- Top 10 Dark Tourism Destinations to Travel to in 2024
“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.”
It is no secret that dark tourism has taken the world by storm. Countless curious tourists travel to various dark tourism destinations all year round to experience first-hand, the tragic events that have taken place.
Dark tourism takes you on an adventure back in time and offers an insight into the brutal truth behind these destinations. It gives an opportunity for tourists to investigate the heart of history and visit places that aren’t usually visited.
As expert British Tour Operators, we cannot stress enough that this is an experience you don’t want to miss out on. We believe that visiting a dark destination is something that should be on anyone’s bucket list. Hence, to make things easier for you, we have listed out the world’s top 10 dark destinations. These dark tourism holidays will allow you to fully understand situations that occurred in the past and ensure that history will not repeat itself.
Top 10 Dark Tourism Destinations to Travel to in 2024
01. Chernobyl, Ukraine
This town situated in Ukraine rocked the entire world in 1986, when a nuclear reactor exploded and exposed thousands of people to radioactivity. It is still considered the worst nuclear disaster in the history of mankind. The area where the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is located has been a ghost town ever since, but one that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The haunting stilts of the abandoned amusement park that will never hear the laughs of children again is the crowning image of this dark destination as well as dark tourism as a whole. On a holiday to Chernobyl you will be able to learn about the devastating accident that took place and explore this ghost town that was once home to many.
02. Auschwitz Concentration Camps, Poland
Auschwitz was one of the largest German concentration camps that forced men, women and children from all over Europe, predominantly Jews, to endure the most awful conditions during World War 2. Around 1.1 million people, mainly Jewish, were murdered in these camps by the Nazis. Thus, the walls of these concentration camps have witnessed pain and suffering unlike any other.
So, it should be no surprise that this camp, now a museum, has become one of the most-visited dark destinations in the world. Until you come face-to-face with this distressing destination you will not truly understand the reality of this horror. Visiting the Auschwitz Concentration Camps will open your eyes to the brutality of this dark destination and the sheer scale of the holocaust.
03. Pompeii, Italy
The ancient city of Pompeii completely froze in time when the neighbouring Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, petrifying the entire city. When the city was uncovered thousands of years later, ruins and bodies that had turned into statues due to the ash and pumice that fell upon Pompeii were discovered.
You can witness these preserved buildings and fossilized bodies at this dark destination even today. By taking a holiday to Pompeii mt Vesuvius you will realize the impact that nature can have and that it is something that could happen again, anywhere in the world.
04. Hiroshima, Japan
Hiroshima is widely known for being the victim of a deadly nuclear attack that took place during World War 2. Thousands of people lost their lives in an instant to the atomic bombs, making this one of the most devastating events of human loss in history. Amongst the many buildings that were hit during the nuclear blast, one was completely burned out.
People now popularly know this building as the Atomic Bomb Dome or the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. By taking a Japan holiday to this dark destination you will be able to see personal belongings, pictures and other material that display the horror that took place in this city as well as learn more about the lasting effect of atomic bombs.
05. Catacombs, Paris
Paris, the city of love and light has a not-so-popularly-known dark side that lies underground, within the old tunnels. The Catacombs beneath the streets of Paris is home to an entire empire of death. It is an underground cemetery that contains the remains of 6 million people.
As you descend five stories beneath the city of Paris you will witness tunnels lined with skulls and bones from top to bottom. The eerie site of skulls and bones stacked and arranged in various patterns will definitely send chills down your spine. By taking a Paris Catacombs tour you will be able to learn the history of this dark destination and also interesting facts about how it was used during World War 2.
06. Killing Fields, Cambodia
The killing fields in Cambodia have witnessed the brutal mass murders of millions of people. The vicious dictator, Pol Pot who led with inhuman policies, created sites of mass killing all around Cambodia. Today, a number of these sites, stand to educate tourists about the dark and brutal history of Cambodia.
Out of all the killing fields, Choeung Ek is the most famous and largest. Although this dark destination may look appealing on the surface, by exploring intently, you will be able to witness the remnants of the horrors that unfolded here.
07. Aokigahara Forest, Japan
The Aokigahara Forest, more commonly known as the suicide forest is one of the most eerie dark tourism destinations out there. This naturally beautiful forest has become dark and twisted over the years due to the horrific incidents that have taken place. Thousands of people have tried to take their own lives in the Aokigahara Forest Japan, and many have succeeded.
Hence, the more common name ‘the suicide forest’. After entering the forest you will see shoes, photographs, bottles, letters and much more scattered all over, making this experience all the more haunting and exciting. It is best to visit this dark destination as a group.
08. The Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico
The Mexican Day of the Dead Festival is a unique and annual event in which families parade the streets to pay respect to their deceased relatives. The families parade to the cemeteries visit their relatives graves in fancy costumes, funky makeup, food, drinks and decorations.
This festival takes place every year on All Souls’ Day which is on the 2nd of November. The Day of the Dead Festival unravels an explosion of colour and wholesome joy. This colourful and ecstatic festival which honours and respects the dead is a dark tourism experience unlike any other.
09. Dracula Castle, Bucharest
The Bran Castle which is more famously known as the ‘Dracula Castle’ is believed to be the home of Bram Stoker’s infamous character Dracula. While the famous blood-sucking character never truly inhabited this castle, its rich and gothic history provides visitors with an eerie and suspenseful sense.
It also has much information pertaining to the truth behind this mystical urban legend. A visit to the Bucharest Dracula Castle can be considered as a lighter dark destination giving its visitors a more fun and thrilling experience.
10. The London Dungeon, England
This is a uniquely thrilling tourist attraction which can be added to the list of lighter dark tourism destinations. The tour includes a series of scenes reenacting various dark, twisted and macabre historical events of Medieval London. The exceptional cast of actors, stages, scenes, rides, and effects will evoke laughter, screams, and cheers with their innovative storytelling.
You’ll see, hear, feel, and smell the olden day’s terrifying characters come to life before your eyes, creating an immersive experience. These explicit recreations transport you back in time, allowing you to witness first-hand some of the most horrifying incidents of Medieval London.
To put it briefly, dark tourism is a fast-growing phenomenon in the modern world that has curious tourists hooked. Explore our top 10 dark holiday destinations and experience something unique and different in every location. Although most dark tourism holiday destinations are born from tragedies that took place in the past, if used wisely, it can be the key towards a better future. If you are still unsure about visiting a dark destination, then contact us. As reputable British Tour Operators, we’ll offer guidance on why you shouldn’t miss this exceptional travel experience.
“To really know a place, you must see it through the eyes of the people who live[d] there.”