There are many reasons to travel, from wanting a leisure break to relax and get a break from work, learning about cultures first-hand in a new location to travelling for business purposes.
In recent years there has been a growth in the number of travellers taking part in a type of travel known as “dark tourism”, travelling to locations that have a mysterious, creepy or turbulent history. While plenty of people will be wondering why others are so attracted to places of tragedy and catastrophe, the industry has become so large that there have even been television programmes and documentaries around the topic of dark tourism and why it has become so popular in recent years.
The appeal comes from travelling to somewhere unique and niche, normally off the well-beaten path and typically away from the overly popular tourist sites and spots. As younger generations start travelling themselves, they want to visit somewhere unusual with a demand for somewhere exciting, unlike the common spots that they see frequently on TV or online.
If you are looking for inspiration for your next “dark tourism” holiday, we’ve put together some fantastically creepy experiences and locations for you to check out;
In 1986, only a short 100 kilometres from the capital Kiev, the number 4 reactor at the Chernobyl plant exploded, killing thousands of employees and leading to one of the worst man-made disasters of all time. Today, the nearest town of Pripyat stands as a ghost town and will be uninhabitable for an unknown number of centuries but is a popular attraction for those chasing dark tales.
Specially organised tours take place in a restricted area of 35km where visitors can walk through some of the areas that were once full of life and activity. Every visitor will be given a specialist device which monitors radiation in the area, preventing them from entering any highly dangerous areas and warning them against remaining pockets of intense radiation that are scattered around the town.
London, United Kingdom
The capital and one of the most densely populated cities in the UK, London is full of dark history and creepy, mysterious locations. Travel to Highgate Cemetery, considered one of the most haunted locations in the city and the final resting place of Karl Marx and Douglas Adams or take part in a spooky Jack the Ripper walking tour. Jack the Ripper is London’s most elusive serial killer and to this day their identity remains a mystery, find some more interesting facts about the killer here.
If walking tours don’t take your fancy, visit the Tower of London, previously used as a prison for historic figures including Guy Fawkes and Anne Boleyn and another location that is considered to be haunted by the ghosts of past prisoners who met their demise here.
Auschwitz-Birkenau, Krakow, Poland
Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp and Birkenau, the largest extermination camp, are the final resting places for a horrific 1.5million victims who experienced violence and persecution from the Nazi party during the Second World War. Recorded as one of the most visited dark tourism sites in the world, Auschwitz saw not only Jews but Poles, Roma, Czechs, Belarussians and Soviet prisoners of War lose their lives here and the location has been preserved so we may never forget and be doomed to repeat the horrors that took place.
Places you’ll see on a visit to the area include the railway ramp where prisoners were transported to Birkenau and remains of the prisoner’s barracks and gas chambers.
While it may seem wrong to make a ‘holiday’ destination out of these places that so many suffered in, it’s important that everyone is aware of the dark history and what has taken place around the world. By ensuring more people are informed, we reduce the chances of it happening again and can help to protect people from suffering the same way in the future