Halloween is nearly upon us and although it might not be the most traditional time to take a holiday, the rise of dark tourism seems set to change that. Dark tourism – a form of tourism which involves traveling to places connected with death and the macabre – is now incredibly popular, and what better time to indulge in this travel trend than at Halloween? To give you some holiday ideas, here’s a list of the top dark tourism destinations for Halloween.
A top dark tourism destination for a number of years, Chernobyl has recently seen a boom in interest due to HBO’s amazing series Chernobyl. The site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, a trip to Chernobyl will see you exploring the exclusion zone, taking in the power plant itself as well as various towns and villages which had to be evacuated in the aftermath, including Pripyat, where you can see an abandoned amusement park and kindergarten, both positively eerie.
If there’s one city that has dark and sinister spots in abundance, it’s London. A city with a long and rich history, the city is filled with lots of spooky historical sites and attractions to help get you into the Halloween spirit. A top attraction is the London Dungeon, where the city’s dark historical figures come to life. There’s also the Tower of London, which has housed many criminals in its almost 1,000-year-old history, and the streets of Whitechapel, where Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper stalked his victims.
There doesn’t seem to be a better Halloween activity than looking straight into the mouth of Hell itself, and you can do just that on a visit to the tiny village of Derweze in Turkmenistan. While there’s not much there in terms of tourist attractions, many intrepid travelers are drawn here to see the Darvaza Crater – or the ‘Door to Hell’ as it is known locally – a huge gas field which has collapsed into an underground crater. It was set on fire in the early 1970s to prevent methane gas spreading, and it has been continuously burning since then. A visit here can be combined with wild camping in the surrounding area.
You can’t get much spookier than a deep, dark forest, and Aokigahara tops the list as the spookiest of all. Known as the Sea of Trees, Aokigahara is located on the north-western side of Mount Fuji and has areas that are so densely packed with trees that – coupled with the porous lava ground which absorbs sound – creates an incredibly eerie atmosphere. Historically, the forest has been associated with yurei – ghosts of the dead in Japanese mythology – and it is also believed that the practice of ubasute, the mythical practice of senicide, was carried out there in the 19th century. As a result of this, many Japanese people believe that the forest is haunted, making it a great Halloween destination.