Visit the Top 5 Most Haunted Places in Europe, If You Dare

Eerie histories make these landmarks too spooky for most.

A European vacation can be filled with any number of great attractions, from high-end dining to fairytale castles to bespoke tours that take in the continent’s expansive history. But there’s also a spookier side to Europe — and we’re not talking about the fear that can strike when your phone is on low battery and your portable charger is nowhere to be found (though, admittedly, that’s scary too). In Europe's most haunted places, eerie spirits lurk around historic destinations, waiting for curious visitors.

Regardless of whether you believe in ghosts, there’s no denying the creepy sensation you get when you step into France's Château de Brissac, the eternal home of a woman murdered there centuries ago. And while you’re not likely to catch the plague today (we hope), a visit to Poveglia Island will take you back to the days of the Black Death, when plague-ridden people were shipped there from nearby Venice.

These are five of the most haunted places in Europe if you dare to check them out.

Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny Ghost River winding through town
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This Irish city has a storied past filled with tragic events that allegedly left behind spirits visitors still witness today. Kilkenny, located about 80 miles from Dublin, was the site of Ireland’s first witch trial. Dame Alice Kyteler, accused in 1324, ultimately escaped, leading her maid, Petronilla de Midia, to be charged as a witch in her place.

Another tragedy struck in 1763, when 16 people drowned in the river after a bridge collapsed during a flood. Today, people report seeing creepy figures in the River Nore that rise above the mist in the early morning.

Poveglia Island, Italy

Wrought iron bed frames in an abandoned room
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Just off the coast of glittering Venice sits the small island of Poveglia, which is nothing like it’s touristy neighbor. This haunted island was once a home for people dying from the bubonic plague, and it later housed a mental institution in the early 1900s. In the 1930s, rumors persisted that a doctor performed experiments on patients on the island. Now, the island is abandoned, but some of the local tour companies—Classic Boats Venice, Venice Tour By Boat—go there.

Château de Brissac, France

Tower of London lit up under purple moody sky
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This hauntingly beautiful castle with its gold-leaf ceilings and opulent furniture hides a dark secret. Legend has it the castle saw a double murder during the 15th century — an unfaithful wife by the name of Charlotte de Breze and her romantic partner killed by her husband. The woman still wanders the castle today, forever stuck there after her untimely death. She is known as la Dame Verte, the Green Lady, because she dons a green gown, often spotted in the tower room of the chapel.

The Tower of London, England

Akershus Festning lit up at night, reflecting in water below
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This iconic tower’s bloody history is no stranger to ghost stories. First built in the 11th century to defend royal power, it has been used as a prison and execution site. Henry VI was allegedly killed at the tower during the Wars of the Roses, as were three queens: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Jane Grey. Today, Anne Boleyn's ghost is said to walk the Tower Green, the site of her own execution, and Arbella Stuart — Queen Elizabeth I’s cousin who was arrested for marrying without royal permission — is rumored to haunt the Queen’s House. Nonetheless, more than 3 million people visit the tower each year to admire the Crown Jewels and confront the ghost stories.

Akershus Festning, Norway

Gravel drive leading to Chateau Miranda under ominous clouds
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This medieval castle was completed around 1300, and it has been the site of a prison (which closed in 1950) and several sieges since. Prison sentences at the castle often involved hard physical labor, and it was known for using irons and chains as a way to discipline prisoners. Rumors persist of whispers and scratching heard along the hallways, and guards have reported weird sensations, like being pushed by someone who wasn't there, while working.

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