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The World’s Most Haunted Hotspots

As Halloween approaches, ghost and ghoul lovers and thrill-seekers start planning spooky adventures for the month of October. If you’re on the hunt for a ghost, or want to learn more about the spooky goings-on at some of the world’s oldest sites, then read on, as we’ve uncovered the most haunted hotspots, here.

Haunted Destinations

1. Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh, Scotland

Situated under Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Mary King’s Close is a place where people lived and worked between the 1600-1800s. Coincidentally, it also happens to be the most haunted hotspot in the world. Not only does it have the most number of ‘scary’ and ‘spooky’ mentions (583 and 497 respectively), but it also has a Tripadvisor rating of 4.5.

Take a guided tour where you can learn more about the lives of residents, and see if you run into Annie; a little girl who’s just one of the many spirits who’s said to haunt Mary King’s Close.

Want to travel to Mary King’s Close in style? Some of our British Isle cruises stop off in Edinburgh, making it the perfect mode of transport!

2. Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, USA

One of the world’s most famous prisons is now also one of the most haunted hotspots in the world. It has the second most number of ‘haunted’ mentions, at a huge 536, as well as 236 ‘spooky’ and 338 ‘scary’ mentions.

With suicides, murders and torture taking place in this prison, it’s no surprise it’s haunted – just one example of the way inmates were treated is the ‘mad chair’, where they were so tightly bound to a chair, circulation was cut off from their limbs, causing amputation.

You can tour the Eastern State Penitentiary during the day and night, and if you’re lucky enough to visit at Halloween, you can scare yourself silly at one of the five pop-up haunted houses, before enjoying a drink at the bar – just get your North American cruise sorted with us, before you book your tour!

3. The Stanley Hotel, Colorado, USA

Situated in Colorado’s scenic Estes Park, the hotel initially sparked inspiration for Stephen King’s book, The Shining, and it was later used as the filming location for it. Since then, flickering lights, objects moving by themselves, and shadowy figures have all been reported. In fact, room 217 in particular is said to be haunted by a ghost called Mrs. Wilson, who was one of the housekeepers back in the early 1900s.

One thing’s for sure, with this destination receiving the most number of ‘haunted’ mentions, at an impressive 572, you’re likely to see some paranormal activity happening, if you’re brave enough to stay here!

4. Crumlin Road Gaol, Ireland

The second jail to feature on our list of haunted hotspots, Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol has 153 mentions of ‘spooky’, and a Tripadvisor score of 4.5. In use between 1846-1996, it opened up again in 2012 for tourists to explore the hanging cell, graveyard, hospital, and tunnels the inmates used to use.

Now, you can take part in paranormal tours, where you can experience the unexplained noises and sightings of ghostly shadows from the 17 men that were executed here.

5. St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida, USA

Rounding off our top five most haunted hotspots is Florida’s St. Augustine Lighthouse, with 165 ‘haunted’ and 72 ‘scary’ mentions.

The story goes that the four daughters of Hezekiah Pittee, who managed the lighthouse in the 1800s, were playing with a friend when they fell into the water, with four of them drowning. Since then, there’ve been reported sightings of young ghostly girls, and sounds of footsteps and giggling.

Our Orlando cruises set off less than a two-hour drive from St. Augustine, so if you’d like to visit the lighthouse as part of your holiday, you can easily do that with us.

The World’s Most Haunted Castles

When you picture haunted happenings, you’ll likely conjure up ideas of crumbling castles, with dark corridors and shadowy corners, and you’d be right! The most haunted castle on our list comes in position 18, and is Leap Castle, in Ireland. Several people were executed here, but one of the scariest sightings is of a creature called ‘It’, which is accompanied with the smell of a decaying corpse.

Other haunted castles include Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle, and New Zealand’s Larnach Castle. The latter is said to be haunted by William Larnach, which isn’t surprising, considering his remains have been disturbed in the past, and his skull was stolen in 1972!

The World’s Most Haunted Historical Sites

Other haunted historical sites include Paris’s Catacombs, where you’ll find the bones of more than six million people buried under the city’s streets. Footage found by cataphiles in the 1990s showed a man had gotten lost in the winding tunnels, and hadn’t managed to escape, and now there have been many reports of disturbing noises.

The Tower of London made it into 10th place, due to the 13 ghosts that are said to haunt it. This includes a headless Anne Boleyn, and a white figure, which is believed to be Lady Jane Grey.

Port Arthur, The Forbidden City, and Lawang Sewu are all also said to be haunted, the latter of which is a labyrinth-like building that was built in Java by the Dutch in the early 1900s. Here, people were tortured, imprisoned, and even decapitated, so it’s no wonder there have been ghostly sightings over the years.

The World’s Most Haunted Forests

Forests may not be the first places that spring to mind when you think of the paranormal, but the Black Forest, situated in Germany, comes in 13th place on our list. Featured in many scary Brothers Grimm tales, including Der Grossmann, legend has it there’s a tall, disfigured man who lures children to the forest.

India’s Dow Hill Forest, Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, Romania’s Hoia-Baciu Forest, and the UK’s Epping Forest all feature on our haunted hotspot list, too. The Aokigahara Forest is perhaps the most infamous, as it’s better known as the ‘Suicide Forest’, as it has the second highest suicide rate in the world, after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

If you’re a dark tourist who loves nothing more than ghost stories and a good scare, the great news is, no matter where you are in the world, there’s sure to be a haunted hotspot near you! So, all you need to do now is book onto one of our cruise deals, and start saving up for your next trip.


List of locations from:



Data for each location was collected from reviews on Tripadvisor -

Planet Cruise sought to identify the most haunted locations in the world. In total, 60 locations were selected through in-house quality metrics for haunted locations. Each location rating, and the number of reviews mentioning either 'haunted' or 'spooky' related words were sourced from Tripadvisor. The final score was then calculated by weighting each of the three factors based on their 'spookiness’. The data for this study was collected on 20 September 2023, and is accurate as of then.

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