Some of them have seen many things happen, have made people happy or seen people at their worst. In some places big dreams were planned, but they were never meant to come true and only their constructions remain.
In Europe there are a lot of places that are left to their fate. Many of them have had something to do with one of the wars that have taken place in the continent. For some places the reason that they are not in use today anymore is because people lost interest in them and just had to close, and for some it is because mother nature decided for them. Wandering through abandoned places will make you wonder and fantasize about what happened in these places. Who lived here, what happened here, why are things left the way that they are? Some of the places listed here might even still have some mysterious activities going on… Either way, walking around in any of these creepy places will make you shiver.
While you adventure into the abandoned, add these other spooky dwellings to your frightful time:
Sniper Tower, Mostar
Just outside of Mostar, in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, stands a building that was once a bank during the time of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but is now empty and abandoned.
The Sniper Tower is not the only abandoned construction in the area but is certainly one of the tallest. Graffiti artists have made their way inside and decorated the walls and with its ten floors, it offers an incredible view of Mostar and the surrounding hills. Entry is not encouraged, as the building is not particularly safe.
This amusement park was opened in 1969 and is located in the GDR, the East of Berlin. The park was exceptional around this time, as it was the only entertainment park in the GDR. In the late 90’s the park began to lose visitors which led to insolvency in 2001.
Spreepark looks like it was a place where people once used to have fun, but almost as if it was in a different lifetime. Since it has been abandoned since 2002, the park has been neglected. The swan boats that once floated around on the water with happy families in them have now been standing on dry ground for decades, the dinosaurs that used to be part of the decor are now on the floor, sprayed with graffiti and the rides that once had screaming children in them haven’t moved in a long time and are now overgrown with moss.
If you are interested in visiting the park, you can book a tour here.
Human Zoo, Paris
The original idea of this place seems nice, but the name already gives away that this place had a very dark function. The Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale (The Garden of Tropical Agronomy), was opened in 1899 as a research station. The French government was interested to see if exotic plants such as coffee, vanilla or bananas were able to grow in France.
In the late 19th century it became popular to host colonial exhibitions. Like many western-European countries, France had a colonial empire, which they wanted to show off. By hosting exhibitions, they would promote colonialism and entertain the western population. As travelling wasn’t as easy as it is nowadays, people weren’t really familiar with the exotic plants that were showcased in this tropical garden. People getting to know plants they had never seen in their life before and walking through a garden that made them feel as if they were in a different continent sounds innocent, but the plants unfortunately weren’t enough. Not just plants, animals and architecture were showcased here, but also humans. The humans (including children) were placed in replicas of their original villages, to put up a show for the visitors.
For a long time, the gardens were closed, perhaps out of shame. But in 2006 it was reopened for the public. Many of the replicas of the old villages are still there, but some have turned into ruins or have even disappeared. Today it is very quiet here, but you can visit the park for free, and while walking around you will forget that you’re in Paris. It is a bizarre sight, as it is a beautiful diverse park, but also has a sad history to it. One moment you walk past a Moroccan pavilion and the other moment you will stumble upon an Indochinese village or a memorial for soldiers that died during World War II.
Hotel Igman, Saravejo
When standing in front of this abandoned hotel, it is hard to imagine that it was once built for an exciting and important event such as the Winter Olympics, which was held in Sarajevo in 1984. It was the pride and jewel of the Olympics surrounded by breathtaking mountains, but the hotel, unfortunately, didn’t even last for a decade, as it was devastated during the war in Bosnia between 1992 and 1996. The hotel had 162 rooms, a cinema and an area of more than 5000 square metres.
Ten years after the Olympics the hotel was turned into a prison for Bosnian Muslims, where some of them would even be executed. The silence, the concrete blocks and the Olympic venue with abandoned ski jumps 5 kilometres away make it an eerie sight. Although a lot of the things that were built for the Olympics are still abandoned, people come to the venue to hike, cycle or even make art on the bobsled tracks. The cable cars that have hung still for decades have reopened in 2018, which give a great view of the valley.
Teufelsberg (German for ‘Devil’s Mountain’) wasn’t always there. It was created from the debris of World War II, but today you wouldn’t even realise it is artificial, as it is grown in with the forest. Four radomes were installed during the Cold War, so it could be used as a listening station by the US, to spy on communist East Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the station was abandoned, but the big, white globes remained. Artists have marked them with their graffiti and people like to go up to the old listening station to admire the incredible view. Today you can visit Teufelsberg, on your own or with a guided tour.
Burj Al Babas, Turkey
Can you imagine a dark Disney movie? That is what Burj Al Babas in Turkey feels like. It is a sinister site: 587 mini-castles, all abandoned in the middle of a forest. But why?
Burj Al Babas was supposed to be a luxury community, of which the construction started in 2014. For between $370.000 and $500.000 you would be able to buy your own castle, with underfloor heating, high ceilings, spiral staircases and Jacuzzis. There was going to be an aqua park, boutiques, a fitness centre, different sport courts, a beauty centre and much more…
But locals were quite frustrated with the project. The aesthetic of the houses didn’t resemble anything in the area, it seemed more like a western complex and didn’t look anything like Ottoman-style mansions. It was even claimed that the developers destroyed trees and damaged the environment. Eventually, the developers filed for bankruptcy, with a debt of $27 million.
There were plans to restart the project, but that’s when the pandemic hit and the construction got postponed. Today it is unclear if the complex will ever be completed, and the complex that was supposed to be inhabited by now remains abandoned. Although it is forbidden to visit the fairytale ghost town, many people have done so.
Monumento Buzludja, Bulgaria
On this site a battle between the Bulgarians and the Turks took place in 1868. Twenty-three years later, in 1891, a group of socialists met at this place to plan Bulgaria’s social future. This was an important event for the government, and that’s why they decided to dedicate a monument to this moment. The monument was built in 1981, but has been neglected since communism fell in Bulgaria in the year 1989.
Today the UFO-shaped monument’s entrance has been sealed with iron doors and bars, which is a shame as the inside has an impressive auditorium with walls with Karl Marx’, Vladimir Lenin’s and Friederich Engels’ faces made out of mosaic. There is security 24/7 and cameras and speakers are installed on the monument, so it might be better to admire this monument from afar.
Perhaps one of the most famous abandoned areas of all time, Chernobyl. As many know, Chernobyl was a city with a power plant that exploded in the year 1986. This resulted in radioactive contamination in the atmosphere, which had a disastrous effect on its surroundings and made the place dangerous to live in, although some residents have returned to their villages.
An abandoned kindergarten, where some of the bunk beds are still accompanied with dolls or stuffed animals, a place where everything is destroyed but you can still see it was once a restaurant and a ferris wheel that was part of an amusement park that was supposed to open four days after the disaster.
You can take tours around Chernobyl, where you can see different villages but also the reactor where everything happened. If you want to visit this exclusion zone, you have to apply for a permit which can take at least 10 days. Once obtained, you can book a tour with one of the operators that will monitor how much radiation you are getting exposed to.
Beelitz Heilstätten, Germany
Beelitz Heilstätten was once the largest treatment centre for lung diseases in the world, but during World War I and World War II it was used as a military hospital. After it was occupied by the Soviet military for fifty years, it was abandoned in 1995.
Today you can walk through the sinister hallways of this complex, where Adolf Hitler was once treated for a wound caused by a shell blast. While walking around here, you can see that the paint is peeling, but that in its earlier days it must have had a beautiful interior, with high windows, elegant staircases and parquet flooring. An old, destroyed piano remains in one of the many rooms and artists throughout the years have left their creativity on some of the walls. Even a part of the award-winning movie The Pianist has been recorded here.
The inside of Beelitz Heilstätten is visitable with a tour.
Cairndhu House, Ireland
Cairndhu House was built in the mid-1870s and is likely the most haunted house in Northern Ireland. It was meant to be a summer house for Mr Stewart Clark, a Scottish textile industrialist. In 1906, his daughter and her husband purchased the house and three years before her husband's death, they donated the house to the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority. It operated as a hospital until 1986, but because of funding issues, it had to be closed down.
Since then the house has been neglected, and there have been reports of paranormal activity taking place. Ghosts that appeared in the windows, a child that would appear in photos taken at the house and unexplainable noises were heard.
The surroundings of the house are open to the public, but the property itself is privately owned. Because of the state of the house, it is extremely dangerous to enter.
Hartwood Mental Hospital, Scotland
Opened in 1895, this mental hospital was situated in this impressive building, and was once on the list of the EU’s biggest medical institutions. It was designed to be self-sufficient: it had farms, a dancehall, gardens, a power plant, a railway line, a cemetery and staff accommodation. But because of a new law that appeared in 1990, there became more focus on community care, which led to the closure of asylums. Hartwood Mental Hospital was one of them, and in 1995 it had to close its doors.
Since this moment the place has been abandoned, but the inside still shows what used to be a mental hospital. Rooms where lobotomies (Hartwood was the first place in Scotland that performed those) and electroshock therapy took place look like they haven’t been used in decades, a wheelchair left outside the hospital and a morgue of which the doors have come off make Hartwood definitely one of the eeriest places to visit.
Tunnel of Love, Klevan in Ukraine
Go to the Tunnel of Love with your beloved, make a wish and it will come true. This tunnel is four kilometres long and consists of trees that are lined up in an arch over the railway. It was built during the Cold War and the trees were supposed to hide the track.
In winter it looks like a snow paradise, in autumn the leaves turn beautifully orange and in summer it is bright green. Although it is beautiful to visit, there are still trains coming through, so be aware of that.
From afar it looks like a usual Italian, picturesque village where people live their lives, but if you come closer you will notice that the windows are dark and empty. The alleys and the streets are abandoned, and not one house is inhabited. Craco is a village that dates back to 540 AD, which because of its unstable position was affected by many landslides and earthquakes. In 1963 the last 1800 residents were forced to move to a new town not too far from Craco, for their own safety.
Today this ghost town is a bizarre sight, so it’s no surprise movies such as The Passion of the Christ and James Bond’s Quantum of Solace have been recorded here. Access is only prohibited with a tour guide.
Mirny Mine, Siberia
Seeing this from above on for instance Google Maps, is like looking at the set of a science-fiction movie. A deep hole in the middle surrounded by buildings seems like it must have been a mistake, but in fact, this hole was developed by people. It is one of the biggest human-made holes in the world and has a depth of 525 metres and a diameter of 1200 metres.
The Mirny Mine was developed in 1957 because it was supposed to produce a big amount of diamonds (2000 kilograms per year). In 2017 the mine was closed because it was flooded and now there remains a hole that is so deep it is said that it can suck up anything that flies over, although there haven’t been any confirmations of accidents like these.
Sólheimasandur Aeroplane Crash
Sólheimasandur Aeroplane crash, Iceland
Fortunately the passengers of this aeroplane survived the crash in 1973, but the remains of the United States Navy DC plane are still visible on the black sand up until this day. The scenery of this abandoned aeroplane in the Icelandic landscape, with the sound of the ocean in the back, makes it seem as if you step into a science-fiction movie.
You can even step into the plane and see what it is like from the inside. There used to be a road that led to the wreck, but now the only way to visit it is by walking there.
Curious about other places that will make your skin crawl?
The old continent of Europe is filled with eerie and chilling places. They add mystery and wonder to the unknown and some of these places are even possible to explore. Be it Count Dracula castle in Transylvania or even abandoned Dutch amusement parks... Just bring a flash light with you on your adventures and expect the unexpected.