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Have you ever been somewhere that triggered your sixth sense and made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end? There are plenty of creepy places to visit worldwide – especially ones with a dark and troubled history. With its millennia of turbulent history, however, one continent seems to have more scary places than any other. Yes, the spookiest places in Europe are amongst the creepiest anywhere!
But where should you go? Here are 14 incredible, haunted places in Europe to tempt you.
Are you ready to add the scariest places in Europe to your spooky Europe bucket list?
The Spookiest Places in Europe
Here are 14 of the spookiest places to visit in Europe. If you love to explore dark history and are looking for new creepy places to visit, I hope you’ll enjoy this list of the most haunted places in Europe.
1. Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Our favourite spooky place in Europe is the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania.
Nobody knows when or why people started setting up crosses on this hill. One legend says that a long time ago, a church stood here. During a horrible storm, lightning struck the church and sank into the ground. Everyone inside got buried alive.
Some say that you can spot a procession of ghost monks from that church walking around the hill at sunrise.
But the Hill of Crosses is not just a place of ghost stories. Many religious pilgrims come here every year. In addition, this hill serves as a reminder of the silent resistance during times of the Soviet Union. Back then, the government would regularly bulldoze the monument. At night, people came out, putting the crosses back in defiance.
Today, you can find more than 100,000 crosses on this hill. Some are huge, but you will also discover tiny ones hanging from strings and rosaries.
If you want to experience the spookiness of the hill, come in winter. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere much more on a dark, cloudy day. Plus, you’ll barely see any other tourists!
The Hill of Crosses is near Šiauliai. Catch a train either from Vilnius or Klaipeda. The taxi driver will wait for you in the parking lot, so you will need to agree on how long you will stay.
Top Tip: Leave any luggage at the station and hire a taxi to the hill!
2. Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
Kutna Hora is a great addition to your Prague itinerary because it’s easy to reach, and the main attractions are clustered together in an already compact city.
Walking through the town, you will notice the faded grandeur of a former silver mining town with baroque buildings and pretty squares. Kutna Hora was once the second wealthiest city in Bohemia, next to its nearby neighbour, Prague.
While it has a glorious past, the main draw to Kutna Hora in modern times is the creepy Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the “Bone Church”. This small Roman Catholic chapel is located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints.
The remains are arranged artistically to form decorative features of the chapel, making works of art from human skeletons.
The chapel is small, so you can go through the ossuary relatively quickly. After photographing the unique holy building, visit Saint Barbara’s Cathedral to see the medieval frescos. Kutna Hora also has quaint shops and cafes, so you can easily linger in the town beyond the Sedlec Ossuary.
Kutna Hora is located east of Prague, about 90 minutes away by car. While most visitors will travel to the town by car from Prague, you can also find places to stay in the city.
3. Tskaltubo, Georgia
The Republic of Georgia in the South Caucasus is home to several spooky sites, most of which are abandoned buildings left over from the country’s time as a Soviet Republic. Tskaltubo, a spa resort town known for its curative spring waters, is a favourite place among urbexers and anyone interested in Soviet history.
Tskaltubo is located just north of Kutaisi and can easily be visited on a day trip. As you enter the town, you’ll see a massive leafy park ringed by a set of giant sanatoriums – hotels and spas that date back to Soviet times. Tskaltubo was so popular back in the day that there were direct trains here from Moscow. Even Stalin had a private room in one of the bathhouses.
After the breakup of the USSR, the larger sanatoriums were abandoned. Most have been stripped of their tiles and furnishings, leaving only the skeletons of the once-luxurious buildings behind. As you wander through the derelict buildings, you can imagine trainloads of families arriving here for their summer holidays.
In the 1990s, during the war in Abkhazia, some of the larger sanatoriums were used to house internally displaced people. When visiting Tskaltubo today, it’s important to remember that many families still live here – be respectful and take care not to intrude. Other sanatoriums have been purchased by private investors and are fenced off. It’s pretty clear which ones you’re free to wander around and which are off-limits.
Best Tour of Tskaltubo
➡️ Book this highly rated 4-6 hour Tskaltubo Urbex adventure tour to explore the ghostly parts of the Tskaltubo resort, including the abandoned sanatoriums, hotels, and bathhouses.
Where to stay in Tskaltubo
4. York, England
Long regarded as the most haunted city in Europe, ancient York boasts many ghostly happenings and spooky sightings. The best way to experience them for yourself is to join a guided ghost tour around the medieval city – one of the most incredible Gothic places in Europe.
Tour groups wander down dark narrow streets which are little changed from medieval times. In the gloom, your guide will share York’s darkest secrets and the spots where others claim to have seen or heard ghosts.
Listen out for the ghostly dog howl from within York Minster and the march of Roman soldiers as you pass by the cellars of the Treasurer’s House. Look out for the flickering candlelight of plague victims boarded up in their homes and left to die!
Ghost tours operate all year round, but the best time to join is after nightfall. The Bloody Tour of York is an award-winning ghost tour that sells out quickly.
Where to stay in York
York is one of the most popular cities in the UK and has over 800 places to stay to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are some of my recommendations at differing price points:
📍 The Bar Convent (Mid budget)
📍 Safestay York (Budget)
5. The Traboules of Lyon, France
Push open an unmarked door in the hilly city of Lyon, and you might find yourself in a dark passageway called a traboule. These not-so-secret tunnels were initially built to help the Lyonnais circulate beneath buildings from one street to the next.
The word “traboule” comes from the Latin “transambulare”, or to go through, which is exactly what they were used for.
The oldest date back to the 4th century and were built to help residents access water from the rivers and wells far below.
Later, in the 19th century, when Lyon was a major silk capital, the city’s “canuts”, or silk workers, used the traboules to carry bolts of cloth down the hill from the workshops to the city’s merchants – and keep them dry when it rained. During the various canut rebellions, silk workers used the traboules to hide from government soldiers who had come to re-establish order. It is easy to imagine the workers cowering and holding their breath, hoping they wouldn’t be discovered.
During World War II, the traboules were used as hiding places and escape routes by the Résistance, the French rebels fighting the Nazis.
These passageways have always been part of Lyon’s historic fabric, and when the city faced danger, the traboules helped protect it.
Leyla from Offbeat France says that fewer than 10% of the 400 or more Lyon traboules are open to the public. Some take you from one street to the next, some have stairways you can climb, and others are now dead ends. Remember to be quiet because buildings are built under buildings – and people still live above them.
Where to stay in Lyon
📍 Cour des Loges is a luxurious 5-star hotel located in the UNESCO World Heritage warren of streets that make up Old Lyon. With sumptuous guest rooms and a Michelin-star restaurant within one of the old traboules, Cour des Loges is the perfect place to stay.
6. Dragsholm Castle, Copenhagen, Denmark
On the northern coast of Zealand, the Danish island that includes Copenhagen, you’ll find one of the spookiest Danish castles – Dragsholm Castle. This spooky destination boasts beautiful gardens and scenic views of the North Sea. It’s also home to centuries of ghost stories and, as legend puts it, four wandering spirits.
The 13th-century castle was built by the former Bishop of Roskilde and has been levelled by invading Swedish armies and rebuilt several times. During the Reformation, the castle was seized by the Danish King, who laid claim to all church properties. The bishop was imprisoned in the castle and left to die. Guests claim to hear moaning and wailing in the area of the castle’s prison cells.
Another lingering prisoner still haunts the grounds, the Earl of Bothwell, husband of Mary Queen of Scots. He was captured in Norway, imprisoned and tortured to death in the castle. It’s said that his spirit appears in the courtyard riding a horse-drawn carriage.
Two female ghosts also haunt the castle: a lady in white and a lady in grey. The first is the ghost of a nobleman’s daughter who fell in love with a castle worker. Her father forbade the relationship and murdered her for not obeying his demands. He chained her to a post in the castle’s cellar and built a brick wall around her. A skeleton was found when the castle was modernised, lending truth to the legend.
The second ghost is an old woman who died after castle doctors removed an infected tooth. While it relieved her pain, the extraction was infected, causing her death. This happy spirit haunts the castle, thankful for her relief from pain.
Bran Castle is also a luxury hotel with a high-end restaurant, so you can spend the night in this spooky haunted castle and take advantage of one of its guided tours.
7. Capela de Ossos (The Bone Chapel), Faro, Portugal
Located in the Igreja do Carmo courtyard from which you must enter the church, the Capela dos Ossos chapel is decorated with bones, skulls mostly lining up against the wall, and femurs driven into the mortar. This spooky chapel has thousands of bone fragments put into the wall with mortar, including in the ceiling.
While the bone chapel is only 4×6 meters, there is only one way in, making it a bit dark, particularly on overcast days. The order of the chapel is impressive as it is quickly apparent that there was a very purposeful design created in the chapel.
There is a fascinating inscription right before you enter the chapel, which reads ”Stop here and consider that you will too reach this state.” Was it a warning? An ominous threat to the people during that time? Whatever its meaning, those moving the remains most certainly worked carefully, as the bones are still relatively well preserved two centuries later. This ancient chapel deserves its spot on the list of the spookiest places in Europe!
The best time to visit the chapel is early in the morning when it first opens as it gets crowded later. Head straight to the back of the church and enter the courtyard, where you will see the entrance to the chapel.
The Marina de Faro is the best area to stay in Faro for first-time visitors. It’s a stunning location with lots of seafood restaurants.
➡️ Check out the beautiful, grand Eva Senses Hotel for your trip. It’s located right on the waterfront with lovely views.
8. The Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey
Amidst Istanbul’s iconic attractions, the Basilica Cistern is an offbeat experience and part of Turkey’s rich cultural heritage. Praveen from InfiniteWalks says there is silence and mystery here, making it one of the spookiest places in Europe.
One of Istanbul’s hidden gems, this large underwater storage tank (9800 m2) has four meters thick walls with waterproof mortar coatings.
The construction dates back to the 6th century, making you wonder how such a complex design was possible in the Middle Ages. Water from the nearby Belgrade forest (~ 19 km away) was stored in this cistern, and Turkey has hundreds more of them!
Inside the Basilica Cistern
There are 336 tall marble columns, and it’s so silent that you can hear the echoes of dripping water. There’s hardly any light for photography, making it feel creepy.
The “Crying Column” is dedicated to the slaves who died during the cistern construction. Spookily, out of all the columns, this one is always wet!
Look out for the Medusa Heads at the end of the Cistern. No one knows why they are there, but some believe they protect the Cistern and throw coins around them.
How to reach the Cistern
The Cistern is just a few blocks from Tram line T1 “Sultanahmet”‘ tram stop.
Spookiest Places in Europe with a Literary Connection
9. Sighisoara, Transylvania
While the entire region of Transylvania is worthy of your attention, the small city of Sighisoara is memorable. On the surface, the vibrant streets of brightly painted historical architecture and medieval buildings make it a charming, Instagram-worthy place.
But those who know where real vampires hang out in Europe know it is famous for another reason.
Have a traditional meal at Casa Vlad Dracul, as this restaurant is allegedly where Dracula was born, and you can visit his old room!
Don’t worry, although the real-life Vlad Dracul – more famously known as ‘Vlad the Impaler’ – was rumoured to drink the blood of enemies, the restaurant here has no human options (in fact, the building has been rebuilt since then).
You can tuck into Romanian vegetarian and vegan options, such as bean stew, polenta, and zakuska.
The best place to stay in Sighisoara is the Double Tree by Hilton, as it’s moments from the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sighisoara Citadel. With all of the plush amenities, you would expect from a 5-star hotel; there’s also a free spa with an indoor pool, Finnish sauna, and lovely steam bath.
10. Bran Castle, Transylvania
One of the spookiest places in Europe is located in the mysterious region of Transylvania – Bran Castle, aka Dracula’s Castle. For anyone unfamiliar with Dracula, it is an 1897 gothic horror novel written by the famous writer Bram Stoker. In the novel, Count Dracula is a horrific vampire that does all sorts of gruesome things to his prey. Based on the description of the castle in the novel, it was believed (though erroneously) that Bran Castle is the home of Dracula.
It’s not surprising that people believed Bran Castle was the home of Dracula. The menacing exterior, the dilapidated facades, and the odd tombstone create a very ominous environment. Though summer is arguably the best time to visit Romania, we recommend you visit in late fall or winter if you want to feel the spookiness of Bran Castle. The added gloom of those seasons will enhance the mystique of the castle and create an eerie atmosphere.
Currently, the castle is mostly a museum for displaying art and furniture. Visitors can find an exhibit near the top of the castle just for the legend of Dracula and vampires. Here you will find how the gruesome acts of Vlad Dracula (ruler of the historical region) inspired Bram Stoker to write his spine-tingling novel and all the myths along with it!
If you are visiting Romania during Halloween, Bran Castle holds its annual Halloween party inside the castle. It is a great way to get your spook on and learn about the interesting history of Transylvania!
11. The Paris Sewer Museum, France
The Sewers Museum of Paris is one of the spookiest places in the French capital. This rather uncommon museum is located on the Seine’s Left Bank, not far from the Eiffel Tower, and it is a great place to check for those spending 2 days in Paris or more and looking for unique things to do beyond the city’s main sights.
Despite the name and the topic, the museum does not smell that bad, but you need to be fit enough to climb up and down 70+ stairs.
The 500m tunnels of the Paris Sewer Museum detail the history of the Paris sewer system, from Roman times to the current network, which dates from the 19th century. There are educational boards, interactive screens, models, and old machines. You can also walk along spooky tunnels below the streets of Paris.
You will also learn interesting anecdotes, like when the workers found a crocodile or the chapters of Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables set in these tunnels.
12. Edinburgh, Scotland
When it comes to the spookiest places in Europe, Edinburgh sets the standard. The Scottish capital is one of the most haunted cities in the world! Ghosts, witches, horror stories… it has it all!
There are so many spooky stories about Edinburgh! If you’d like to discover the most famous ones, go on a ghost tour. Several tours run in Edinburgh Old Town at night (yes! it’s always better when it’s dark!). You will discover some small alleyways and crazy murder stories, places where witches were killed, and the Greyfriar’s Kirkyard.
This graveyard is known in the entire world for two things: it’s one of the Harry Potter sites in Edinburgh and one of the most haunted graveyards in the world.
There are many stories about it. The most famous one is about the ghost of George Mackenzie. If you feel brave enough, you can look into the black mausoleum where “Bloody Mackenzie” is buried.
Just next to it, you will find the Covenanters’ Prison. Loads of prisoners died there back in the day. Since then, loads of inexplicable attacks have happened, which is why the gates are now closed. You can still look at it from the outside, though.
As fascinating as these ghost stories are, Edinburgh is also an awesome European destination for culture and Harry Potter lovers. The old town is beautiful, and you will find amazing Scottish landmarks like Edinburgh castle and the Royal Mile.
Finally, it’s a great place to taste typical Scottish food like Haggis!
As one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, there are many tours to pick from.
➡️ Recommended Tour: Edinburgh: Late Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour
13. Whitby, Yorkshire, UK
Whitby, on England’s Yorkshire coast, inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The picturesque harbour, the majestic abbey ruins, the eerie churchyard, and the stories Stoker heard from Whitby seafarers helped shape the popular gothic horror novel.
When you visit Whitby, you must climb the 199 steps to see St. Mary’s Church and the ruined Whitby Abbey. The cemetery is one of the creepiest places to visit – even during the day.
To follow in Bram Stoker’s footprints, check out where he stayed during his visit, at 6 Royal Crescent, and sit on his favourite bench just south of the Captain Cook Memorial and Whalebone Arch.
The Quayside Fish and Chips restaurant is in the former Whitby Library. This is where Bram Stoker decided on the name Dracula after coming across it in a book.
Whitby is also one of the best places to shop for jet, a natural gemstone formed from the compressed wood of the prehistoric Monkey Puzzle or Araucaria tree found nearby. Some believe the jet has magical powers and protects against evil.
These are only a few of the things to do in Whitby. It hosts the alternative music festival called Whitby Goth Weekend twice a year. It’s one of the spookiest places in Europe, worth exploring.
Whitby is a very popular seaside town, filled with quirky and interesting little boltholes to stay in and traditional hotels and B&Bs. Accommodation sells out quickly, especially during the summer months and for the Whitby Goth Weekend.
14. The Tower of London, England
No collection of the most haunted places in Europe would be complete without mention of tragic events within the castle walls of this 11th century fortress.
From the 15th century double murder of the “Princes in the Tower” to the three Tudor queens executed for high treason (Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey) one century later, there are spooky spots and torture chambers a-plenty to discover here, with many reports of ghost sightings and strange noises.
The ultimate way to explore this beautiful castle is on a professionally guided tour. ➡️ Click here to book this tour, including tickets for the Tower and Crown Jewels.
15. Poveglia Island, Italy
This small island near Venice was once a quarantine station for people with the bubonic plague and other infectious diseases. The island was completely sealed off for 20 years, before being used as a mental asylum.
According to National Geographic, over 100,000 people died on the island over the centuries and are buried in vast plague pits. Local reports of hauntings tell of ghostly figures returning to inhabit the island’s haunted buildings, which are in various states of decay, including the 12th century bell tower.
16. Moosham Castle, Austria
This privately owned medieval castle hides a dark secret! During the infamous Zaubererjackl witch trials in the late 17th century, 139 people were executed in the castle, of which 39 were children, and 53 were teenagers.
All were tortured and burned to death. Some were burned alive, others hanged or decapitated, and others had their hands cut off and marked with a burning iron. It’s hardly surprising that these tortured souls are said to haunt the castle today.
17. Pripyat, Ukraine
This article was written before the outbreak of war in Ukraine. As such, some of the information may no longer be correct. Out of respect for the beauty of what Ukraine once was, and standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, I have not removed this item.
Pripyat City is located in the far northeast of Ukraine on the border of Belarus. Unknown until 1986, a new city was built to house the nearby nuclear power plant workers. On the 26th of April 1986, an accident in the power plant resulted in a nuclear disaster that covered the area in radioactive material.
Since the Chernobyl disaster, the city and surrounding area will never be inhabited again, and it was evacuated fully on the 27th of April 1986. All that remained were family pets, and the people brought in to clear up the contamination.
Now abandoned, nature is slowly taking over the city. Schools and kindergartens remain, but the toys and swings are forgotten, covered in dust, decaying slowly as time passes.
Once bustling with life, the tower blocks are collapsing, and the padded front doors are no longer helpful to the inhabitants. Everything is as if time stood still on the day the population left.
If you want to see Pripyat City for yourself, you need to go as part of a tour. No one is officially allowed into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone without being registered and passing through the official checkpoints. To be booked onto a tour, you must book in advance, as official documentation must be submitted before entering the zone.
Tours can be for a single day or overnight, and staying overnight is the best option as you get to see and experience far more of the area. The checkpoint is closed overnight, so by staying in Chernobyl, you can visit popular areas before the day tours arrive.
Wrap Up – The 14 Spookiest Places in Europe
Do you love hunting down the scariest and most mysterious places? I hope you’ve found all of these haunted places in Europe inspiring. Have I missed any European destinations that you think should be included in this list of the spookiest places in Europe?
More Spooky Reading!
- Discover the most haunted places in the US
- In the 17 Best Things to Do in Knaresborough, you can read about Old Mother Shipton, a soothsayer from the Middle Ages who predicted the Great Fire of London! Her creepy cave is the oldest paid tourist attraction in England!
- The spookiest place in the ruined 12th-century Fountains Abbey in the UK is the Sacristy. It’s where over 400 skeletons of long-forgotten victims of the English Civil war were found. They had been walled in!
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