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Eerie excursions – Top 5 fright drives

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s no better time to head off on your own spooky adventure. This week, we explored five of Europe’s best spots for a ghostly gallivant.

 

Get spooked in Scotland

Image owned by Gustavo Naharro
Image owned by Gustavo Naharro

 

It might not be a large country, but when it comes to sending a shiver down your spine, Scotland plays with the big boys. Haunted castles, gruesome histories and ancient legends are a speciality round these parts and from big cities to hidden villages, it’s easy to find a local who’ll be delighted to tell you their terrifically terrifying version of events.

Make a start by reserving a hire car at Edinburgh airport and exploring the famous Edinburgh Castle, said to be one of the most haunted in Europe. Be warned – ghostly sightings are no rarity in the castle, and thousands of previously sceptical tourists have reported sudden temperature changes, sounds of heavy breathing and bloodcurdling screams.

Image owned by Glen Bowman
Image owned by Glen Bowman

 

And if the plethora of spooky experiences in Edinburgh isn’t enough for you, a whole land of frightfully good fun lies on the doorstep, from the nearby Roslyn Chapel to the quiet eerie beauty of the highlands and its numerous historical sites.

 

Terror in Transylvania

No list of Europe’s spookiest trips would be complete without a mention of Transylvania, and for good reason. Even the name of this historical Romanian region is enough to give you goose bumps. Although the area is worth exploring for its abundantly beautiful scenery alone, we all know why we’re really here…yup, vampires.

 

Although Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a fictitious character, the figure on whom he was based was very real. Vlad the Impaler, nicknamed for his reputation for unmerciful cruelty, was the ruler of the historical Wallachia region of Romania during the 15th century. Transylvania’s Poienari Castle was one of his official residences and this hilltop dwelling, alongside his rumoured resting place of Lake Snagov, are chillingly fascinating places for any would-be vampire hunter.

 

Get under the skin of Ireland

Image owned by John Menard
Image owned by John Menard

 

The Irish have a reputation for being a friendly bunch, but once you’ve heard the stories of a few of the country’s most infamous residents, you might think twice before getting on their bad side. Ireland is steeped in history, and ancient castles are an integral part of the Emerald Isle’s stunning landscape. But behind that scenic exterior, dark secrets and troubled spirits lurk…

 

Image owned by Mike Searle
Image owned by Mike Searle

 

There’s plenty to see in Ireland, so be sure to hire a car so you can explore properly. And if you’re looking for something suitably scary to get started with, jump in at the deep end at Leap Castle. A murky past of bloody massacres and dirty dealings, overseen by a particularly unsavoury lot called the O’Carrolls, gives Leap Castle its reputation as Ireland’s most haunted attraction.  Book in advance if you want to see inside the castle and look out for a renowned apparition of a small hunched creature…they say you’ll smell him before you see him…

 

Get to know your home grown ghosts

Image owned by Brian Fuller
Image owned by Brian Fuller

 

There’s no place quite like home, and that rings especially true if you’re looking for a good haunting. Back in Blighty, England gives its Celtic neighbours a run for their money in the spook department. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s all here: fancy spotting an axe wielding, prehistoric ghost riding a horse bareback? Head to Dorset. A ghostly monk climbing a phantom staircase? Minsden Chapel in Hertfordshire. Looking to pick up the apparition of a female hitchhiker? You can give it a whirl in Blue Bell Hill in Kent.

For a spectrum of ghostly goings-on, head down to Dartmouth in Devon, where old and new ghosts rub shoulders in this pretty maritime town. And once you’re all spooked out, there is plenty more exploring to be done in the surrounding South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Fancy your own fright drive this Halloween? Get spooked on your own schedule with a cheap hire car from Europcar!

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