Halloween lovers and scary movie fans looking for some real haunted places to visit don’t have to search too far.
All over the world, there are plenty of spooky sites to explore that will send a chill down your spine. From shuttered insane asylums to Renaissance castles with underground dungeons, here are some of the scariest places to visit around the globe.
Step into any of these haunted locations—if you dare—and try not to jump when you hear something go bump in the night.
1: The Whaley House in San Diego, California
Built in the mid-nineteenth century, The Whaley House in San Diego’s Old Town neighborhood was the first brick building in California and served as a granary, city courthouse, theater, and general store.
Today, it’s a historic house museum that attracts visitors from all over the country who want to admire the house’s Greek Revival architecture or experience the hauntings that have long been rumored to take place within the centuries-old home in San Diego.
The brick house was built on top of the execution site of the thief Yankee Jim Robinson, who supposedly has been haunting the Whaley family ever since they moved in back in 1857. The Whaleys later suffered their own tragedies, including the death of their 18-month-old son, Thomas, who died of scarlet fever, and the suicide of their younger daughter Violet, who was jilted by her conman husband.
For decades, residents and visitors of The Whaley House have reported hearing strange sounds, such as heavy footsteps and a baby’s cry, while others swear they’ve seen a young woman walking around the second floor of the house. It’s no surprise that The Whaley House has twice been deemed the most haunted house in the United States.
2: Alcatraz in San Francisco, California
Located a few miles off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz is perhaps the most infamous prison in American history. The maximum-security penitentiary system was initially built in the nineteenth-century to house war criminals.
Later, in the early 1930s, it was converted into a federal prison, where the worst felons in the country were sent to do their time. (Famous Alcatraz inmates include Al Capone and Robert “Birdman” Stroud.)
Throughout its years of operation, tales of torture and abuse plagued Alcatraz, and it became known as the one prison where no one was ever able to escape alive.
Even before Alcatraz closed in 1963, guards had already reported hearing strange noises and witnessing supernatural sights in the middle of the night. Since then, visitors and rangers have continued to claim the prison is haunted by the spirits of former inmates, including Capone, who’s banjo music has been heard coming from the shower where he used to play.
Today, visitors can experience the eeriness of Alcatraz by taking a tour of its facilities and stepping into one of the prison’s solitary confinement cells, which inexplicably remain freezing cold, even during the warm summer months.
3: New Orleans, Louisiana
With a spooky history full of voodoo queens, vampires, pirates, and witches, New Orleans has more than earned its title as the most haunted city in the United States.
While some travelers might prefer to take in a jazz show or sample the city’s famous beignets, there are also plenty of tours and haunted places to visit to keep supernatural hunters busy for days.
Take a walking tour around the French Quarter and visit famous haunted houses, including the Lafitte Guest House, which is haunted by the spirit of a young girl who died of yellow fever; and the Old Absinthe House, where the ghost of Andrew Jackson is said to visit from time to time.
If you’re feeling extra brave, stop by the LaLaurie mansion, a grand house with a grisly history of torture, or the St. Louis Cemetery, a 250-year-old graveyard, where Marie Laveau, a.k.a. the Voodoo Queen, was laid to rest.
4: The Unitarian Graveyard in Charleston, South Carolina
A haunted tour of the ghosts of Charleston always includes a stop in the Unitarian Graveyard, one of the oldest cemeteries in Charleston and one of the spookiest places in the South Carolina city.
Overgrown with weeds and plants, the Unitarian Graveyard is reportedly haunted by a lady in a white wedding dress who walks amongst the crumbling tombstones and graves at night. Many believe the apparition is the spirit of Anna Ravenel, the woman who is said to have inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s heartbreaking last poem, “Annabel Lee,” about a young woman who died before getting married to the love of her life.
5: Bar Harbor, Maine
Pirate shipwrecks, Indian burial sites, and unsolved murders all play a part in the spooky past of Bar Habor, Maine.
Take a red cloak tour and walk around the town’s Old Burial Ground, go inside the haunted Art Deco Criterion Theatre, and try not to cover your ears as you hear scary Wabanaki indigenous tales that will keep more than one tourist up all night.
6: Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Several high-profile Argentines are buried in Buenos Aires’s baroque Recoleta Cemetery, including Eva Peron and Isabel Walewski Colonna, who was the illegitimate grandchild of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Perhaps the most famous inhabitant of the Recoleta in Buenos Aires is Rufina Cambaceres, a 19-year-old socialite who was accidentally buried alive there in 1902. The day after her funeral, a graveyard worker found her coffin’s lid was broken.
When he opened the casket, he found markings on the inside of the lid and Rufina’s face and hands badly bruised. They later concluded the young woman hadn’t initially died but suffered from catalepsy, a condition that can mimic death, and after awakening inside a coffin had died trying to climb out.
Her family built a large Art Deco stone statue in the cemetery in her honor, and since then many visitors have claimed to have seen Rufina wandering around the graveyard.
7: The Eden Brown Estate in St. Kitts
During a trip to St. Kitts, take a short ferry ride over to its sister island, Nevis, and visit a haunted former sugar plantation that now lies in ruins.
The Eden Brown Estate was once owned by a wealthy businessman who planned to gift the plantation to his daughter, Julia Huggins, and her fiancé after they married. However, tragedy ensued on the day of the wedding, when a mysterious duel took place between the groom and his best man and both were killed.
Julia Huggins never married or recovered from his death and lived the rest of her life as a recluse on the estate. To this day, locals claim they can still feel her sad spirit roaming the property, making it one of the most haunted places to visit in the Caribbean.
8: Rose Hall Plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica
This eighteenth-century Georgian-style mansion in Montego Bay is home to Jamaica’s most famous ghost: The White Witch.
According to the urban legend, after Annie Palmer’s parents died of yellow fever, she was raised by a Haitian nanny who taught her witchcraft and voodoo spells. She later married and killed three husbands, and was buried in a tomb in Rose Hall.
A voodoo ritual was performed in order to keep her wicked spirit from ever leaving the tomb, but instead it backfired and kept her ghost trapped inside the mansion forever.
9: Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, Canada
Visit a haunted hotel by stopping in the Fairmont’s Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, where two ghosts have reportedly never checked out.
Be on the lookout for a woman in a white nightgown who likes to pay guests a visit while they’re sleeping, or the 17th-century governor of New France, Louis de Buade de Frontenac, who died there before marrying his fiancée and spends the evenings looking for her in the halls of the hotel.
10: Dublin, Ireland
Much like New Orleans, Dublin, Ireland has a rich haunted history that spans back centuries.
If you’re looking to find some paranormal activity there, you can start by heading to Malahide Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest castles and among the best medieval castles in Europe. It is said to be haunted by at least five ghosts, including a court jester and a mysterious lady in white.
In the eerie crypt in St. Michan’s Church, tourists have reportedly heard weird voices and even felt cold fingers caressing the back of their necks.
If you want to get a drink while getting spooked, make sure to stop by Dublin’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head, where rebel leader Robert Emmet, who was hanged nearby, is supposedly spotted from time to time; or The Grave Diggers pub, located next to Glasnevin Cemetery, where a resident ghost dressed in tweed has a regular spot at the bar.
11: Mystery Island, Vanuatu
When you first step foot on Mystery Island, a tiny idyllic island in the South Pacific full of crystalline beaches and gorgeous scenery, you might wonder why this slice of paradise remains uninhabited to this day.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the locals from the nearby island of Aneityum don’t like to stay on Mystery Island after the sun goes down.
The reason? They believe the island is haunted by spirits that only come out at night. Unsurprisingly, cruise ships and tourist boats don’t stay after the sun goes down either.
12: The Wall of Tears in Isabel Island, Galapagos
While the Galapagos is known for its abundant flora and fauna, the eco-destination also has a spooky site with a dark history on one of its islands.
Located in the town of Puerto Villamil on Isabel Island, The Wall of Tears is a 300-foot-long barrier made of volcanic rocks built between 1944 and 1959. Back then, the small Galapagos island housed several criminals who were forced to build this seemingly interminable wall as part of their sentence.
The torturous forced labor resulted in the deaths of many of these criminals, and locals say they can still hear their desperate cries at the unfinished wall from time to time.
13: Voergaard Castle in Denmark
This striking Danish Renaissance castle, with an equally impressive art collection inside, is one of the scariest places to visit in Scandinavia. Legend has it that Ingeborg Skeel, the owner of Voergaard Castle in 1578, still haunts the grounds to this day.
A noblewoman who lived alone, Skeel was accused of several terrible things including being a witch, killing the architect of the castle by throwing him into a moat, and chopping off the hands of one of her farmhands. People were reportedly so scared of her that a priest was even summoned to perform an exorcism at the castle after her death.
While none of these stories can be confirmed, a look at the castle’s grisly underground dungeon, which has no light, ventilation, or enough space for a grown man to sit or stand, is proof enough that something sinister was going on inside Voergaard Castle in Denmark.
14: The Paris Catacombs in Paris, France
If you’re in the mood for a little darkness while visiting the City of Light, then head to the famous Paris Catacombs, where skulls and bones line the walls of a centuries-old tunnel. With around six million corpses buried inside, there are plenty of urban legends and ghost stories lurking in the skeletal maze.
While the catacombs span almost 200 miles long, only about a mile of the tunnels is open to the public. And yet, that hasn’t stopped others from trying to enter the closed-off areas of the catacombs through its many secret entrances hidden around Paris.
15: Bedlam Point in Sydney, Australia
While Sydney has many spooky places, its first psychiatric hospital, Gladesville Mental Hospital in Bedlam Point, remains by far one of the most haunted places to visit.
Open from 1838 to 1997, this insane asylum reportedly performed numerous violations on its patients including shock treatments, burnings, and overcrowding. It eventually closed in 1997, but conditions were supposedly so abhorrent that over 1,200 bodies ended up buried in a mass grave underneath the hospital.
Plan Your Next Cruise to Visit These Haunted Places
If you’re not afraid of the dark and are looking for some of the scariest places to visit around the world, go to Celebrity Cruises and book your next vacation today. Sailing around Europe, Canada, the United States, and more, our ships visit many of the locations of these haunted sites.
Book your next cruise and shore excursion by visiting Celebrity Cruises or contacting your travel agent.