7 of the spookiest destinations around the world

21 October 2019 09:26

Do you dare enter the Catacombs beneath Paris?

Do you dare enter the Catacombs beneath Paris?

Fancy taking your Halloween festivities beyond the usual fancy dress and trick or treating? Perhaps an eerie excursion could be just the ticket.

Check out our list of seven travel-worthy, spooky destinations...

1. Catacombs of Paris, France

Home to the remains of 6 million people, The Catacombs were created to manage Paris' overflowing cemeteries. Expect skull-lined walls and bones arranged in 'decorative' displays 20 metres beneath the city. Rooms are organised by body parts and have been open to the public since 1809. 'Cataphiles' have been known to wander the off-limits sections of the tunnels in search of unchartered thrills.

2. Doll Island, Xochimilco, Mexico

When Don Julián Santana, the owner of a Mexican island, discovered a young girl drowned in a canal, he soon found himself hearing her spirit calling “I want my doll”. Conveniently, a doll was found next to her body and hung from a tree to appease the spirit. Santana spent the next 50 years hanging dolls and their parts around the island in an attempt to quieten the cries, voices and footsteps he would hear. Why not pay Xochimilco a visit and add your very own doll to the collection? If that's your cup of tea...

3. Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada

The Banff Springs Hotel looks every part the luxurious getaway of your dreams. With all the decadence of a Scottish baronial castle set against lush Canadian countryside, it's hard to imagine the horrors that lurk inside. Rumour has it a bride who fell down the stairs and broke her neck after her wedding dress caught fire, can be seen dancing in the ballroom. Staying at the hotel isn't cheap but you get plenty of “Boooo”s for your buck. A former bellman is said to help guests at the hotel dressed in his 1960s uniform and disappears when guests try to tip him or make conversation. Eek!

4. Poveglia Island, Venice, Italy

Be careful your gondola doesn't stray too far off the beaten track to Poveglia Island, the resting ground for 160,000 plague victims. Pits that were once dug as mass graves litter Poveglia to this day. The story, however, doesn't end there. In the late 1800s the island became a site to house the mentally ill, where the head doctor was known for using patients as human guinea pigs. Plagued (pun intended) by guilt he threw himself from the bell tower at the entrance of the island. Locals report that they often hear the bell chiming despite it being removed years ago...

5. The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, England

For those seeking chills closer to home, Gloucestershire's Ancient Ram Inn should work a trick and treat. Dating back to 1145, the Inn is rumoured to have been built on the site of a pagan burial ground. Visitors have reported hearing a baby crying and being thrown up the stairs to the first floor. The quaint inn's feared Bishop's Room is protected by a spirit that's said to have lifted a medium off their feet and pushed them along a corridor. If you're planning on staying don't expect a peaceful night's sleep, as guests have been known to hear the screams of ghosts in the dead of night.

6. The Winchester Mystery House, California, USA

Sarah Winchester suffered the tragedy of her daughter dying from childhood illness. Then a few years later her husband passed away through tuberculosis. The heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune believed her life was cursed. Convinced the ghosts of those killed by her husband's rifles were haunting her, she used her house to fight back. Staircases and doors to nowhere make up the labyrinth home with 160 rooms, 47 stairways and 10,000 windows. Today, several Halloween-themed events take place in the bizarre San Jose home.

7. Frankenstein Castle, Darmstadt, Germany

Visit the building that inspired a young Mary Shelley to pen one of the most famous horror stories in history. Shelley is believed to have learnt the story of alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel, born in the castle in 1673. The original Victor Frankenstein in many ways, the scientist was known to exhume bodies to perform experiments long before Shelley's creation. Stone formations near the castle cause compasses to fail and according to legend, have proven popular for witches on Walpurgis Night. Today, the castle embraces Halloween as it receives floods of international visitors from nearby Frankfurt Airport.

Don't forget your insurance!

If you're a fan of Halloween it can be fun to add a sprinkling of scariness to your sojourn. But you summon the risk of real holiday horrors when you jet off without travel insurance. Get a cheap single trip policy here and travel with peace of mind.