Scariest Places to Visit and Photograph

October 29

7 min. to read

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Whether it’s a “door to hell” or a ghostly haunting, we’ve picked ten of the scariest locations you can photograph.

Catacombs. Abandoned prisons. An island full of creepy dolls. The world is filled with scary, sometimes even haunted locations. Unexplained phenomena and disturbing histories only make these places creepier and, of course, call out to the curiosity of photographers. Who knows what you’ll catch on camera.

Whether it’s a “door to hell” or a ghostly haunting, we’ve picked ten of the scariest locations you can photograph. So gather up some courage, grab your favorite camera, and visit some of the scariest places on Earth. Halloween, after all, is not just for trick or treating.

To give your images that creep-tastic look, Evgeny Tchebotarev has created three sets of presets for the spooky season. Download Halloween Unmasked for Luminar or Halloween Vibes and Halloween Looks for Aurora HDR so you can add a little more contrast, texture, and shadow to your images for a touch of the macabre.

Sedlec Ossuary Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Scariest Places to Visit and Photograph Image1The Church of Bones is unassuming on the outside, but enter the chapel and come face to face with 40,000 human bones. They cover the walls. Or hang from the ceiling as a chandelier. Luckily, the chapel is accessible for a small fee.

Shooting tip: Just leave behind the tripod and forget the flash.

The Island of Dolls, Mexico

A ferry ride through the Xochimilco canals brings you to what looks like the material embodiment of a nightmare. Dolls in various states of decay hang from branches while severed limbs and heads dot the trees.

Shooting tip: Photographers will want both their wide angle and portrait lenses to fully document this location.

READ MORE: Turning Your Photos Into Spooky Images

Pripyat, Ukraine

Scariest Places to Visit and Photograph Image2Chernobyl, home to the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, is slowly being reclaimed by the wild. The city of Pripyat, for example, remains abandoned, complete with a quietly rusting amusement park.

Shooting tip: When shooting, don’t place any equipment on the ground, and follow the designated tour routes.

Village of Nagoro, Japan

About 350 life-size dolls inhabit this dwindling village, each a stand in for someone who died or left. Dolls sit in classrooms for class, wait for the bus, and a myriad of other activities. Look closer, and the story of Nagoro is as sad as it is creepy.

Shooting tip: Take a leisurely pace and take your time. Get up close and personal to capture the small details.

Monte Cristo Homestead, Australia

The most haunted house in Australia not only allows night tours but overnight stays as well. Keep an eye out for the ghost of Elizabeth Crawley, listen carefully for strange sounds, and learn about the multiple deaths that have occurred here over the years.

Shooting tip: A fast lens will come in handy if you’re staying overnight or visiting at night.

Paris Catacombs, France

Scariest Places to Visit and Photograph Image3A portion of the Paris Catacombs, home to over six million remains, is legally accessible. Piles and piles of bones, sometimes arranged decoratively, greet you. However, people very often venture into the rest. You’ll find cataphiles, swimmers, mushroom growers, and a whole lot more. 

Shooting tip: Flash photography and tripods are prohibited so bring a fast lens and get creative with the rest.

READ MORE: 10 Photos That Will Make You Want to Explore the Night Sky and Beyond

Quinta da Juncosa, Portugal

Visit the abandoned farmhouse to catch the ghost of Baron of Lages and his family, whom he murdered before taking his own life. There have multiple sightings throughout the years: rumor has it that the Baron himself shows up once in a while.

Shooting tip: By all accounts, it’s truly abandoned so take precautions.

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

Scariest Places to Visit and Photograph Image4This small hill in Lithuania has been a pilgrimage site for generations. Visitors have continually added crosses, rosaries and other Catholic symbols since at least the 1830's. Though not haunted, there are now over 100,000 crosses, creating an eery landscape.

Shooting tip: Visit at dusk and bring your tripod.

Lome Bazaar, Togo

This open market is a study in the occult. Vendors cater to the needs of shamans and Voodoo practitioners, offering live and dead (some freshly) creatures along with talismans and other assortments. There is an entrance fee and an extra fee to take pictures.

Shooting tip: A standard zoom with a wide aperture will come in handy.

Door To Hell, Turkmenistan

Scariest Places to Visit and Photograph Image5The almost 230-foot wide Darvaza Gas Crater has been continuously on fire since 1971. This “door to hell,” situated in the middle of the desert, is best seen at night. Book a guide, a tour or camp.

Shooting tip: Set up a tripod and an ultra wide angle lens for the perfect shot.


To give your images that creep-tastic look, Evgeny Tchebotarev has created three sets of presets for the spooky season. Download Halloween Unmasked for Luminar or Halloween Vibes and Halloween Looks for Aurora HDR so you can add a little more contrast, texture, and shadow to your images for a touch of the macabre.

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