Is exploring abandoned places a good idea this spooky season? What other things to do near me this Halloween? Is visiting mainstream tourist attractions too mundane?
These are probably the things you may ask yourself if you’re one of those who are looking for a new kind of travel thrill this Halloween season. Well, one thing for sure is that exploring abandoned places around the world is a fantastic - eerily so - idea!
There’s something so intriguing about visiting places that no longer welcome the presence of us humans (at least, the living ones!). Maybe it’s the sultry and quiet atmosphere that is so chilling but simultaneously so tranquil. Or maybe it’s the perfectly-ruined-by-time architecture but yet still so uniquely beautiful?
Whatever it is, these top 12 abandoned places worldwide will give you an experience of a lifetime.
- Dowles Graveyard - Bewdley, England
- Yester Castle - East Lothian, Scotland
- Canfranc International Railway Station - Huesca, Spain
- Thuy Tien Lake - Hue, Vietnam
- Nichitsu Ghost Town - Saitama, Japan
- Bokor Hill Station - Preah Monivong National Park, Cambodia
- Centralia - Pennsylvania, USA
- Misnébalam Ghost Town - Yucatán, Mexico
- Hotel Del Salto - Tequendama Falls, Colombia
- Gladesville Mental Hospital - Sydney, Australia
- The South Fremantle Power Station - North Coogee, Australia
- SS Ayrfield - Sydney, Australia
Eerie Sites In Europe For Avid Explorers
The beautiful and majestic Europe is the ideal vacation destination for many. Europe’s long and complex history of economic and political changes leaves many buildings out of function. Instead of being demolished, they are left completely forgotten and abandoned.
Three among them are the Dowles Graveyard in England, Yester Castle in Scotland and Canfranc Station in Spain. Their only friends are time, the ghosts that walk their walls, and the occasional curious and adventurous visitors they have.
Dowles Graveyard - Bewdley, England
We’re starting the list off strong with an iconic spooky season staple - a graveyard. In the woods beside the River Severn, the Dowles Graveyard lies as silent as its eternal residents, waiting for curious visitors.
Dowles Graveyard, also known as St. Bartholomew’s Churchyard, is located in the village of Dowles, which is approximately 6 miles west of the town of Bewdley. The site belonged to the once-magnificent St. Bartholomew’s Church and was used since the medieval period.
Two of the most talked about curiosities of Dowles Graveyard are the mortsafe and the grave of Susan Wowen. The mortsafe - a grave in an iron cage - is one of the last of its kind in England. People said that the grave of Susan Wowen belonged to a powerful and evil witch. Due to their nature, ghost stories surrounding the graves are spine-chilling.
Yester Castle - East Lothian, Scotland
Yester Castle, also known as Gifford Castle, is one of the scariest abandoned castles in Scotland. It was said to have been the home of Sir Hugo de Gifford - a wizard.
One of the many halls in the castle is named the Goblin Hall because of its structure. There’s a long and claustrophobic chamber going deep into the ground in the hall. It was believed that Sir Hugo de Gifford used the hall as a gateway for goblins to enter the residence. Some literature works regarded this unique feature as a scene of hell.
The ruins, set against the backdrop of the Scottish countryside, provide a picturesque and eerily beautiful setting. Now sleeping peacefully in East Lothian, what more hellish secrets does this abandoned castle hold? That’s up to you to find out.
Canfranc International Railway Station - Huesca, Spain
This destination is something out of a sci-fi thriller with an abandoned railway station on top of an underground laboratory, but it’s 100% real. The massive and stylistic train station, when it was still running, used to be the heart of the railway system from France to Spain.
It survived World War II, serving as a secret passageway for Nazis. Then, in 1970, a train crash left it abandoned. Since then, it stands lonely - an empty shell of what it used to be.
That doesn’t mean you can’t visit this masterpiece of a site. Guided tours are available for those who wish. Furthermore, the station has now been renovated as a hotel, so those who love to experience its ambience can spend a night or two here.
Asia’s Abandoned Sites For A Chilling Adventure
With history as impressive as Europe’s, Asia is no stranger to abandoned places. On this beautiful continent, they lie waiting for brave travellers to explore.
Thuy Tien Lake - Hue, Vietnam
Six miles to the Southeast of the city of Hue, there’s an abandoned waterpark called Ho Thuy Tien that has been a well-known spot for bold travellers worldwide.
Went into construction in 2000 with the hopes of opening to the public in 2004, the waterpark failed to live up to expectations. Since then, the aquarium, the lake, the pools and the slides were all left to collect dust and rust.
The most eerie part of Ho Thuy Tien is the dragon statue in the middle of the lake. Over 15 years, it has been covered in moss and dirt, creating a scene out of Hollywood’s scary movie. The stories of hauntings only add to the appeal. Some say it’s hauntingly romantic, but we’ll let you decide that for yourself.
Nichitsu Ghost Town - Saitama, Japan
This ancient mining town has been around since the 1600s. The only difference is that its inhabitants were changed from humans to eerie solitude sometime around the 90s. That leaves the place a frozen, tangible piece of history that you can explore.
Nichitsu is also a magnet for urban explorers and photographers because of its offbeat location. The town is perfectly shielded away from the bustling city life of Saitama. The absence of life perfectly preserves its buildings and houses. There’s something in the air that’s just so peaceful and tranquil despite the scary facade.
Will you find ghosts there like the rumours say? Who knows, but one thing for sure is this ghost town is going to give you an unique experience that is the combination of haunting and historic beauty.
Bokor Hill Station - Preah Monivong National Park, Cambodia
Built in the era of French colonisation as a hill station and then as a resort, Bokor Hill Station is the embodiment of both gorgeous and ghostly beauty.
The decaying glory of this beautiful white resort is the hotel, the church and the casino. The wall paint is chipped off, revealing the red bricks underneath. Floors creak with every step, and windows are just black spaces if you’re looking in from the outside.
Amongst these remains, the most famous attraction is the casino. From its corridor, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and coastline.
Travellers also love the spot for its rich wildlife. If you’re looking for a day hike and wildlife spotting with a creepy abandoned resort as the background, this is the destination for you.
North and South America’s Forsaken Wonders You May Haven't Heard Of
Feel like visiting North or South America this spooky month instead? These are the top abandoned places in America for you to unleash your morbid curiosity.
Centralia - Pennsylvania, USA
This famous ghost town inspired one of the scariest video game series of all time, Silent Hill. Just as Silent Hill is still loved by gamers worldwide, Centralia is loved by curious travellers worldwide.
Its reputation as a ghost town is not the only thing that intrigues people. Beneath the town, in the underground coal mine, a coal fire is still burning. Yes, it has been burning for more than 60 years, and no one even knows how it started.
The eerie landscape and mysterious plumes of smoke are definitely worthy of a visit by brave travellers. But keep in mind that the town is not completely empty. There are still a few remaining residents.
Misnébalam Ghost Town - Yucatán, Mexico
It seems like the more haunted the place seems to be, the more attractive it is to curious travellers. Misnébalam, the famous and only ghost town in Yucatán, is one of those places.
During its golden age, which was around the 1910s, the town was a thriving production spot of henequen, a special plan harvested to make textiles. Then, its dark chapter came in the form of a murder in the following years. Since 2005, it has been declared completely abandoned.
Travellers who love all things mysterious soon found the place to be a perfect place for a scary adventure. But it’s not completely empty of people and activities since some frequently visit the place as an Airsoft battleground.
Apart from that, the town's surrounding area also makes for great hikes. The dry terrains and mild-mannered nature are perfect for walking and sightseeing as-is. Talk about a 2-in-1 spooky trip!
Hotel Del Salto - Tequendama Falls, Colombia
Tequendama Falls is a breathtakingly beautiful waterfall located along the Bogotá River, but opposite this natural wonder is a site that can give your skin goosebumps.
The Hotel Del Salto, perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the waterfall, is covered in moss and rust. Its boarded-up windows only add to the creepiness. Once a luxurious hotel, it is now a relic of the past.
Even though it has been restored into a museum and is open to the public, travellers still find the place quite eerie.
Australia’s Abandoned Grounds To Venture into the Unknown
While being the it spot for the best adventure vacations in the world, Australia still has some scary abandoned places for you to visit this Halloween.
Gladesville Mental Hospital - Sydney, Australia
Formerly known as Tarban Creek Asylum, Gladesville Mental Hospital is definitely one of the spookiest spots on our list. There’s something about “insane asylum” and “abandoned” that just sends chills down your spine.
Some wards in Gladesville are still intact, but others have seen better days. The items left behind are medical equipment and patients’ personal belongings like clothes and children’s toys. Overgrown plants and grass are slowly claiming the place as theirs every day.
A walk through the area can make your spooky season the most unique and memorable of your life.
The South Fremantle Power Station - North Coogee, Australia
This massive structure cannot be missed. Even from miles away, you can still observe its dystopia-like façade. It’s Australia’s famous abandoned South Fremantle Power Station.
The Art Deco building was built in 1951 and closed in 1985. Over 35 years in abandonment, the place is a perfect spot for urban explorers and paranormal activity hunters. People have shared that because of its size and design, exploring from room to room is like a thrilling adventure itself.
There have been talks of renovation, but nothing is concrete yet. For now, it remains a magnet for travellers who seek the creepy vibe.
SS Ayrfield - Sydney, Australia
The wreck site of the SS Ayrfield is a sight to behold in Sydney. Though there’s not much for literal exploration like many others on the list, the SS Ayrfield can still give you an eerie experience.
A lonely and rotting away ship floating on the water with a forest thriving on its deck is a mix of both scenic beauty and unsettling. This 106-year-old ship deserves its title as one of the most scenic wrecks in the world. It's truly a a floating forest in every sense.
Around the area, there are a lot of walking spaces and local establishments for entertainment. This combination of abandonment and living attracts alternative tourists worldwide.
Things To Know Before Exploring Abandoned Places
Abandoned places are intriguing and risky, which is why many people adore this alternative form of tourism. However, these abandoned places are old and decaying. The majority of them are falling apart.
This year they might look one way, but the following year, they might appear completely different. Some of them might not even exist anymore.
This is why you must learn how to stay safe when exploring abandoned places. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Do Thorough Research
Before exploring, gather as much information about the place as you can. If it’s a well-known place, it’s best to learn about it through travel forums and blogs of fellow travellers who have been there before you. They can provide personal advice.
If it’s a new place, then the Internet is your best friend. If you still can’t find much information about it, ask around the local social media, like a Facebook group, TikTok or even Reddit. Most of the time the locals can tell you exactly whether it’s wise to travel there or not.
Doing this will help you identify potential hazards and anticipate any risks. It will also help you with your packing and what to wear.
Prepare For Emergencies
This rule applies to just about any form of travelling, not just exploring abandoned places. You can start by thinking of who to call in case of an emergency. Tell them beforehand where you’re going and who you’re with.
Also, remember to take essential emergency equipment like a first-aid kit, spare batteries, a flashlight, extra water and any medications you need. Even with careful research, these places are always filled with surprises (broken glasses, uneven terrains, etc.), so it’s better to be well-prepared. Better safe than sorry!
Keep your essential emergency equipment with you at all times. If you haven’t already, invest in a good bag for these items, like a waterproof backpack. See our recommendations.
Lastly, it's not even a question: you should always, and we emphasise, always go with someone. It’s safer to explore abandoned places in groups. This can help in an emergency. It also helps to keep potential wrongdoers from making you a target.
Be Cautious Of Your Surroundings
Pay attention to fragile structures like crackling floors, sagging roofs and walls with big cracks. If you must walk near them, don’t put weight on them or make sudden, strong movements like jumping or stomping.
If you have been warned either by locals or other explorers that these places are not safe to go in anymore, take their advice. There are plenty of other safer abandoned places to explore.
Last but not least, respect private property. These abandoned places might be abandoned one day but sold off to someone or some organisation the next day, and some can even be claimed by the government anytime. If that’s the case, then these places are no longer open to the public. Do not trespass.
Enjoy These Top Abandoned Places Around The World
Exploring these top 12 abandoned places around the world is a spookily fun way to spend the Halloween months. If some places on this list interest you (or should we say scare you into going?), don’t forget to leave a like, comment and share with others.
Nguyen Tran Gia Khanh