What is a nice, relaxing vacation without an eerie ghost story? Considering that modern humans have inhabited Europe for nearly 50,000 years, it is no wonder the European continent alone has hundreds of them.
For example, it is said that if you stand outside the Roman Colosseum and stay quiet, you may just be able to make out the sound of swords clashing or someone whispering in your ear. Or, should you want to enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower, you might hear the screams of a woman who was pushed from the top by her boyfriend after she refused his proposal.
So, if you’re always up for a little dark tourism, the ten haunted destinations on this list tick all the (creepy) boxes.
10 Kontos Mansion
The small village of Ano Lechonia in Greece is well known for its steam train that takes tourists on an awe-inspiring trip up the mountain. But there is also the Kontos Mansion, which is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country.
According to a strange urban legend, the children in the Kontos family died after a dead lizard landed in a jug of milk, and they drank from it. But this was merely a fictional story created to deter from the fact that the three children had contracted tuberculosis.
Long after this tragedy, the mansion was occupied by the Nazis, who would torture Greek activists inside the extensive basement. The mansion also served as a Nazi headquarters. When peace returned to Greece, several occupants who tried to renovate Kontos Mansion not only heard unearthly screams and moans emanating from the walls and the basement, but they also lost their lives in expected ways.
Today, the abandoned mansion continues to draw a steady stream of tourists, although most don’t dare venture too close.
9 The Devil’s Precipice
Romania may be home to a certain well-known bloodthirsty monster, but Dracula isn’t the country’s only claim to creepy fame.
Second only to the Hoia-Baciu Forest, the Devil’s Precipice in Prahova County holds a particular fascination for tourists, especially those who are looking to find the rumored hidden treasure inside Cosminele commune.
Legend has it that an outlaw hid a load of treasure in the area hundreds of years ago. Evil spirits placed a spell on the trove and now hover around the place to ensure no one can get to it. Those who have gathered up the courage to try and break the spell have allegedly ended up running into creatures that resemble humans but have the head of a bull. Others have gone insane and then went missing—wandering around aimlessly for weeks on end before being found many miles away from where they started.
8 Telgha t’Alla w’Ommu
Malta is home to stunning temples which draw thousands of tourists every year. The excellent climate and breathtaking beaches make this place one of the most popular vacation spots around the world.
When it comes to folklore, Malta is at the forefront of spookiness, too. Here you will be regaled with stories of witches and other mysterious creatures, including the ghost of Telgha t’Alla w’Ommu, which is a hill on the outskirts of the city of Naxxar.
Many tourists who travel the road that leads to this hill report seeing a teenage girl in distress. The girl tries to flag down drivers, and once she succeeds in getting one to stop, she simply vanishes from the side of the road.
Creepier, however, is the stories that have begun to emerge about drivers unwilling to stop and pressing down harder on the gas pedal, only to look in the rear-view mirror and see the girl hovering in the backseat of the car.
7 Trendelburg Castle
Eerie-looking castles are irresistible to those looking for a thrill of a different kind while on vacation. Especially the sort of castle that has served as inspiration for movies and books—the so-called Frankenstein Castle in Germany, for example. It is believed that this magnificent structure sparked Mary Shelley’s idea for a novel, and rumors still abound that a dragon once inhabited its walls.
Trendelburg Castle, in Trendelburg, North Hesse, boasts a beautiful tower, which is said to have been the inspiration behind the classic fairytale “Rapunzel.” The castle doubles as a hotel, and guests are allowed to climb the tower to enjoy the views from the top. There is also a museum on the premises inside the dungeon.
However, while you’re taking in the sights and sounds at the castle, don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of warfare coming from the surrounding forest or the mournful cries of the souls of long-dead soldiers who cannot seem to find rest.
6 Nes Church
The spectacular ruins of the church in Nes in Eastern Norway are one of the most popular historic sites in the world. The church was built during the 12th century and is a wonderfully peaceful place to visit—until the ghosts come out to play.
Some visitors have reported hearing the voices of children calling out to them as they walked along the ruins. Urban legend has it that a priest at the church had children with an unnamed woman, and he bricked them up alive inside the walls. Others have turned around on the path to find a specter in a robe quietly floating up behind them. The priest, Jacob Christian Finckenhagen, is believed to have hung himself inside the church after killing his children.
Also, if you’re planning on visiting the ruins and capturing a moment or two on your smartphone, don’t be surprised if your phone suddenly stops working while you’re out on the path.
5 Valongo Sanatorium
A list of haunted places is never complete without the inclusion of at least one abandoned sanatorium. The last sanatorium ever built in Portugal, namely, the Mont’Alto or Valongo Sanatorium, could only hold fifty patients but was always overcrowded with more than 500 patients.
The sanatorium was meant to be a treatment facility for those suffering from tuberculosis, but it will always be known for the ill-treatment of patients and the horrible deaths they suffered inside the sanatorium walls.
Today, the abandoned structure is a ghost-hunter magnet, mainly because of the rumors that the ghosts of hundreds of tuberculosis patients still hang around the place. They cry out in pain whenever a human visitor crosses their path and then flee into the shadows, hoping for some relief from their torment.
Some who have visited the site have reported seeing pentagrams carved into the walls, with these reports giving rise to even more rumors, including one that says satanic rituals are often performed inside the ruins to summon restless spirits.
4 Daliborka Tower
The Czech Republic is simply a wonderful place to experience. Here, you will find fairytale-like castles, excellent beer, and mindblowing green spaces. But with the wonderful also comes the creepy, especially in the capital, Prague.
Inside the Prague castle complex stands the infamous Daliborka Tower, which was once used as a prison for noble criminals. The tower was also named after its first prisoner—a knight who went by the name Dalibor. The knight was a beloved prisoner because he used to hide peasants in his home—away from the eyes of the authorities.
While locked up in the tower, Dalibor played the violin, and nearby residents who heard it would send food up to him. After a while, the violin went quiet, and the shocked inhabitants realized that Dalibor had been executed.
Today, the tower is a must-see on many a visitor’s Prague itinerary, with some reporting hearing the sounds of a violin wafting through the high windows. It is also believed that the sound isn’t a violin at all, but rather the high-pitched screams of Dalibor as he was being tortured into confessing his “crimes.”
3 Fier Railway Station
As railway stations go, the Fier station in Albania is merely a platform to get from one place to another. However, several visitors who have made use of the trains here have reported seeing the apparition of a woman who died on the tracks a long time ago. Some, who have been forced to spend the night at the station for whatever reason, have also reported hearing the ghost crying for hours on end.
Tourists looking for even more creepy excitement often visit the village of Vuno, where the spirit of an old woman who is believed to have been a witch still wanders around in her home and through the town.
If you’re looking to explore the eerie side of Albania, you may want to visit the city of Shkodra, where an abandoned fort once provided shelter for two princesses and their two respective lovers. The princesses were eventually sent off to different countries, and many decades after, visitors to the fort still claim to hear wailing coming from within its walls.
And then there’s the Berat castle, where the spirits of dead soldiers still walk the halls, and the ghost of Lady Maria refuses to rest. Instead, she floats through the corridors of the castle every night.
2 Loshitsa Manor
The landlocked country of Belarus boasts more than four thousand lakes, many of which become frozen during winter, offering an opportunity for ice skating over the vast surfaces. This, along with the Brest Fortress, Dudutki Museum, and several theatres, makes for an unforgettable tourist experience.
Belarus has a long and eventful history that includes war and disaster. Mir Castle, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, is also the site where the skeletons of soldiers have been seen hovering around the grounds. Some tourists have even seen the ghost of a young girl who drowned in the pond inside the castle’s large main garden.
The most famous Belarus ghost, however, is the ghost of Loshitsa Manor. In life, 20-year-old Yadviga Kinevich was the wife of Evstafy Lyubansky. The couple loved throwing lavish parties and inviting everyone in Minsk to attend. But, as fate would have it, things turned sour when Evstafy discovered his wife was having an affair.
One evening, after a nasty fight, Yadviga ran from the mansion and disappeared. Her husband found her body in a nearby river hours later. Heartbroken, Evstafy planted an apricot tree next to the river in memory of his wife. He died soon after.
It is said that whenever the apricot tree blooms alongside the river, the spirit of Yadviga appears. She wears a long white robe and whispers the future to couples who visit the site.
1 Den Noodt Gods
Belgium may be a small country, but it should not be left off your Europe travel bucket list. Belgium offers fantastic experiences, including medieval castles, memorable fashion options, and delicious food. Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in the Flemish region, is one of the best places to enjoy authentic Belgian chocolate, see intricate historic architecture, and listen to some genuinely eerie ghost stories.
One of the most famous creepy stories is the one about a nun named Hortence Dupont who resided in the house of Den Noodt Gods near the River Reie. On the other side of the river was a monastery where an unnamed monk would sneak away every night to visit Hortence. He did this by using an abandoned tunnel that led from the monastery to the nunnery.
Hortence, however, tried to put a stop to these visits. One night, while Hortence was attempting to flee the situation, the monk became enraged. He stabbed her to death and then proceeded to bury her body.
The crime took place on Den Noodt Gods’ side, where the ghost of Hortence still appears, sometimes in full view of visitors. Some have also reported seeing the specter of the monk at the nunnery. It is said that he is trying to ask Hortence for forgiveness, but he can never reach her in time. When midnight strikes in the silent nunnery, both ghosts vanish, only to repeat their tragic tale the next night.