Europe attracts fans of the macabre and supernatural with its centuries-old castles, cemeteries, and chapels. These creepy places in Europe contain remnants of the continent’s long and blood-soaked history, from fully-dressed mummies and skeletal remains of thousands of people in France, to ghostly apparitions and alien encounters in Romania’s creepy forests.

    If you’re looking to explore the dark side of Europe, this list may give you a few ideas for sightseeing during your holiday. Be warned that some of these creepy Europe places can be rather upsetting, so proceed with caution if you have a weak stomach.


    Catacombs of Paris, France

    Explore bone-filled tunnels underneath the city of love

    The Catacombs of Paris are a series of tunnels filled with the skeletal remains of 6 million people. The burial site dates back to 1786, when the city’s church cemeteries were unable to accommodate the deceased. One of the most bizarre events in the long history of the catacombs occurred in 1793, when Philibert Aspairt went missing during his visit. His body was found near an exit, 11 years after his disappearance. While the catacombs span more than 300 km in length, only a small section (about 1.5 km) is open to the public. Admission to the Catacombs of Paris cost €13 for adults.

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    Location: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 8.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +33 (0)43 22 47 63


    Bran Castle, Romania

    Explore the rooms in Dracula’s castle

    Fans of Bram Stoker may recognise Romania’s Bran Castle as the author’s inspiration for his most famous fictional character, Count Dracula. Those who live in villages near the medieval fortress believe in steregoi, which are people whose souls leave their bodies to torment victims in their sleep. This creepy place in Europe dates back to the 13th century, and served as Queen Marie’s royal residence from 1920 till 1957. Its hilltop location offers beautiful views of Bran’s expansive countryside. Admission to Bran Castle costs 40 lei for adults.

    Location: Strada General Traian Moșoiu 24, Bran 507025, Romania

    Open: April–September: Mondays from 12 pm to 6 pm, Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm (open till 4 pm from November to March)

    Phone: +4 0268 237-700


    Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

    Walk among 100,000 crosses at this pilgrimage site

    The Hill of Crosses is a Catholic pilgrimage site located 11.5 km northeast of Siauliai, Lithuania. More than 100,000 crosses have been erected on this tiny hill, many of which date back to the mid-19th century. It is believed that locals started placing crucifixes, rosaries, photos, and statues of religious icons here after seeing an apparition of the Holy Virgin Mary with baby Jesus at the site. Although it’s regarded as a holy place, numerous ghost sightings have been reported over the years. Entrance to the Hill of Crosses is free of charge.

    Location: Jurgaičiai 81439, Lithuania

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm


    Catacombe dei Cappuccini, Italy

    See the embalmed remains of a 2-year-old girl

    Catacombe dei Cappuccini is one of Palermo’s most macabre tourist attractions, where you get to see over 8,000 skeletons and mummified remains propped up against the walls. The bodies are displayed in several galleries according gender, age, and profession. One of its most visited is the chapel of Santa Rosalia, which houses the body of 2-year-old Rosalia Lombardo, who died in the 1920. Displayed in a glass coffin, she is so perfectly preserved that her eyelashes remain intact to this day. While Catacombe dei Cappuccini is open to visitors of all ages, avoid visiting this if you have a weak stomach as many of these well-preserved bodies are of children.

    Location: Piazza Cappuccini, 1, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm (closed on Sunday afternoons from late October to late March)

    Phone: +39 091 652 7389


    photo by Gmihail (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania

    Join a night photo tour of this paranormal hotspot

    Hoia-Baciu Forest, located 9 km west of Old Town Cluj-Napoca, is what many believe to be one of the world’s creepiest forests. Many people have reported seeing aliens, ghosts, and floating orbs or hearing disembodied voices over the years. This creepy place in Europe gained notoriety in 1968, when military technician Emil Barnea took photos of a supposed UFO hovering over the Hoia-Baciu Forest. There’s also a dead vegetation zone in the middle of the forest, despite studies showing nothing unusual about the soil. Several visitors have suffered headaches, nausea, and fainting spells, so be aware of your health if you choose to explore Hoia-Baciu Forest.

    Location: Hoia Forest, Pădurea Hoia, Romania


    photo by Miclaus George (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

    Join a free guided tour of Scotland’s creepiest castle

    Edinburgh Castle is arguably one of Scotland’s most haunted sites, containing countless urban legends, reported ghost sightings, and paranormal activities. Perhaps the most famous is the story of an unnamed piper, who disappeared after wandering down an underground passage hundreds of years. Reports of spooky goings on include sightings of misty figures, things pulling at your clothes, and sudden drops in temperature. Edinburgh Castle is open to the public and offers free guided tours for those looking to experience the paranormal.

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    Location: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 6 pm (open till 5 pm from October to March)

    Phone: +44 (0)131 225 9846


    Sedlec Ossuary, Czechia

    See the massive bone chandelier

    Sedlec Ossuary is an underground Roman Catholic chapel in Czechia. This creepy place in Europe is also called the Chapel of Bones – skeletons of around 70,000 people are arranged as macabre decoration and furniture. The central part of the church has a massive chandelier that’s made with almost every bone in the human body. There are also skull candelabras and glass cabinets displaying hundreds of bones. Admission to the Sedlec Ossuary 90 koruna for adults and 60 koruna for children.

    Location: Zámecká, 284 03 Kutná Hora, Czechia

    Open: April–September: daily from 8 am to 6 pm (9 am to 5 pm in October and March). November–February: daily from 9 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm

    Phone: +420 326 551 049


    photo by Interfase (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Château de Brissac, France

    Spend a night at this 11th-century castle…if you dare!

    The Château de Brissac, built during the 11th century, is one of the most beautiful castles in France’s Loire Valley. While the castle is open for guided tours, wine tastings, and overnight stays, it has its fair share of ghostly encounters and disembodied screams. It’s reportedly haunted by the ghost of the Green Lady, who was the young wife of former owner Jacques Brézé. Château de Brissac also attracts non-believers with its grand rooms, antique furniture and décor dating back to the 15th century.

    Location: Rue Louis Moron, 49320 Brissac-Quincé, France

    Phone: +33 (0)2 41 91 22 21


    photo by W. Bulach (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Poveglia Island, Italy

    Explore the island’s abandoned mental asylum

    Poveglia is an abandoned island located between Venice and Lido. During the 14th-century bubonic plague outbreak, thousands of victims (dead and alive) were transported to this island in an effort to eradicate the disease. In 1922, a psychiatric hospital was built on the island, which locals claim to be the site of inhumane practices, torture, and suicides until the 1800s. Poveglia is supposedly off-limits to visitors, but there are tour operators that offer trips to the island for a rather hefty price. Many past visitors reportedly heard screams coming from the dilapidated hospital.

    Location: Poveglia, 30100 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy


    photo by Chris 73 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Moosham Castle, Austria

    Catch a glimpse of its (departed) resident caretaker, Anton

    Moosham Castle, located in Unternberg, was where thousands of people were tried and sentenced to death during the witch trials of the 17th century. The mass hysteria surrounding witchcraft in Austria led to the Salzburg Witch Trials, which lasted for about 15 years. It’s believed that those executed under the orders of the Archbishop of Unternberg were as young as 10 years old. 

    Like many creepy places in Europe, Moosham Castle is open for visits, where you get to explore the grisly torture chambers and possibly catch a sight of a ghost wandering the castle halls. Paranormal investigators claimed to have seen the apparition of a man sitting in the dining room. Locals call him Anton, the castle’s caretaker during the witch trials.

    Location: 13, Moosham, 5585 Unternberg, Austria

    Phone: +43 (0)6476 305


    photo by Renedrivers (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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