If you’re looking to scare yourself half to death this Halloween, why not book a holiday to one of the spookiest travel destinations around? From fright nights to ghostly places, the globe is filled with spine-tingling locations that’ll leave you sleeping with the lights on. So if you’re all about the jeepers creepers, read on for the spookiest travel destinations around.
The Island of the Dolls 🇲🇽
Fans of Chucky should book their tickets to Mexico City and head beyond the canals of Xochimilco to Isla de Las Munecas. That means “the Island of Dolls” in English, and it features old dolls with missing limbs and eye sockets. Oh, and they’re hanging from trees and buildings, just to add to the spooky vibe. So how did this little doll-filled area come to be? Rumour has it that a caretaker hung up a little girl’s dolls after she drowned near the island. Since then, a collection of dolls was added, with the locals suggesting they’re possessed by the girl’s spirit and even speak to each other.
Banff Springs Hotel 🇨🇦
The Banff Springs Hotel is owned by the Fairmont chain and is known as a luxury stop off for Canadian train travellers on their journey. So far, so good. Nothing spooky of note here. The local area, “The Castle in the Rockies”, has even become a popular tourist destination in the region’s scenic landscape. So, where does the paranormal activity come into play? Well, many guests have reported signings of a bride falling down a staircase and breaking her neck after her dress caught fire. WTH! And if that wasn’t enough, apparently, the ghost of former bellman Sam Macauley has been helping guests to their rooms, unlocking the door and turning the lights but vanishing when guys try to tip him. Ok, that doesn’t sound that scary and is actually quite convenient if it saves you a Canadian dollar or two.
You can’t have a list of the scariest travel destinations without featuring Transylvania. After all, it’s the home of Mr Batman himself, the one, the only, Count Dracula. The Transylvanian castles tread a fine line between the reality of real-life prince Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker’s legendary but also fictional vampire who is supposed to be based on said prince. Bran Castle is the one known as the home of Drac and hosts a yearly Halloween party. So even if Dracula doesn’t come to life, at least you’ll still get to party the night away.
Japan Suicide Forest 🇯🇵
Located near Mount Fuji, Aokigahara Forest is one of the world’s most notorious suicide places and is associated mainly with the home of the dead in Japanese mythology. Japan itself is known for having a suicide problem, with rates going up for the first time in 10 years in 2020 after a period of stabilisation. Signs at the entrance of Aokigahara Forest even warn those who are suicidal to seek help, with regular patrols exploring the forest for bodies. Despite its reputation, the forest is still a popular tourist destination, mostly thanks to its lush greenery known as the Sea of Trees.
Hill of Crosses 🇱🇹
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see anything else like the Hill of Crosses in your lifetime. Located on a small hill in Siauliai, Lithuania, it features a collection of over 200,000 wooden crosses that were initially started as an act of rebellion in 1831 against the Russian uprising. You see, Soviet Russia forbade religion, but after Lithuania’s independence in 1992, the area became a holy site for many Christian pilgrims. Even though its roots aren’t necessarily that scary, you only need to take one look at all those crosses in the same location to get the shivers. Your average church, this is not.
That’s right, one of the most famous and popular cities in the world is also one of the spookiest. From Jack the Ripper to beheadings, there’s a long line of violent and eerie history in the UK’s capital. You could essentially turn your entire visit into paranormal activity, whether you’re on a Jack the Ripper tour through Whitechapel or wandering the Tower of London, which was a place of regular royal beheadings in the olden days. Legend has it that Henry VIII’s wife Anne Boleyn’s spirit still roams the grounds.
Snake Island 🇧🇷
Head to Snake Island, a rocky outcrop in Brazil that also happens to be the home of between 2,000 and 4,000 golden lancehead pit vipers, also known as slithy snakes. The island’s official name is Ilha da Queimada Grande, and it’s closed to visitors for their own safety as well as to preserve the snake population. Think snakes on a plane, but instead, they roam an entire island.
Hanging Coffins 🇵🇭
On your next trip to the Philippines, why not search for the ancient burial practice ground used by the Igorot tribe of Mountain Province? Coffins are nailed or tied to the sides of cliffs, with the corpse buried in the foetal position to indicate they left the world in the same way they joined it. Many years ago, savages from different tribes would hunt for heads and take them home as a trophy to show off. So yeah, this place is pretty much terrifying on every level.
Sleepy Hollow 🇺🇸
The Headless Horseman rides over the bridge near the Old Dutch Church, looking for his lost head. That’s the legend of Sleepy Hollow from Washington Irving’s classic tale, based on a section of Tarrytown, New York. Every Halloween, the town turns up the spook-o-meter to 11, with the church’s burial ground revealing the final resting place for people who inspired the story. There’s plenty of other creepy goings-on too.
Spookiest travel destinations
What goes bump in the night? That’s a question you’ll be asking yourself at any one of the destinations on our list. If you live for the fright or are brave enough, book yourself a holiday at one of the spookiest destinations in the world and see if you’ve got the nerve to spend some time in the scariest places on earth.