Flight and fright: 7 of the most haunted places you can fly to in Europe
When you hear the words “haunted places” even the biggest cynic can agree – there’s something fascinating about the lore and legend of spooky cities you can actually book a flight to.
But if you’ve seen one list of far-flung, obscure and often closed-to-the-public destinations, you’ve seen them all – and most are not accessible without a private jet and an invisibility cloak. Not to fear, we’ve rounded up seven of the most haunted places in Europe you can actually visit – all of which are only a quick flight away. We even have just the place to find your flight (head to KAYAK.co.uk, if you dare).
You hardly need another reason to book a flight to Venice – it had us at its stunning views and friendly locals. While the city may be known for its labyrinth of cobblestone streets, postcard-perfect canals and cosy cafes, there’s another side to this popular holiday spot. So much so that visiting the city’s iconic Bridge of Sighs isn’t the only time you’ll be gasping.
Easily accessible by waterbus, those who are feeling adventurous should head to Palazzo Dario, also known as ‘the house that kills’. It’s hard to think such a haunted building could have frontage somewhere as picturesque as the Grand Canal, but there have been a number of mysterious deaths associated with owners of the property.
If you’re not sufficiently afraid head to Cain degli spiriti (The Casino of the Spirits) located along Fondamenta Gasparo Contarini in Cannaregio. Once a meeting place where artists went to gamble, the stories of this supposedly haunted and yet oh-so-photogenic palace range from religious sects performing demonic rituals to a haunting by the ghost of famous 16th-century painter Luzzo, who committed suicide there.
Finding a quick flight to Paris for a last-minute weekend break is easy to do, and there’s no shortage of ways to while away the hours once you’re there – from museum-hopping to wine-drinking to scoping out grand palaces and sprawling gardens. However, there’s a dark side to the City of Light. In fact, one of its primary attractions is actually one of the most haunted places in the world. The subterranean labyrinths that make up the city’s catacombs are in reality the largest grave in history – the burial place for approximately six million people. Those who wander off often get lost in the maze of tunnels never to be seen again and visitors report seeing apparitions and other strange, hard-to-explain sights and sounds.
If you’re looking to keep the haunt going, head to Chateau de Brissac – a castle that’s haunted history extends back to the 11th century when the owner murdered his wife and her lover. Now, visitors claim to catch sight of the doomed pair wandering the hallways. To get there, catch a train from Montparnasse to Angers and then a bus to the chateau. The trip will take about two hours.
While the first image one thinks of when considering a trip to Transylvania is a pop culture vampire complete with fangs and cape, central Romania has a lot more to offer than fictional tales of bloodlust. In fact, what it lacks in vampires it makes up for with a mix of culture and natural beauty, charming cobblestone streets and views reminiscent of childhood fairytales. But, of course, you should also explore the city’s haunted history while you’re there.
Many top their haunted to-do list with a visit to Bran Castle, which is often referred to as the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula character. In actuality, the character only has loose ties to Vlad the Impaler – or Vlad Dracul – who spent only a couple months in captivity at Bran Castle.
Instead head to Poenari Castle, where Vlad the Impaler visited during his campaigns. It’s there that his wife jumped off a cliff to her death to avoid capture. Strange occurrences have been reported by those staying overnight in the area. While the region is accessible by trains and buses, car hire is your best choice for exploring the area at your own pace.
Catching a quick flight to Lisbon makes for a lively last-minute city break. Visit the city’s oldest district, the Alfama neighbourhood, to wander its maze of pretty streets, listen to Fado music and do some shopping at a local market. But there’s more to Lisbon than idyllic alleys and colourful panoramas. There’s a spooky side to the city some visitors never get to see.
Head to Lisbon’s Beau-Séjour Palace, where one of its previous residents, the Baron of Glória, is said to haunt the hallways and gardens, resulting in objects moving on their own, as well as other strange occurrences, including the sounds of unseen bells ringing.
Or take a day trip from Lisbon to nearby Evora (accessible by train in around two hours) and visit the Chapel of Bones. To offset the overcrowding of area graveyards in the 16th century, monks built a chapel from exhumed bones to make room in the cemeteries. The purpose of the chapel was to illustrate the ephemerality of life, but visiting is not for the faint of heart.
Perhaps known best for the annual autumn revelry that is Oktoberfest, the city’s culinary scene and tasty beer can be experienced year round. Think Bavarian sausage and marinated pork knuckle washed down with locally brewed lager. However, Munich also has something to offer travellers looking for a scare. (And we’re talking bigger frights than waiting in the toilet queue at Oktoberfest).
Head to Wolfsegg Castle, where reports of hauntings date back to the 16th century. Mysterious circumstances surround the death of the owner and his family, and visitors have reported strange phenomena including a woman in white roaming the corridors. To get there, take the train from Munich to Regensburg Hauptbahnhof and then a bus to the castle.
Any trip to Prague is going to include scoping out some of the city’s architecture in a myriad of styles including Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance. Start your exploration with a walk across the Charles Bridge and take in views of the Vltava River before heading on to Prague Castle. While it’s the most iconic site in the area, there’s another castle to check out if you’re hoping to explore the spookier side of the city.
Spend some time at Zvikov Castle, where reports of paranormal activity are a common occurrence. Legend tells of a 16th-century spectre preying on residents of the Markomanka tower, which dates back to the 1st century and later integrated with the castle. According to records, unexplained phenomena continue to take place in the tower, including malfunctioning tech and unusual photographs. Reach the castle by taking a train from Prague to Cimelice. The commute takes about two hours, and you’ll need to take a taxi the last few miles from the train station to the castle.
With centuries of history lending itself to Edinburgh’s storied past, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of supposed haunted happenings on offer. One of the most famous sites on your Scotland to-do list will certainly be Edinburgh Castle, and its history – dating back to the 12th century – includes many a tale of the paranormal. From a headless drummer to spirits of former prisoners, stories of apparitions have been spread. But Edinburgh Castle isn’t the only spot to hit if you’re looking for a glimpse into the city’s haunted history.
The vaults beneath the South Bridge were once a thriving underground city centre home to shops and taverns. However, as the damp airless conditions proved uninhabitable, the area was abandoned and became rife with illicit activity. More than 200 years later, those who visit may experience a sense of unease or bear witness to other unexplained activity. Take a tour and see for yourself.
Follow up your visit (and quell your fear) with a pint at Banshee Labyrinth – a pub half enclosed in these underground vaults. Unexplained happenings, like drinks sliding off tables or being randomly thrown out of nowhere, have been reported and attributed to “the Banshee”.
Ready to go? Search for flights at KAYAK.co.uk if you dare (we’ll be by your side the whole time, we promise) and experience the magic and mystery of some of Europe’s most spine-chilling cities for yourself.