Booking.com Shares Seven Terrifying Tours for a Spine-Chilling Halloween
Across the world, the 31st October marks Halloween - the spooky festival that revolves around ghosts, ghouls, and monsters alike. People all over the globe celebrate Halloween with candy and costumes, while some of the very brave even seek out the supernatural. As over half (60%) of global travelers said that finding thrills and adventure is a key motivation to travel*, we share seven terrifying tours for a spine-chilling Halloween for the most courageous of travelers. Visitors can travel far and wide to explore and encounter scary ghosts and being spooked by the scary history of violent serial killers. Travelers will discover the dark history of these destinations discovering the frightening underground worlds of some of the most famous cities in the world.
The capital of Scotland is known for its cobbled streets, beautiful natural backdrop, and haggis - a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep's or calf's offal mixed with suet and oatmeal. However, Edinburgh is also infamous for its dark past from wicked witchcraft, deadly plagues, and barbaric monarchs. For those brave enough to explore the hotspots of Edinburgh’s ghouls and ghosts, The Underground Ghost Tour will reveal some of the city’s most frightening secrets. On the tour, travelers can explore Greyfriars Kirkyard, known as the world’s most haunted graveyard where poltergeists are suspected to roam the grounds still and play tricks on unwanted visitors. Travelers can then head underground to the Edinburgh vaults, previously used by terrifying serial killers to store bodies to sell off for medical experiments. After a spine-chilling day exploring the city’s gruesome past, travelers may have to keep the light on this Halloween or keep one eye open.
Where to Stay: Located in Edinburgh’s historic old town, Hotel Du Vin Edinburgh offers cozy traditional-styled bedrooms despite being set in a former city asylum. Perfect for proper brave-hearted travelers staying in the city over Halloween. Just a short walk away from Edinburgh Castle and Greyfriars Kirkyard, the boutique hotel also welcomes pets which may also include the ghost of Greyfriars Bobby, the famous terrier dog who guarded his owner's grave for 14 years - a favorite local myth. For guests needing to calm their nerves and gain some strength after a scary tour of the city, the hotel’s French bistro serves delicious food made with local produce from crispy confit duck leg to pan-seared scallops.
Beloved for its perfect white sandy beaches and clear blue skies, Montego Bay is located on the North Shore of Jamaica and is a tropical paradise. Visitors can explore the city’s fantastic welcoming restaurants, bars, and shops on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard known as the Famous Hip Strip, or discover the underwater wildlife snorkeling on Doctor’s Cave Beach. Despite its picture-perfect views and reputation for being a heavenly paradise, Montego Bay is also home to one of Jamaica’s most famous haunted houses - Rose Hall Great House. On the Rose Hall Great House, Spooky Night Tour guests will discover the Jamaican legend of Annie Palmer, known as the White Witch of Roshall who practiced witchcraft, voodoo, and dark magic. Buried in a tomb on the house’s grounds, Annie’s ghost is rumored to roam the halls of the haunted estate at night. Brave travelers can take a nighttime tour to hear the spine-tingling stories of love, murder, and mystery and hear first-hand accounts of ghost sightings. This is not a vacation activity for the faint-hearted.
Where to Stay: Located on the beach with rooms with a sea view, S Hotel Jamaica - Montego Bay - Small Luxury All-Inclusive Hotel offers a luxurious, tropical stay in paradise. Guests can enjoy traditional Caribbean dishes at the hotel’s restaurant and dig into the fully stocked breakfast buffet full of pancakes and eggs. The magnificent and modern hotel also features a spa with ancient baths for guests to unwind after a spooky visit to Rose Hall Great House, which is just a short drive away, and a fitness center for guests training to be able to quickly run away from local ghosts and ghouls. The hotel is also a Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay and provides guests with information regarding local ecosystems, heritage, and culture, as well as visitor etiquette.
The Northwestern German city of Hanover is a lively metropolis where classic Renaissance architecture has met cool and modern design. As over a third (35%) of travelers said they were likely to take a city trip this year*, those interested in true crime could walk through the city's history through the eyes of one of its most notorious serial killers. The Werewolf of Hanover Crime Tour explores the life and sites connected to the crimes of Fritz Haarmann a demented serial killer in the early 20th century, giving him the horrifying nickname of the Werewolf of Hanover. Visitors will explore the city’s gruesome history retracing the steps of the Werewolf to experience one of Germany’s largest criminal cases in a truly unique way. Travelers may need a full stein of German beer to calm their nerves after this particularly scary Halloween activity.
Where to Stay: Situated just a short walk from the magnificent Herrenhäuser Gardens and the peaceful Lake Maschee, there are no werewolves in sight at the Lofts in Hannover. Featuring bright, light, and modern decor, the apartments offer a cool and comfy stay after a spine-chilling Halloween uncovering the life of one of Germany’s scariest serial killers. The accommodation also has lovely gardens and city views and is a certified Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay with 100% renewable energy used throughout the property.
Known for its cosmopolitan energy, artistic vibe, and tasty offerings, Melbourne is a fantastic vacation destination. But despite the city’s rich cultural history, the city has some skeletons in its closet and some dark periods which visitors can discover on the Scary Tales and Hidden Bars Tour. Perfect for visitors seeking an authentic and memorable Halloween, this creepy tour takes travelers around the Northern and Eastern areas of the city to discover the dark episodes of Melbourne’s history and to listen to terrifying stories about the city’s notorious criminals. Travelers will hear about Frederick Deeming, an Australian who was suspected and rumored to have been the actual Jack the Ripper that terrorized the streets of London in the Victorian era and fled to Melbourne to carry out more violent crimes. To calm their nerves, visitors will also visit three hidden bars during the tour to enjoy a cocktail or a tipple for some courage.
Where to Stay: Just a short drive away from Melbourne’s port, the Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne, Pentridge is set in a Victorian building with sleek modern interiors to create a welcoming stay. The accommodation offers a garden and a terrace for guests to unwind in the Australian heat with a cooling cocktail. This Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay also serves vegan, vegetarian, and locally sourced food from nourishing Jerusalem artichokes to crispy cabbage served with romesco sauce. The stay is just a short drive from the scary tour so is perfect to retreat back to after a chilling Halloween.
Prague is widely known for its European charm and delicious cold beer, referred to as The City of Spires due to its grand towers, Czech Republic’s capital is a UNESCO world heritage site. Travelers are captivated by the city’s medieval ambiance and explore the cobbled streets like they are walking in a fairytale which is especially appealing for the 65% of travelers who said visiting historical places is a key motivation to travel*. But for those who have strong nerves, beneath the city is where the fairytale gets twisted. The Ghosts, Legends, and Dungeon Tour will take visitors on a journey through stories of murder, betrayal, and executions during Prague’s bloody past. This Halloween, travelers can embark on the tour through the Old Town and the Jewish Quarter and make their way to the underground dungeon to discover where gruesome torture and executions during the 12th century.
Where to Stay: Nearby the Old Town Square at the Prague Astronomical Castle, The Old Town Square & Parizska Apartments offers a fantastic stay in the city with antique-inspired decor and a private terrace. This Booking.com Travel Sustainable Stay also invests a percentage of revenue back into community projects or sustainability projects, so it’s not having a scary affect on the surrounding community. For those seeking a history fix, The Prague Castle is just a short walk while the dungeons are just a short drive away for those seeking an extra spooky Halloween. Thankfully, the apartments are just about close enough for comfort and above ground to avoid the Medieval spirits below.
Located in South Carolina, Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the USA and is considered one of the most haunted destinations in America. Founded in 1670, the city has survived wars, earthquakes, and flooding leading to a lot of paranormal activity from Charleston’s former residents who may have stayed put. To experience something out of the past, a Haunted Twilight Horse and Carriage Tour will take visitors on a ghostly journey around fifteen blocks of the former walled city. Travelers will encounter some of Charleston’s most haunted sites from the original city dungeon to the city’s oldest church at St Michael’s Episcopal. The carriage will also go by the Circular Congregational Graveyard built in 1681 which is home to the body of Revolutionary War soldiers and where people have reported sightings of ghostly figures walking through the gravestones before disappearing into thin air.
Where to Stay: The 20 South Battery is a lovely B&B and a former private mansion built in 1843, located in the historic (and possibly haunted) district. The stay features a delightful garden and a terrace where visitors can enjoy iced tea while complimentary wine and cheese are served every evening in the parlor. The eleven rooms are decorated in traditional North Carolina decor with wooden furnishings and grand four-poster beds, hopefully, comfy enough that guests will only have sweet dreams and no nightmares this Halloween.
Known as the cultural capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, the cosmopolitan city of Mérida is both steeped in history and bustling with modernity. The narrow streets and plazas are blessed with colorful houses, grand monuments, and fantastic restaurants. Arguably, the best time to visit Mérida is during the Day of the Dead Celebration held this year on 2nd November where visitors can learn more about and enjoy firsthand with a Day of the Dead Tour in Mérida. The age-old traditional festival holds significant importance in Latin American culture and demonstrates the love and respect for deceased family members with symbolic rituals. Decorated with skulls and skeletons, local families visit graveyards and indulge in exquisite food such as cochinita pibil which is citrus pork, and sopa de lima which is a delicious, fragrant soup. Visiting Mérida during the Day of the Dead celebrations is perfect for the 66% of global travelers who say that trying new food is a key motivation to travel*, as they will be spoilt for choice with the local cuisine.
Where to stay: The Hacienda Xcanatun, Angsana Heritage Collection is an 18th-century Hacienda that has been converted into a small luxury hotel. Guests can unwind in the hotel’s spa which offers beauty and wellness treatments that use new-age and ancient Mayan relaxation techniques so visitors can feel rejuvenated after the Day of the Dead celebrations. This Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay has plenty of green space with four acres of private gardens full of lush vegetation and bright tropical flowers. Guests can enjoy a refreshing cocktail in the hotel’s outdoor bar and gaze out over the incredible gardens.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 42,513 respondents across 33 markets (2,000 from USA, 1,008 from Canada, 2,000 from Mexico, 1,000 from Colombia, 2,000 from Brazil, 1,000 from Argentina, 2,000 from Australia, 1,000 from New Zealand, 2,000 from Spain, 2,000 from Italy, 2,000 from France, 2,000 from UK, 2,000 from Germany, 1,000 from Netherlands, 1,000 from Denmark, 1,000 from Sweden, 1,000 from Croatia, 1,000 from Switzerland, 1,000 from Belgium, 1,000 from Ireland, 1,000 from Portugal, 1,000 from Israel, 2,000 from India, 1,000 from China, 1,005 from Hong Kong, 1,000 from Thailand, 1,000 from Singapore, 1,000 from Taiwan, 1,000 from Vietnam, 1,000 from South Korea, 1,000 from Japan, 500 from UAE). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once in the past 12 months, and planning to travel in 2023 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in January and February 2023.