It’s time for the spookiest time of the year—Halloween and the Day of the Dead—and, as such, thoughts of ghouls and ghosts start to fill our minds. Whether you’re on team vampire or werewolf, whether you prefer zombies or devils, it’s all part of the graveyard goodtime.
Dark tourism is popular no matter what time of the year it is. There are some wonderfully impressive cemeteries throughout the world that offer a creepy atmosphere to enjoy, some of which I’ve visited and definitely recommend.
Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris
Head to Paris and most will visit Père Lachaise, where Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are laid to rest, but definitely make time to visit Cimetière du Montparnasse. This is the eternal resting place of many famous people, including Serge Gainsbourg and Julio Cortázar. The landscape is exceptionally charming, resulting in a calm, peaceful place ideal for an enteral slumber…or an afternoon stroll for tourists.
Les Catacombes, Paris
In 1785, Paris decided to solve the problem of its overflowing cemeteries by exhuming the bones of the buried and relocating them to the tunnels of several disused quarries, leading to the creation of the Catacombs. Located 65 feet underground, these corridors stacked with bones contain the remains of six million Parisians. During WWII, the tunnels were used as a headquarters by the Résistance. Lots of history here—definitely a must-see on any trip to Paris.
The exit is at the end of 83 steps on Rue Remy Dumoncel, where a guard will check your bag for “borrowed” bones.
Capuchin Crypt, Rome
Rome has many wonderful sites to behold but head beneath the surface and discover the world of the dead at the Capuchin Crypt. Creep down the stairs where around 4,000 dead Capuchin monks are laid to rest here with their bones decorating the crypt. The skeletons on display are still dressed in their religious robes, emphasizing the fact that death comes for us all in the end. This place is utterly creepy, and I definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the Eternal City!
Cementerio de la Recoleta, Buenos Aires
The most important and iconic person to be buried here is Eva Perón aka Evita, the lady who won the hearts of the Argentinian people. There are many other important people laid to rest in Cementerio de la Recoleta, which makes it a popular site to visit in Buenos Aires. Its wonderfully serene neo-classical entryway, beautiful crypts, and fragrant tree-lined footpaths make it especially memorable.
Highgate Cemetery, London
If there is one cemetery destined to send shivers down your spine, it is Highgate Cemetery in London. This impressively Gothic cemetery includes Karl Marx, George Eliot, and the parents of Charles Dickens as residents here, among 170,000 others. Highgate is considered England’s greatest example of funerary architecture, and is also a nature reserve for the UK.
Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
Considered one of the most haunted places in the city, Colonial Park Cemetery is the oldest burial ground in Savannah and is located within the heart of Savannah’s historic district. Burials here began in 1750, making it the final resting place of many of Savannah’s earliest residents. The numerous apparitions and mysterious sounds are believed to be the thousands of victims of the Yellow Fever Epidemic and the dueling deaths that were too numerous to count.
Other cemeteries may not be creepy but worth a visit for their stories, atmosphere and views. Here are some to keep in mind: Waverley Cemetery, Sydney; Panteón Civil de Dolores, Mexico City; Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah; Stull Cemetery, Kansas; and Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague.
Which one would you choose as your next BOOOOOO destination?