Hallows’ Eve is right around the corner, are you ready to discover the 13 Spookiest Destinations to Celebrate Halloween in Europe this year? I’m not talking about locations for tacky children's parties, games of bobbing for apples, or trick-or-treating. Although the thought of those old style Halloween traditions brings me back to my childhood, it’s time to move onwards and highlight some far spookier shenanigans to get you in the Halloween mood. Spooky is not a word I take lightly, and neither are the real fears you'll feel if you travel to the destinations I’m about to share. How scary are we talking? Well, let me emphasize if you’re a nervous visitor with a bit of a sixth sense prepare to be struck with fear. Some of these destinations may leave you biting your fingernails or reaching for your childhood teddy bear for comfort from the inevitable nightmares.
If you’re easily spooked but also want to get in on the Halloween events, I’ve picked a few top spots just for you. There are some incredible destinations where you too can celebrate at elaborate costume parties or killer themed events.
Best Places to Experience Halloween
Halloween, as we know it today, is believed to have originated in the United States. However, many of the traditions we have adopted, trace their roots throughout Europe. If you want to experience Halloween as the horror movies portray, this October 31st, consider visiting one of the Halloween attractions in Europe. What makes Europe the top spot to take in the Celtic festival? If you’ve been to Europe, you’ll already know. For those who haven’t yet experienced this mystical land, let me tell you, there’s no shortage of spooky natural backdrops here. With ancient castles, medieval histories of torture, and real-life accounts of paranormal activity, fear is real rather than fabricated. The truth is, legends have come to life across Europe. If you’re brave enough, proceed with me towards the terror!
Halloween in Europe
The combination of spooky settings spread across medieval cities and castles, terrible tales and gruesome historical pasts of many of the destinations I’ll cover illustrate why Europe is the best place to celebrate Halloween. From Transylvania to the British Isles and everything in between, take a look through these 13 Spooky Destinations and Halloween Events when planning your European Halloween.
1. Sighisoara, Transylvania
There’s no better place to start than by heading to the birthplace of horror stories and spooky folklore. Transylvania, made famous by its infamous resident Vlad Tepes (also known as Vlad the Impaler or more commonly, Dracula). Romania provides one of the most horrifying backdrops around. Whether you believe the tales or not, a visit to the tiny town of Sighisoara is sure to bring about some uncomfortable sensations.
Every year, the area plays host to what is most likely the best Halloween party in the world!
A ticket to the event invites you into what essentially is a full night live dinner theatre. All guests in attendance become a part of the show for this chilling event. Flex your theatre role-playing muscle by jumping into character and playing out a night of the living dead. The combination of traditional Transylvanian cuisine, mixed with ancient folklore, music, and the spine-chilling venue of the Medieval Citadel of Sighisoara
, makes for a thrilling night.
2. Bran Castle, Transylvania
A visit to Bran castle, the quaint former home of Dracula is truly torture for the mind. There’s no escaping the night once you’ve arrived. The drive back into Bucharest will take roughly 3.5 hours, winding you past beautiful citadels and villages froze in time. Make sure you’ve got a full tank of gas and air in your tires before you make your way back. Generally speaking, the area around Bran Castle is not a place you want to become stranded. However, If dark and deserted places are your favorite hangout, then be our guest and enjoy the night near Bran Castle.
For a truly sensory experience, spend the evening at the Halloween Monster Party,
located in the middle of the woods of Romania. Venturing to this secluded destination is not for the faint of heart. The iconic Romanian fortress, perched on a cliff, is highlighted by the surrounding forest landscape. Every year around Halloween, the haunted tales of the land creep back to life.
3. Derry, Ireland
Derry may not have been on your Halloween party radar but let me tell you, you’d be a fool to pass this city up. If you’re visiting at the end of October, enjoy the array of celebrations taking place. Derry Halloween is one of the largest Halloween festivals in the world
. Starting at the beginning of October with activities and events for the whole family. The month concludes with the main spectaculars including a massive carnival
and fireworks displays
. All across the city, you can find many happenings such as harvest markets, yoga under the moon, the house of horrors, zombie nights, witchery workshops, and several dance parties. I have overlooked Derry in the past; however, I’m definitely making a point of adding it on my Halloween hot spots this year.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
In keeping to the theme of Halloween festivals, I couldn’t compile this list without mentioning Amsterdam Spook’s
event. Held at the Paleis van de Weemoed night theatre, if you're obsessed with Halloween, this is the place for you! A night full of performances, followed by dinner and an elaborate costume party is awaiting you.
Who doesn’t love a dinner party centered around death, right?
Ok, maybe it sounds crazy, but seriously, if you’re spending Halloween in Amsterdam, this is an event to check out. Sink into your senses and allow yourself to be taken through a dark realm, exciting your curiosity and opening up a portal to your imagination.
5. Edinburgh, Scotland
During Halloween, the city of Edinburgh brings life to its dark past. Re-live the horrors of the plague and the days of grave robberies as you take a ghostly tour through the city’s scariest landmarks. Discover the underground chambers of Edinburgh and travel through the tunnels and haunted passageways that once existed under the South Bridge. It may be hard to believe, but in fact, thousands of people once lived in these small confined spaces. Many of those same people also perished there, their souls forever trapped. A walk through the haunted vaults on Halloween is the best way to start your spooky celebration. Wandering below the city is not for everyone. If spirits really spook you, watch out for the apparition of Annie. She is the resident ghost down Mary King’s Close who may decide to sneak up behind you.
If the thought of going underground makes you claustrophobic, don’t worry, you can also enjoy one of the light-hearted events taking place. Fright Fest
, held on Halloween night at ATIK Edinburgh is a great place for anyone who wants to dress up and dance the night away.
On the other hand, those looking for alternative events will thoroughly enjoy the spectacle that is the Samhuinn Fire Festival. Full of fire dancers, acrobats, and drum circles, if you’re looking for unique Halloween destinations in Europe, this is the place to be! Head up to the top of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill to celebrate the pagan festival on Oct 31st, marking the end of the harvest and beginning of winter.
6. Corinaldo, Italy
The medieval town of Corinaldo, South of San Marino plays host to the crazy carnival event known as the ‘The Witches Festival’.
Transforming into a haunted wonderland, the entire town from shops, castles, underground dungeons, and plazas set the stage for the yearly festival. The town may be tiny, but you'd be surprised by the number of events taking place, is quite impressive. With live music, a parade, haunted markets, spooky balls, and fireworks, it’s worth adding to your list of Halloween hot spots.
7. London, UK
Does Jack the Ripper ring a bell? Bet you wouldn’t want to cross paths with the UK’s most infamous serial killer
. The mere thought of the man sends shivers up my spine. Even so, no matter how freaked out something makes us, we somehow crave the fear, which is why on Halloween, we freakishly make tributes to this grisly criminal. With so many spooky sites to explore, Halloween is the perfect time to visit the city. Halloween in London
is full of ghostly attractions, haunted sites, themed dinners, parades, club events, spooky walking tours, and underground dungeon explorations.
If you’re craving paranormal activity, try your luck at The Tower of London. The history of torture and execution that took place here is truly bone-chilling. Legends say, murdered spirits, like Ann Boleyn (the beheaded wife of King Henry Vlll), continue to wander through the building.
8. Venice, Italy
By far one of the most romantic, mysterious, and mystical destinations in Europe. Halloween in Venice is full of enchantment. The permanent esoteric atmosphere etched into the city is quite chilling. Venice
provides the perfect backdrop to enjoy your most sophisticated Halloween
ever. Put on your Venetian mask and stroll the streets silently on your way to the Broken Mirror Halloween Masquerade ball.
9. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one those destinations where whether it be Halloween or not, there’s a mysterious draw to it. It’s not uncommon to lose your way or end up wandering near an entrance to a hidden passageway. Nevertheless, the windy cobblestone maze-like lanes can confuse even the most oriented of folk. When a blanket of fog covers the city, and there’s a chill in the air, you can’t help but feel you need to look behind your back. There's an obvious eeriness hanging in the city. Yes, although stunningly beautiful, Prague holds a dark past and is no stranger to horrific tales. They certainly have their share of legends that will leave you running for the hills.
If the sensation of walking through the city on a late night doesn’t creep you out, test your nerves with a visit to one of the sites of a spooky legend. Pass by the Daliborka Tower
, named after one of the talented prisoners who was executed there. If you listen carefully, you may even hear his violin notes ringing throughout the building. To close the night, head over to the largest Halloween party in the Czech Republic
, ‘Bloody Sexy Halloween’.
Welcoming over 5000 guests yearly, the massive themed party which includes a DJ, Pyrotechnics, and plenty of performances is one you don’t want to miss!
10. Meath, Ireland
Ireland is an incredible destination throughout the year, however, during Halloween, the mood changes. The past comes alive at the ‘Spirit of Meath’ festival.
The modern-day Halloween celebrations hold their roots in the 2,000-year-old Celtic festival called Samhain. As a result, many people believe Halloween began in Meath. It's true, the destination itself is not overly spooky. However, if you’ve ever visited Ireland, then you know that on most days, the gloomy weather casts a mysterious shadow across the land. This atmosphere provides the perfect setting for a visit to Meath during Halloween. Throughout the entire month, Ireland’s largest Halloween festival
is in full swing, offering an equal balance between festival fun and terrifying night events. Explore the haunted sites or take part in a graveyard tour or two. Let your mind run wild with the spooky tales that await you.
Had your fill of official Halloween festivities?
If Halloween parties aren’t your thing, don’t worry, I've got a few more horrific destinations up my sleeve. For some seriously creepy spots to scare your socks off, take a look at these last three thrillers in the bunch.
11. Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy
Containing the world’s largest collections of well-dressed mummies. There’s no escaping the afterlife within the Catacombs of Palermo. If you’re brave enough, enter to experience the overwhelming sensation of death in the air.
12. North Ossetia, Russia
North Ossetia is literally a city of the dead. From afar, one would perceive the village perched between the hilly landscape as being occupied. The residents who inhabit this place are still here, yet the area lies completely deserted. It’s a chilling image; the ‘homes’ are actually tombs. Those buried inside are the family members of the residents. If your curiosity has peaked, take a trip to the deserted Russian valley to see for yourself.
13. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania
Are you looking for a genuine scare? Think along the likes of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ or ‘The Ring’, I've got the place for you that’s perfectly horrifying. A trip to the Hoia-Baciu forest near Cluj Napoca is without a doubt downright terrifying. It's not uncommon to hear of ghostly observances, UFO sightings, and unexplained occurrences. If you're feeling fearless, why not take a walk through the forest of Hoia-Baciu, but be sure you know the way back.