A European vacation can be filled with any number of great attractions, from high-end dining to fairytale castles to bespoke tours that take in the continent’s expansive history.

But there’s also a spookier side to Europe — and we’re not talking about the fear that can strike when your phone is on 5 percent battery and your portable charger is nowhere to be found (though admittedly, that’s scary too). In Europe’s most haunted places, eerie spirits lurk around historic destinations, waiting for curious guests to visit. 

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s no denying the creepy sensation you get when you step into the Ancient Ram Inn in Wotton-under-Edge in England, where a pagan high priestess supposedly awaits. And while you’re not likely to catch the Plague today (we hope), a visit to Poveglia Island will take you back to the days of the Black Death, when plague-ridden people were shipped here from nearby Venice.

These are five of the most haunted places in Europe — we dare you to check them out.

Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny Ghost River

If you’re on the hunt for some ghostly figures, you’ll want to explore Kilkenny, Ireland. This Irish city has a storied past, filled with tragic events that allegedly left behind spirits that visitors still witness today. Kilkenny, located about 80 miles from Dublin, was the site of Ireland’s first witch trial. Another tragedy struck in 1763, when 16 people drowned in the river after a bridge collapsed during a flood. Today, people report seeing creepy figures in the River Nore that rise above the mist in the early morning.

Poveglia Island, Italy

Poveglia Island

Just off the coast of glittering Venice sits the small island of Poveglia, which is nothing like it’s touristy neighbor. This haunted island was once a home for people dying from the bubonic plague, and it later housed a mental institution in the late 1800s. In the 1930s, rumors persisted that a doctor performed experiments on patients on the island. Now, the island is abandoned and you can’t really go there — but that’s probably a good thing… right?

Château de Brissac, France

Chateau De Brissac

This hauntingly beautiful castle with its gold leaf ceilings and opulent furniture hides a dark secret: Charlotte of France was murdered there after her husband found her cheating with one of his friends (he killed the friend too). Now, the young Charlotte is said to wander the castle, forever stuck there after her untimely death. Guests and staff report seeing her most frequently in the tower room of the castle’s chapel, dressed in a green gown. 

The Tower of London, England

Ancient Ram Inn

The tower’s bloody history is no stranger to ghost stories. First built in the 11th century to defend royal power, it has been used as a prison and execution site. Henry VI was killed at the tower during the Wars of the Roses, as were three queens: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Jane Grey. Today, Anne Boleyn’s ghost is said to walk the Tower Green, the site of her own execution, and Arbella Stuart — Queen Elizabeth I’s cousin who was arrested for marrying without royal permission — is rumored to haunt the Queen’s House. Nonetheless, more than 3 million people visit the tower each year to admire the Crown Jewels and confront the ghost stories.

Akershus Festning, Norway

Chateau Miranda

This medieval castle was completed in 1300, and it has been the site of a prison (which closed in 1950) and several sieges since. Prison sentences at the castle often involved hard physical labor, and it was known for using irons and chains as a way to discipline prisoners. Rumors persist of whispers and scratching heard along the hallways, and guards have reported weird sensations, like being pushed by someone who wasn’t there, while working.

VIA: travelandleisure.com

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