From the UK to Indonesia: Trips that give you a shiver down your spine
If Halloween is on your list of celebrations not to be missed, nothing better than a trip to a scary destination. These haunted places are great travel destinations.
For those who like horror, this can be one of the ideal destinations. Tonopah has one of the darkest skies in the U.S., making it the perfect atmospheric spot for stargazing, as well as a famous local cemetery, known for its haunted vibes.
If you like to "explore the city", a short detour from Los Angeles and just over an hour and a half from Tonopah will take you to the ghost town of Rhyolite. A city with a short history spanning only 12 years, from 1904 to 1916. Created as part of the Gold Rush era, the city prospered in its early years, but it soon declined after a national recession, which led to the mine closing its doors in 1911. Desolate and mysterious, you can walk among the abandoned buildings, including the train station, warehouse and bank.
Pluckley, Kent, is famously known as the most haunted village in Britain. And it's not just according to the locals, the Guinness Book of Records also officially recognized it in 1989. Conveniently located just a short distance from London, it's a great place for a day trip or a longer stay. Keep an eye out for any supernatural events, as the city is known for spotting one ghost or another. It is worth noting that, in addition to its frightening reputation, paradoxically, it is also known for its picturesque setting and village atmosphere.
To complete the trip to scary places, an hour from London and not far from Pluckley, you will find the haunted New Tavern Fort in Gravesend. It was here that a ghost spotted a Victorian soldier in 1992. The witness was fully convinced that the apparition was a spirit from earlier times, adding to the region's mysticism.
Another stop to consider is Rochester Castle, which was featured in the book "Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland", by Richard Jones. Steeped in history and located just a 20-minute drive from Fort New Tavern and 40 minutes from Pluckley, legend has it that the White Lady of Rochester Castle still roams the grounds.
Cluj-Napoca is the unofficial capital of Transylvania and is a place of choice for anyone after an authentic haunted experience in the forest. Home to one of the scariest forests in the world, the Hoia Forest is a 30-minute drive from Cluj-Napoca.
There are many stories of ghosts and spirits residing in the Hoia Forest, as well as occasional extraterrestrial observations. Many visitors to the forest comment on the peculiar and interestingly shaped trees, which are crooked and thin, just like the ones we have seen in many horror films. Even if you don't have a third degree meeting, you will also be rewarded with stunning views in one of the most photogenic forests in all of Europe.
If you can't think of visiting Romania without a Gothic-inspired experience in Dracula, Bran Castle is a four and a half hour drive from Cluj-Napoca. Famous as inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula novel, this imposing clifftop castle was the official residence of the Romanian royal family for centuries and a wonderful example of Gothic architecture.
Bhangarh Fort (pictured in this article) is not for the faint of heart. Built in 1573 and known as the most haunted place in India, the Fort is now abandoned, except for a few wild monkeys. Surrounded by thorny shrubs and an arid landscape, this is a great place to take a dip and imagine yourself in what was once a thriving community.
Folklore says the fort was cursed to remain homeless forever - any roofs built eventually collapsed. There are also many stories surrounding Princess Ratnavati, who was known for her beauty and charm, but was also cursed. The inhabitants of the region strongly believe in the past tales that surround the Fort. Admission is free and the best time to visit the Fort is between September and February.
To extend your haunted stay in the region, a 30-minute drive from the Fort is the Ajabgarh Fort - similar to Bhangarh, as it is also considered cursed and has been abandoned. Residents fled the Fort after numerous ghostly apparitions and strange events. People have started to return to nearby areas, but the Fort itself remains eerily empty.
Costa Rica, known for its rich and diverse ecosystem, is not a country that is usually associated with ghosts. Carthage, a 45-minute drive from the capital, San Jose, is no different, as its natural beauty is known, but it has a special touch. Carthage is home to two fascinating scary sites, one of which is an abandoned hospital, hidden discreetly within the lush landscape. El Sanatorio Duran was built in the 1920s to treat tuberculosis patients and has been disabled since the 1960s. In recent years, the hospital has opened to tourists interested in the macabre history of the site. The entrance fee is just 2 dollars and visitors are practically left to their own devices to freely explore the site.
When it comes to scary caves / caves, Belize is the winner. Actun Tunichil Muknal, also known as ATM, is the "most sacred cave in the world" and lives up to its reputation as a very special place, with a history that goes back more than 1,000 years, but only opened to the public since 1998.
Located in the Cayo district, this cave is a Mayan archaeological site with several remains of skeletons located within its chambers (human sacrifices were common during Mayan times). In particular, interest and intrigue surround "The Crystal Maiden" - a young woman who was offered as a sacrifice to the Mayan gods. Over the years, his skeleton has calcified, leaving a sparkling and shiny effect, enough to give chills to anyone.
Located at the bottom of the rainforest, it is not an easily accessible cave. From the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve and with an expert guide, it is an hour's walk through shallow rivers and jungle terrain. At this point, visitors will need to roll up their sleeves and swim for just over 800 meters before entering the cave.
Lawang Sewu is no stranger to paranormal activity. Originally built in 1904 as the headquarters of the Dutch East India Railway Company, the large European-style building in Semarang, Central Java, is widely recognized among locals as a favorite meeting place for ghosts. For a time, Lawang Sewu was used as a prison by the Japanese, where executions were carried out in the basement.
Desa Wisata Lembah Kalipancur, a 30-minute drive from Lawang Sewu, is an interesting village, created especially for curious travelers. One of the highlights is an abandoned plane.
Overall, Central Java is a great area to explore by car. Relatively close is Ambarawa, a quiet lakefront town, or Bandungan, which has a cooler climate and beautiful mountain views.