9 Haunted Castles in Europe You Can Visit This Halloween
K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Europe is full of historic castles with a rich history dating back centuries. If you want a really spooky experience, you can stay overnight in a haunted castle for a Halloween holiday you’ll never forget. From England and Scotland to Denmark, Germany, and Italy, these are some of the most unique haunted stays in Europe.
One of the world’s most haunted hotels, Chillingham Castle is a medieval castle that has been in existence for more than 800 years, so it’s not surprising that a few of its residents over the centuries decided to stick around. It’s widely regarded as one of the most haunted places in England, with hundreds of paranormal events being recorded here. There have been several accounts of odd moaning and whimpering sounds that are believed to be coming from a boy known as “Blue Boy,” who was reportedly locked behind a wall where his bones and bits of blue clothing were discovered. The ghostly sounds of a dress rustling along the stairs are said to belong to Lady Mary Berkley – she continues to search for her husband, who ran away with her sister. Overnight stays are available all year round for those who hope to experience the activity firsthand.
Tulloch Castle Hotel is a spectacular Scottish castle that is believed to be over 900 years old, though no one is entirely sure. It sits on a forested hillside and still retains many period features, like the restored original fireplaces, fine ornate ceilings and the 250-year-old paneled Great Hall. With such a long and colorful history, it has a lot of character and its very own resident-friendly ghost referred to as the “Green Lady.” She’s been spotted so frequently the castle bar is named the Green Lady Bar, and a portrait of a woman believed to be the Green Lady, who in life was known as Elizabeth Davidson, hangs in the Great Hall. The traditional, antique-filled rooms overlook Cromarty Firth and the Black Isle.
Castle Leslie Estate is a breathtaking 19th-century estate for those who like their romance with a side of eeriness. It’s nestled on 1,000 acres of lush Irish countryside dotted with dazzling lakes and ancient woodlands and offers organic treatments in Victorian treatment rooms, private movie screenings in its onsite cinema and a wide range of dining options, including picnic lunches and romantic dinners. The magnificent castle hotel is also said to be home to a number of reported spirits, including Norman Leslie, who has decided to make the Red Room his permanent home.
Dalhousie Castle is a 13th-century castle in Edinburgh, Scotland that is a renowned luxury hotel popular with honeymooners, surrounded by picturesque wooded parkland on the banks of the River Esk, but it’s also reportedly home to a number of ghosts, including Lady Catherine, the most frequently sighted. While you can expect an especially warm welcome, you may get a little bit more than that. When Lady Catherine was just a teen, she’s said to have locked herself in the top room of the castle and starved herself to death after her parents forbade her to see the young man she was in love with. She’s been heard on numerous occasions tapping on doors, rustling her skirt and even sometimes pulling guest’s hair.
Built in the 12th century, many people passed through the doors of this castle, including kings, queens and noblemen. There are reportedly more than 100 ghosts residing at what’s known today as Dragsholm Slot, though three of them make themselves known a lot more than others. The Grey Lady was a maid who never wanted to leave and checked in to make sure guests were comfortable, while the Earl of Bothwell was imprisoned in the cellar in the 16th century and eventually went mad – guests report hearing the clatter of horse hooves when no one is around, and it’s believed to be the Earl in his carriage. The White Lady was a poor woman who was ordered to be bricked into one of the walls while she was still alive – she could be seen pacing the corridors late at night.
For endless scenic views, romance and mystery, stay at Hotel Castle Liebenstein. Set on the edge of a hill above the village of Kamp-Bornhofen in Rhineland-Palatinate, this 14th-century castle hotel offers lots of medieval ambiances, jaw-dropping sunsets and a resident ghost. The Baroness of Liebenstein is said to appear at night on the spiral staircase.
Many guests at the 15th-century Chateau de Marcay hotel in the Loire Valley of France come to walk the scenic trails and enjoy refreshing dips in the pool, but others come for the paranormal activity. Guests and staff claim to have encountered the ghost of a beautiful young woman wearing a white shroud. As legend tells it, the ladies of the Chateau transformed into werewolves after dark, and a farmer accidentally shot one of them when he mistook her for a creature. Though he buried her in secret, she continued to make herself known.
Ross Castle, built in 1563, offers a much more authentic medieval castle experience on the Emerald Isle. A stay in one of the tower rooms is sure to be an unforgettable one, though it’s arguably not the best for peaceful rest. Guests have been known to wake up at all hours of the night, hearing voices or the sounds of doors shutting on their own. Some have even felt the presence of a spirit at the edge of their bed.
Rome is home to Castello della Castelluccia, a medieval castle turned hotel. Castello della Castelluccia, set in the countryside just outside the city, is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts, including Emperor Nero, a local alchemist who was struck and killed by lightning. His apparition is seen on ghostly horses that gallop around late at night.