of a girl named Sallie, who died there during an excruciating surgery for appendicitis. According to the story, Sallie’s mother brought her there because of severe abdominal pain. Dr. Charles Finney believed it was appendicitis and cut into her before the anesthetic took effect, killing her. The story hit the national spotlight after being featured on several paranormal TV shows.
Bhangarh, one of Rajasthan’s most famous forts, is a magnet for ghostbusters and curious tourists who visit with one question in mind: Is it really haunted? There are several stories behind why this city turned into ruins overnight. Still, employees and locals say there’s nothing too spooky about the fort — the place gets unsafe for visitors after sunset only because of the wild animals. Still, the fort’s eerie aura attracts millions of tourists every year.
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