Some of the most stunning landscapes, striking mountain-top views, and pivotal historical references can be found on the westernmost peninsulas of Eurasia. Europe is the world’s second smallest continent, but some of the most diverse cultures are practiced here.
On the other hand, Europe is home to a host of ghost towns that possess significant historical value. The term ghost town can mean an abandoned town or a town that may have a spooky background. Ghost towns come into existence for a variety of reasons such as natural disasters, man-made plunder, or a lack of economic development. Some ghost towns can’t be accessed by the public because they’re downright hazardous while others can be experienced via tour.
If you’re interested in visiting some of these areas, then a certain amount of precaution should be considered. In addition to that, touring the areas may require a fee. So, which sites are worth your time, money, and curiosity? Read on.
1) Belchite, Spain
Belchite has significant historical value thanks to being nearly ground zero for the Spanish Civil War. Belchite was once a medieval village that displayed timeless beauty as it was perfectly located in the northeast corner of Spain. Unfortunately, this village experienced one of the area’s most brutal battles as most of the inhabitants were murdered. Belchite’s lively square was no more, and its exquisite churches were bombed to rubble in the late 1930s. An eerie feeling tends to flow through the air in and around the newly built areas of town.
Freely wandering through the region is prohibited because of previous vandalism, but guided tours are available. Daytime tours are $6, or you can catch a nighttime tour on the weekend for $10. The night tour focuses more on old ghost stories of Macabre history. Belchite is about 40 kilometers southeast of Zaragoza and is accessible by car or bus.
2) Pompeii, Italy
Pompeii is one of the most popular ghost towns in the world and for good general reasons. This ancient Roman city is located 14 miles southeast of Naples, and it’s one of the most well-preserved ghost towns. The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD engulfed the city killing over 20,000 people. Volcanic debris and ash blanketed everything in sight followed by extremely hot gases that penetrated the area in the following days. The explosion’s thick ash of 9 feet in depth just so happened to preserve the remains of the fallen. After being unearthed in the 1700s, grand buildings via Greco-Roma architecture were discovered.
Pompeii is designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site, and the modern version of this place is located to the east of Basilica. Adults can expect to pay $11 for a tour. Summer tours will span between 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. This is a walking tour, which requires plenty of water and comfortable footwear.
Another way to enjoy this particular location is by watching the movie “Pompeii” on Hulu + Live TV. This action-packed drama is loosely based on certain events, but the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius is cinematically excellent.
3) Sfentyli, Greece
Sfentyli may not be as popular as its counterparts, but this small village is a quintessential ghost town. During the 16th century, Sfentyli was a thriving community of about 80 people. Some of the most picturesque views can be enjoyed from the nearby hills on the island of Crete. Sfentyli was built in a fertile valley as it sits next to the water’s edge. This body of water is fed by the Aposelemis Dam, and heavy rains during the winter months will submerge the village.
Drought conditions will also cause the water level to rise while engulfing the area’s quaint dwellings up to their rooftops. Buildings will disappear into the murky depths, which gives it the title of being “The Disappearing Village. These entombed structures are ghostly as moldy walls and rotten furniture can be seen nestled in the houses after the water crests and subsides. Sfentyli is 45 minutes away from Heraklion, which is the capital of the island.
4) Pyramiden, Norway
Pyramiden is the very definition of the term ghost town, and here is why. This small settlement was built on a remote island that’s part of the Arctic Circle. Coal mining has been a big business here since 1922, but the town was later sold to the Russians. The Russians would go on to leave this remote location in the late 1990s thanks to its frigid cold temperatures, falling coal prices, and lack of resources.
This community appears to be locked in time thanks to its block-styled buildings and Norwegian architecture. There’s a huge pyramid-shaped mountain that overlooks the town. Old remnants of dwellings are present, and the town square displays a statue of Lenin. This open-air museum has been renovated for tourism as guided tours are available via boat during the warmer months. The only way to reach this town during the winter is by snowmobile. Visitors can also spend the night at the Pyramiden Hotel.