In the spooky spirit of Halloween, we have rounded up 5 haunted castles in Europe located near popular river cruise port destinations. Based on both fictitious and historic events, visitors and locals alike have reported eerie occurrences ranging from sounds of moaning to the discovery of misshapen skeletons. Some of these creepy castles even offer over night visits.. Would you dare?
- Bran Castle – Bucharest is the capital city of Romania and a popular port city situated along the Danube river. Just north of Bucharest is a town called Transylvania, home to Bran Castle, thought to be the inspiration behind the original vampire hit, Dracula. The castle sits on the edge of Bran Cliff and contains many secret rooms and mysterious corridors, styled to suit the popular Gothic architecture of the time. Cruisers wishing to visit Bran Castle from Bucharest may do so with a 3-hour train ride North to Brasov, followed by a 30-minute taxi ride up to the castle itself.
- Brissac Castle – Paris, France is one of the most highly anticipated port visits while cruising along the Seine river, known for it’s delicious food, architecture and, of course, romantic flair. Two hours North of Paris sits Brissac Castle, inhabited in the 11th century by a couple whose romantic relationship went awry. Some claim the sounds of the affair echo throughout the stone walls in the evening, which visitors are welcome to validate or disprove themselves, as the castle is open for visitors to stay over night.
- Moosham Castle – Salzburg, Austria is also situated along the Danube river and is a popular departing point to visit Moosham Castle, built in 1191. Also known as Witches Castle, thousands of women accused of practicing witchcraft lost their lives in Moosham Castle, and their unsettled ghosts are thought to haunt the castle and grounds to this day. To make this castle even creepier, an influx of dead deer and cattle were found strewn about the castle grounds during the 1800s, the cause of which is unknown, but speculated to be a pack of werewolves living nearby.
- Houska Castle – River cruises along the Elbe river enable travelers to explore Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic, famous for it’s incredible architecture and sites including Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Prague Astronomical Clock. Hiding in the forests just north of Prague is Houska Castle, a stone building allegedly constructed to contain demonic, half-human half-monsters, the skeletons of which have been found in and around the castle grounds. Hitler himself even adopted the castle for a period of time to perform occult experiments. Day trips from Prague are arranged regularly.
- Horst Castle – While Antwerp is a less-common port city visited on some Rhine river cruises, one hour southeast of Antwerp, close to Brussels, Belgium, is a Renaissance castle sitting alone on the edge of a lake called Horst Castle. It is thought to be haunted by the ghost of its lord, the lord of Rode, who allegedly rides back to his castle every night around midnight in a carriage led by six horses. Legend has it, he murdered a priest and is so utterly tormented by his own actions that he now haunts visitors to his castle as he haunts himself.
River cruises vary in duration from 4-5 days to several weeks, and cruise vacations are available that include the Danube, Rhine, and Elbe rivers, as well as other rivers in Europe, such as the Rhode and the Main. For more information on river cruises to haunted castles, or other river cruises around the world, contact your River Cruise Experts at 1-800-737-8100, or get in touch with us on Facebook.