I know I praise London a hell of a lot – especially for Halloween-related events – but London isn’t local for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of cities other than London you can visit to still get your spook on, even if you aren’t close to the capital.
Here are five must-visit cities (around Europe) worth visiting this Halloween…
Edinburgh is a town that’s rich with history and, paired with its old grey buildings and narrow winding pebble stoned streets, it’s the perfect setting for a horror story. For something a bit different (but traditional), there’s folklore, fire, music and street theatre performances at the Samhuinn Fire Festival (aka the pagan celebration of the end of the harvest season and arrival of winter), or for fun spooks, there’s the Edinburgh Dungeons. Too touristy? Try a visit to The Real Mary King’s Close, a warren of underground streets and spaces: creepy enough without the added scares! Elsewhere, Mercat Tours offer scary walking tours of haunted streets and graveyards, and for something totally authentic: Edinburgh Castle. There are no Halloween specific events running but don’t the best scares occur when you don’t go looking for them..?
Berlin is a place filled with culture and, come nighttime, many clubs with a fetish edge. But if you head just outside of the city, you’ll find Filmpark Babelsberg, an immersive theme park-come-giant film set. At Halloween, it transforms into their annual Horrornaechte celebration which sees the entire park transformed into another reality with Halloween horror, props, actors and performances. In the actual city of Berlin, however, trick-or-treating is still as popular as ever, and head to the clubs for the best Halloween parties in all of Europe.
Why not go straight to the source this Halloween and visit the Dracula’s Castle? Untravelled Paths offer The Dracula Experience – a four-day tour across Romania which includes a visit to Bran Castle. Day one begins with Romania’s lively capital Bucharest, which is filled with bars, cafes and shops, before a transfer to Transylvania the following day. On this day, you’ll visit the tomb where Dracula was buried before visiting his infamous castle (but if you prefer your scares jumpy, make sure you make time for a small but hilarious horror house a stone’s throw away from the castle). Then it’s over to the beautiful medieval town of Brasov for traditional sightseeing and charming bars. The following day includes visits to Rasnov Fortress and a stay in medieval Sighisoara (the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler). The last full day features a transfer to Balea Lake for lunch (travelling via Transfagarasan!) before a visit to Poenari Castle, the supposed ‘real’ Dracula’s Castle. A final night in Bucharest before your flight home the following day. As someone who has travelled around Romania, I can safely say this tour includes some of the most beautiful places in the region of Transylvania. I’d recommend reading Rhian’s account of the tour. Alternatively, G Adventures offer a shorter tour which includes a party at Bran Castle, if that’s more your thing.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Often dubbed as the Gothic capital of Europe, you’ll be spoilt for choice with this city’s castles, medieval lanes and stunning architecture. Halloween celebrations may not be big there, but there are so many creepy attractions to be found in the city such as the Torture Museum, the Old Jewish Cemetery (not necessarily an ‘attraction’ but you get my point), and the Sedlec Ossuary. The city has a history of vampire lore too. Prague is where to be for the best creepy Insta photos by far.
You wouldn’t expect it, but Budapest is fast becoming one of the best places to celebrate all Hallows Eve. It’s extremely cultural with various lantern festivals and tons of Halloween parties in trendy bars and pubs. There’s also Holnemvolt Castle (and zoo!), an interactive underground horror tour AND a pumpkin festival…to name just a few things going on. Plus, Budapest is just a super pretty place to visit anyway.
If you’re looking to travel somewhere this Halloween (or the next!), this list has you covered. Of course, each city around Europe has its own celebrations and traditions so I’ve just picked some of the most fun sounding ones, but we’re really spoilt for choice around Europe.
Have you ever travelled outside of the UK to celebrate Halloween before? Let me know!