HALLOWEEN is nearly upon us and if you are a fan of the spooky season there are plenty of places you can visit to give your next trip a ghoulish edge.
Usually, one considers Europe to be a place of sun-drenched beaches, historical cities, and quaint towns, but 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, here are the top ten most haunted places in Europe, as compiled by the teams at Big 7 Travel and EnjoyTravel.Com.
From visiting the City of 1000 Ghosts to exploring Edinburgh's underground world of vaults and passageways, this list will guarantee sightseeing thrills, if not spine-tingling chills.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and breakfast, so ghost-hunting daredevils can stay amidst the creeping footsteps, rocking chairs, screams through the night, and endless ghost stories.
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 Tower of London.
The former royal residence and prison have seen many executions, including that of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey.
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.
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.
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?
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.