1. Málaga, Spain
When you think of Málaga, you might envision sunny beaches and refreshing drinks. But hidden beneath its vibrant exterior lies the Cortijo Jurado, a 19th-century English Gothic mansion with a dark and mysterious history. This eerie abode, once known as the “Enchanted House,” witnessed gruesome events during Málaga’s history, including the disappearance of young girls and sinister rumours of tunnels, torture chambers, and Satanic rituals. Although the truth remains shrouded in mystery, the cycling route that takes you around this abandoned place is bound to send chills down your spine, whether the sun is shining or not. Check out cycling routes around Campanillas, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Málaga, to get spooked by this one.
2. Dracula’s Castle, Bran, Romania
Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula’s Castle, beckons you in the heart of Romania’s enchanting landscape. Forget the suave vampire we see in modern media; Dracula’s legend draws from the historical figure Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. While the castle’s history has no real connections with Dracula, it’s the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s depiction, and we think you’ll understand why. As you cycle through the picturesque surroundings, you can ponder the real tales of the castle’s past while indulging in the appeal of one of our most famous vampires.
3. Hampton Court Palace, UK
Embrace your inner ghost-hunter as you explore Route 4 of the UK’s National Cycle Network along Hampton Court Palace, one of the area’s top tourist attractions. This seemingly grand palace holds a sinister secret, with the ghost of Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII’s fifth wife, reportedly haunting its halls. Catherine’s tragic history, house arrest, and untimely execution cast a haunting shadow over the palace, where visitors have reported hearing her screams and experiencing eerie phenomena. Coincidence or something more sinister? You be the judge.
4. Maine-et-Loire, France
Reigning as the ‘Giant of the Loire Valley,’ this towering French castle boasts 204 rooms, portrait galleries, and a tragic tale. The most active ghost, La Dame Verte (the Green Lady), met her demise within these walls, a victim of an illicit affair gone wrong. Today, the castle operates as a hotel, hosting brave souls for overnight stays and ghostly encounters. Enjoy a scenic bike ride through the picturesque countryside and, perhaps, some ghost-spotting on the side.
5. Bhangarh, Rajasthan, India
Travel back in time to the 17th century with a visit to the ruins of Bhangarh, a fort city in Rajasthan. While the majestic fortifications and temples offer breathtaking scenery, stories of ghosts and curses cast an eerie shadow. Legends speak of a wizard and a cursed princess who continue to wander the fort’s corridors. As you cycle through the area, keep an eye out for these spectral residents and perhaps uncover the mysteries that shroud this ancient site.
6. Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, UK
Venture to the enchanting Cotswolds in the UK, where Wotton-under-Edge awaits. Situated on ley lines, believed to possess spiritual energy, the village has dark tales of child sacrifice and devil worship. The Ancient Ram Inn, a notorious hotspot for supernatural encounters, boasts a haunted “Witch’s Room” and a history dating back to the 1500s. Cycle through the scenic Cotswold countryside and cap off your journey with a daring pint at the Ancient Ram Inn if you dare.
7. Hell Fire Club, Montpellier Hill, Ireland
Ireland’s history is steeped in ghostly lore, and the Hell Fire Club on Montpelier Hill is no exception. Built in 1925, this hunting lodge draws on ancient passage tombs and a dark past. Stories of animal sacrifice, black masses, and a satanic visitor with cloven feet add an eerie twist to this location. The area is also home to a range of well-maintained trails you can explore while taking a Halloween bike ride through this spectral setting.
8. Fort Worden State Historical Park, Washington
Beneath Fort Worden Historical State Park in Washington, buried tunnels, mysterious rooms, and century-old fortifications await the intrepid cyclist. Rumours of hauntings abound, and many visitors have reported unsettling experiences while visiting. Ghost hunters have even documented paranormal phenomena, including glowing orbs and inexplicable electromagnetic readings. With a rich history as a military base and a juvenile detention centre, it’s no wonder the echoes of the past may still linger. Get out your mountain bike and prepare to be scared.
9. Deadman’s Island, Vancouver
Stanley Park, a scenic jewel of Vancouver’s Trail network, stands close to one of Canada’s most chilling sites, Deadman’s Island. This eerie location served as a battleground for Coast Salish tribes, an Indigenous burial ground, and a resting place for European settlers. Today, whispers of ghostly footsteps and chains being dragged in the night abound, particularly from reservists stationed at a nearby navy base. This ride offers both beauty and spookiness, a perfect combination for a Halloween adventure.
10. Gippsland, Haunted Hills Bike Park, Victoria, Australia
Ride into the eerie hills around Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, where cattle stampede at unseen spectres, and strange sounds resonate through the earth. Legends of ethereal stockmen and a chilling history keep you on your toes. The Haunted Hills, nestled between Newborough and Morwell, leans into its hair-raising mythology, making it an unforgettable cycling destination. Just remember, there’s a cemetery next door, so this haunting experience might be a bit too real.