There’s no time like Halloween to embark on an eerie adventure. From a crumbling Romanian castle to an annual congregation of millions of shrieking fruit bats in Zambia, here’s our shortlist of spine chillers around the world.
Dracula author Bram Stoker was inspired by a description of Bran Castle (24 General Traian Mosoiu St.; 011-4-0268-237-700; admission, $10*), a decaying 13th-century fortress set on the site of a former Teutonic Knights stronghold. Today the Transylvanian landmark—just outside the Romanian city of Brasov—draws half a million tourists annually with its winding staircases, blood red velvet trims, and clandestine passageways.
The Great Bat Migration
You can witness an uncanny wildlife spectacle in central Zambia. Each year from late October to mid-December, a mass of straw-colored fruit bats take over a small part of Kasanka National Park (011-0027-82-728-0214; bat migration excursion, $35 a person). The winged visitors, who come from the Congo Basin, number nearly 10 million, making this 90-day phenomenon the world’s biggest—and arguably, creepiest—mammal migration.
A Haunted City
It’s only fitting that supernatural myths loom large on the Emerald Isle—after all, it is the birthplace of Halloween. For a scary-good time, consider going on a ghost tour with Hidden Dublin (meet at Barnardo Square; 011-353-85-1023646; Haunted History walking tours, $17 a person). Stops might include St. Audoen’s, a rare medieval church that’s home to one of the city’s most famous apparitions, the Green Lady; or St. Michan’s Church, the site of a limestone crypt where 800-year-old bodies rest. Look closely and you might spy a protruding limb, preserved by the dry underground air.
The Ghosts of Green Island
Despite its verdant peaks and famous seawater hot spring, this volcanic isle wasn’t always associated with natural bliss. During the nation’s period of “White Terror”—a 38-year stretch during which government dissidents were arrested, exiled, and even executed—Green Island served as the backdrop to a grisly penal colony. The prisoners’ ghosts still supposedly lurk around these lush and leafy surroundings. To reach Green Island, hop on a ferry or plane in the southeastern Taiwanese city of Taitung, 20 miles away.
- *Prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
- NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
- Published: October 2018