40 of the Spookiest Destinations Around the World
With Halloween quickly approaching, spooky destinations are the topic of many discussions. From abandoned buildings and ghost towns around the world to haunted hotels and villages, the world is full of spooky, terrifying, encounters that those who are brave enough to venture out can experience. Read on for 40 of the spookiest destinations found around the world.
Spookiest Destinations In Asia
Jazirat Al Hamra, United Arab Emirates
This once thriving pearl fishing village sits abandoned 14 miles outside of Ras Al Khaimah. Jazirat Al Hamra thrived beginning in the 1830’s until it was suddenly abandoned in 1968. The village consists of thirteen mosques and over 300 homes along dirt roads.
The village is now believed to be haunted with visitors experiencing strange noises, appearance of handprints on the ruins, and apparitions of djinns (genies), usually in the form of animals.
Bhangarh Fort, India
Being labeled as India’s most haunted fort, Bhangarh Fort is one of the spookiest destinations in Asia. There is folk lore about the fort being cursed by a tantrik priest after he had cast a spell on perfume purchased for the princess Ratnavati. Ratnavati found out and threw the bottle, which turned into a boulder and crushed him. Before dying he is said to have case a curse on the princess, her family, and the village.
Because of the curse the fort is known as a desolate village that is roamed by ghosts who can not be reborn. Visitors can tour the grounds, but admission after dark is not permitted due to legends and reports of unexplained incidents.
The Forbidden City, Beijing, China
The Forbidden City in Beijing is one of the must visited but spookiest destinations in Asia. Once serving at China’s imperial palace, it now serves as a museum. The palace was built between 1406 and 1420. Interesting fact: It is the largest palace in the world.
The Forbidden City is also the site of many reported paranormal encounters. The palace saw many murders over its 600 year life span as a palace, many of whom are still believed to wander the grounds. One of the most commonly reported sightings is that of a woman dressed in all white who wanders the grounds crying. While there are no ghost tours offered, visitors are welcome to tour the grounds during day light hours.
Obvodny Canal, St. Petersburg, Russia
Commonly referred to as Suicide Canal, this 5 mile long canal runs through Saint Petersburg, Russia. Construction of the canal began in the late 18th century with strange events being reported since the start.
Workers commonly complained of headaches, experienced sudden outbursts of violence, and the occurrence of suicides. Some believe that the suicides are a result of restless souls that lurk beneath the surface of the water.
Spookiest Destinations In Europe
Transylvania is the central Romanian region associated with the inspiration of Dracula. Transylvania is associated with its many medieval style towns, castles, and mountains.
Today you can visit and tour Bran Castle, the castle off of which Dracula’s castle is based on. Other spooky destinations to visit in Transylvania include Rasnov Citadel and Hunyad Castle, the Hoia-Baciu Forest, Poenari Castle, and Banffy Castle.
Pripyat is an abandoned city in northern Ukraine. The city was left abandoned after an emergency evacuation due to an explosion at the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986. This abandoned city surely has some creepy vibes and is considered one of the spookiest destinations in Europe. The site is now open to be explored and is sure to give you some eerie feelings while walking the streets.
Leap Castle, Ireland
Leap Castle, known as the world’s most haunted castle, was built between the 13th and 15th centuries and sits in Coolderry, Ireland. The castle was home to the O’Carroll clan.
The castle has a gruesome history, with many stories of guests being poisoned, the murder of a priest in the castle’s chapel, and a dungeon found to be full of human skeletons. It is believed by many that the priest still wanders the chapel. The castle is currently a private residence, but the owners do open up for tours at times. Visit their website for tour information and contact information.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Although the Edinburgh Castle is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Scotland, it is also believed to be one of the most haunted locations in Scotland. The castle dates back to the Iron Age and has a long history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison and fortress.
Many have reported sightings in the castle’s dungeons from colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War and prisoners from the Seven Years War. Some have also reported seeing the ghost like figure of a dog wandering the cemetery.
Poveglia Island, Venice, Italy
Poveglia Island served as a quarantine zone for victims of the bubonic plague as well as a storage site for Napoleon’s weapons. The island would also serve as the site of an early 20th-century insane asylum.
During its years as an insane asylum, many horrific medical experiments were conducted. The asylum was closed for good after one of the doctors threw himself off the bell tower. The echo’s of the bell are reported to be heard from locals, even though the bell was removed from the island. Visitors can not step foot on the island, but it can be seen (and heard!) from afar.
Château de Brissac, Brissac-Quincé, France
Château de Brissac sits in the Loire River Valley of France. The Château de Brissac was built originally in the 11th century, but was torn down and rebuilt in the 15th century in a Renaissance style design.
The Château is rumored to be haunted, with one of the most common sightings being la Dame Verte, or the “Green Lady.” The apparition of the Green Lady, wearing a long green dress, is often seen in the chapel’s tower room and her moans are often heard throughout the Château. The ghost is frightful one for guests as the eyes and nose are replaced by gapping holes on this apparition.
Corvin Castle, Romania
Corvin Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania and one of the largest in Romania. Built in the 14th century, the castle first served as a fort and then as a residence.
It is rumored that the dungeon of Corvin Castle is the one where Vlad the Impaler (referred by some as the real life Dracula) was held for many years, causing him to go insane and his desire for blood to increase. The castle is open for tours during the day.
Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, England
Built in 1145, the Ancient Ram Inn has served many purposes for England. It has served as a priest’s home, housing for masons and slaves, an inn, and a public house.
The inn is also believed to be very haunted with multiple sightings reported, including a children, a priestess, and an incubus wandering the halls of the inn. Visitors can experience ghost hunts at the inn.
Whitechapel District, London, England
London is one of the most well known and popular tourist cities. But this great city has a dark history and was once ravaged by Jack the Ripper. Jack the Ripper is the unidentified serial killer than terrorized London’s Whitechapel District in 1888.
Join a Jack the Ripper tour in one of the spookiest destinations in Europe. Explore the Original Terror Tour of London, walk through the back alley ways of the city, and visit many of the murder sites of Jack the Ripper. During the tour you will hear stories told by the guides and view photographs and documents related to the cases.
Catacombs of Paris, Paris, France
The Catacombs of Paris are a well known and popular Paris destination. The catacombs are the final resting place of over 6 million bodies, with the bones arranged and displayed within the tunnels. The bodies were moved to the catacombs after a 1780 flood of Les Innocents cemetery washed the buried bodies to a neighboring property. Today visitors can tour the catacombs, complete with some spooky feelings!
Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England
Sudeley Castle is a privately owned castle in the Cotswold’s of England that was built in the 15th century. The castle has a 1,000 year history of being tied to royals and is currently one of the only remaining private residence castles in England.
Sudeley Castle has been the location of many ghostly sightings, including a blacksmith, a young blonde boy playing in the gardens, a housekeeper, the ghost of Queen Katherine Parr, and even a pet dog. The castle is open daily for guided tours and a limited availability art tour.
Palacio de Linares, Madrid, Spain
Palacio de Linares is located in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Madrid in Plaza de Cibeles. The palace was built in 1877 and served as the private residence of the Linares family. The palace now serves as a multi-purpose cultural space.
The palace is rumored to be the sight of many tragic events, including the murder of a young child. Many strange events have been reported, including footsteps, doors opening and closing, cries, and screams. Today visitors can tour the palace on select days and various events and activities are held at the palace throughout the year.
Höfði House, Reykjavik, Iceland
The Höfði House in Ireland has been the accommodations of choice for many famous individuals, including Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, and Marlene Dietrich and was also the site of a meeting place of Ronald Regan and Michael Gorbachev during the Cold War.
The house is rumored to be inhabited by “The White Lady,” the ghost of a woman who is believed to have committed suicide. The home is currently the site of official receptions and meetings of the municipality and not open to visitors. You can, however, view the outside of the home.
Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Since the 14th century crosses have been being placed at the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. The area has served many purposes in the area’s history, including as a symbol of the desire for Lithuanian independence, in remembrance of rebels who had passed, and as a sign of defiance during the Soviet occupation. Today the site is home to over 100,000 wooden and metal crosses.
For many, the Hill of Crosses is viewed as a site for hope, peace, love, and sacrifice, but to others it is believed to be haunted and considered one of the spookiest destinations in Europe.
Spookiest Destinations In North America
Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, USA
Eastern State Penitentiary is a mostly abandoned prison sitting in the heart of Philadelphia. Eastern State was opened in 1829 as the first “real penitentiary” in the world. Over its course it housed some of the most notorious criminals, including Al Capone and “Slick Willie” Sutton.
Although there are no ghost tours available of the prison it is believed by many to be haunted. You can take a night tour of the prison, but whether it be day or night Eastern State is one of the spookiest destinations in the US.
Rolling Hills Asylum, New York, USA
The Rolling Hills Asylum, also known as the Genesee County Poorhouse, is known as one of New York’s most haunted asylums. The asylum once served as a poor house for people who could not care for themselves and is believed to have saw over 1,000 deaths throughout its prime years.
Today visitors can join in for a variety of tour options, from one hour self-guided walking tours to 8hr. locked in events. Some of the most prominent spirits of the asylum that many believe they have encountered include Roy, a 7 foot tall patient of the asylum and Nurse Emmie, who was believed to have been involved in the dark arts. A walk through the asylum is sure to give you some creepy vibes as it did for us on our visit.
Sleepy Hollow, New York, USA
Sleepy Hollow, NY is a quaint village in the Hudson Valley of New York that to an outside eye may look like an average, peaceful American village. However, when you dive into the history of the village’s inspiration for Washington Irving’s stories it quickly becomes a little spooky.
The village was the inspiration for the well known book and film Sleepy Hollow. The film features the Headless Horseman who wrecks havoc on the small village of Sleepy Hollow. You can explore the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, visit the site of the bridge that inspired the Headless Horseman Bridge and visit the replica in the cemetery, and visit in October for readings of the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and special Halloween events.
The Whaley House, California, USA
This Greek Revival style house sitting in Old Town, San Diego, California is a museum that is known around the world as being the most haunted house in the United States. The house was built in 1857 on the site of a previous public gallows.
Several spirits, including Yankee Jim, Thomas Whaley, Anna Whaley, and even the family’s pet dog. (Find more info on the haunting of the Whaley House). Today you can tour the house on a day or night time tour.
Bangor, Maine, USA
While Bangor in itself is a small, pleasant Maine city, it’s links to Stephen King, one of the most well known American horror writers, makes this city one of the spookiest destinations in North America.
Visitors to the area can enjoy a Stephen King tour and see all of the sites and real life locations for the inspiration of King’s books. Visit the storm drain that was the inspiration for IT, visit the Mount Hope Cemetery that was the inspiration for many of King’s characters, and visit King’s home with its spooky bat and spider web designed gates.
Salem, Massachusetts, USA
Home of the 1692 Witch Trials, Salem Massachusetts is the perfect combination of fun, history, and spookiness. During the witch trails, over 200 people were accused of witchcraft and 25 died. 19 were hanged at Procter’s Ledge, five died while in jail, and one was crushed to death. Despite the popularity of the location, there is much tragedy associated with Salem.
Many of the locations in Salem are reported to be haunted, including In a Pig’s Eye, a popular restaurant that is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of many sailors, Wicked Good Books, a bookstore where books reported fly off the shelves, the Hawthorne Hotel, which is believed to be located at the sight of Bridget Bishop’s apple orchard (the first victim of the witch trials) with the apparition of a young woman appearing along with other strange occurrences, and the Salem Jail, where apparitions and cold spots have been reported.
Waverly Hills, Kentucky, USA
Waverly Hills is a former sanatorium in Kentucky that was opened in 1910 to house tuberculosis patients. Originally designed to hold 40-50 patients, the sanatorium quickly grew and turned into a small city of itself. The complex ended up including a post office and water treatment facility and would end up growing its own fruits/vegetables and animals for slaughter. After closing as a sanatorium, the facility was used as a geriatric center until its closing in 1981.
Waverly Hills has a reputation as being the most haunted location on Earth. Many ghost sightings have been reported, including a little girl running up and down a solarium, a little boy playing with a leather ball, and a woman with bleeding wrists. Strange occurrences have also been reported, including slamming doors and footsteps. Visitors can tour the decaying building on a historical day tour or a public or private paranormal investigation.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Gettysburg is a small town in Pennsylvania that was made famous by the 1863 battle that was a turning point in the American Civil War. The major sites in the town include the Gettysburg National Military Park, the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, and the Gettysburg National Cemetery, which was the site of the Gettysburg Address.
With the tremendous amount of lives lost in the battle, it is not surprising that Gettysburg is considered one of the most haunted places in the US. Paranormal activity has been reported at the battlefield, at one of the local restaurants, and at many of the town’s accommodations, including Baladerry Inn, Gettysburg Campground, Federal Pointe Inn, Farnsworth House Inn or Lightner Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast. There are also several ghost tours offered.
Lizzie Borden House, Massachusetts, USA
The Lizzie Borden House is the home where Lizzie Borden lived with her family form 1874 to 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts. The home is the site of the 1892 axe murders of Lizzie’s father and step-mother. Lizzie was tried for the murders but was ultimately acquitted.
The home is the sight of paranormal activity. Some believe that the ghosts of Borden’s parents still haunt the home and many strange occurrences have been reported by guests. Today visitors can tour the house during the day or for the brave rent a room and spend the night. Ghost tours are also available.
The Stanley Hotel, Colorado, USA
The Stanley Hotel is the Georgian style hotel that was the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining. The hotel opened in 1909 as a resort for and health retreat for those suffering from tuberculosis. The hotel is a 144 room Colonial Revival styled hotel that continues to function today as a resort with a restaurant, spa, and bed-and-breakfast.
Aside from its connection to King’s horror film, the Stanley Hotel is believed to be haunted with ghost sightings and unexplained piano music playing. Visitors can enjoy nightly ghost tours and psychic consultations.
Casa Loma, Toronto, Canada
Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival style mansion and garden that sits in the heart of Toronto, Canada. The castle was built between 1911 and 1914 as a private residence for Sir Henry Pellatt.
The Casa Loma is known for many haunted ghost stories and sightings, including a woman dressed in white, the voices of young children, and a crotchety man near the stables. Casa Loma is a museum that visitors can tour and walk through the Halloween displays.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a resort themed after a Scottish Baronial castle. Built in 1888 in the heart of Banff National Park, this hotel is one of a kind. The hotel is listed as a National Heritage Site.
What makes this grand hotel one of the spookiest destinations in North America is the native spirits that are said to roam the halls. There have been many paranormal sightings reported at the hotel, including that of a bride who had fallen down the stairs and died in the hotel on her wedding date, Sam McCauley who worked as a bellman in the hotel who is said to continue serving guests, and a few select rooms were guests report being pushed off the bed or a pillow being pulled out from under their head.
Amityville Horror House, New York, USA
The Amityville Horror House sits just 30 miles outside of New York City on Long Island. The home is the site of the 1974 mass murder when Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. shot and killed his entire family while they slept.
The home was purchased about a year later, but the residents only lasted about a month before moving out. They report many paranormal encounters, including strange odors, green slime oozing from the walls, cold spots, a knife being knocked down in the kitchen, and the family awakening to see each other levitating in their beds. The home is currently a private residence and although you can’t tour the interior you can stop and see the outside if you’re in the area.
Bodie State Historic Park, California, USA
Bodie State Historic Park is a real-life mining town turned ghost town. The town was very active from 1877 to 1882 and was home to over 10,000 residents. Today there are over 200 abandoned and decaying buildings that can be explored.
The ghost town is associated with the “Bodie curse.” It is believed that anyone who takes anything from the town will be punished. The curse promises promises bad luck, health problems and mysterious accidents. The area is also believed to be haunted, with one of the most common sightings being that of a woman who once worked as a maid and a group of children playing. The site is open daily for visitors.
Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls), Mexico
Sitting in the Aztec village of Xochimilco, the Island of the Dolls is sure to give visitors a creepy vibe and is definitely one of the spookiest places to visit in North America. The island is lined with dolls and doll parts scattered along the grass and hanging from trees.
The island was once the home of Julian Santa Barrera who found the body of a young girl in a nearby canal. He then placed the dolls around the area in hopes of warding off evil spirits. It is said that the body of Julian was found floating in the same location the body of the young girl had been found and he is now believed to wander the island in spirit form. Today the island can be reached via boat on island tours.
Spookiest Destinations In Africa
Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
Built by the Dutch East India Company in 1666, the Castle of Good Hope served as a ship replenishment station. The castle would also serve as a military fortress and prison during the Second Boer War.
The site is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Governor Pieter van Nood, who condemned several men to death by hanging. It is said that one of the men cursed van Nood from the gallows. van Nood died of a heart attack that day and his ghost is said to wander the grounds.
Karoo National Park
Karoo National Park is a wildlife refuge area in the Greater Karoo area of the Western Cape of South Africa. The park is home to a variety of animal species, including cape mountain zebra, lions, cape buffalo, red hartebeest, black rhinoceros, eland, kudu, klipspringer, bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackal, and ostriches. The National Park was founded in 1979.
The mountains of Karoo National Park are often times covered with a layer of mist. It is believed by locals that a “waterspook” or water ghost wanders the area and covers it so that it can move around without being seen. The ghost is said to lure livestock into a deep pool within the park where they will eventually drown.
Spookiest Destinations In South America
La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
La Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most visited sites in Buenos Aires and is the final resting place of many of Argentina’s most famous citizens. The cemetery is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who was buried alive. Guided tours of the cemetery are available on select days.
Xunantunich is an ancient Mayan ruin sitting is the Belize jungle. The civilization was destroyed in an earthquake, but was rediscovered in the 1890’s.
The city is said to be the location of many paranormal sightings, making it one of the spookiest destinations to visit in South America. One of the most common sightings is a a black-haired female ghost with red glowing eyes. It is believed that she may have been a human sacrifice of the ancient city. You can take a self guided or guided tour of the site.
Gran Hotel Bolívar, Lima, Peru
The Gran Hotel Bolívar, built is 1924, is a well known hotel in Lima, popular for its historic architecture. It is the site of visits from many well known individuals, including Ernest Hemingway.
The hotel is believed to be haunted and the 5th and 6th floors are actually closed due to paranormal activity. Some of the most commonly reported sightings is that of a woman who had thrown herself from one of the hotel’s windows, a former employee, and a woman dressed in all white. The Gran Hotel Bolívar is a functioning hotel today that you can stay at.
Spookiest destinations in Australia
Monte Cristo Homestead, Junee, Australia
The Monte Cristo Homestead is a two story Victorian style manor built by Christopher William Crawley in 1855. Crawley lived in the home until his death in 1910, when the house was passed to his wife. After his death she became a bit of a loner and only left the home two times until her death.
The homestead saw much tragedy, including a stable boy burning to death, a little girl thrown down stairs, a maid thrown of a balcony, and a caretaker who was shot to death. The homestead is now known as Australia’s most haunted home. Reports of paranormal activity on the homestead include apparitions, orbs, poltergeists, and unexplained noises. One common sighting is that of Crawley’s wife who is believed to wander the homestead. Overnight ghost tours are offered at the homestead.
Aradale Mental Hospital, Victoria, Australia
The Aradale Mental Hospital is a former psychiatric hospital in Ararat built in 1864 to accommodate the growing number of “lunatics” in Victoria. The asylum held up to 1,000 patients and contained 70 buildings within the complex.
The Aradale Mental Hospital is known as Australia’s largest and most haunted asylum. The long, tragic history of the asylum makes it one of the spookiest destinations to visit in Australia. Ghost sightings are common, with the apparition of Nurse Kerry being one of the most common. She is commonly seen wandering the halls of the women’s ward carrying out her duties of caring for patients. Other reportings include dark shadows and reports of people being bitten, scratched, and pushed. The asylum can visited on a day tour.