Having thousands of years of history behind its back, Europe has something to offer even to the most seasoned traveler. This time we are reviewing some of its spookiest corners to spice up your next tour to Europe.
PORTUGAL: CAPELA DOS OSSOS
Capela dos Ossos or the “Chapel of Bones” contains the remains of about 5000 people on its walls and eight pillars. It's undoubtedly one of the most terrifying places in Portugal. Located in Evora, the Capela was built by a Franciscan monk who was trying to promote the idea of life being transitory, accurately formulated in the famous Latin motto "memento mori" or "remember that you will die."
When you decide to travel to Portugal, we recommend you include Evora in your itinerary, discover the mysterious Capela and fearlessly contemplate the profound idea embedded in its walls and foundations.
FRANCE: CATACOMBS OF PARIS
Being the world's capital of romance, Paris also has a creepy side, or creepy "bottom" is better to say! Its underground ossuaries, or the Catacombs of Paris, hold the remains of more than 6 million people in a tunnel network that became a resolution to the problem of overflowing cemeteries within the city walls in the 18th century.
As strange as it may sound, the Catacombs won their popularity by being the place for private concerts and events in the beginning of the 19th century. Today, the ossuaries are open for public and supervised by Paris Musees.
Should you travel to France, don't miss the opportunity to explore the dark side of the capital of love.
ITALY: CATACOMBE DEI CAPPUCCINI
Located in the Sicilian city of Palermo, the Catacombs of the Capuchins today are not only a dramatic tourist attraction but also a phenomenal historical record. Unlike the majority of ossuaries, these catacombs mostly contain mummies, rather than skeletons. The history of the catacombs traces back to the 16th century when the Capuchin monks began the excavation of the crypts in the monastery cemetery that was already too big for its designated territory. Not so long after, for the first time the monks mummified their dead brother and placed him in the catacombs. The body remained in its excellent condition for years, bringing the fame to the Capuchin monks and setting the tradition.
Initially, the catacombs held only friars' bodies, however, with time it has become a status symbol to be placed in the catacombs after death, of course for a certain amount of money, which the relatives of the dead were supposed to pay till the end of their own lives.
Over five centuries, the catacombs gathered 8000 bodies and 1252 fully clothed mummies were placed along their walls. Today the catacombs are open for the public, so make sure to visit this extraordinary place while on your tour to Sicily.
AUSTRIA: MOOSHAM CASTLE
Although it doesn't hold any bodies, remains, skeletons or mummies, Moosham Castle or "Witches Castle" in its own right is probably the most haunted place in Austria. Having been the administrative center for the Salzburg witch trials back in the 17th century, the castle became the place of torturous execution of 139 people. Surprisingly, over a hundred of the victims were men.
By the end of the 18th century, the castle was abandoned which led to its rapid decay. However, later the place was restored and had become a house for an extensive private art collection that's currently open to the public.
BELGIUM: MIRANDA CASTLE
Set in the Belgian town of Celles, Miranda Castle, also known as Château de Noisy, is a gorgeous Gothic construction that could be a cozy home for ghosts and other supernatural creatures. Yet, the history of this place has nothing to do with the supernatural and was intended to be a summer house for the Liedekerke De Beaufort family. In the 1950s, the castle was given under the supervision of the National Railway Company of Belgium and served as a summer camp for sickly children. In 1991, the chateau was abandoned due to high maintenance costs. Later, it would become a filming location for the American series Hannibal.
Once you travel to Belgium, be sure to stop by this mysterious location.
SCOTLAND: LENNOX CASTLE HOSPITAL
It has everything a haunted place may offer: housed in a historic building in the middle of nowhere (well, in Scotland), served as a hospital for mentally ill, you can find plenty of stories and legends of the hospital's wretched past. Started as the best equipped and promising psychiatric clinic in Britain, this place eventually became the worst possible option for the patients in need. Rumor has it that Lenox could be a prototype for the cult TV series American Horror Story: Asylum. Lennox Castle Hospital closed down and was abandoned in 2002. Currently neighboring with Celtic Football Club's newly built training facility, the site is not supervised and open to the public.
ROMANIA: BRAN CASTLE
Our list wouldn't be complete without the epic "Dracula's Castle," or Bran Castle which is its official name, in Romania. Set on the border of Transilvania and Wallachia amidst the mountains, this castle boasts a dramatic location and is definitely worth visiting regardless of its connection to the main character of Bram Stoker's novel!
In fact, should you be into Dracula stories, you have to travel to Romania, see all the hypothetic locations and artifacts related to this controversial character, or hang out with the locals and increase your knowledge of the subject almost first-hand. Go full Gothic and extend your tour to Hungary which is easily reachable from Romania via a non-stop local flight.
LITHUANIA: THE HILL OF CROSSES
Another sinister place that'll make your heart sink into your shoes is the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. The hill has over 100,000 crucifixes on it, with each cross having been randomly stuck into the ground, placed or hung on top of each other individually.
However, it should be noted that the hill has never been a burial ground. Although there are no clear facts proving the origin of this landmark, the majority of the people believe that it was created to commemorate the deceased in the 1831 Uprising against the Russian Empire. Their families who had no bodies to bury planted crosses into the empty ground instead.
Since then, the Hill of Crosses has become a symbol of resistance and has continued to grow despite two attempts of KGB to demolish it. Travel to Lithuania with us and see it with your own eyes.
UKRAINE: THE CITY OF PRIPYAT
The Northern Ukrainian city of Pripyat is a sad reminder of the tragedy that took place back in April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. When one of the reactors at the plant exploded, it released around four hundred times more radioactive material into the atmosphere than both atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Within 24 hours, the 50,000 inhabitants of the city were evacuated, and the place has remained empty since.
At this point, Pripyat is one of the most terrifying and even dangerous ghost-towns on Earth which unfortunately will stay so for the foreseeable future. Guided visits to the town are allowed but limited to a couple of hours as the radiation levels are still high.
SPAIN: REINA SOFIA MUSEUM
Few people know, but one of the most visited museums in Spain, Reina Sofia, has its own dark past. Before becoming a house for Picasso's Guernica, for three whole centuries, the building served as a hospital which was one of the biggest in Europe at the time of its construction.
In 1982, it was decided to convert the hospital into a museum. During the works, a series of strange findings were made, including human remains and even more bizarre, the mummies of three nuns in one of the Chapels which still today remain laying beneath the front entrance of the Museum.
Over the years, there were a lot of testimonials received from witnesses who had apparently heard moans and voices or have seen the spectral figures of the nuns.
Once on your tour to Spain, come to see Guernica and discover the haunted past and present of the world-renown Reina Sofia Museum.
Of course, many more haunted places in Europe are worth your attention, but to start, these ten are already an excellent add-on to your bucket list. Check out our private tours in Europe or contact your travel specialist to enhance your next trip with some of Europe's spookiest places and have fun!