Abandoned places fascinate us. Our imaginations run wild figuring out what creepy things might have happened within crumbling walls, behind broken windows or on mysterious islands. But many abandoned places are only accessible if you’re willing to break the law. And while urban explorers might want to risk it all to get an Instagram pic worth a thousand likes, some of us want to visit abandoned places where we can just pitch up and explore, without getting a criminal record.
So we’ve gathered together some of the world’s best – and definitely creepy, abandoned places you can visit right now. From plane wrecks on beaches to sinister hotels – you’ll want to pack your camera and a bring a buddy along to see this collection of decaying, broken and deserted places for yourselves. Whether you’re clambering around the dilapidated rides in an abandoned Vietnamese theme park or taking a selfie next to some decapitated Soviet statues, your Instagram feed never looked so good. Check out our abandoned places and hit us up in the comments if you’ve explored some creepy deserted places everyone should know about.
15. Explore An Abandoned Plane Wreckage On An Icelandic Beach
This twisted metal wreckage is all that remains of a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane. Crash landing on to Sólheimasandur Beach back in the 70s, it’s become a popular spot for urban explorers and Instagrammers looking for the perfect shot. Though all the crew onboard survived the crash, the black, bleak sands and vast wilderness around the site make this an eerie spot to hang out. Think glaciers, chilly Icelandic winds and not a soul in sight. With few places in the world where you can clamber aboard a wrecked plane, this abandoned aircraft has to be top of your list on a trip to Iceland.
14. Take A Harrowing Tour Around The Twisted Island Of Dolls In Mexico
There is nothing about this abandoned island that doesn’t scream creepy. Sinister dolls hanging in trees, all placed there by a lone man on a weird mission. Don Julian Santana, a former resident of Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) decided to start his weird-a** doll shrine after seeing a doll floating next to a dead girl in a canal on the island. Yep, that right there is the stuff of nightmares my friends. Oh, and the dolls? Yeah, the image of their blank staring eyes, severed limbs, and headless torsos will never leave you. Pro tip: Don’t visit the island at night. Creepy dolls, plus forest, plus darkness equals horror movie.
13. Wander Around Bodie, a Genuine Californian Ghost Town From The Gold Rush Era
This Californian town that was once home to 10,000 people now lies deserted. Though many buildings have succumbed to the Sierra Nevada mountain weather, what’s left of the town is preserved for visitors to explore. Lying in a state of ‘arrested decay’ Bodie houses still have dusty crockery on the tables and belongings strewn inside. Ramshackle buildings lean dangerously to one side and cars sink into the dusty ground. Occasionally open to the public at night for ghost tours, this gold rush town has more than its fair share of paranormal tales. Remember, if you’re tempted to take home a Bodie souvenir, anyone who dares to remove anything may also take home the dreaded “curse of Bodie”.
12. Say Your Prayers Next To These Terrifying Church Ghosts in the Czech Republic
Old churches, abandoned or not, tend to end up on the creepy and fusty end of the spectrum. Creaky wooden pews, cold stone walls and the silent and ever-present air of sinners desperate for redemption never encourages a warm and cosy atmosphere. Add in a few well-placed praying ghost sculptures and winner, winner chicken dinner, this Czech Republic church just tipped the scale from creepy to downright terrifying. Yes, they might be an art installation – but they cut a distinctly sinister vibe. Sitting all huddled up silently praying like that. Oh, and by the way, St. George’s church is cursed. So there’s that. Repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt by wars and fires, the dedicated flock rebuilt it. Visit if you like being scared witless while praying.
11. Have Some Post-Apocalyptic Style Fun In A Vietnamese Abandoned Theme Park
Hồ Thuỷ Tiên, a failed waterpark in Hue, Vietnam, was supposed to flood Hue’s bank with tourism dollar. But the park opened too early and visitors were disappointed. Now abandoned, the theme park sees urban explorers flocking to Hue to sneak into the park for a coveted pic of the majestic three-story-tall dragon. Once home to a beautiful aquarium, the dragon decays among the rest of the park’s equally beautiful buildings. Why is it creepy? Well the whole thing looks like a decaying post-apocalyptic theme park – made all the more disturbing by the fact that there’s a guy there sometimes selling refreshments from a cart. Oh, and did we mention the abandoned crocs? Water in the park was infested with hungry crocs – which apparently have all been re-homed … or have they? Pro tip: There may be a ‘guard’ on the gates, but a friendly chat (and a small tip) will get you access to this eerie place.
10. Tiptoe Amongst Beheaded Soviet Figures In Estonia’s Statue Graveyard
Adding the term graveyard to anything pretty much establishes the creepy right away. When that graveyard is full of huge statues, things start to get even more dark. Huge decapitated figures, toppled men lying on the ground and dismembered bodies don’t get any less disturbing when they are made of cold metal. In Tallinn, Estonia, you can wander freely amongst the iconic statues the country is trying to forget. Ring any bells? Hello Confederate Statue topplers! Back in Estonia, you can stand next to a huge head of Lenin or lay next to some other questionable figures from history. Not sure whether it’s the fact they’ve been casually dumped behind a building or the cold, dead staring eyes, but this place will definitely creep you out.
9. Take A Tour Of London’s Abandoned Underground Stations
Anyone who has ever ridden the subway (or tube) in London knows that it can be a truly disturbing experience. So wandering around the forgotten stations of London’s vast underground rail network is just going to ramp up the creepiness to maximum. These places are jam-packed with history. Tours include the disused station where Winston Churchill held secret war meetings and stations where Londoners hid during the Blitz. Nosing around these desolate urban tunnels is really bizarre when you’re used to lively station platforms and crowded subway cars. Fans of ‘urban decay’ will love seeing a glimpse into these sealed up tunnels, some of which are occasionally used as movie sets.
8. Enjoy The World’s Most Depressing Trip To The Beach At Salton Sea, California
Surrounded by death, decay and toxic water. This is one beach trip where you can definitely leave your swimwear at home. Once a thriving holiday hotspot, Salton Sea formed in the early 1900s: The result of a freak flood which sent millions of gallons of water flowing into an arid lake bed. Over time it became a tourist haven attracting 500,000 visitors a year who came to yacht, swim and play in the ‘desert sea’. Just one problem, by the 1970s the nearby farm land was creating tons of toxic ‘run off’ which ran straight into Salton Sea. Hundreds of thousands of fish died and the sea became a stagnant, pungent soup no one wanted to go near. Still toxic, the beaches aren’t full of sand, but the ground up bones of all the fish that died here. Road trip anyone?
7. Be Thankful You’re Not Locked Up In The Spooky Eastern State Penitentiary
Age has done nothing to change how chilling this abandoned prison in Philadelphia is. Just as terrifying as it would have been in 1829, the crumbling cells, corridors and yards give a glimpse into bleak prison life back in the day. Take a tour of the decaying medical wing, check out all of the solitary cells – every prisoner here was kept alone, or check out Al Capone’s cell. He apparently lived in ‘luxury’ compared to other inmates and had a radio and furniture. They also whipped his tonsils out in the rusty medical wing, though perhaps it wasn’t quite so rusty back in the day?
6. Imagine Defending Britain’s Skies In The Abandoned Maunsell Sea Forts
Nope, these aren’t George Lucas’ early prototypes for AT-AT walkers, they’re anti-aircraft towers built to defend the UK coastline during WWII. Still pretty cool, and definitely rusty the abandoned towers saw new life in the 1970s. Pirate radio stations took over the forts and operated out of them for several years. Now too dangerous to enter, you’ll have to enjoy the view from the shore at Shoeburyness East Beach or take a boat trip out for a closer look. Fun fact: a similar nearby fort has been taken over by the Principality of Sealand. In the 60s Paddy Roy Bates took over the tower and claims it’s a ‘micronation’.
5. Spend Some Time On Italy’s Most Haunted and Body-Strewn Island
Bones. Everywhere. This island is full of dead bodies. Fisherman avoid the shores for fear of their nets getting tangled with human bones. Disturbing much? It’s thought that over 160,000 people died on this island – many in harrowing ways. During the plague, the ill were shipped off to this island to die. Some were even burnt alive. As time wore on other uses for the island ensued. A mental asylum was built – complete with a sadistic doctor. He thought the best way to treat the mentally ill was to perform lobotomies with hammers, nails, drills and chisels. The doctor himself then went mad and threw himself from the bell tower. If you can get past the guards, this is one sick island full of chilling sites and horrific tales.
4. Get Some Epic Geiger Counter Readings in Pripyat, Chernobyl
The site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters seems an unlikely place to visit. Never mind being mentioned in the same sentence as ‘tourist hotspot’. But people are flocking to Priyat for a good old gawp at how the radioactive waste has affected the abandoned area. Since the explosion in Reactor Four of the nuclear plant in 1986, Pripyat has been abandoned. Except now you can visit, even though experts say the area won’t be habitable for another 20,000 years. You can’t touch anything within the 19 mile exclusion zone around the site – so make sure you take your camera to capture souvenirs – instead of bringing radiation home with you.
3. Dive In For A Creepy Underwater Adventure In The S.S. Andrea Doria
This is one for seriously adventurous explorers only. The S.S. Andrea Doria not only claimed lives when she sank to the ocean floor, but she’s also responsible for more recent deaths. Some intrepid divers keen on surveying this wreck have died during their efforts. The death-toll has earned the Andrea the nickname “Mount Everest of scuba diving” as the famous mountain also often claims the lives of many who try to conquer its slopes. Those who have made it down to the S.S. Andrea have reported ghostly sensations and felt like they were being touched during their creepy dive.
2. Explore An Abandoned Island That Was Once Home To Mining Slaves
The dilapidated buildings on Hashima Island tell a tale of greed, slavery and hardship. Once home to 6,000 workers employed by Mitsubishi, the island is now completely abandoned. The workers were here because Mitsubishi figured out in the 1900s that the island sat on top of a sizeable coal deposit. They set about building an undersea mine and ‘recruited’ some Korean labourers, which they then sent into forced labour in the mines. What was once the most densely populated place on earth was simply abandoned when the coal ran out in the 70s. The crumbling island was closed to visitors until 2009, bus tours now take you through the decaying streets.
1. Get Scared Witless On A Trip To The Haunted Hotel del Salto In Colombia
Abandoned hotels only really mean one thing: Flashbacks from The Shining and Jack Nicholson busting through a door in the scariest way possible. And at the Hotel del Salto it wouldn’t surprise anyone if some creepy twins were lurking in the hotel corridors. The slight haunting problem aside, the Hotel del Salto is beautiful – in a decaying and abandoned kind of way. Overlooking the 157 meter-tall Tequendema Falls waterfall – there are some great views outside. But you’ll be too busy looking over your shoulder to check there are no twins, Jack Nicholson or a tsunami of blood chasing you through the building.
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