Like being a little terrified? Here's the definitive guide to getting scared on vacation.
Whether you’re in your own hometown or visiting a far-flung city, there’s nothing like a good ghost story to make you view your surroundings a little differently. The world is filled with spooky spots sure to give you chills even in the middle of summer, and a ghost tour can point them out in all their terrifying detail. While Halloween is prime ghost tour time, a trip through a city’s darkest history can be a fascinating way to explore seldom-seen corners of a new town, way beyond October 31st. Here are seven tours around the world to give you goose bumps during Halloween—or any time of the year.
Related: America’s Coolest Ghost Towns
Market Ghost Tour in Seattle, Washington
Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s biggest tourist destinations, but when you’re done watching the salmon tossing and trying the Chukar Cherries, explore the spookier side of the site on a Market Ghost Tour. Mercedes Yaeger, whose father spent his Halloween nights telling ghost stories in the Market, followed in the family tradition and established the tour in 2004. Starting at Ghost Alley Espresso, the Market Ghost Tour will take amateur ghost hunters on a 75-minute walking tour of some of the most haunted spots in the crowded arcades and alleys below, offering tales of Seattle’s dark history. If you dare, the tour is open to well-behaved children and dogs.
Original Venice Ghosts and Legends Walking Tour in Venice, Italy
Anyone who has gotten lost in the labyrinth of Venice at night knows it can feel downright eerie. Explore the city’s darkest corners on a 90-minute walking tour that takes visitors into Venice’s haunted history. Meet on the Rialto Bridge as darkness descends on the town for the tour that will take you through the city’s hidden cemeteries, along the Calle dei Assassini (Street of the Assassins), and even into a secret passage as the tour guide regales you with tales of Venice’s past.
Doomed, Dead, and Buried Tour in Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh native Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “Only a few inches separate the living from the dead.” That sentiment will ring true on a tour of Edinburgh’s famously haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults and the city’s graveyards where long-dead spirits are said to loiter. If touring a haunted subterranean lair sounds too spooky (even in broad daylight), the Cadies and Witchery Tour may be a better fit. It’s the city’s oldest tour company and they’ve been frightening tourists for two decades with their sinister tales of the Royal Mile’s ghostly goings-on and the infamous murder spree of Burke and Hare.
New Orleans Cemetery Tour in New Orleans
No trip to the Big Easy would be complete without a ghost story or two. Find out all about the city’s haunted history on the New Orleans Ghost Tour. The two-hour walking tour takes supernatural sightseers through New Orleans top haunts, including the Vieux Carré and a haunted bar where you can drink away your fears. There is also a cemetery tour that takes paranormal peepers and history buffs through the eerie St. Louis Cemetery. If cemeteries aren’t scary enough for you, the company also offers vampire tours through the French Quarter, as well as a Voodoo tour that dispels myths about the mysterious religion.
Ghosts and Legends of Old Town in Prague, Czech Republic
Beneath the streets of Prague, hidden away under the Old Town Hall, sits a labyrinth of now-abandoned dungeons and torture chambers. Take a tour of those horrifying underground haunts with only a lamp’s light to comfort you on McGee’s Ghost Tours Underground Walk. As spirit hunters make their way through the creepy corridors, a tour guide recounts the tale of Prague’s most famous prisoners and the executioner who ended their stays in the mortal world. Ghost aficionados who wish to stay aboveground can explore the most haunted corners of the Old Town Square and Prague’s Castle and the city’s history of dark arts, alchemy, and magic.
Harper’s Ferry Ghost Tour in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia
Shirley Dougherty did not believe in ghosts, but she changed her mind after encountering unexplainable paranormal activity at her restaurant. As she sought answers, she researched the history of the building and the town of Harper’s Ferry, eventually collecting her ghost stories in the 1977 book, A Ghostly Tour of Harpers Ferry, and starting a tour of some of the city’s most haunted sites, including her own Old Iron Horse restaurant. Since the town’s Civil War-era ghosts continue to lurk on the city’s streets, the tours continue, combining American history, local lore, and ghost hunting as part of the oldest ghost tour in the States.
Ghostly Sleepover at Quarantine Station in Sydney, Australia
Tucked inside Sydney Harbour National Park is a former quarantine station, where, from 1830 to 1884, immigrants who were suspected of carrying contagious diseases were quarantined. Exhausted from their journey, isolated from their families, and frequently ill without proper care, almost 600 people died inside the walls of the building—and at least some of them never left. Considered to be one of the most haunted places in all of the Australia, Q Station offers a glimpse into the past either through the museum’s photographs and displays or through one of the site’s ghost tours. Options include a lantern-lit ghost encounter tour, a late-night paranormal investigation, and a Ghostly Sleepover sure to test even the bravest soul.