With Halloween around the corner, why not incorporate a little scare into your next vacation? Whether you’re planning a trip to Australia or across the world in the United States, there are lots of places with chilling history and mysterious happenings — thankfully that’s all in the past so you don’t have anything to worry about (we think).
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Bran, Transylvania, Romania – Bran Castle
Vampire hunters should hop straight on a plane to Romania. The imposing gothic fortress at Bran Castle is said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Sitting on a hill surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the site is stunning any time of year, yet truly comes alive at Halloween. Join a guided tour to uncover the castle’s mysteries and myths as you wind your way through dimly-lit stairwells, underground passages, and rooms housing centuries-old torture tools.
Dublin, Ireland – The Hellfire Club
Sinister stories and spooky sightings are everywhere in Dublin, but nothing is more terrifying than a trip to The Hellfire Club. Once a hunting lodge, this now decrepit site sits high on a hill in the Dublin Mountains and is widely considered to be one of the most haunted spots in Ireland — a place where fact may really be stranger than fiction. After darkness falls explore the ghostly halls, learning of the men who once gathered here and the dark rituals that are said to have taken place.
Image: Dublin City Council
Edinburgh, Scotland – Blair Street Vaults
Dive into the underbelly of Edinburgh with a journey down into the Blair Street Vaults. Built into the arches of the 18th-century South Bridge, a series of chambers once housed tradesmen, but today are believed to be haunted by the spirits of the murder victims also stored there. Stay close to your guide as you tip-toe your way through the tunnels, learning of serial killers Burke and Hare and what they did with their murder victims’ bodies.
Fremantle, Western Australia – Fremantle Prison
In a city known for its former prisons and psychiatric asylum, secrets and supernatural mysteries are around every corner. Set off on a ghostly adventure to Fremantle’s infamous buildings, eventually reaching the abandoned Fremantle Prison. With a lantern the only light to guide the way, wander the grounds as you learn of the bloody riots and executions that occurred while the prison was open. Keep your eyes peeled—perhaps a few of its long-gone inmates aren’t so long-gone after all.
Image: 123RF/Andrea Izzotti
Goodsprings, Nevada, USA – Pioneer Saloon
Las Vegas may be the place to find cocktails, but spirits of a different kind are lurking less than an hour outside the city. Leave the bright lights behind for a late-night trip to Goodsprings, an almost-abandoned village. The historic Pioneer Saloon — a bar once investigated by Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures — is the starting point for a paranormal adventure, where you’ll come face-to-face with the spirits of dead miners, gunshot victims, and even a Hollywood legend.
London, England – East End
Hold onto your innards as you walk in the footsteps of one of the world’s most notorious serial killers, Jack the Ripper. Seek out the sordid tales swirling around his murderous rampage as you stroll the shadowy streets of London’s East End after dark. With a local guide leading the way, walk to the sites where Jack’s victims were found and see if you can uncover new clues to crack the case. At the end of the tour, you can steady your nerves with a drink at the Ten Bells Pub — but beware; this is very place where many of Jack’s victims were last seen.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA – French Quarter
No city in America is more steeped in the supernatural than New Orleans, especially the French Quarter neighbourhood. On a tour during the day — or, if you can handle it, at night — unlock the secrets of the city’s past with spine-tingling tales of mass murders, sinister socialites, present-day vampires, and voodoo queens with powers beyond the grave. Walk carefully so as not to disturb the spirits at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the final resting place of many of the city’s infamous residents
Jerome, Arizona, USA – Main Street
At the turn of the 20th century, Jerome was known for four things — gold, gambling, gunfights, and working girls, earning the nickname of The Wickedest Town in the West. Today, with a population of less than 500 people, it’s nearly a ghost town. In fact, the spirits of the undead may outnumber the living. Join a local guide for a tour of the former mining town’s most haunted locations, including a high school, hospital and deserted hotel.
Prague, Czech Republic – Old Town
Though Prague may be considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it doesn’t come without its creepy legends and twisted tales. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind in favor of a stroll down the dimly lit alleyways of Old Town. Guided by an expert in both Prague’s history and its supernatural events, listen to gruesome tales of betrayal, death, and demonic possessions, as well as the restless spirits and skeletons who still roam these streets.
Paris, France – Catacombs
Paris may be famous for its landmarks and lights, but it’s what’s below the city that’s most captivatingly creepy. Discover the darker side of old “Paree” with a journey into the Catacombs, a mysterious subterranean tunnel lined with human skulls and bones. Wind your way through the eerie underground labyrinth while learning about religion, superstition, architecture, art and the enigmatic symbols on display.
Rome, Italy – Capuchin Crypt
With thousands of years of history, it’s no wonder Rome has racked up a collection of chilling sites, but nothing is creepier than the Capuchin Crypt. Here, in a small space beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, bear witness to the bones of more than 4,000 friars laid out in a macabre display of deathly decor. Also known as the Bone Chapel, the crypt is adorned with chandeliers made from vertebrate and skeletons – still wearing their robes.
Salem, Massachusetts, USA – Downtown
If you’re looking for a true party on Halloween, there’s no better place to be than Salem, Massachusetts. A city synonymous with the supernatural, having hosted the famous witch trials of 1692. It also runs “America’s biggest Halloween party”—a month-long series of special events, parades and even re-enactments. If parties aren’t your scene, you can still soak in Salem’s spooky atmosphere with a ghost tour of downtown. Join a local guide for a journey back in time to the sites still haunted by the 20 innocent men and women who were put to death from the trials.
Williamsburg, Virginia, USA – Downtown
Uncover the secrets and supernatural mysteries scattered throughout Williamsburg, a town with a history of murder, mayhem, betrayal, and war. On a tour that begins once night has fallen, experience spooky stories and unexplained events as you visit haunted locations connected to the Revolutionary War. See the university that once served as a hospital and the dilapidated cemetery housing Virginia’s founding families. End your tour with a visit to the country’s first psychiatric hospital, where the spirits of long-gone patients can still be felt more than 200 years later.