5 Creepy Spots to Spend Halloween in Europe
If you’re spending Halloween in Europe, you don’t need to miss out on the excitement and festivities you’re used to back home. Many European cities take Halloween very seriously. In fact, the continent is packed full of creepy locations perfect for celebrating this annual event.
Halloween in Europe:
The Catacombs | Paris, France
You may think of Paris as the glittering city of light. But not many tourists know there’s a dark and sordid history lying below their very feet. Up until the late 1800s, six million Parisians were dug up from cemeteries around the city and moved to the Catacombs of Paris. And we’re not talking altogether tasteful catacombs here either. Whoever designed these underground sites was definitely out to put a chill through the body of the living visitors. It’s the ultimate setting for Halloween in Europe.
Insider tip: You’ll have to descend more than 100 steps and walk more than a mile beneath the surface. Dress accordingly.
Where to find it: 1, Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy.
More information: www.catacombes.paris.fr
Labyrinth beneath Buda Castle | Budapest, Hungary
Buda Castle is one of Budapest’s most popular tourist attractions, thanks to the beautiful architecture and stunning views over the magnificent Danube below. But there’s a dark, winding labyrinth of tunnels through the heart of this hill. It’s perfect for raising the hairs on the back of your neck. Over the years the Labyrinth has hosted several tours and special events, including a slightly terrifying Dracula tour, but these days it’s closed more often than it is open. Still, some people seem to find a way into at least part of these dark and mysterious tunnels, particularly around Halloween.
Insider tip: If the labyrinth is under construction, you can still explore part of these fascinating tunnels by going on a tour of the Hospital in the Rock. It’s creepy in its own way.
Where to find it: 1014, Úri u. 9, 1014 Ungheria.
More information: www.labirintus.com
Hoia-Baciu Forest | Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Avoid the rush of horror tourists to Bran Castle and head for the truly spooky Romanian destination of Hoia-Baciu Forest. You’ll find these thoroughly chilling forests in the country’s second most populous city, but venture into these bizarrely unnerving forests and you’ll feel very alone. Legends report sightings of UFOs, ghosts, and other haunted horrors. Even if you’re a non-believer, all you’ll need to get your pulse racing is for a light fog to move in between the silent trees.
Insider tip: Get yourself in the mood by reading about some of the UFO sightings before going on this rather simple (but strangely unnerving) website: ufologie.patrickgross.org.
Where to find it: You’ll find the forest to the west of the city.
More information: hoiabaciuforest.com
The Hallstatt Bone House | Hallstatt, Austria
The beautiful town of Hallstatt may seem very far removed from a typical horror story, but a truly creepy encounter is actually waiting for you in the nearby hills. The Hallstatt Bone House is hidden in the cemetery of St. Michael’s Chapel. It’s packed to the rafters with hundreds of human skulls, many of which are hand-painted. Though not necessarily intended to be one of the creepiest destinations in Europe, the presence of these skulls seems to hang heavy in the air around the chapel. It’s perfect for a those in need of a bone-chilling experience.
Insider tip: You can reach Hallstatt easily by train from Salzburg. Catch the train to Attnang-Puchheim, and then change to a train headed to Hallstatt just 25 minutes away.
Where to find it: Kirchenweg 40, Hallstatt.
More information: www.hallstatt.net
Sedlec Ossuary | Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
Keeping on the theme of human bones, Kutna Hora’s Sedlec Ossuary, or Bone House, is another unnerving location to visit. This small town is just over an hour east of the Czech Republic capital of Prague. While it may look a little underwhelming from the outside, once you step through the doors you’ll be transported to another world. Inside are the skeletons of more than 40,000 plague victims. They’re arranged in a creepily artistic fashion, and crammed into all corners of the small church.
Insider tip: The town is an easy day trip away from Prague. Many people make the 1-hour train journey simply to experience this unique church.
Where to find it: Zámecká, 284 03 Kutná Hora.
More information: www.ossuary.eu
The Crypt of Santa Maria | Rome, Italy
Most people visit Rome for the fascinating history and impressive monuments. But a handful of people go for an altogether more disturbing reason – to test their mettle in the eerie crypt beneath the Church of Our Lady of the Conception. There you’ll find the remains of thousands of dead friars arranged morbidly into various displays. It’s enough to have many visitors retreating back to the more palatable attractions above ground.
Insider tip: If you’re seeking true shock factor, look out for the crypt of pelvises.
Where to find it: Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, Roma.
More information: www.cappucciniviaveneto.it
These locations are full of chilling history and intriguing backstories. But if all you’re after is a good old Halloween party, you’ll probably find it in most European cities. It’s unsurprisingly a pretty big holiday throughout the continent, particularly in the more touristic centers. And if you happen to find yourself in any of these towns at other times of the year on a Eurail journey, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stop in to test your tolerance for the macabre anyway. Enjoy Halloween in Europe – if you dare.