If you're planning to visit haunted places in Europe, here is the list of most haunted places you should visit
With Halloween creeping upon us, it gets a lot of us thinking about the darker side of life. And while you might (rightly) consider Europe to be a place of sundrenched beaches, historical cities, and quaint towns, what lurks in the shadows is much more sinister. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there’s no denying that the brutal past of many European cities and towns has left a spine-chilling, eerie feeling in its wake. From abandoned mental institutions to resident pub ghosts, Enjoy Travel brings you our top 25 most haunted places in Europe.
25. Bratislava, Slovakia
Bratislava, the Slovakian capital is one of the oldest cities in Europe, so it’s no novice when it comes to ghost stories and legends. One such legend is of the White Lady from White Street. According to folklore, a kind woman, Božena, died in her home on White Street. After her death, a ghostly figure of a woman seemingly made of white vapour would appear in the courtyard of the house, watering can in hand. She would attend to the flower beds and one day, someone saw her. She was so scared that the white vapour turned into stone, morphing into a statue. You can still see the statue today in Františkánske Square, and no artist ever took credit for it. There are several other ghost stories that circle the city, many of which were accused witches.
24. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is one of Europe’s most exciting cities. It’s packed with culture, history, great food, wonderful views, and of course, a good old ghost story or two. Istanbul has over 3,000 mosques, so it’s only right that at least one of those would be haunted. The Molal Zeyrek in the historic Fatih neighbourhood is a derelict building, where locals say they hear screams coming from the creepy mosque. Another haunted building is the Yusuf Ziya Pasha mansion along the shores of the Bosphorus Strait. Legend has it that the wife of the Ottoman Pasha, Yusuf Ziya, visits the mansion that was once her home, sometimes playing a few keys on the piano.
23. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is one of the most romantic cities in the world. It’s beautiful and charming, but it has a dark side. It even has a road called Blood Alley, one of the oldest streets in the city. Locals know to avoid this street at night, for they say the apparitions of those murdered along this street roam the cobblestones in the dark. The Hungarian House is one of the most famous places in the city, for it was the home of one of the most prolific female serial killers in history. While this house might not necessarily be haunted, the story is crazy. Countless Elizabeth Bathory killed over 600 women, pouring their blood into the bath and even drinking it in order to stay young.
22. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is known for being the setting of The Sound of Music but it isn’t all singing and dancing, this city has a dark side too. Moosham Castle has risen to infamy, widely considered to be one of the most haunted places in Europe. It had been the site of strange goings-on throughout the years, but in the 1600s, it became the centre of the city’s witch trials. Some 139 people were executed here, including 39 children. Legend has it you can still hear the screams at night. Folklore struck again in the 1800s when people were finding wildlife inexplicably dead around the castle. It was decided that werewolves must be doing the killing, and the castle’s residents were accused and executed. Like the screams of the ‘witches’, the howls of the werewolves go late into the night.
21. Oslo, Norway
If you were to think up the vision of a haunted, creepy castle, Arkeshus Festning in Oslo would be it. The 14th-century medieval castle was home to the royal family before it became a brutal prison. The prisoners were known to carry out hard labour while restricting irons and chains kept them in line. Rumours say that whispers and scratches are heard through the hallways, and workers have spoken of feeling like they were being pushed by someone, only there wasn’t anyone there. This creepy castle certainly put Oslo on the map when it comes to most haunted places in Europe, but the ancient ruins of Nes Church, Eidsvoll Verk’s Forest, and the Old Lier Sanatorium are other hair-raising sites.
20. Bucharest, Romania
Folklore, legends, and spooky tales are common in Bucharest, a beautiful city with a creepy past. One of the most commonly known tales is of the Chiajna Monastery. It’s believed that the monastery is cursed, and whether you believe that or not, several murders did occur here. According to reports, the police put the murders down to the ‘Chiajna curse’. Another creepy sight is the Hotel Cisimigu, said to be haunted by the spirit of a woman who died when the building was a university dormitory. They say you can hear her screams from below the elevator. There are several other hauntings across the city – ghost tours are a very popular tourist activity.
19. Athens, Greece
The Greek capital has its fair share of hair-raising sites. The Well of Souls is one of the most popular, with rumours circling that several spirits show themselves to passersby. Legend has it that in 1945, one unfortunate soul tried to shoot one of the ghostly figures, only to fall in the next day and quickly meet his death. The First Cemetary of Athens, built in 1837, is another spooky location. When night falls, locals report seeing the resident ghost, Nikolas Batsaris, who is seemingly oblivious to the people around him.
18. Paris, France
Paris is many things. It’s one of the world’s fashion capitals, it’s an art lover’s dream, it’s one of the most romantic cities in the world, and it’s also one of the most haunted places in Europe. Only the brave venture beneath the city to the catacombs – there are the remains of over six million people either in the shadows or on full display. Real skulls and bones make the walls of these underground tunnels, it’s truly creepy. There are several other places around the city that celebrate the supernatural, like Le Musée des Vampires which is dedicated to vampires and Le Manoir de Paris which is a mix between a museum and a haunted house.
17. Madrid, Spain
If a historical, creepy story is what you’re hunting for, you’ll find it in Madrid. Spain’s capital city has its fair share of historical buildings, many of which have dark pasts. The Ministry of Finance, for example, was once a brutal prison during the Civil War. It became a burial site for victims of the war, and guards have since reported hearing inexplicable voices and bangs. Another creepy building is the Linares Palace, rumoured to be haunted by the spirit of the son of the family that lived here. There are several ghost stories that circle the palace, but there is a scandalous tale of forbidden love, incest, and suicide, that makes this place so fascinating. Not only is it historically interesting, but workers notice the sounds of steps, doors opening and closing by themselves, and even guttural screams in the night.
16. Lisbon, Portugal
The first settlements in Lisbon date all way back to 1200BC, so the city has faced a long and sometimes brutal history. The city is full of spooky spots, including the Faculty of Fine Arts. You might not expect a creepy tale at one of the city’s finest art institutions, but reports say that elevators inexplicably go through the night, doors close randomly, and scribbles are found on the walls.
Another creepy building is the São João do Estoril Little Castle – just one of the characterful buildings along the coast. The story goes that the castle was up for sale and a wealthy socialite went to view it. It was a beautiful day, so he went for a walk along the cliff path and saw a young girl. She didn’t say a word, only stared at him. Later, the man said he felt compelled to jump off the cliff edge, a feeling he believed to come from the girl. Someone from the local town hall did some research and found that a young blind girl had fallen from the cliffs to her death in the 18th century. It turns out the man was one of several people who saw the girl and felt the compulsion to jump off the cliff. Needless to say, he didn’t buy the house!
15. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is a city haunted by its devastating past, but it’s come through the other side more vibrant than ever. However, that isn’t to say that ghost stories don’t lurk in the shadows. Like Paris and Edinburgh, Berlin sits above a network of tunnels and chambers. We can only imagine the stories that pass down these dark passageways. Above ground, there are countless hair-raising abandoned buildings, such as the Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital, the Kinderkrankenhaus Weißensee hospital (known as the Zombie Hospital), and the Anatomy Insitute. Any of those places are sure to give you the heebie-jeebies, but if they don’t, then old ruins of the Gothic Franciscan monastery. It’s believed that the ruins of the monastery are haunted by a man who brutally murdered his own son. Creepy.
14. Rome, Italy
Ah, Roma. A magical city of pasta, history, romance, and art. It’s also a city that holds a certain interest in the afterlife, with many statues depicting death. But it isn’t this reverence for death that makes Rome one of the most haunted places in Europe. It’s the restless souls that roam the ancient streets. While many cities have haunted buildings, Rome is characteristically more romantic than that. One of the most famous tales is of a woman wrapped in white and covered in jewels wandering the streets around the Colosseum, searching for her lover. The woman is Messalina, the daughter of an important family. She was forced to marry her mother’s cousin when she was just fourteen and he was over thirty years older than her. After a series of extramarital affairs and sexual escapades, she was ordered to execution at just twenty-three.
Another tragic ghost tale is of Beatrice Cenci, whose story has inspired painters, poets, and novelists, including Shelley and Stendhal. After a desperate attempt to save herself, Beatrice was executed at dawn on 11th September 1599. Ever since, people say they see the ghostly figure of a woman walking along the bridge on the night between 10th and 11th September, with her own head in her hands.
13. Skrinjari, Croatia
The small village of Skrinjari is not typically on bucket lists or Croatia travel guides, but it is incredibly spooky. About an hour outside of Zagreb, this village is the site of one of the most haunted places in Europe. The iconic Skrinjari House has a dark and disturbing past that’ll spook even the most reluctant of supernatural believers. The house was only built in the 1980s, but it’s said to be standing on top of a graveyard. The original family quickly fled the property because the paranormal activity was too much to bear. It’s been for sale since 1997. Rumour has it that those who try to stay overnight at the house will barely last the night. Some say they heard the cries of a baby and saw shadows flickering past windows. Could you stay the night here?
12. Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast is a city rife with folklore and ghostly tales. One of the most famous is the Crumlin Road Gaol. The building was once a notorious prison, and now is a site for spooky ghost tours. The unrested souls that lurk in these shadows are the ones that met their death in the prison. Some say you can still hear their cries in the night. Ballygally Castle is another notorious building known for its ghostly resident. Lady Isobella Shaw has roamed the halls of the castle for over 400 years, searching for her son who was snatched away from her. She isn’t kept a secret – the castle has dedicated a room to one of the towers to her. Maybe in a bid to keep her friendly… it’s worked so far!
11. Prague, Czech Slovakia
Prague is a city full of folklore and enchanting tales, such as the one of Golem. According to legend, Golem was brought to life by a Rabbi in the 16th century to keep an eye on the Jewish ghettos, eventually watching over the whole city. The story of Houska Castle is a particularly blood-curdling tale. It was built over a bottomless pit – no one could see or reach the bottom. Speculations began that the bottomless pit was in fact the gateway to hell, and demonic creatures used to crawl out of the pit at night, attacking locals and dragging them down with them. Upon entering the castle, there is no kitchen, no water source – nothing to suggest that anyone could have lived there. An explanation for this? It was built to keep the evil in.
10. Transylvania, Romania
Transylvania is best known for being the home of Dracula. Many people actually didn’t even know Transylvania was a real place, or that Dracula was actually a person. But these are both very real, however, when it comes to how real the supernatural element of it is… well, that’s up to you. There are a few notable points of paranormal activity in the region, namely the Bran Castle. This is the most famous sight, associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It might be a bit gimmicky now, but it is still said to be haunted by its brutal medieval past. The most haunted place in the area, and one of the most haunted places in Romania, is the terrifying Hoia-Baciu Forest. Whether you believe in paranormal activity or not, you can’t deny the creepiness of this eerie forest.
9. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin has seen the Vikings, the plague, wars, and revolutions. These cobbled streets have been the setting of many brutal times, crawling with supernatural stories. Malahide Castle has seen battles and bloodshed in its 800-year history, so it’s little wonder that unresting souls lurk in the shadows. The Lady in White and Puck the Court Jester are said to roam these halls, and many visitors report a spine-tingling feeling here. One of Ireland’s most notorious stories is of the Hellfire Club, which dates back to 1735. The club met in the hills – young, wealthy men would drink, gamble, oh, and they’d worship Satan and torture people. Simon Luttrell, the then-sheriff of Dublin, apparently sold his soul to the devil here. The remains are well intact… would you dare to pay it a visit?
8. Edinburgh, Scotland
Don’t be fooled by Edinburgh’s beautiful streets and idyllic scenery, it’s without a doubt one of the most haunted places in Europe. Its underground world of vaults and passageways is sure to get your hairs raised, and if that doesn’t do the trick then Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery certainly will. Cemeteries are always creepy, almost by definition, but this one is particularly spooky. In the 17th century, Presbyterian Covenanters were kept as prisoners here, many of which were executed or died of malnutrition. Today, locals report a plethora of paranormal activity, particularly around the mausoleum of George Mackenzie, who was one of the men responsible.
7. Kilkenny, Ireland
Kilkenny’s past is full of fascinating and spooky stories. Located some 80 miles from Dublin, this medieval city was the site of Ireland’s first witches’ trial. The story goes that Alice Kyteler married into a rich family, ultimately at the expense of her stepchildren. The stepchildren then accused Kyteler of witchcraft, leading to the first trial in 1324. She managed to escape, leaving her maid, Petronilla de Midia, to be charged as a witch instead.
Tragedy struck again in 1763. A vicious flood tore down a bridge, drowning 16 people in its wake. Today, locals report seeing creepy, misty figures rise from the river in the morning. Eerie spirits can be felt across the city – there are several ghost tours that take you to the spookiest places.
6. London, England
You might have heard how much Londoners love a pub. And they really do, even the ghosts that come along with them. There are so many pub hauntings, but one of the most well-known is the Ten Bells. This Spitalfields pub is known for its involvement in the Jack the Ripper case, but the pub’s been the site of various tragedies. The upper floors are reportedly so creepy that even mediums won’t go up there. Another spooky boozer is the Viaduct Tavern – one of the city’s original Victorian gin palaces. The space beneath the pub was once used as prison cells with prisoners reportedly playing tricks on the staff ever since.
Other than its pubs, London is sprawling with haunted sites – hotels, theatres, schools, museums, and more. Ghost tours are extremely popular in the city… if you dare. But if you can only make it to one place in London, then let it be London Tower. The former royal residence and prison have seen many executions, including that of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey.
5. Borgvattnet, Sweden
Borgvattnet is a tiny Swedish village of just 50 residents, but it packs a punch. It’s primarily known for the vicarage – the most haunted house in Sweden. The accolade came after a journalist caught wind of priests seeing or hearing strange things that couldn’t be explained. It’s believed that this first happened in 1927 and it was all very ‘hush hush’ until the journalist decided to investigate. The priest interviewed was insistent on the presence of paranormal activity, and inexplicable occurrences have continued to happen since. The vicarage is now a bed & breakfast, so ghost-hunting daredevils can stay amidst the creeping footsteps, rocking chairs, screams through the night, and endless ghost stories.
4. Poveglia Island, Italy
You might not expect to find an abandoned asylum just a short boat trip away from Venice, but Poveglia Island is nothing like its glitzy neighbour. Poveglia has such a gruesome past that many locals refuse to step foot on the island. Fishermen won’t even fish in the area surrounding it. It was once a place where people dying from the bubonic plague were sent and it was a sure death sentence. People would go kicking and screaming, knowing that they were to live their last days on the island. When Poveglia was no longer a quarantine island, Napoleon used it to store his weapons. Word got out and many battles took place on the island, claiming even more lives.
In 1922, the island housed a mental institution where the patients reported hearing and seeing the plague victims. In the 1930s, rumours spread that a doctor was trying to find a ‘cure’ for insanity by performing lobotomies and other experiments. Today, the abandoned hospital, where many tortures and deaths occurred, stands derelict on the island. Poveglia is still completely abandoned, but several tour companies from Venice do go there.
3. Bruges, Belgium
This fairytale-like medieval city might deceive you with its whimsical beauty, but Bruges is one of the most haunted places in Europe. It’s actually home to two of the scariest abandoned buildings in the world, let alone Europe. The first is Château Miranda – a ghost hunter’s paradise. The beautiful building was abandoned in 1991 and has since been the site of countless inexplicable occurrences. The next one is the IM Cooling Tower, an eerie, abandoned power plant that looks like a portal to another world. Deeper in the city, a famous ghost story tells the tale of a monk and a nun that lived by the Reie River. Despite the monk (supposedly) being in love with the nun, he murdered her and buried her body in the tunnel beneath the monastery. Today, people say they see both the nun and monk in pale forms of themselves, floating around the city.
2. Tallinn, Estonia
Like many old European cities, Tallinn has its fair share of ghost stories. And rather creepily, locals say that nearly every single house in the Old Town has exhibited some kind of paranormal activity. Some are the stuff of legends, while others are simply spooky. The Hueck House is one with countless shudder-inducing tales. Shuffling feet, screams, and random bangs are just some of what goes on here. Another place with a long history of seemingly supernatural happenings is the Cathedral Restaurant. When being interviewed about these occurrences, the staff say they’ve heard footsteps and knocking, been bumped or touched, as well as seeing doors close by themselves. One member of staff even said they saw the ghostly figures of two women. It got so bad in the restaurant, that they actually called in an expert, who said they felt two spirits in the kitchen and cellar.
1. York, England
York is not only the most haunted place in Europe, but it’s also one of the most haunted cities in the world. The spine-chilling ghost stories are in the literal thousands, with York sometimes being called the City of 1000 Ghosts. The beautiful, historical city has a dark past of torture and gore that has led to a recorded 500 hauntings.
As you can imagine, there are lots of spooky stories to uncover here, but you’re sure to get the heebie-jeebies if you visit the Golden Fleece pub. While it might look unsuspecting from the outside, the Golden Fleece is the most haunted pub in York. Fifteen unresting souls haunt these walls, the most notorious being Lady Anne Peckett. Anne was once the wife of the Lord Mayor of York, John Peckett, and she’s seen floating up and down the staircase. With her fourteen other ghostly friends, we can imagine just the one pint will do here.