30 Creepiest Abandoned Places Around the World that You Must Discover Once
A post on Facebook from my teacher brought to me the idea of making this gallery of the lost world. Honestly, I was extremely impressed by the images of abandoned places across the world. There are including buildings, houses, trains, airplanes, cars, etc. around the world that are forgotten.
I don’t know how you will think about them. But right at the time I see those photos of abandoned things found on the internet, including ones from my teacher’s FB post, I immediately imagine myself being at the places to learn more about their stories. Certainly, that would be so much interesting. Hence, I make this gallery for firstly saving the places and their stories for inspiration, and secondly having a checklist so one day we will be able to come.
Now, let’s go through this gallery, and see what’s there in the lost world that is waiting for your visit!
1. The Soplata Airplane Sanctuary – Newbury, Ohio, USA
The place is called following the name of an aviation enthusiast. In fact, Walter Soplata is a scrap collector in Newbury, Ohio, USA. He had purchased and collected the warbirds of World War II with the intention to help the aircraft from being dismantled or abandoned.
However, after his death in 2010, those airplanes were forgotten, rusted in the bushes, and turned into real waste. In total, the graveyard has about 50 rusted bodies of aircraft and 30 old engines.
You can read more about the story of the Soplata Airplane Sanctuary directly from Wally Soplata, the son of Walter Soplata.
2. Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – Pripyat, Ukraine
One of the most well-known abandoned places around the world, Pripyat is a ghost town in Chernobyl Raion, Kiev Oblast, Ukraine. The city was established in 1970 in connection with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant construction and was legally recovered as a result of the nuclear accident in 1986. At the time of the disaster on April 26, 1986, there were about 49,360 people living, including 15,500 children. Most of the residents are workers in the nuclear power plant and their families.
Nowadays, in order to visit the place, it’s better that you register with a licensed guide. There are many tours to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone from 1 day to 2-3 days that you can browse on GetYourGuide. Yet, don’t forget to bring enough protective clothes to prevent yourself from the radioactivity left in the area.
Read more: Exploring the Haunting Beauty of Chernobyl and Pripyat, Ukraine
3. Hashima Island, or Gunkanjima – Japan
Also known as Battleship Island, Hashima currently is an abandoned island located in the south of Japan and 15 kilometers away from Nagasaki. Seen from a distance, the island is surrounded by a concrete wall with tall buildings inside that are similar to the chimney towers of a ship surfing in the East China Sea.
In fact, Gunkanjima had a long history of being a coalmine since 1890. The coal exploited here was used to support World War 2. At that moment, the island reached its peak population density at 825 per hectare, beating any records in the world. Alongside, Mitsubishi, the owner of the island at that time, built a lot of constructions from schools, playgrounds, gyms, movie theaters, bars, and restaurants to even sacred temples to serve the people there. In 1974, Mitsubishi Company announced that the mines were gradually closed. All the workers had to come back to Nagasaki. Within two months, Hashima Island became an uninhabited island.
In Jul 2015, Gunkanjima is awarded a UNESCO Heritage Site. Today, the island is open for tourists to come and explore the place. You may contact these 4 companies Gunkanjima Cruise, Gunkanjima Concierge, Yamasa Shipping, and Seaman Shokai for the cruise ship to the island. Otherwise, I suggest you check Viator for the tours to Hashima Island.
4. Maunsell Sea Forts – England
Perhaps, this is one of the most special fortifications today because they are alike the lighthouses standing on the sea. They appear in the estuaries of the Thames and Mersey rivers. The purpose of Maunsell’s construction was to protect England against Nazi submarine fleets during World War II. The towers have been decommissioned since 1950 and are now only a symbol of war. Yes, the most terrible war in human history.
I’m not sure if there is any tour offering a trip to Maunsell Sea Forts. Perhaps it’s too rusted for people to step in. Nonetheless, you can search for a boat trip to come to the forts and take photos from the outside.
5. The Ghost Ships of the Aral Sea – Aralkum Desert, the Border of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
Once the world’s fourth-largest inland sea, but now much of the Aral Sea has disappeared into an arid desert. Recently, it’s known as the Aralkum Desert, with a series of rusty fishing vessels abandoned.
A long time ago, the fishing industry and the former Aral Sea canning industry, which is located on the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, flourished. The town of Moynaq was once a top attraction for a series of giant fishing boats.
However, the turning point occurred when the Soviet Union decided to divert the rivers flowing into the Aral Sea for water to irrigate the cotton fields in Uzbekistan. Seawater gradually dried up due to lack of water and evaporation in the 1960s. The water level decreased significantly, the Aral seawater became saltier. Marine organisms gradually died due to increased concentrations of fertilizers and pesticides.
Actions are being taken in order to restore the Aral Sea from being one of the abandoned places for too long. Recently, it’s tough to travel to ghost ships, but there are jeep tours that you can take to pass the desert from both Ubez and Kazakh sides.
6. Vallone Dei Mulini, or Valley of the Mills – Sorrento, Italy
The valley filled with well-known flour mills in Sorrento was built in the 13th century. Up to the 20th century, because it could not meet the needs of modern technology and faced some legal problems, it was abandoned in 1940. Nowadays, the place has returned as a top destination of the lost world for exploration by those who love the mystery and wilderness.
In contrast to the way of reaching the Aral Sea’s ghost ships, it’s not hard to go to Sorrento. The ‘Valley of the Mills’, or Vallone Dei Mulini, is only 1.5 hours away from Naples. There are plenty of airports around the world that have direct flights to Naples, Italy. Then, you can follow Google Maps to get to the point.
7. Houtouwan the Abandoned Fishing Village on Gouqi Island – Zhoushan, China
People tell that the village is swallowed up by mother nature. In the past, this fishing village on Gouqi Island is inhabited by fishermen. Nevertheless, it was abandoned later due to the development of industries such as shipbuilding, light industry, and tourism. After the village is forgotten, nature has covered this place with a green moss wall. Moreover, everything in this place is still intact, making this abandoned world even more creepy with the cold air due to the trees. Are you seeing this village similar to one of the abandoned places in horror movies?
Fortunately, there are hosts that open the tour to visit Gouqi Island and the abandoned fishing village. The tour’s price is roughly CNY 2,000, which is about USD 300 for a 3-day tour.
Read more: Houtouwan: A Journey into China’s Green Ghost Village
8. Kolmanskop – Namib Desert, Namibia
Being one of the most abandoned places across the world, Kolmanskop is a famous ghost town located in the Namib desert in southern Namibia, just a few miles from the port town of Lüderitz. In fact, it used to be a small town but extremely prospered thanks to its valuable diamond mines. Evenly, the hospital here used to own the first X-ray machine in the southern hemisphere. Yet today Kolmanskop is abandoned, fighting the wind, sandstorms, and desertification on the black continent, which slowly devouring the town.
At the present time, the ghost town’s ruins have little resemblance to their former glory. The wonderful houses have been almost destroyed by the wind and the sand that are knee-deep. By 1980, the mining company De Beers, a new owner of the land, began the work of restoring buildings, establishing a museum, and opening a new tour of the ghost town. Furthermore, Kolmanskop is an inspiration for many photographers to come here to shoot beautiful photos. It is also a tourist attraction with old pristine buildings with desert sand spreads all over the houses.
9. Dadipark – Moorslede, Belgium
Built in 1950, Dadipark once attracted more than 1 million tourists to visit each year. In the high season, visitors had to queue up to 800m long.
However, things started to get worse, as investors increased the danger level of the games but took the safety lightly. In 2000, a 9-year-old boy lost an arm while playing the Nautic Jet ride. After the accident, many people were afraid to come to the park, which led to a visitor shortage. In 2002, the park announced its temporarily close for repairs and quality improvements. Unfortunately, these improvements have never been implemented and the park has never opened the door to visitors again.
Dadipark momentarily became an abandoned amusement park without a shadow of people. At this moment, Dadipark is described as a creepy, desolate, and chaotic place covered in a cold, desolate atmosphere.
10. Abandoned Train Depot – Częstochowa, Poland
Perhaps this is one of the most popular abandoned pics of a railway station found on the internet. In reality, this train depot is a popular tourist destination in southern Poland. In the mid-1800s, it was once a part of the Vienna-Warsaw railway line. Presently, it’s a house to the old trains left.
11. Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane – New York, the USA
In 1869, Willard asylum was officially put into operation, becoming a home for people with disabilities, people who had no home or were being rejected by society. Nonetheless, Willard was essentially no different from a prison. Truly, patients were “detained” and treated with various barbaric methods until the doctor’s approval before being discharged from the hospital. Sadly, many people couldn’t escape this place until the end of their life. Inside Willard’s campus, a cemetery is built to bury over 5,500 patients, but their gravestones are only engraved with numbers instead of names.
Although it was closed for more than 2 decades, when referring to Willard asylum, people couldn’t help but shudder to remember a terrifying place, once detained and treated patients with inhumane methods. Definitely, Willard Asylum is listed as one of the top creepiest abandoned places around the world.
There was once an asylum opened for tourists, but not sure if it does at the moment. If you would like to visit Willard, you can try to buy a ticket to Camp Edgemere. Be quick, the tickets might be sold out fast!
12. Sanzhi UFO Houses – New Taipei, Taiwan
With an ideal location near Taipei and unique UFO architecture, the Tamsui resort was predicted for a bright future to become a favorite and frequented place of the middle and upper classes. Nevertheless, it unexpectedly became one of the most haunted abandoned places on the Taiwanese peninsula after only 2 years of construction since 1978. There were continuous accidents that happened to the workers at the construction and the vehicles on the road leading to the place. Believe it or not, the locals rumor that the estate used to be a cemetery of Dutch soldiers. As a result, the construction had to close.
In 1989, the president of a Taiwanese beer brand intended to rebuild the resort. Yet, the plan went nowhere. For a long time, no one cared for it, this place was so destroyed by nature that it was seriously degraded.
In 2010, the UFO buildings were demolished to give the land to commercial seaside resorts and waterparks. Now, you can only visit the place via its stories and photos.
13. Six Flags New Orleans – Louisiana, the USA
Launched initially in 2000 as Jazzland, the park went bankrupt quickly. In 2003, Six Flags claimed the ownership and reopened as the Six Flags New Orleans theme park with DC Comics and Looney Toon themes. Even so, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit and caused the place to sink into water tanks for a month. The damage left behind by the storm was beyond the repair and affordability of Six Flags. As a result, Six Flag New Orleans joined the list of abandoned theme parks after only 5 years of operation under two different owners.
Currently, the abandoned park becomes a great spot for those who love to explore, even thieves. Yet, adventurous exploration of the park is not recommended. The reason is that after many years of inactivity, everything here has been destroyed by nature. Even, the park also has crocodiles living in the waterways.
There was news that talked about the demolition of the park in 2019. But it’s still there after years without any latest updates.
14. Gulliver’s Kingdom – Kawaguchi, Japan
Opened to welcome visitors in 1997, this theme park was based on the novel Gulliver’s Travels by British writer Jonathan Swift. Notwithstanding, this park’s location was near Aokigahara, well-known Japan’s ‘suicide forest’. It was also situated near the former headquarters of the Aum Shinrikyo terrorist sect, which poisoned 12 lives in a sarin gas attack in 1995. In addition, the games in Gulliver’s Kingdom were not attractive enough to get the visitors coming back. Consequently, those were the biggest reasons why Gulliver’s Kingdom in Japan quickly went bankrupt and closed after 4 years in operation.
15. Bannerman’s Castle – Pollepel Island, NY, the USA
The story of this abandoned castle in Pollepel Island sticks to a man named Frank Bannerman, a wealthy munitions dealer from Scotland. He made a huge profit in the early 1900s by selling ammunition and equipment to the sides in Spanish-American War. One day, as city laws forced him to find storage outside the city, he bought the estate on Pollepel Island and build a castle there as a warehouse to store his products. The castle was built following the style of Scottish castles at that moment.
There were unclear tales about the place as no one knew the truth. In 1969, the castle was burned, causing huge destruction. The Bannerman’s castle has joined the list of abandoned places across the world since that day. Recently, the island and castle ruins are managed by the Bannerman Castle Trust. They even open tours and events to introduce Frank’s heritage to visitors.
16. Disney’s Discovery Island – Bay Lake, Florida, the USA
Originally, this place was called Treasure Island when it opened in 1974 as a bird sanctuary. Later, the island was renamed Discovery Island in 1978, with animal enclosures, birds, flamingo lakes, and beaches for visitors.
The site closed in 1999 for a variety of reasons such as the emergence of wild crocodiles, allegations of animal abuse, and deadly bacteria found in the park’s water. Visitors are not allowed to explore this place on their own. People who get caught on the island may be arrested and banned from entering other Disney parks.
17. Aniva Rock Lighthouse – Sakhalin Oblast, Russia
Being one of the top abandoned places, this lighthouse is beautiful with nature surrounded like a painting. In fact, this Russia’s Aniva Lighthouse is built by the Japanese in 1936 and was used till 2006. Since modern seagoing navigation took its place to replace the lighthouses, Aniva Lighthouse was abandoned.
The lighthouse is still there on the island off the southern coast of Sakhalin to impress anyone coming. If you love to visit Aniva Lighthouse for cool pics, you can approach the place by the sea. Just one thing, don’t forget your camera and flycam.
18. Château Miranda – Celles, Belgium
In 1866, Miranda Castle in Celles, Hainaut was granted by the French aristocratic family Liedekerke-Beaufort. By World War II, the castle became an orphanage after its ownership was transferred to a Belgian railway company. Also from that time, people called Miranda Castle by the name Château de Noisy, or Noisy Castle in English. In 1980, the orphanage was moved to another place. Later, the owner of Miranda Castle faced difficulties because of its high operating costs. It was in use with no purpose for a while until it was officially abandoned in 1991.
For a long time without being taken care of, the castle became home to all kinds of mold and spider webs all over the corner. Once the most magnificent castle in the region, now Chateau Miranda is desolate, severely destroyed, quiet, and terrifying. Yes, it’s not only one of the abandoned places but probably the creepiest castle in the lost world.
Nowadays, those who come to Miranda Castle are mostly explorers, brave ghost hunters, or spiritual activists who want to challenge their fears by exploring this terrifying place.
19. Eilean Donan – Loch Duich, Scotland
There aren’t many abandoned places as rare as Eilean Donan, aka the Island of Donan. The gorgeous castle was built in the 13th century. Since then, Eilean Donan became a historical witness in the destination, including a raid of the Vikings. After many years of being a stronghold of the land, in 1719, the castle was demolished during the Jacobite rising of 1719. Later, it was left abandoned.
Fortunately, after two hundred years of being a ruin, Lt Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap bought the island and restored the castle in 1911 – 1932. At present, Eilean Donan is one of the top attractions on the west coast of Scotland. The castle opens its door to welcome visitors to participate in a lot of activities and events there.
20. Orpheum Theatre – New Bedford, Massachusetts, the USA
Believe it or not, this Orpheum Theatre was built exactly the same day the Titanic sank, on April 15, 1913. Also, it was the second oldest theatre in the nation, after the one in Los Angeles.
Of course, it looked beautiful, as some people say. But it was closed in 1959 after years of serving guests. Now, the whole building, which includes Orpheum Theatre, is private property. Parts of the building are currently used for different businesses. Hence, if you want to explore the theatre, perhaps you must ask for the owner’s permission.
21. Power Plant IM – Charleroi, Belgium
Power Plant IM contributed its magnificent cooling tower to the list of abandoned places in the lost world. As it happens, Power Plant IM was built in 1921 and became the main electricity supplier to the country for a short time. Assuredly, as one of the biggest coal-burning power plants in Belgium, its high CO2 emissions led to the shutdown in 2007. The whole place was abandoned afterward.
In the latest update, the property’s manager has sealed off the door and removed the staircase. Possibly, Power Plant IM is going to be demolished soon.
22. SS American Star Shipwreck – Fuerteventura, the USA
Launched in 1939 by Eleanor Roosevelt just before World War II began, the SS American Star started life as a passenger ship. Yet, it was quickly called to assist the navy to transport American troops. After the war, the ship returned to be a commercial ship again.
In the 1990s, a group of people in Thailand wanted to turn it into a floating hotel after saving it from the rubble. Nevertheless, on the way to her new home in 1994, because of a storm, SS American Star ran aground off the coast of Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands. As time passed, a part of the abandoned ship had disintegrated. Now, we can only see this “star” at low tide.
23. Ancient Underwater City – Zhejiang, China
The ancient city at the bottom of Qiandao Lake named Shi Cheng, or Lion City, was built in the 2nd century, in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Up to now, Shi Cheng has existed for more than 1300 years at the foot of Wu Shi Mountain, experiencing many ups and downs of Chinese history. One day in the past, Shi Cheng was submerged by an artificial lake when the government decided to build a hydroelectric plant. Additionally, due to the heavy impact of a natural disaster, the city disappeared without a trace.
At the moment, the ancient underwater city gradually becomes a popular destination that attracts tourists to diving to explore the sediments at the lake’s bottom. Indeed, Shi Cheng attracts many professional divers, adventurous people, archaeologists, and filmmakers to record the ancient ruins. The best time to experience and admire the ancient city is in April – November yearly when the water is warmer.
24. Michigan Central Station – Detroit, the USA
Construction of the Michigan Central Station as a major transit station began in 1913. Literally, its main purpose is serving the old Michigan and Amtrak railway systems. After World War 2, many services from the station were cut down as the number of passengers dropped. In 1967, all Michigan Central Station facilities were closed, leading its infrastructure into serious disrepair.
In 1975, the station became a National Register of Historic Places. It now only appears in action and horror movies such as Transformers, The Island, and Four Brothers, etc.
25. Beelitz Heilstätten Sanatorium – Beelitz, Germany
Beelitz-Heilstätten was built between 1898 and 1930, including 60 different buildings located southwest of Berlin, Germany. This place was built as a sanatorium for people suffering from lung diseases, especially TB patients.
For a long time after that, it was used as a military hospital. Most surprisingly, during World War I, the hospital once treated a young soldier wounded from the Battle of the Somme around 1915-16. That young soldier later was the Nazi party’s leader, Adolf Hitler. Then, during WWII, the hospital was also bombed by the Allies. And in 1945, Beelitz-Heilstätten operated as a Soviet military hospital until 1995, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Today, a part of Beelitz-Heilstätten has been rebuilt for Parkinson’s disease research and neurological rehabilitation. However, most of the areas such as operating rooms, psychiatric rooms, etc. are still abandoned. With its mystery and horror, this abandoned hospital in Berlin becomes an attractive destination for many curious people and explorers.
26. Hotel Del Salto – Colombia
Since 1928, Hotel del Salto opened its doors to welcome guests for about 60 years. However, as time goes on, the building became more old and rotten due to not renovated. Besides that, the neighboring Bogota river began to be heavily polluted, making no one wanted to visit this place. Since the early 1990s, Hotel Del Salto has been abandoned. Even, during the next two decades, no people came nearby the abandoned hotel as it was colder, creepy, and contained many dark rumors, except for the boring ones. Indeed, this hotel is one of the favorite places for those who want to put an end to their lives.
In 2011, the Ecological Farm Foundation of Porvenir and the Institute of Natural Sciences of the National University of Colombia joined forces to convert Hotel Del Salto into a museum. The hotel was later renamed Tequendama Falls Museum of Biodiversity and Culture, which opened for the first time in 2013. Finally, there is one of the abandoned places has given a new life.
27. SS City of Adelaide – Magnetic Island, Australia
Launched in 1863, The SS City of Adelaide started its life as a passenger steamship from Glasgow, Scotland. After 30 years of working, the ship was converted into a sailing vessel to carry cargo and coal, which probably caused a fire that burned down the ship. In 1916, the leftover parts of the ship ran aground in Cockle Bay, Magnetic Island.
Today, the remains of the ship are now inhabited by mangroves, creating a ghostly scene at the Shipwreck Trail of Magnetic Island. Actually, this island off the coast of Townsville is also covered with 20 other shipwrecks.
28. Baikonur, the Soviet Space Shuttles – Kazakh Steppe
As a pioneer in the space industry, Soviet Union ran many programs to achieve its outer-space activities. Notwithstanding, with the fall of the Soviet Union, their aerospace industry’s facilities were scattered everywhere as abandoned places. Undoubtedly, those including the Buran program in Baikonur, the space shuttles which is situated currently on the Kazakh steppe.
High cost, low budget are also the reasons that add up to the abandonment of the space shuttles. Nonetheless, you are still able to visit the place in the Baikonur Cosmodrome tours that prolong up to 5 days. How great does it sound to you?
29. Wittenoom – Western Australia
Wittenoom town in Western Australia used to have a crowded population of about 20,000 people. Thanks to the asbestos mine, the mining industry brought prosperity to the town. However, in the 1960s, this town was gradually abandoned when people realized the dangers of asbestos to human health. According to statistics, about 2000 people died (10% of the population) from diseases related to asbestos.
Wittenoom was officially removed from the map by the government and disconnected. Today, the atmosphere in the mine is abandoned, but the entire town and surrounding area are still contaminated with deadly asbestos dust. Even so, despite the health risks, some reckless travelers still come to check-in.
30. The Ancient Roman City of Pompeii – Italy
In AD 79, the Roman city of Pompeii was engulfed in scorching heat and ash when the nearby volcano Vesuvius suddenly erupted violently. As a consequence, the city has ceased to exist since then until it was rediscovered again after 1,700 years.
Although the ruined city has yet to be fully excavated, there are more than 1,100 bodies have been found, including animal carcasses. Most bodies were found in small groups nestled together. Also, there are couples in the shape of embracing when dying. Surely, these images are enough for visitors to imagine how desperate and frightened the city’s residents were before the death caused by an extreme natural disaster.
Extra – Boost Your Feel More from the Abandoned Places of the Lost World
Note: The images of abandoned places used in this post are all found on the internet. Most of them are from Wikimedia, otherwise, they belong to the photographers. I have no authority over any of them. On top of that, I appreciate the owners of the pics a lot and I want to say thank you for letting me use the great images!
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Woah! These are interesting. Some of the places is beautiful and some are creepy but they’re all interesting! This is so nice!
Some of these I would never ever want to go into, like the train station. We lived in Michigan, I’ve heard the rumors of what goes on in there) and the asylums…I wouldn’t go into those either!
I enjoyed this read and learned a lot too! You can also add to this list a ghostown in Varosha, Famagusta in Cyprus. The village was abandoned after the Turkish invasion in 1974. It was once a popular coastal summer holiday in the Mediterranean.
Oh wow! I would love to visit all of these one day. I’ve always been fascinated by places that have been abandoned and the way they change without upkeep.
These are all amazing places. It’s so fascinating to see historical spots that are basically ghosts of what they used to be.
Places like this really do tell the story of human history and how we continue to move forward even as parts of the past fade. I really love these.
These spots are all amazing examples of how we as humans make our mark on the world and then leave things behind as we outgrow them. So many of these places are also amazing examples of how the world takes back the things that we’ve left behind.
Ryan K Biddulph
These places all look so spooky Khoi. The Pine Barrens in New Jersey is the eeriest place I ever visited. 1 million square acres, very few people and over 100 mob burials because it is so remote yet not too far from New York City and Philadelphia. You feel the heaviness of the energy there. Palpable!
Those look like rustic ruins. Those are so pretty in a way.
OMG this is such a cool post! They all have this desolate yet beauty in a strange sort of way. Have you watched the David Attenborough documentary on Netflix? He starts in Chernobyl and it’s amazing. That fishing village in China all swallowed up by mother nature is amazing!
Such an interesting post, what a great list! I’m saving this post for future reference & places I want to check out
I love watching documentaries about places like this but I think I’m too chicken to actually go to one.
Ugh! I’m not a fan of creepy!! Definitely none of these are on my travel list LOL
All such interesting places. I have heard a lot about the first one, Pripyat. And Bannerman Castle is not too far from me – I may visit some time. A lot of these would be creepy to see in person!
Angela Ricardo Bethea
Those are all wonderful selection of abandoned places to explore. I’m always interested to check areas that has war histories especially the Battleship island.
This post gave me chills! I want to visit The Ancient Roman City of Pompeii – Italy. It sounds so nice but creepy now. I hope I can tick it off my bucket list.
Dr. Elise Ho
Wow. This was fascinating. I will admit that some of the places look spectacular. The Disney story was especially interesting to me.
These sounds very interesting and creepy I will love to go at least at one of those sites to see how it is.
Always so fascinated by abandoned places. There is a theme park close to where I live in the UK and I wish I could get in to take some photos.