30 Abandoned Places to EXPLORE Around The World
From USA to Europe to India to Japan and all the way to Antarctica, we will take you on a journey around the world to 30 Abandoned Places, with travel bloggers who have been exploring, these eerie, creepy, magical, and beautiful, Abandoned Places Around The World.
Are these places haunted? Some might be, are these places eerie? Yes definitely, do these places have an interesting history behind them? Absolutely. Will these places give you nightmares? Possibly but we hope not! Many of them might not be well known, but they all have interesting and fascinating pasts.
Would you dare to explore them?
Malcha Mahal – India
The Malcha Mahal is quite famous among the Delhi folk for being a mysterious place. Many people consider it to be haunted and believe that they have had different experiences at the place. But the place does have a history to which it recently ended with the death of the last heir.
The Malcha Mahal is located in New Delhi, India. You will find it in the Chanakyapuri area and it is just beside the Delhi Earth Station. The location is quite near the Raisina Hill.
Why would you choose to visit it?
The building is a historic building of the 14th century and it has the architectural pattern of that time. Along with that, you will also be intrigued by the rumours that go around the people. The location is really great and the building sits in the lap of nature.
The Malcha Mahal was constructed by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1325. Then in 1985, it was handed over to Wilayat begum who committed suicide in 1993 by consuming crushed diamonds. The family has gone downhill and the last two heirs were Sakina Mahal and Prince Ali Raza who have also deceased.
Any safety precautions?
We really do not think that you will need to be extra safe while visiting the place. But it is best to avoid this place at night because of the unpopulated location.
Any other information:
During the era of the Delhi Sultanate, this building was actually used as a hunting lodge.
Train Cemetery in Uyuni – Bolivia
Uyuni in Bolivia is most famous for its close proximity to the world’s largest salt flat, but just three kilometres outside the city is a more unusual attraction. The ‘Cementerio de Trenes’ (Train Cemetery), scattered with abandoned locomotives dating back more than a century, is a relic of the city’s history as a major transportation hub.
After British engineers built rail connections in the late 19th century, Uyuni thrived as a centre for transporting minerals from the nearby Andes mountains out to ports on the Pacific coast. But after just a few decades, the region’s mining industry collapsed. The old trains were rendered redundant, and were left out to decay in the harsh Bolivian salt winds.
The trains still standing today at Cementerio de Trenes bear the scars of their decades of abandonment. The rusted, hollowed-out carriages are a forlorn sight to behold on the old tracks.
Many of the tours to the Salar de Uyuni salt flats run by local agencies include a stop at Cementerio de Trenes en route. That’s how we happened across it. However, the tour groups tend to arrive in the peak hours of day when the site is teeming with tourists. To absorb the eerie atmosphere of the old railcars in peace, try visiting independently around sunrise or sunset. It’s not too far to walk from the city, or alternatively you can take a quick taxi ride.
Ta Promh – Cambodia
Nature really is more powerful in the long run than anything humankind can create, and nowhere is this more evident than Ta Promh. Visiting this temple was the highlight of my trip to the Angor Wat/ Seam Reap area. There are actually many temples in the area around Seam Reap, in various states of disrepair but it is at Ta Promh that the power of nature is in full force. I saw a photo of this long before I visited Angor Wat and decided I had to see it – and I wasn’t disappointed.
The thing that makes this temple especially fascinating is that it has been overgrown with trees. Enormous roots snake over walls of the abandoned temple as they slowly reclaim it. Trees do not merely surround the temple – they are absorbing it. This has been happening for centuries – the roots and tree trunks are enormous. It feels like you have discovered a long abandoned temple hidden deep in the jungle years – it is an amazing feeling. In reality you are not alone – get here early to have it as much to yourself as you can. Rent a bike in town and cycle around the area so that you can visit at your leisure.
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Bokor Palace Hotel – Cambodia
On Bokor Mountains near Kampot in the south west of Cambodia are the ruins of a French colonial hill station. When I heard that there was an old abandoned hill station that you could visit, I was hooked. So, I got a lift there on the back of a motor bike along a dreadful road full of potholes.
It was quite an adventure; the summit quite eerie with silent shells of buildings surrounded by forest. This was a few years ago and the road was recently resurfaced and a modern casino has been built, so it is much easier to get to (and a little less atmospheric), but several abandoned buildings including an old Catholic church and the remnants of the Bokor Palace Hotel still stand, as a reminder of what once was.
This hill station has actually been abandoned twice – once by the French and then most recently it was overtaken – and subsequently abandoned – by the Khmer Rouge (in fact it was one of their last holdouts). You can walk through the hotel and with a little imagination, picture it as the height of French colony grandeur, full of people here to escape the summer heat. At the same time, bullet holes pockmark the concrete, and being here really brings home the reality of Cambodia’s quite recent horrific history.
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Ho Thuy Tien, The Abandoned Water Theme Park In Vietnam
By: Horizon Unknown
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Vietnam is a south-east Asian tourism hub, and for good reason, there are so many amazing sights to see. This means finding a lesser-known gem in the hordes of bus tours almost impossible. Almost. In 2004, water theme park Ho Thuy Tien was opened to the public and due to lack of interest, shut down a few years later. Nothing in the park was dismantled, rather just left to decay over time. I gliding the parks giant dragon.
Being so huge, this dragon is pretty hard to miss and even though the worn scales are covered in spray paint, it’s a fantastic sight to explore. That’s right, you can walk around the inside of the dragon itself – even a great viewpoint from the jaws of the beast.
Other attractions around the derelict park include waterslides that lead into stagnant green water and an auditorium covered in weeds. There’s even a mini-van sized space simulator tucked away up the back!
Visiting this unknown gem is easy from the city Hue, and driving a rented motorbike is the easiest way to explore the ruins. However, make sure you keep an eye out along the pathways as many potholes are dotted around the area. Also, wear good shoes! The ground within the dragon’s belly is covered in glass from broken aquariums that once held alligators (they have now been moved to somewhere a little more comfortable).
Ho Thuy Tien is slowly gaining coverage as it becomes more popular both online and along the tourist grapevine. If you have a spare day in Vietnam and want something a little offbeat, this eerie destination is for you!
Smallpox Hospital, Roosevelt Island – New York City – USA
Roosevelt Island is literally a narrow strip of land between Manhattan and Queens with a lot of history. I’d never explored there even though I live within NYC so my bestie and I decided to take the tram there on a blistering 100F (37 C) day with a zillion units of humidity this June. Smart.
I’d heard of the hospital during research so went out of the way to see it at the southern tip of the island surrounded by lots of green space. The hospital was opened in 1854 to care for people with smallpox, a deadly contagious disease back then. After that, it was one of the first nursing schools in the U.S. till it was abandoned in the 1950s. It is currently still abandoned even though the city performed some stabilization to keep it erect as only the shell remains.
You can see right through it as the stairwells, labs & everything else was stripped away when it was abandoned. It is alleged to be haunted (of course lol) and attracts so many curious folks. It is currently under lock and key and overgrown with nature. Its grounds are a nesting site for birds of the area so maybe that’s why it’s locked from the public, along with the shell probably being a safety hazard and/or the ghost hunters. Lol.
It is NYC’s only landmarked ruin. I have a complete post on my Roosevelt Island day trip where there’s talk of a mental facility, fear of a British invasion and a lighthouse.
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Petite Ceinture – France – Paris
Abandoned places have a magic all their own, and Paris, France’s Petite Ceinture is no different. Once a bustling rail line encircling Paris (like a smaller version of today’s Boulevard Péphérique), it stopped carrying passengers in 1934 and has since been abandoned to the ravages of both time and urban artists.
While other abandoned Parisian rail lines have been beautified and repurposed (like the Vincennes line that is now the Promenade Plantée), the future of the Petite Ceinture remains up for debate and it has therefore maintained its rougher, more urban look. We chose to visit a stretch of the Petite Ceinture on our first trip to Paris thanks to the rail line’s robust history and the charm of its abandoned stations and tracks – happily, we were NOT disappointed.
From overlapping graffiti art that lines the concrete walls like vibrant wallpaper, to the art installations around some of the stations, to the brilliant wildflowers growing along much of the track in the spring and summer, this out-of-the-way gem is an absolute stunner to visit.
A few things to note when visiting the Petite Ceinture:
There are entry points all around the city. However, some are on private property, so please be aware of the legal ramifications of whatever entry point you choose. Several stretches of the Petite Ceinture are very isolated – surrounded by tall walls and backing up to the rear side of buildings (i.e. no doors or easy exit points). So, if you’re alone or in a small group, be aware of your surroundings. This wouldn’t be a good place to get caught unawares.
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West Park Mental Hospital – Epsom – England
The ‘home counties’ surrounding London used to be pretty well known for their mental hospitals. David Bowie’s album ‘The Man Who Sold the World’, features a painting of Cane Hill asylum on its cover. This was the mental hospital in Croydon, just outside of London where his brother was a patient.
However, thanks to the switch to ‘caring within communities’ in the 80’s and 90’s, many of these asylums fell out of use in the later part of the 20th century. Many of them fell into disuse and closed down. The positive side of that is that they became amazing places to explore for UrbExers (Urban Explorers). Some years ago, I visited the abandoned West Park Mental Hospital in Epsom, Surrey – just a few miles south of London.
The hospital closed down in the mid-1990’s and had stood empty for a long time. Getting inside was fairly easy, after a bit of searching. The tricky part was avoiding the security guard on duty. The super cool thing about the abandoned asylum is that there were many many objects strewn about, just left in their last position of use – as if the hospital was abandoned in a hurry. Chairs, wheelchairs, books, shoes, patient files. This is one of the things that gave the building its creepiest aspect.
As well as the endless corridors and wards to explore, there are also padded cells, treatment rooms – with implements and patient chairs still there – and super spooky underground tunnels. I really love exploring creepy abandoned buildings like this, and so far, this was the coolest place that I have experienced.
It felt like the walls and rooms of the building remembered the things that had happened there and wanted to share them. Unfortunately, like many similar places around the UK, the building was finally torn down completely just a few years ago. Now there are few places like this remaining around the country.
Read the full story of my visit here: Abandoned Insane Asylum
Chernobyl – Ukraine
The biggest nuclear disaster in the human history is the explosion of the No.4 reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine. This event changes the fate of thousands of people and poses a threat to the health of millions. It is no easy or trivial matter to visit Chernobyl. You have to book the trip in advance with your passport and then be approved by the Ukrainian authorities. We managed to take part in a group tour that leaves from Kiev early in the morning. The drive is about two and a half hours. We were instructed about the radioactive particles and how to work with a Geiger counter.
We watched a documentary with unique photos and video material from the operation of containing the damage, which affected whole Europe. 30 km away from the town is the first checkpoint. It is like crossing a border- they check your passport and everything. Then we headed for the most dangerous zone within the radius of 10 km from the reactor, where you pass a radioactivity check. And then it is the first stop, the entrance of Chernobyl.
We continued driving, passing through a forest. The counters show levels high above the norm. We are in the yard of a kindergarten. We left with very dark thoughts on our minds, provoked by the visit at the kindergarten. It’s one of the most challenging scenes that we’ll remember for a long time. In the surrounding woods, we got bitten by some mosquitoes. We hope they weren’t too radioactive. At the distance, you can see the heart of the problem – No.4 reactor.
St Dunstan – East Church Garden – London
Hiding in plain sight, you can find the ruins of an old Wren church right in the heart of London, England. Just a stone’s throw away from the infamous Sky Garden is St Dunstan in the East Church Garden, which contains the beautiful remains of a church. It dates back over 1000 years and is thought to have been built in 1100. It’s had a rough history, first being severely damaged by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and then later being damaged again during the Blitz bombings of World War II.
In between these two disasters, Sir Christopher Wren built a tower and steeple which were added to the church and miraculously this survived the World War II bombings. If the name Christopher Wren sounds familiar, it’s because he designed another of London’s most famous buildings: St Paul’s Cathedral. As such, these ruins have the status of a grade 2 listed building.
Although the church is long gone, the ruins remain and St Dunstan in the East now functions as a garden for Londoners who are lucky enough to know that it exists. It’s open all day, every day and completely free so add this to your list of places to visit in London if you’re exploring the area around London Bridge.
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Kupari – Croatia
The abandoned resort in Kupari, Croatia, was on our bucket list for a few years. We frequently visit abandoned cities, buildings, and planes across the world, and this was a must-see sight for us. During our first Balkan trip we made a stop near Dubrovnik to finally see it with our own eyes. If you have a car, make a short detour from the city, it’s only 10 km away. The hotel complex consists of several buildings. The place was a luxury resort for the military of Yugoslavia. During the Yugoslavian war, it was damaged, and never repaired or used again. You can climb to the highest floors of the buildings too, the staircases are in decent shape, but use your common sense while exploring any ruined sites. The view is stunning from the top. Besides of the tourists exploring the hotels, you will meet with locals walking dogs or jogging on the beautiful Croatian seaside.
Read More Here: Kupari The Abandoned Military Resort On The Croatian Seaside
Abandoned Whaling Station and Research station on Deception Island – Antarctica
One of the highlights of a trip to Antarctica is visiting Deception Island. The donut-shaped island is the top of a mostly submerged active volcano. You enter through a narrow gap in the caldera wall into an inner harbour that is literally inside the cone of the volcano.
This is Whalers Bay and there are the abandoned ruins of not one, but two settlements here. From 1906 to 1931, there was a whaling station here, complete with British magistrate (the only Antarctic prisoner ever was arrested here for kicking a penguin!) and cemetery. It was abandoned as the whaling industry changed. Then between 1944 and 1969, the British set up a scientific research station in order to claim the island as British territory. This was abandoned when the volcano erupted, making it unsafe to stay.
This is an atmospheric place. The beach steams from geothermic activity and a few random penguins wander around the remnants of wooden barrels and old boats half-buried in the sand, well preserved in the dry Antarctic air; huge rusting tanks; various whaling and research building, and an aircraft hangar with the wingless remains of a plane outside. It is easy to conjure up images of the hard lives people lived here throughout much of the twentieth century.
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Crumbling Abandoned Resort – Cook Islands
Cook Islands, is the perfect secluded beach getaway located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean near New Zealand. After finding a great flight deal we found ourselves on a 2-week vacation to the main island called Rarotonga. We decided perfect Sunday plans would be to take a bike ride as most places are closed on that day. We decided on an 18-mile bike ride that would take us around the entire Island.
Once we reached the southern part of the island we stumbled upon an abandoned and crumbling mega-resort. Complete with creepy cows mooing in the back we took a one-mile walk around the what could be a thriving resort. The greenery overgrowing makes for a beautiful scene but the crumbling concrete complete with graffiti adds to the eerier vibe. There are several decaying buses and falling buildings.
After some internet searching, we learned that the abandoned hotel is rumoured to be haunted and doomed from the start due to a possible curse over the land. It has a crazy past with possible mob connections causing the back out of the original investor in the 1980’s. If you find yourself in Raratonga then take the main road to the south coast and you will easily spot the resort falling apart. We suggest to not go into any building and go on Sunday as we heard some people try to charge for a tour with no connection to the building.
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KAYAKOY – TURKEY
Chances are you have already seen the ghost town of Kayaköy, near Fethiye in Turkey without ever visiting it. How could this be? It is one of the central locations where Russell Crowe’s movie The Water Diviner was shot. Still, this is not how we came to know of it. We happen to live almost around the corner.
Trust us, despite its growing popularity, Kayaköy is well worth a visit if you’re spending time at the Turkish Riviera, even if you have no particular interest in abandoned places. The village was once half Greek half Turkish and flourishing. Greeks and Turks lived peacefully side by side and called the town respectively Levissi and Kayaköy. Ironically, it was the end of the First World War that disrupted the peaceful life in Kayaköy. The treaty of the Turkish Greek Population exchange forced the Greeks to move back to Greece, while Turks were being expelled from Greece. The half-deserted village never recovered, and after it got hit by an earthquake, it turned into a ghost town.
Take our advice and don’t visit Kayaköy with an organized tour. It feels so much more serene and magical if you discover it at your own pace, in silence. It is a maze of cobbled streets, abandoned houses, abandoned churches, and a gorgeous vantage point at the chapel on top of the hill. Kayaköy can easily be reached by public transport from the neighboring resorts. There are several restaurants in the new village in the valley below that cater for all tastes and budgets. There is a small entrance fee to be paid if you walk past the ticket booth. If not, relax this is Turkey!
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Hack Green – Cheshire – United Kingdom
It’s not often you see an abandoned secret nuclear bunker announcing itself via a large sign, but that’s what you get when you visit Hack Green. If you can remember the 80s, you too may have received a copy of the Government-issued booklet Protect and Survive telling you how to survive a nuclear war through a few home improvements. The more serious response to that challenge would have been coordinated by Hack Green.
This bunker was selected to protect the land between Liverpool and Birmingham from nuclear attack. Below ground, Hack Green was ready to monitor nuclear fallout and act as regional government in a nuclear attack. Today you can see the decontamination facilities, the hospital and the bunks for workers, plus the broadcast room where the nation would have been kept informed by radio.
After years of neglect, this abandoned place was brought back to life to remind us all of the folly of war. Despite the friendly presence of Goulash, the bunker cat, it’s still a chilling place to remember our need for peace.
By: A Packed Life
An Abandoned Mine found On Namibia’s Skeleton Coast
As you approach Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, it feels as though you’ve reached the ends of the earth. This stretch of barren land runs alongside the wild Atlantic Coast, and is dotted with shipwrecks submerged amongst salt flats and sand dunes, and abandoned mines set back from windswept beaches. This inhospitable region is engulfed in dense fog for much of the year, cold seas are churned up by the Benguela current that fight the wind sweeping off the land, and rainfall rarely exceeds 10 millimetres per annum.
The Skeleton Coast was perhaps the most striking section of our Namibia itinerary, which formed the final section of our overland adventures through Sub-Saharan Africa in a Land Rover with our boys (aged 3 and 4), but it was an old abandoned mine that stole our attention. There was no signage and I have no idea if it even had a name, but the remains of this mine had been left to the elements, corroding into the sand, for all to wander around, touch and explore. It was fascinating and no other soul could be seen for miles.
Due the harsh environment and remote location, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism have strict regulations about entry permits. If you are just passing through the section south of Torra Bay, then you can register and purchase a free entry permit at either gate: the Ugab River gate on the C34, or the Springbokwasser gate on the D3245. You must arrive before 3pm to be allowed entry into the park. If you plan to stay at either Torra or Terrace Bay, you must pre-book at the main NWR office in Windhoek. You will be turned away if you just turn up.
By: TraveLynn Family
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Bodie State Historic Park – California – USA
In the American West, nothing says “abandoned” like a bona fide California gold mining ghost town. And that’s just what you’ll experience when you visit Bodie State Historic Park. Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, what was once a boomtown of nearly 10,000 people is now a National Historic Landmark welcoming 200,000 visitors each year.
Back in its heyday, Bodie had more amenities than folks would have expected from a town its size. There was a Wells Fargo Bank, multiple daily newspapers, and a jail. Main Street was a mile long with plenty of places for the locals and passersby to gamble and drink at one of the more than 60 saloons. As you might expect from every Western movie ever made, fist fights in the bars and shootouts in the street took place daily. Like many mining towns of the day, Bodie had its own Chinatown where Chinese immigrants working on the railroad or in the mines would be forced to live separately from the rest of the community.
A visit to Bodie today provides a glimpse of what the town was like when the final residents abandoned it more than 50 years ago. After two large fires, about 100 structures remain including the Methodist Church, sawmill, jail, a stable, the Bodie Bank, and several homes. To keep this ghost town authentic, there are no gas stations, restaurants, or shops. However, flush toilets (thankfully) are available near the parking lot.
About Everyday Wanderer
After growing up living all over the United States and Europe, Sage Scott writes her travel blog from America’s Heartland in Kansas City. From the midwestern city affectionately called the Paris of the Plains, she shares her travel experiences and provides helpful travel tips on her blog, Everyday Wanderer.
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Abandoned buildings in Lake Ritsa – Abkhazia
A gorgeous mountain lake high in the Caucasus Mountains, Lake Ritsa is so beautiful that Stalin chose it as one of his summer homes. Today, its natural beauty remains. But thousands of human structures in this area, such as this abandoned lakeside building, have been left behind to slow fade into the natural landscape. They are casualties of a decades-long conflict that has enveloped the region, known as Abkhazia.
Internationally recognized as a part of the country of Georgia, the Republic of Abkhazia claims to be an independent nation. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, a brutal war between separatists and the Georgian government ripped through this area, causing a huge portion of the population to flee. In 2008 Russian troops moved in, and now essentially occupy Abkhazia. Abkhazia receives very few tourists, but it is possible to visit with a little determination. Both the US and UK governments have safety warnings issued for the area, and there have been sporadic reports of gang violence in the south of the region. But the truth is that, with a little bit of caution and a lot of preparation, hardy travellers should find the journey relatively easy.
The best part? You’ll be rewarded with beautiful natural landscapes, curious and friendly locals, and a denser concentration of abandoned buildings than just about anywhere else on the planet. Highlights of a visit to Abkhazia include the northern beach town of Gagra and, of course, the stunning Lake Ritsa.
For more information on visiting Abkhazia, check out this detailed guide.
Nate Hake writes at TravelLemming.com, a travel site focused on exploring emerging destinations around the world. A graduate of Yale Law School and the University of Pennsylvania, Nate has been featured as an authority on travel by numerous media sites, including Fodor’s, MSN Travel, US News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, and many more. To find out more, you can follow Travel Lemming on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagr
Fort Gorazda – Kotor – Montenegro
“There is a good hike to an abandoned fort above Kotor.” said a German tourist in the hostel “Nobody really knows about it”. Upon hearing this, 4 of us who had rented a car decided to explore the secret and abandoned Fort Gorazda for ourselves! We drove upwards. The bay of Kotor lay far below us and we were treated to spectacular views of the Mediterranean fjord. Eventually, we arrived at the right spot, parked the car and continued on foot. Feeling like explorers as we were trying to find this little-known attraction although it is clearly marked on google maps. The clouds were closing in and we could hear rumbling thunder in the distance. It provided the perfect soundtrack to this eerie location. The four of us entered the gloomy darkness of Fort Gorazda.
Fort Gorazda was one of the Austro-Hungarian Fortresses built in Montenegro between 1884–86. It was used as a fort in World War I and the Yugoslav Army used it as depot as recently as the early 1990s. None of us had a torch which only added to the unnerving atmosphere. There were damp passages, dark corridors and ominous staircases to discover. The occasional clap of thunder made me jump as I weaved my way through the fort complex. The structure appeared quite safe and parts which are not were cordoned off. Eventually, we made it onto the roof and had gorgeous views of the bay of Kotor far below us in the distance. Road trips are synonymous with any trip to Montenegro so try and squeeze a visit to this secret, abandoned fort if you can!
Appuldurcombe House – Isle of Wight – United Kingdom
The Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, is a small, pretty island full of chocolate box villages, sea-salt-encrusted moors and quiet beaches. We love to say on the south coast near a town called Ventnor. On our most recent trip, we discovered the wonderful Appuldurcombe House. We arrived by bicycle, crunching up the stony driveway, at the end of a warm Spring day. The sun was sinking and the birds were singing their laments to the close of day. The sign at the entrance to the once stately home, said it shut at 4pm with last entries at 3pm. It also warned that the site could be hazardous.
There wasn’t a soul about, but the gate was open so we wandered on in. What a fascinating place we had stumbled upon: from the front of the house, you’d think you were looking at an immaculate 18th Century Baroque stately home. All the glass is intact and there’s no sign of damage or neglect. Approaching the back of the house is an entirely different story. There’s no glass in any of the windows and the house has been completely gutted. There’s the odd remnant of its former glory: a black and white tiled floor, huge ceilings and ornate stonework.
There’s a quiet, melancholy feel to the building. Once a treasured home, it was sold in 1855 and then went through several different uses including a hotel, school and a monastery. It fell into neglect by the late 1930s and would have been demolished in the 1950s had the Ministry of Works not stepped in and rescued it. Thank goodness they did. Appuldurcombe is a true treasure and somewhere you should certainly visit if you get the chance.
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KOLMANSKOP – NAMIBIA
The African country now known as Namibia was once a Germany colony called “German South-West Africa”, and much evidence of this colonial period still remains today. One example is Kolmanskop, a once-wealthy town that was built by the Germans in the middle of the desert in 1908 after diamonds were discovered in the area.
The buildings of Kolmanskop were built in a traditional German architectural style and include not just elaborate houses but also a bakery, a post office, a hospital, a pub, and even a bowling alley. The mine even paid for opera companies to come over from Europe and perform in the magnificent hall built to provide entertainment for the residents.
As the diamond deposits gradually depleted, the town went into a steady decline. In 1956, less than 50 years after the town had been built, the last three families deserted Kolmanskop. The sands of the Namibia desert quickly reclaimed the area, filling up the abandoned buildings with rolling dunes.
The ghost town is now a tourist attraction run by the De Beers company, which still mines diamonds in Namibia. Kolmanskop is located inside a restricted area that is closed to the public due to diamond mining. Tourists must join a guided tour to visit Kolmanskop. This can be arranged in the port town of Lüderitz, 10 kilometers away. Since most places of interest in Namibia are inaccessible by public transportation, my husband and I joined a multi-day tour of the country that included a visit to Kolmanskop.
After the hour-long guided tour, you are free to wander the town on your own. If you choose to explore inside the buildings, be wary of rotting floorboards. The strong, sandy winds can be unbearable, so bring a scarf or bandana to shield your face.
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Abandoned Village – Badbea – North Scotland
The abandoned village of Badbea balances precariously on steep rocky cliffs, with the North Sea crashing below, in Caithness in the very north of Scotland. The village was never planned but was a result of the Highland Clearances, when families were forced to abandon their lives in the country by landowners greedy for money would bring who then used the land to farm sheep.
The families had no option but to head for the coast and create new lives in this difficult and often dangerous location. All that remains today are rubble walls and outlines of buildings but when it was occupied the families lived a tough lives. The men fished for herrings in the sea below while the women spun wool and grew vegetables in their tiny plot of land. They only had space for a few cows and sheep and they often had to be tethered to the land (as did the children) to stop them being blown into the sea.
It’s an eerie place with a stunningly beautiful view. There are now information boards telling the story of the families and a monument erected by the son of the last resident. It can be reached via a footpath beside a lay-by on the A9 near the village of Ousdale and it’s rough underground so care needs to be taken. I visited on my way around the North Coast 500 which is a road taking you 517 miles around the very north coast of Scotland, beginning and ending in Inverness.
Sarajevo – 1984 Winter Olympics Track
The bobsled track of 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics lies abandoned for decades. Since the 1992-94 Siege of Sarajevo, the city has not had the funds to fix the damage and maintain the site. In recent years, with international support, there are efforts in progress to restore the tracks for future competitions. However, the damage to the start houses, refrigeration plants and cooling systems is so high that full restoration is likely cost prohibitive.
The site may be abandoned, but it is popular for summer training, graffiti art, bicyclist, tourism and hiking. Here is a short video to take you on a walk down the bobsled track – Sarajevo Winter Olympics Track.
The sliding track offers about a kilometre of walls as canvas for graffiti artists. It must be a dream for local and famous artists alike. Some famous artists have chosen the site to spread the idea of peace. My favorite one says ‘For all Kids, Give peace a Chance’! So simple yet so difficult for the world leaders. The 1984 Winter Olympics were held in 4 mountains in the area. The views from the mountains are spectacular with the city in the valley on one side and the endless views of lush green mountains with scenic highways passing through. With the restorations in progress, much of the overgrowth is being removed and so is the graffiti. It’s hard to say what it will look like in the coming years. Today it’s hard to imagine the grand events with hundreds of thousands of spectators as the site lies abandoned. But, maybe we’ll see them again someday.
- Mt Trebevi, Winter Olympics bobsled track in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
How did you find it?
- We took a tour to visit the bobsled track along with the mountains, Sarajevo’s Tunnel of Hope, Jewish cemetery and the deathly bridge.
- The bobsled track was a venue for the 1984 Winter Olympics hosted in Sarajevo’s mountains, in addition to the multiple world championships before the wars. During the 1992-96 Siege of Sarajevo, it was used by snipers to launch artillery. It was heavily damaged in the war and scars from Sarajevo’s defense troops are still visible.
Any warnings / safety issues?
In winter the tracks may be slippery with ice. It’s unlikely that someone clears them.
It seems pretty isolated, I wouldn’t go there alone, especially at night.
Any other information?
The track has three circuits that can be combined and used for different races. Along the tracks are various abandoned buildings and at least two parking lots. The structure is a huge feat of engineering and cooling technology.
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Michigan Central Station, Detroit
When one thinks of abandoned places in the US, Detroit always comes up in conversations. Located on the US-Canada border, Detroit was once a flourishing city in the Great Lakes region and the hub of the US automobile industry. As the automobile industry declined in the 1980s and the Rust Belt formed, Detroit’s fortunes reversed and the city suffered economic decline. Since then vast areas of the city have fallen into urban decay and the city is full of vacant and derelict properties.
One of the iconic places that lie abandoned in Detroit is the historic Michigan Central Station. Designed similar to New York’s Grand Central Station, the station had beautiful Roman style waiting rooms and grand columns. The station was built as a depot for the Michigan Central Railroad in 1914 and was in use till 1988. Since then it lies abandoned and images of the grand building with its imposing architecture and barbed wire fences are an iconic image of the Rustic Belt. We visited the building along with other unused public buildings in Detroit and were overwhelmed by its sheer size and the graffiti scribbled across its walls.
By Ketki Sharangpani of Dotted Globe
Hovrinskaya Hospital – Hovrino District – Moscow
Hovrinskaya Hospital is in the Hovrino District of Moscow and is a unfinished hospital, abandoned since 1985. Russia is famous for abandoned buildings and I didn’t visit a hospital before so after a business trip I simply had to visit. When I visited Hovrinskaya Hospital I did that together with a friend from Moscow as I don’t speak Russian.
This comes in handy if you talk to the guards at the entrance on Klinskiy Proyezd street. Of course, you could go in illegally but if you pay the guards some roubles they will make sure you don’t get bothered by authorities. If you stumble upon other visitors make sure to keep your eyes open as not everyone who visit is friendly.
Construction took place between 1980 and 1985 but the building was left unfished since then. Its style is typical for communist nations: lots of concrete. If you walk through the building, make sure to watch out for rotten concrete and gaps which can be dangerous. The main building has three wings which are the same.
An underground passage way exists to the annex building but is flooded. Do visit the annex building though as the best graffiti can be found there. I spend around 4 hours at the site, but you can spend a full day exploring each single floor. Watch out though; it’s said to be haunted!
Chris combines business and leisure travel in an efficient luxury way. With ultimate goals to visit all continents, countries and UNESCO sites and finally go to space one day. His stories he shares on Chris Travel Blog (CTB Global). These include itineraries, in depth day trip articles and a bit on food, craft beer and other related stories. Check him out if you want to know how to combine business & leisure.
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Hasse (Chris) Wiersma
卫 司 马
(Chris @ www.christravelblog.com)
Fukushima – Japan
I was teaching English in Taiwan and spontaneously booked a solo trip to Japan before I returned to my Canadian home. What intrigued me most was the nuclear disaster from the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami that occured in Fukushima. Now was my chance to see the disaster for myself.
A quick Google search brought me to to The Real Fukushima website, created by the Fukushima government. I quickly booked a tour and sought the best way to get to Fukushima. It was four hours from Tokyo – a long Shinkansen ride and short train ride away – but I stayed the night at my tour guides house and it was worth it.
Fukushima is still still reeling from the earthquake’s aftermath. Broken houses, cracked roads and radiation galore still encompass the prefecture. Most have abandoned their belongings. Cars with flat tires still parked curbside and on driveways. Overgrown vines swarm buildings – hospitals, schools, houses which were once homes and stores. Radiation exists – my tour giude had a map of the red zone – where it’s too dangerous to step foot in because of the intensity of the radiation. We drove by men in hazmat suites working away to remove contaminated soil as I watched the pointer in the radiation monitor swivel higher.
If you plan to visit, make sure you have a tour giude. You will definitely need a car to get around. There are security checkpoints every so often where your passport must be shown. Besides the radiation, Fukushima is safe. The few who have moved back and will openly speak to you about their experiences.
Elibank Castle – Walkerburn – Scotland
Elibank castle is a bit of a hidden gem! No one really knows about it besides the locals who live in Innerleithen or Walkerburn. It is seen by many who drive the roads of the Scottish Borders but it can be a mystery to know how to get there. It is quite simple, you drive the back road out of Walkerburn and turn up the dirt road and follow it as far as you can. There are a few roads but a lot of them will lead you to Elibank Castle either way. The castle is abandoned now, though still owned privately. You can go up and explore the castle for absolutely no cost at all as long as you respect the place and don’t cause more damage and keep yourself safe. We took the drone up on a sunny day. We hiked through the forest and found the castle in about 15 minutes.
Inside a Soviet -Era Underground Nuclear Missile Base – Ukraine
Taking you to Ukrainian strategic Missile Base “ PERVO MAYSK” which is 12 levels underground from Soviet Era but now non-functional. Located on a location which is scarcely populated on a deserted land between Kiev(capital of Ukraine) and Odessa. It looks like a small house or settlement on top but beneath the ground, there is a huge Missile network which was aimed directly at the United States populated areas and military targets.
Though these Missiles are non-functional and now are serving as Museum but you can go through locked and realistic loaded Nuclear Missiles. This earthquake-proof command center gives you chance to press the LAUNCH button which aims the warhead of Mar-a-Lago.
Location – Between Kiev and Odessa in Ukraine.
I chose this Missile tour during my Ukraine trip as I always love to see new technologies, as my educational background is in Engineering. I am curious to see different technology though it is war-related. As I have never been to bunkers or realistic Missile centers before, so when I heard of Ukraine’s famous Missile base on the way to Odessa, I made my stop here for few hours.
Warnings / Precautions or Safety Measures to be taken:
- As this Missile base is several floors underground which are very huge, narrow and dark, you may feel claustrophobic.
- Sometimes you can feel slight suffocation but nothing to worry about as there is proper flow of oxygen and air-conditioning.
- You have to rely on Ukranian soldier because he is allowed you to take down several floors below passing through narrow paths and rough places which is all surrounded by loaded and locked weapons.
- Go for a Group tour which comprises of 8 to 10 people so that you don’t get very much afraid or scared.
- Wear nice fitted clothes and tied up shoes as sometimes you have to climb narrow hanging ladders and go through very narrow passages.
- Tall people can bang their head many times, that is why in bunkers they used to hire soldiers with less height.
- Do not wear long gowns, frocks, skirts, loose hanging clothes or jewelry. Or don’t carry anything in hand like water bottles, back-packs, loose footwears like slippers as anything falls down cannot be retained.
The whole visit takes around 2 to 3 hours. There is a small café on the entry of the museum for light snacks.
For a couple of hours of your life, you have to live the life of a soldier and can you imagine, during the Soviet Era, so many soldiers used to live there. Their duty consists of living 45 days underground in narrow passages, not being allowed to come out.
Yukti from Travel With Me 24×7
Let us know which ones you have visited and which ones you would love to visit in the comments below.