Best Halloween destinations in Europe

By Eric Wright

If you're looking for a fright fest on All Hallows' Eve, consider heading to Europe for some spine-chilling scares. From the birthplace of Dracula and vampire balls to macabre dungeons and abandoned insane asylums, these 10 unnerving destinations are sure to give you a bloody good time this October!

1. Dublin, Ireland

With its ancient Celtic traditions, Ireland is actually one of the birthplaces of Halloween, as 2,000 years ago, the pagan inhabitants celebrated the end of their pastoral year at the festival of Samhain. The mysterious druids would ceremonially extinguish and relight the flames of old fires while evil spirits were released from the Otherworld to be seen by mankind for one night of terror.

Nowadays, the Samhain Parade begins at 7 p.m. in Parnell Square, and the enormously popular spectacle sees the streets filled with horrific creatures, frightful monsters, eerie ghosts, and colorful dancers. At the end of the parade, ghouls and demons alike can enjoy a spectacular fireworks show.

2. Transylvania, Romania

As the native home of the most famous vampire of all time—Bram Stoker’s Dracula—this Halloween destination will send a shiver down the spine of even the most daring adventurer. The world renowned bloodsucker is mostly inspired by the aptly named Vlad the Impaler. During the 15th century, he struck fear into the hearts of his enemies and subjects alike after holding a banquet in which he had all of the guests savagely stabbed and then impaled on spikes and left to twitch to their untimely ends.

Today, those with the courage to visit the infamous region can enjoy a remarkable Halloween party at Dracula's birthplace, the medieval citadel Sighișoara, or experience the chills of the underworld at the Halloween monster party on the October 27 at the absolutely stunning Bran Castle.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Even though the Scottish capital is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it hides a harrowing and grisly past. During the 17th century, the cities overwhelming rat population spread a deadly plague throughout its inhabitants.

The belief at the time was that the infected were damned, and for this reason, over 300 helpless residents of St Mary's Close in the Old Town were entombed alive until the lethal epidemic had passed. Present-day visitors to the city can take a tour of these now subterranean lanes and hear the nightmarish tales of the doomed Scots.

Those looking to combine thrills and chills can head out on a tour of the haunted pubs on the Royal Mile before checking in at Frankenstein's bar for a night of hair-raising partying.

4. London, England

As the prior hunting grounds of one of the most infamous serial killers in the world, Jack the Ripper, the cosmopolitan capital of England has a long and gruesome past of macabre dungeons, bubonic plagues, and unnerving back streets.

During Halloween, brave visitors can take a chilling tour to the sites where Jack the Ripper brutally murdered five of his victims; experience the pure terror of the London Dungeon with its blood-curdling torture devices; or watch a show at the world's most haunted theater, Drury Lane, where the menacing soul of the Man in Grey is said to stalk the upper circle to this day.

If spine-chilling scares are what get your blood-pumping, London is sure to give you one heck of a time this Halloween.

5. Derry, Northern Ireland

As the Samhain moon draws near, the creatures of the night flock to the one-of-a-kind festival in Derry. Originally a fancy dress party in a local pub three decades ago, the event has mutated into an extravaganza with tens of thousands of people enjoying a uniquely chilling experience.

The celebration contains over 100 events in 40 venues across the city, with an action packed schedule of music, food, arts, and cultural and contemporary entertainment. Ghouls, witches, banshees, and vampires flood the city's streets and 17th century walls before the wild festival culminates in a truly magical fireworks show by the River Foyle.

6. Venice, Italy

Fabled as a city full of shadowy lanes, mysterious canals, and secretive masked balls, it goes without saying that the City of Bridges is one of the most unforgettable places in Europe to spend Halloween.

Visitors looking for a real fright can tour the abandoned island of Poveglia, which is full of tragic history. During the Roman Empire, it was the place plague sufferers were taken to die. More recently, the insane asylum on the grounds was home to the screams of tortured souls, resulting in wide-spread rumors from the mainland of heinous experiments carried out by disreputable scientists and doctors.

For a night of horror on the water, a Halloween party on a haunted galleon is sure to do the trick. Party the night away on a phantom vessel surrounded by zombies, skeletons, witches, and vampires.

7. Paris, France

Although a global center for fashion, the arts, culture, and gastronomy, the City of Lights hides a dark and disturbing past. Deep below the wide boulevards and Gothic cathedrals lie the bodies of more than 6 million Parisians.

The macabre Catacombs of Paris date back to the 18th century, when the overused inner-city mass graves were cleared out to stop the decaying stench from poisoning the air any further. It's said that the rotten flesh from the bones was even stripped from the bodies and used to produce local soap, but the memory of the gruesome acts has never been washed away.

If the tombs don't satisfy your bloodlust, the Halloween Vampire Ball at Pachamama is the location for the insatiable vampires of France to leave their sorrowful castles for one sinister night of excess. Attend the frightful ball at your own risk!

8. Amsterdam, Holland

Renowned as one of the most progressive cities in Europe, Halloween in Amsterdam is the place to be for visitors looking for debaucherous parties, blood-curdling costumes, and spooky ghost tours.

Those seeking some gory history can make the visit to the Amsterdam Dungeon, which has thrilling shows, amazing special effects, and over 500 years of Amsterdam's dark past. The party animal of the group will be drawn to the terrifying costumes at Obscene Halloween, which showcases a real horror extravaganza. Visitors tough enough to last the night will encounter everything from pagan sex gods to satanic burlesque vampires. Whatever your darkest fantasy may be, you're sure to find it here.

9. Berlin, Germany

As the resting place of the the Brothers Grimm, it's no surprise that the capital of Germany is filled with fairy tales and folklore. Tierpark is one of the hot spots during Halloween, as the gorgeous park is transformed into an enchanting forest filled with winding paths, dark shapes, and daunting figures. The park's extravaganza is growing in popularity and this year's festivities will be more terrifying than ever!

The children of the night will definitely want to gaze upon the incredible laser show at Schloss Friedrichsfelde, while the intriguing Berlin Dungeon show will sweep you away to the dark world of the The Grimms' Fairy Tales.

10. Prague, Czech Republic

As a city steeped in Gothic fantasy, walking through the foggy narrow streets and around the winding medieval lanes is sure to fill any visitor with a sense of wonder and awe. The stunning architecture and imposing statues, however, are also the base for many ancient legends and local ghastly ghost stories.

The main Halloween attractions in this complex city include the Torture Museum with its harrowing instruments; the somber church of Sedlec Ossuary made from the bones of over 40,000 human skeletons; and the Old Jewish Cemetery, which contains more than 100,000 bodies buried beneath medieval headstones, many of the graves containing multiple lost souls stacked up to 12 deep.

When darkness falls, the city center puts on a wide variety of fiendish parties and events and anyone wondering the creepy roads at night is sure to find some freaky fun with fellow terror lovers.


Want to see Glamping Hub take a stab at giving the Brothers Grimm a run for their money? Read our best spooky Halloween stories here!

European Summer Getaways

By Mahealani Schuman

Are you looking to beat the heat this summer? Keep cool by heading out on a coastal getaway along one of the many beaches of Europe. If you are interested in a summer filled with coastal views, a little bit of history, and relaxation, keep reading—you're in the right place!

All photos taken by the author unless otherwise noted.

Spain

What better place to start than the enchanting beaches along the southern coasts of Spain? Visit the region of Cádiz, located in the southwesternmost area of Spain, and home to the Costa de la Luz. Spend your days lounging on the beaches, savoring the local tastes of Spanish cuisine, and learning about the rich history of this area.

Punta Paloma makes for the perfect day of relaxing and enjoying the sun. If you're up for it, follow the beach all the way to the right tip and find the famous mud—nothing better than a complimentary spa day at the beach!

Another favorite is the beautiful and unique Playa Bolonia, where the local cows often stop by to talk a lovely beach stroll. Arguably, the most beautiful of the three beaches, Playa de los Alemanes is always a great choice for white sand, deep blue water, and a perfect sunset.

The rich city of Cádiz is well worth a visit. Notably famous, Cádiz is the only city in continental Europe to never be conquered by Napoleon. Here, you must visit Castillo San Sebastián, take an afternoon stroll through Genoves Park, and Torre Traviafor the most exquisite city views. For an amazing glamping experience, head to Los Alcornocales National Park, where you will sleep under the stars in these breathtaking tipis. Enjoy the hour's drive through the vast sunflower fields, reaching olive groves and the famous white pueblos of Andalusia!

Málaga

Continuing along Spain's southern costs, we come to the notably mountainous area of Málaga. One of the most famous coastal regions of Málaga is known as the Costa del Sol. In the city of Málaga, you must visit the the Alcazaba fortress and Castillo de Gibralfaro to immerse yourself in the rich history of Moorish and Spanish intermingling. From the top, stop to enjoy the stunning views of the glittering coastlines.

Walk along Muelle Uno, an oceanfront outdoor mall, or enjoy delicious seafood and paella right on the beach. Head up into the heart of Málaga for breathtaking mountain views, pristine nature, and adventurous hiking! Here, we have these unique glamping tents tucked away for a relaxing nature getaway.

Germany

Are you and your travel companions interested in visiting Northern Europe? If so, pack your bags and head to Germany for the summer—filled with open air festivals, cultural sites, traditional beer gardens, vineyard tours in the Palatinate wine region, and countless opportunities to try typical German staples, like pretzels and currywurst. The history, gastronomy, and stunning scenery will make you fall head over heels in love with this country.

Check out the unique exterior of this tree house in Germany.

Berlin

Be sure to visit Berlin, where you will see symbolic monuments like the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall, and the Reichstag, and explore the range of local and international dining options. Berlin is a reformed city, home to those who don’t wish to conform, with a hint of rebellion. Open minded and non-judgemental ‘vibes’ sprawl throughout the city, from graffiti to cuisine, so prepare yourself for a mix of cultures. World renowned Indian, Vietnamese, Asian, South American, and Italian restaurants (and food trucks!) may have you questioning if a traditional German meal is really what you would like to try first. Non-conformist Berlin will not limit itself to “nightlife.” Discos and club hours span longer then you would think, some open 24 hours, appealing to all walks of life. Once all entertainment needs are met (or wildly exceeded), give into your desire for a more tranquil atmosphere. One of our favorite places to escape is this luxury tree house located just outside of the city center.

Hamburg

After your urban adventures, make your way to northern Germany to discover scenic rivers, green parks, and picturesque towns.

Image courtesy of All The Rooms.

Visit the port city of Hamburg and the coastal city of Bremerhaven, and take a boat tour to cruise along the Wadden Sea. Although the area is not best known for its beaches, your vacation will not be complete without visiting the endless coastlines in the area.

France

French Riviera

If you are planning a romantic trip along the Mediterranean there is no better place to visit than the French Riviera, or Côte d'Azur, the breathtaking southeastern coast of France. Explore the best of French culture by visiting the stunning cafés, art museums, and historical sites in the area. Take advantage of a chance to enjoy exquisite French cuisine—from endless cheeses and perfect baguettes to sumptuous wines.

Enjoy freshly caught seafood and a bowl of bouillabaisse at a beachfront lunch in the bustling port city of Marseille, or leave behind the tourist crowds and unwind in this beautiful cabin by the sparkling waters of the seaside towns of the Provence-Alpes.

Peace and tranquility surround this luxury yurt in France.

Normandy

Just an hour and 30 minutes on a train outside of Paris is the stunning town of Deauville, Normandy. Known for its quaint French charm, long stretches of beached boardwalks, and exquisite seafood cuisine, Deauville has gained popularity in recent years among tourists and locals alike. Home to many cultural events year-round, well-established horse racing, polo, golf, art galleries, and upscale shopping, there is something for everyone.

Day trip to this storybook seaside town from these traditional yurts, tucked away in the green countryside, or stay in the city for a night. Be sure to not miss the rising and lowering of the tides—you never know what you might catch a glimpse of!

Wherever you might be thinking for this year's summer getaway, always be sure to keep one thing in mind—make where you stay, why you stay.


For more adventures, experiences, and luxurious European summer getaway ideas, head over to Glamping Hub, and start planning today!