With so many castles and places that witnessed many unfair deaths and famous battles, there is no wonder that the Old Continent is home to many haunted places. And, since you know we have a soft spot for haunted places, it seems fitting to have a list of the most haunted places in Europe. Every European country has its haunted spots so any European country is a great destination for those who love to visit spooky locations. If you plan a Euro-trip, there are many ghost tours you can embark on. Here are our favorite haunted destinations in Europe:
Tower of London, England, UK
Tower of London is a very popular touristic attraction in England and, based on its bloody history, we’re pretty sure you know it is a haunted place.
Built in 1066 by William the Conqueror, the Tower of London is a fortress that has had many different functions in the past. As you probably know, the Tower of London served as a prison and execution site. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, the famous wives of Henry VIII, were executed in the Tower of London.
There are many other scary tales associated with this famous spot and we highly recommend visiting the Tower of London to learn more about its history.
Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England, UK
Raynham Hall is another English place with its fair share of ghost stories. The most notable one is the one about Dolly Townshend, also known as the “brown lady of Raynham”, who was locked up in the house by her husband, the Viscount Turnip Townshend. The couple lived there in the 18th century but people believe that Lady Dorothy’s ghost is still haunting the Norfolk estate. In fact, in the 1930s, someone allegedly took a picture of her on the property. Doesn’t sound real? Ell, with an estate built in 1620, you never know.
Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, England
The Ancient Ram Inn was built in 1145 and is considered one of the most haunted places in England. Since Ancient Ram Inn served many roles over the centuries, here you can encounter many different ghosts, including a high priestess, an incubus, and many children ghosts. The place is so terrifying that many guests attempted to escape it by jumping off a window.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Let’s stay in the UK but move from England to Scotland and pay a virtual visit to Edinburgh Castle. As you can imagine, the castle is a top touristic destination of the capital. It’s also one of the most haunted. Some castle sections date back to the 11th century so the ghost sightings are very diverse. Some visitors reported seeing colonial prisoners, other French prisoners, and ghosts of old royals.
Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, Northern Ireland
After the Scottish adventure, we cannot leave this part of Europe without indulging in some Irish ghost stories and destinations. The first stop is Northern Ireland with its Crumlin Road Gaol, the most haunted place in Ireland that is very often referred to as Europe’s Alcatraz. Crumlin Road Gaol was open for 150 years and contained over 25,000 prisoners over its years of operation. The institution actually shut its doors in 1996 so not that long ago and while during its last operative years there were no public hangings, back in the day many prisoners were publicly hung on the site. As you can imagine, some of the inmates were not too pleased by their demise and are still haunting the site. It seems that the locals are not too afraid of the inmate ghosts since the place is quite a popular destination for tours, conferences, and even weddings.
Leap Castle, Coolderry, Ireland
Now let’s move to the Republic of Ireland and discuss Leap Castle. This beautiful Irish castle has seen many bloody and gruesome deaths. Some say the castle dates back to the 13th century, others say the 15th century but what interests us is the time the O’Carroll clan lived in the castle. Because this is where the horror starts.
The legend says that the clan used to have a habit of poisoning their dinner guests. That alone sounds horrifying but one night, while having a heated argument, one member of the family killed the priest, who was also his brother with its sword while the priest was holding mass in the chapel. It goes without saying that the priest haunts the castle, particularly the room that is now known as The Bloody Chapel. We think you noticed that we said that’s where the horror begins because Leap Castle has a macabre history. Go to the castle’s website if you want to learn more. The history is fascinating but equally terrifying.
Poveglia Island, Venice, Italy
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Venice? Romantic gondola rides and delicious Italian food probably, right? Well, that’s Venice today. Beautiful, romantic, relaxing, and very charming. But back in the day, Poveglia Island that is situated only half a mile away from the Venice canals served as a quarantine zone for victims of bubonic plague. It was also the place where Napoleon stored his weapons. And it served as the site for an insane asylum at the beginning of the 20th century.
According to locals, it is quite common to hear echoing chimes from the forbidden island. With over 160,000 infected souls and almost half the island contaminated with human remains, Poveglia Island is considered one of the most haunted places in the world.
Nowadays it is illegal to visit the island, however, the Italian government auctioned Poveglia for a 99-year lease in hopes someone will restore the island to its original beauty before all the bad medical experiments and horrible things happened. A few years ago, an Italian businessman, Luigi Brugnaro, won the auction. We cannot wait to see what he plans to do with the island. Hopefully, soon people will be able to visit the island legally and explore the haunted sites.
Ponte Sisto, Rome, Italy
Another Italian city that’s oftentimes considered a romantic destination, Rome, is also a place for ghost hunters and those who love to visit haunted places. Rome is an ancient city after all so there must be some creepy stories associated with some of the places, right? Of course! One such place is Ponte Sisto, a bridge that spans across Tiber River. The construction of the bridge started in 1473 so it has been around for centuries and it has many stories it could tell if it would be able to. While the bridge, unfortunately, cannot share its secrets, there is a popular legend that says if you go to the bridge at sunrise, you will see the carriage of Olimpia Maidalchini, the sister in law and advisor of Pope Innocent X, attempting to flee the city with the church’s gold after the death of the Pope in 1655.
The bridge is not open to pedestrians but if you really want to visit the bridge, there are a few night walking tours that visit some of Rome’s haunted places that include the bridge in their sightseeing.
Catacombs of Paris, France
Another romantic city that is rarely associated with ghosts and spooky stories in Paris. Even though, let’s face it, with the city’s rich history, the streets of Paris clearly witnessed many gruesome and unsettling events. If you really want to get spooked or see a different side of Paris, you have to visit the Catacombs of Paris. Tourists can visit about 1 mile of the subterranean labyrinth and can see a surprisingly artfully arranged display of bones. Yes, that is right, the underground tunnels of Paris are packed with approximately 6 million bodies. You didn’t expect that from The City of Light, didn’t you?
According to the Smithsonian Mag, in 1780, after prolonged heavy rain, The Holy Innocents’ Cemetery (Les Innocents Cemetery) was flooded and many rotting corpses ended up on the streets. The Holy Innocents’ Cemetery was at the time the oldest and largest cemetery in Paris, oftentimes used for mass graves, so you can imagine that the flooding forced the authorities at the time to make some decisions to move the bodies from the cemetery to a different to prevent the event from repeating itself every time it rains heavily. During a 12-year project, the bodies were moved in the subterranean labyrinth.
Château de Brissac, Brissac-Quincé, France
Château de Brissac is one of the tallest castles but also one of the most haunted castles in France. According to the official website, the seven-story castle is haunted by the ghost of Charlotte of France, also known as “The Green Lady”. The legend says that Charlotte according was killed by her husband when he found out she is having an affair. You know how they say “be careful when you choose your outfit because if you die, that’s your ghost outfit forever”? Well, Charlotte is known as “The Green Lady” because when she was killed she was wearing a green dress. She is still roaming the castle, particularly the tower room, in the same dress today, especially during the early morning.
Höfði House, Reykjavik, Iceland
The Höfði House housed many famous figures including Queen Elizabeth, Marlene Dietrich, and Winston Churchill. It was also the house of many British ambassadors. In fact, one of the ambassadors was the first one to report seeing “The White Lady”, a ghost that many believe to be a victim of suicide.
Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Over 100,000 crosses with ornate rosaries that clink every time the wind blows. Eerie and a bit creepy you’d say but for Lithuanians, this northern spot is very important and it represented different things throughout the country’s history. During the 11th century, the crosses were the people’s desire for the country’s independence. In the 19th century, the site was a place of remembrance for the dead rebels. Later on, during the Soviet occupation, crosses were placed as a symbol of defiance against the Soviets.
Despite the Soviets; efforts to remove the crosses from the hill (they actually bulldozed the crosses three times), the site was never truly destroyed because the locals kept rebuilding it.
Obvodny Canal, St. Petersburg, Russia
The Obvodny Canal is known by the locals as the Suicide Canal. This artificial canal was built in the late 18th-century ad it was always surrounded by strange events. Suicides, of course, but there were also constructer workers who complained of severe headaches and many violent events that happened for no apparent reason. Those who survived the suicide attempts mention that they have no idea why they jumped in the water. It’s like some inexplicable force pulled them off the canal banks.
Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania
Known as the Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania, the Hoia-Baciu Forest of Romania is filled with spooky and strange shaped trees that add to the eerie atmosphere of the forest. However, the trees are not the reason this forest is considered haunted. In 1968, a visitor photographed something that appears to be a UFO hovering over the forest. Since then, the forest gained a reputation for paranormal activity. Many people believe that, in the forest, there is a portal that makes visitors disappear.