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If you seek the eerie, unique, and spellbinding on your travels, these ghost towns you can visit are sure to pique your curiosity.
Ghost towns are an eclectic fusion of nature and man-made. Often as alluring as they are spine-tingling, these places always have a colorful history.
From the sun-baked deserts to the rugged countryside, ghost towns can be discovered in many different places.
So, let’s take a whirlwind tour like no other and visit ten of the world’s most jaw-dropping, beautiful, and haunting ghost towns.
Ghost Towns You Can Visit
1 – Bodie (California, US)
Officially recognized as the Bodie State Historic Park, Bodie is arguably one of the US’ most well-known and eeriest ghost towns.
A former gold mining town, this once bustling little hub of dreams for a better tomorrow fell into rapid decline as the gold boom slowed in the early 1900s.
Occupied up until the 1940s, Bodie is now a decayed snapshot in time. You can walk along its overgrown paths and between rickety houses and abandoned buildings.
Some of the houses even have tinned food and supplies still stocked in cupboards and drawers! This is a classic example of America’s ghost towns, and well worth a visit.
2 – Calico (California, US)
Whereas Bodie has been left to the hands of Mother Nature, Calico is a former mining town that has been restored and is now a Historical Landmark.
Atop the ruins of a town that once thrived during the silver rush, many of the old ‘wild west’ style saloons and shops have been restored.
Calico is a great place to visit for both historical intrigue and plenty of family fun.
Amid the heat of the Mojave desert, you can go back to the bustle and everyday life of America in the late 1800s.
3 – Bayhorse (Idaho, US)
A town with a turbulent history, Bayhorse had to survive a gold boom and bust before silver was eventually found in the area.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, Bayhorse’s abandoned houses have something of a charm to their eeriness.
There are plenty of interesting things to see at Bayhorse. The town has decaying mining equipment and even charcoal kins.
This eye-opening and spellbinding place gives a unique snapshot in time of nineteenth-century America.
4 – Nelson (Nevada, US)
A popular spot for photographers and music video shoots, this boomtown, not too far from Las Vegas, has a very notorious history.
At one point one of the most in-demand mining towns in Nevada, Nelson was a crazy place of violence, scandal, and vengeance.
Its location close to the Colorado river was ultimately its downfall, as consistent flash-flooding slowly sapped the area of gold, silver, and other precious metals.
Today, the bordered-up ruins and abandoned equipment, sizzling in the Nevada heat, are a sobering reminder of how humans are always at the beckoning call of Mother Nature, no matter where in the world.
5 – Kayakoy (Turkey)
Deep in the hills of southwest Turkey lies an ancient village, populated through millennia of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine rule, before being completely abandoned in the 1920s.
Kayakoy consists of a hundred or so rundown houses and churches, that is now a protected museum village.
Serine and tranquil, the only people to grace the dusty tracks today are tour groups, street vendors, and a handful of people who live in renovated houses.
6 – Kolmanskop (Namibia)
Kolmanskop, beneath the baking sun of the Namib desert, is a fascinating fusion of German architecture and the awesome power of Mother Nature.
Founded in 1908, this once-thriving settlement boasted a casino, theatre, and Africa’s first tram system.
Over time, however, the diamond fields in the area began to deplete. By 1956, the final remaining residents had abandoned their homes to mine at the prosperous Orange River, some 270km away.
Kolmanskop’s sand-filled houses are awe-inspiring to behold. You need a permit to enter the town, but the long ride to visit is more than worth the wait.
7 – Poggioreale (Sicily, Italy)
Sicily’s ghost town of Poggioreale was once a humble settlement of Italian charm and endeavor until an earthquake struck in 1968.
Poggioreale never recovered, and now lies dormant and abandoned amid the olive, rustic Sicilian hills.
Tours to the town allow you to wander through the remains, amid the serenity and beauty of the Sicilian countryside.
8 – Turruncun (La Rioja, Spain)
Nestled between the rolling hills of the Prejano mountains, Turruncun used to be home to a tiny population of 300 people.
The now deserted village can be found by trekking through the forests, following the wonderfully named ‘Route of the dinosaurs’.
Turruncun’s rustic architecture and gawpingly wondrous mountain views are a sight to behold.
9 – Craco (Basilicata, Italy)
Abandoned decades ago due to a history of flooding and earthquakes, today, the ghost town of Craco is a popular tourist attraction.
So much so, this derelict, picturesque settlement is also a popular filming location.
Craco’s stacked Italian houses, the wind whistling between the walls, are hauntingly beautiful against the sprawling mountain backdrop of the Basilicata countryside.
10 – Pentedattilo (Calabria, Italy)
Clung to the rugged slopes of the Monte Calvario, Pentedattilo’s ancient history stretches back to the ancient Greek era in 640BC.
Through the ages, the town was sieged and conquered time after time, by various eras.
Completely abandoned from the 1950s onwards, decades later a small group of volunteers spent time in the region, restoring some of the buildings.
Pentedattilo is a ghost town of rich charm and staggering beauty, with a truly turbulent yet fascinating history.
Ghost Towns You Can Visit Summary
Wild, weird, and utterly unique, ghost towns are some of the most fascinating places you can visit throughout the world.
Fortunately, many of these ghost towns are protected or promoted by tourist boards, turning their legacy into one of positivity after hard and turbulent times.
If you’re a curious traveler that loves interesting, historic, and off-beat experiences, add some of these ghost towns to your bucket list. Some of these places are truly jaw-dropping to lay eyes on.
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Author: Dale Johnson is a content writer, strategist, and designer, who has been a digital nomad since 2016. He has traveled to or lived in 30 countries, and counting.
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