Throughout the world, people tend to plan their trips around the holidays. Yet, when it comes to Halloween, the trend is not so much one of getting away as hiding away. And is it any surprise? After all, this spine-chilling annual event is full of horrors, whether it's on the TV or the terrible costume choices on show at the office party.
This year however, we've decided to turn the tide, mixing travel and terror for a fright night with bite. Following last year's list of Eerie, Creepy and Haunted Historic Sites, the Historvius team has decided to scout some of the scariest places the world has to offer to create a ghoulish guide to the locales you'd love to hate to find yourself in on All Hallows' Eve. So, if you're sick of barricading yourself in your home or fancy something creepier than the local trick or treat, this is the list for you.
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Now here’s a place built for terror. The skeletal remains of a once-mighty bastion, <a href="http://www.historvius.com/corfe-castle-1575/" target="_hplink">Corfe Castle</a> is positioned on a high peak and often finds itself shrouded in the chilling haze of a dense fog, which whips its way around the ruins. Kings were murdered here, prisoners starved to death and bitter sieges played out their deadly game of cat and mouse. Today its eerily beautiful remains are mirrored only by its own grisly history. <BR> <BR> Flickr: davidbunting
One of Mexico’s most famous tourist attractions, the ancient city of <a href="http://www.historvius.com/chichen-itza-25/" target="_hplink">Chichen Itza</a> is believed to have been the site of ritual human sacrifice. And when today’s archaeological site contains monuments with names like “The Wall of Skulls” and “The Well of Sacrifice” you may be forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered onto the set of an Indiana Jones movie. And as we all know, unless you’re a main character in that kind of production, you’re well and truly doomed…<BR> <BR> Flickr: joestump
It doesn’t take a genius to know that a graveyard is a scary place to go on Halloween. However, this is no ordinary graveyard… Instead, <a href="http://www.historvius.com/train-graveyard-1251/" target="_hplink">Bolivia’s train cemetery</a> feels like a reflection of a post-apocalyptic waste land, with the slowly decaying hulks of a multitude of abandoned steam locomotives, dumped when the railways of this part of Bolivia were dismantled. Pitched in the desert, this eerie landscape evokes images of fictionalized post-nuclear conflict. It might not be brimming with bodies or knee-deep in ghouls, but the souls of these dead locomotives are nonetheless chilling in their own muted way. <BR> <BR> Flickr: feserc
It’s easy to forget that there’s more than one type of ghost town – there’s the floating spectre kind (usually accompanied by all sorts of tacky tourist kiosks selling “I survived the [insert ghost town name]” T-Shirts), and the other far more frightening kind. The real ghost towns. Genuine settlements, abandoned entirely with nothing but the memories of their former occupants weaving their way through the ruined remains. Step up <a href="http://www.historvius.com/kayakoy-1765/" target="_hplink">Kayakoy</a>, in Turkey, the most real ghost town you’ll ever encounter. Hundreds of abandoned houses, public buildings and even churches, vacated during the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_exchange_between_Greece_and_Turkey" target="_hplink">Greco-Turkish population exchange</a>. It’s harder to find a more genuinely eerie ghost town on the whole planet. <BR> <BR> Flickr: samurai_dave
No matter when you pay a visit to this Second World War relic it’s going to be scary. A seven story concrete monster, this <a href="http://www.historvius.com/the-berlin-flak-tower-472/" target="_hplink">WW2 German air-raid shelter</a> was built under Hitler’s orders to protect Berlin from aerial attacks during the war. Today tours are provided by the <a href="http://berliner-unterwelten.de/tour-2.14.1.html" target="_hplink">Berlin Underground Association</a>, but you’ve got to have pretty steady nerves to want to explore this dark labyrinth of decaying corridors and pitch black passageways. To add to the Halloween feel, this wartime remnant is home to everyone’s favorite Halloween critter, good old fashioned bats... <BR> <BR> Flickr: loranger
If vast, abandoned, looming megaliths leave you unsettled then <a href="http://www.historvius.com/teotihuacan-168/ " target="_hplink">Teotihuacan’s</a> not for you. Literally meaning “the place where the gods were created” this ancient city is surrounded by myth and legend. Further adding to the unsettling feel is the belief that the inhabitants practiced widespread human sacrifice; today that theory isn’t helped by the fact that the main thoroughfare has been named the “Avenue of the Dead”. And if Halloween is the <em>day-the-departed-return</em>, you may wish to be elsewhere, as those who return from the depths of Teotihuacan may not be too happy… <BR> <BR> Flickr: schizoform
Coming face-to-face with the Egyptian god of the dead is sure to put a crimp in anyone’s day, but that’s just what you’ll get if you explore the <a href="http://www.historvius.com/catacombs-of-kom-ash-shuqqafa-421/" target="_hplink">Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa</a>, the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt. Consisting of a strange fusion of Egyptian, Greek and Roman funerary decoration, this huge underground burial complex extends 35m down and held as many as 300 graves. Depictions of Anubis guard the inner chambers and, if that’s not enough to unsettle you, try staring into the depths of the shadowy tunnel at the center of the complex, which runs down all the way to the flooded lower levels. <BR> <BR> Flickr: MichaelTyler
Even if you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, the thought of losing your way in an underground maze is enough to turn anyone’s stomach. And if that’s likely to happen anywhere, it’s in Luxembourg’s medieval <a href="http://www.historvius.com/bock-casemates-1396/" target="_hplink">Bock Casemates</a>. Originally built as vast underground fortifications, today there are still almost 17 kilometers of dank tunnels and haunting chambers, much of them open to the public. According to UNESCO, they are the largest surviving underground fortifications in the world – certainly large enough to get lost in, and that thought alone should be enough to discourage any Halloween adventures… Best to go another day, with a guide. <BR> <BR> Flickr: JenXer
An abandoned colonial town with a short yet gruesome history, some believe <a href="http://www.historvius.com/leon-viejo-625/" target="_hplink">Leon Viejo</a> was subjected to a curse after the brutal murder of the Franciscan bishop Antonio Valdivieso - killed for calling for more rights for the indigenous population. His body was later found during excavations of the town, alongside the headless skeleton of the settlement’s founder, Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, who was himself decapitated in the main square in 1526. If these grisly events weren’t enough the city was then struck by an erupting volcano and a hit by a deadly earthquake, forcing its abandonment and lending weight to the belief that this blighted settlement was certainly cursed. <BR> <BR> Wikimedia Commons: HHaefner
Last but not least, how can you possibly list Halloween travel spots without mentioning <a href="http://www.historvius.com/bran-castle-1770/" target="_hplink">Dracula’s Castle</a> itself – said to be Bran Castle in Transylvania. Surely that would be the most terrifying place of all to visit on Halloween? Well, no. In fact, the truth is that Bran Castle has little or nothing to do with the myth of Dracula, and not much connection to the historical figure the Vampiric Count is said to have been based on, Vlad the Impaler. According to their official website, the connection was actually made by tourists in the 1970s, who thought Bran looked as Dracula’s Castle <em>should </em>look. Of course, that doesn’t mean a visit to Bran on Halloween isn’t scary – in fact navigating your way through the lines of pointy-toothed-merchandise peddlers is probably as terrifying a Halloween experience as you’re ever going to get! <BR> <BR> Flickr: Cernavoda
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