Whether you’re looking for a scary travel destination to visit for Halloween or just wanting to add a little excitement to your travels, these destinations are sure to give you goosebumps. From abandoned cities to haunted forests, these locations are not for the faint of heart. So pack your bags and prepare for spine-tingling adventures for this spooky season.
Here is a list of the scariest travel destinations in the world:
13) Darvaza Gas Crater
The Darvaza gas crater is a burning natural gas field that has collapsed into a cavern near Darvaza, Turkmenistan. It is also known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell. Accurate records of how the crater ignited have not been discovered, but it is thought to have been burning continuously since 1971, its consider to be one of the natural disasters done by man. The not gas crater has an area of 5,350 m2 (1⅓ acres) and its diameter is 69 m (226 ft). The depth of the crater is 30 m (98 ft). The crater has become a popular tourist attraction and the surrounding area is also popular for wild desert camping.
In the 1960s, a massive crater opened up in Turkmenistan. The 69m-wide-by-30m-deep cavity was initially unlit, but gas and oil were highly prized commodities in the country during Soviet rule. It is believed that the record of the crater’s creation is now classified as top-secret information.
The story goes that workers were drilling in 1971 and hit a massive cavern filled with natural gas. poisonous gas rose up and, with no pesky government agencies charged with protecting the environment to get in the way, officials decided to set it on fire.
12) Salem, Massachusetts, USA
This picturesque town in Massachusetts is home to the infamous 1692 witch trials and if you are looking for a thrilled Halloween experience, this place should be on your scary travel destinations bucket list. 20 people were hanged for witchcraft, and the town has since fully embraced its dark past. Local police cars sport witch logos, and children can attend Witchcraft Heights school. It’s a unique place that celebrates its dark history and makes a cool scary travel destination.
The horror of the Salem witch trials still haunts us to this day. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were brutally executed. The colony later admitted that the trials were a mistake, but the damage had already been done. Families were destroyed and lives were forever changed.
11) The Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Deep in the heart of Xochimilco, near Mexico City, lies a truly eerie place: the Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) is another scary travel destination to look out for. This small island is covered in old dolls, many of them missing limbs or with empty eye sockets. They hang from trees and buildings, creating a scene straight out of a horror movie. Legend has it that the collection started after a little girl drowned near the island. The caretaker hung up her doll in remembrance, and over the years more dolls were added. Locals say that the dolls are possessed by the girl’s spirit, and some have even claimed to hear them whispering to each other.
10) Hill of Crosses – Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses is a unique and mysterious place that should be considered one of the scariest travel destinations around the world. Located in Lithuania, this hill is covered in hundreds of thousands of crosses, each representing a different person’s devotion to Christianity. Despite attempts by the communists to destroy the mountain and remove the crosses, they always seem to come back. If you’re looking for a spiritual and eerie place, the Hill of Crosses is definitely worth adding to your scary travel destination list.
9) St Louis Cemetery 1
The city’s overflowing cemeteries are in New Orleans, but Saint Louis Cemetery is the most famous. This cemetery is different from others because the graves are above-ground vaults. Most of these vaults were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some say that the above-ground tombs are required here because the groundwater levels make burial impractical in New Orleans. Whatever the reason, the graves are reminiscent of the tombs of Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. St. Louis Cemetery #1 is the oldest and most well-known of all the Saint Louis Cemeteries.
It is well known for its continuous use since its foundation, as well as its crime risks. Tourists looking for a ghost tour are advised not to visit the cemetery on their own, but it can be safely visited with tour groups. The renowned Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is believed to be interred in the Glapion family crypt. Other notable New Orleanians buried here include Bernard de Marigny – the French-Creole playboy who brought the game of craps to the United States, Barthelemy Lafon – the architect and surveyor who allegedly became one of Jean Lafitte’s pirates, and Paul Morphy, one of the earliest world champions of chess.
8) Mary King’s Close
The hidden underground closes of Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, Scotland have been shrouded in myths and mysteries for years, are a must on your scary travel destination list. Tales of ghosts, murders, and plague victims being walled up to die to abound. But the true story of what happened in 1645 is even more shocking.
The plague struck the close, and the local council decided to contain it by incarcerating the victims, bricking up close for several years, and leaving them to die inside. This little community was shattered forever, and their deaths still haunt us today.
The close was nicknamed the “street of sorrows” because it was said to be haunted by the ghost of a little girl named Annie. Visitors would leave gifts for her in hopes that she would find her lost doll. Dr. George Rae, who worked in the area, is pictured above wearing a plague suit.
7) Leap Castle Oubliette, Ireland
Leap Castle is an Irish castle located in County Offaly, Northern Ireland, a few miles north of the town of Roscrea. It has a long and bloody history, with many people being imprisoned and executed within its walls, and is one of the scariest places to visit. It is also said to be haunted by several specters, the most terrifying of which is a small hunched creature whose apparition is said to be accompanied by the rotting stench of a decomposing corpse and the smell of Sulphur.
The oubliette is a dungeon where people are locked away and forgotten about. It is located near the city, and workers discovered it when they were cleaning out the area. The oubliette is dark and has spikes at the bottom, and it took the workers three cartloads to carry out all the human bones that were at the bottom.
A report indicates that these workmen also found a pocket watch dating to the 1840s amongst the bones. There are no indications of whether or not the oubliette was still in use in that period. Restoration work is being undertaken so this is an ideal future travel destination.
6) Château de Machecoul, France
The Château de Machecoul in France was the home of Gilles de Rais (1404-1440), a knight who fought alongside Joan of Arc and later became a Marshal of France. However, he is best known now as a prolific serial killer of children, so if you like horror stories this location should be on your scary travel destination list.
It is believed that de Rais killed hundreds of children between 1432 and 1433, luring them to his castle with promises of money or sweets before murdering them. In 1434-35, after his gruesome crimes came to light, de Rais staged an extravagant theatrical spectacle in an attempt to cover up his tracks. After raping the boys he kidnapped, he would slash their throats.
The court transcripts from his trial state:
“when the said children were dead, he kissed them and those who had the most handsome limbs and heads he held up to admire them, and had their bodies cruelly cut open and took delight at the sight of their inner organs; and very often when the children were dying he sat on their stomachs and took pleasure in seeing them die and laughed…”
He is believed to have killed as many as 140 children, and his crimes served as the inspiration for the tale of Bluebeard. De Rais was eventually captured and executed by hanging in 1440.
The Castle of Machecoul, where de Rais committed his murders, still stands today, though it is in ruins.
5) Poenari Castle, Romania
If you are looking for an obvious scary travel destination look no further than the castle that was once home to Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula’s castle. Although Bran Castle is now a tourist attraction, there is no evidence that Vlad ever actually stayed there. However, not far from Bran Castle is the ruin of Poenari Castle, which was Vlad’s real home in Wallachia. Built at the beginning of the 13th century by the first Romanian rulers, Poenari Castle is a fascinating glimpse into the history of this region.
Poenari castle was built in the 14th century and was the main citadel for the Basarab rulers. However, after a few decades, the castle was abandoned and left in ruins. In the 15th century, Vlad III the Impaler realized the potential of the castle’s location and repaired and consolidated the structure, making it one of his main fortresses. After Vlad’s death, the castle fell into ruin but is still standing in part today. To reach the castle, visitors need to climb 1,500 steps. The castle is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world.
4) Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo are a tourist attraction in Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy. The catacombs are burial grounds for monks and provide an extraordinary historical record and it could be a very scary place. In 1599, the monks at the monastery mummified recently-dead brother Silvestro of Gubbio and placed him into the catacombs. The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar. Some of the bodies were embalmed and others were enclosed in sealed glass cabinets.
In a dark and musty corner of the city lies a hidden gem – the Capuchin Catacombs. This eerie place is filled with the preserved bodies of monks, friars, and other local luminaries, who have been entombed here for centuries.
The Catacombs were originally intended only for the dead friars, but over time they became a status symbol for the wealthy and influential. In their wills, local luminaries would ask to be preserved in certain clothes or even to have their clothes changed at regular intervals. The catacombs were officially closed in 1880 but tourists continued to visit. The last burials are from the 1920s.
One of the very last to be interred was Rosalia Lombardo, then two years old, whose body is still remarkably intact due to a preservation process that was lost for decades but was recently rediscovered at this scary travel destination.
3) Poveglia, Venice
Poveglia Island is a small, secluded island located in Venice, Italy, it looks like a beautiful destination but could be one of the scariest travel destinations in the world. The island has a long and dark history, dating back to Roman times when it was used as a plague pit.
In the Middle Ages, the island was once again home to those afflicted with the plague during three major outbreaks. For many years, Poveglia Island was also used as a leper colony. If that wasn’t enough, in 1922 a mental hospital was built on the site, further cementing its reputation as a place of death and suffering. Today, the island is abandoned and left to decay as a ghost town.
The hospital on the small island was once a place of death and despair. It is said that part of the island’s core consists of a layer of human remains and that fishermen avoid the area because they may pull up body parts. The hospital tower is now in ruins, but the memories of what happened there still linger. If you want to visit the island, you will need to become friendly with some of the locals who keep vineyards there – because public access is absolutely forbidden at this scary travel destination.
2) Aokigahara, Japan
Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees, is an awesome scary travel destination. It’s located at the base of Mount Fuji a Japanese village, in Japan, and is full of caves and tunnels. Every year, the ground is covered in ice and it’s said to be home to a lot of paranormal activity. Locals and visitors have reported seeing ghosts, hearing strange noises, and feeling like they’re being watched. The Aokigahara forest floor is made up of volcanic rock, which makes it difficult to dig through with hand tools. There are also a bunch of unofficial trails that people use for the annual “body hunt.” This is when volunteers go into the forest to look for missing people.
Aokigahara Forest is known as the world’s second most popular suicide destination and one of the world’s scariest travel destinations, after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. which makes a great scary travel destination for our terror lovers. Since the 1950s, over 500 people have lost their lives in the forest, mostly to suicide. In 2002, 78 bodies were found within the forest, setting a new record previously held by 73 in 1998. The high rate of suicide has led officials to place signs throughout the forest, urging those who have come there with the intention to commit suicide to seek help and not go through with it.
1) European Ossuaries, Europe
An ossuary is a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains. They are frequently used where burial space is scarce. All over Europe ossuaries can be found and – fortunately for those of us with a love of the macabre – visited. Perhaps the most famous is the Catacombs of Paris which are a vast network of skeleton-lined caverns beneath the streets of Paris.
The ossuary at the Franciscan Friary is a sight beholder and is our number one scary travel destination. Over 4,000 friars are buried there, and their skeletons have been used to create elaborate ornamental designs. Some of the structures are intact and draped with Franciscan habits, but for the most part, individual bones are used to create these fantastic designs.