Visit some of the most haunted places in Spain for Halloween.
As if 2020 hasn’t been scary enough with Covid-19, Halloween is upon us and those lengthening winter shadows can conjure up nightmares. Get your ghoulish costume ready and take Halloween to the next level by visiting some of the spookiest and haunted places in Spain.
Halloween in Spain is a relatively new custom, but as the Spanish love to party and dress up, it fits in perfectly with the fiesta calendar. Appropriately, the origins of modern Halloween come from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, that has been celebrated for centuries in Galicia, Spain.
Here are some of South Spain’s top scary sights of places “not” to visit on Halloween, unless you are a zombie, vampire, ghost or are intrigued with the macabre!
1 / Málaga, Costa del Sol’s Scary Spot
In Málaga, there’s a reminder that it’s not all beach umbrellas and beer. The bright sunny day will dim as you hear about Cortijo Jurado’s seedy and mysterious past. This 19th century English Gothic styled mansion, once owned by the wealthy Heredia family from La Rioja, is said to be one of the province’s most famous and its name, “Casa Encantada” (Enchanted House) leads to an interesting if gory past.
Tied to a grisly chapter in Málaga’s history, when for 30 years (1890-1920) a spate of young girls went missing in the area, some of their bodies were found near a river, quite close to the Cortijo. Rumour soon abounded that underneath the building existed tunnels and torture chambers where these unfortunate women met their fate and with Satanic rituals being performed. It also was a hospital and prison during the bloody civil war, and quite possibly saw some executions and a lot of torment. The truth is, the tunnels did exist but have now been bricked up. The rest, well you’ll have to make up your own mind on whether this qualifies as one of the 5 most haunted places in Spain. However, passing by this abandoned place, sure is creepy.
Disembodied voices, screams, lights, a sudden grip by a cold hand and appearances in upstairs windows of people, all add to the strangeness of this spot and have been witnessed by researchers in the paranormal fields. Unfortunately, this notoriety has caused a lot of damage due to thrill seekers trying to literally unearth the building’s secrets. To add fire to these myths, in 2000 a film was made there, using it as a backdrop. However, accidents, faulty sound and battery problems plagued the production, and it was never finished.
In 2004, it was approved to be renovated with the plan to open as a 4 star hotel (perish the thought!) but more bad luck followed and these plans fell through in 2015 due to the ensuing economic crisis. To this day it still sits abandoned as cars on the nearby motorways whizz by, not giving it a second glance. A true haunted house.
Spain’s Most Haunted Hotels
2 / Luxury Hotels with Spooks
If you are keen to stay in a functioning haunted hotel, travel to the olive oil producing centre of Spain, Jaén. Here, visitors can splurge and spend the night in the beautiful eagle’s nest of the Parador of Jaén luxury hotel chain, set atop the city. Located in a 13th century Arabic castle, the Parador has a long history of battles and blood-soaked earth. Room 22 is supposed to be spooked with the presence of a heart broken woman who met her end there. There is also rumoured to be the ghost named “Lagarto Terrible”, (Terrible Lizard), of a man who died terribly of starvation whilst in the castle’s prison below.
More Haunted Hotels in Spain to visit
Two more Spanish Parador hotels have ghosts, the looming castle Parador in Olite, close to Pamplona, and the impressive medieval castle Parador of Cardona, not far from Barcelona. Cardona’s ghost seems to frequent room 712 if you dare book a reservation. A great sleep, but hopefully not the final one.
3 / Granada’s Historic Centre Hauntings
Travel to the jewel in the Moorish crown, Granada, with its atmospheric Albaycin and evocative world famous Alhambra palace. However not is all sweetness and light in this town due to its layers of history, including modern day civil war executions, and some unspeakable sightings.
Rambling Granada’s mysterious alleyways
Doing a bit of souvenir shopping, you might walk past this innocuous building downtown on Calle Mesones. However, alive with strange noises, ghostly presences and unexplained draughts, is the public Granada Council “Diputación” building. Starting off as a Moorish hermitage, then converted to the church of St. Magdalena, it was finally made into a council building. With a reputation for accidents and strange goings on, including the apparition of a priest connected to the old St. Magdalena church, upon its reconstruction for the council it was found to contain human bones, many of them children.
Unexplained mysteries in Granada
A short walk away, near Plaza Nueva at the Chancellery or Court of Justice, the figure of the 19th century Chief Executioner, Maestro Lorenzo, has said to be seen, dressed as though going to an execution and heading to the room where the garotte is still held.
We ask only to be reassured
about the noises in the cellar,
And the window that should not have been open.
4 / Córdoba’s Eerie University
If you are heading over to Cordoba to see its magnificent UNESCO Heritage site, the Mezquita, you might want to stick your head into the University. The faculty of Law, Business and Economics is said to be haunted by several crying spirits. As the University was once a maternity hospital, many of the manifestations have supposed to be women, who sadly and horribly died in childbirth. A history like this, certainly qualifies it onto the list of the 5 most haunted places in Spain. Certainly the past sorrows that permeates its walls must have some lasting impression?
5 / Inexplicable Madrid Hauntings
The last on our list of the 5 most haunted places in Spain to see a ghost, is perhaps the most foreboding due to its sheer size and history. Prior to coming down to Andalucía on the fast AVE train, stop off at the interesting Reina Sofia Art Gallery which has a wide ranging and excellent permanent collection. It also has a reputation of being one of the more haunted spots in Spain’s capital Madrid. Declared a hospital (with a psychiatric ward) by King Philip in the mid-1600s for the destitute, the Atocha area was already known as a place that the poor went to die. One of the biggest institutions at one time, its capacity rose to thousands of patients.
For almost 300 years it functioned as a hospital. At certain times during its history, many of the caretakers were members of the clergy, which maybe accounts for why many of the ghosts seen are nuns. Ghoulish screams, ghostly shapes and unexplained slamming doors have been witnessed by the night-time security. Their main complaint was that the elevators would suddenly start up and begin visiting floors which required them to go and investigate possible break-ins, of which there were never any.
Modern day Sightings of Apparitions
When it was converted in 1982 into an art gallery, there were many bodies unearthed including children’s and 3 mummified nuns. To this day, there is still mystifying activity mentioned by today’s curators, security and cleaning staff.
After More of the Afterlife This Halloween?
Hopefully, these stories of spectral visits have not disenchanted you with visiting and that the only unexplained you come across are translations on the Tapas menu.
However, if you want to experience these spooky tales in Spain, try our Moorish Andalucía bike tour which takes in haunted Córdoba and Granada!