Where You Should Go To See The Macabre Side Of Europe, According To Rick Steves

If you love to dig deeper into the macabre side of history, then Europe is the continent to do just that. Its historical cities and towns have many gruesome yet fascinating secrets to share if you know where to look. One person who understands Europe very well is travel writer Rick Steves, who has a  European travel company and a guidebook series covering the area.

In an article for the Toronto Sun, he describes his favorite European macabre spots and tells readers that "they're authentic, artsy and oozing with history." These places include the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome, Highgate Cemetery in London, and the Monumental Cemetery in Milan. It is an added bonus that these sites are in brilliant cities with so much to see and do for tourists. Visiting old churches, monuments, and cemeteries is also a great way to learn about the history of a city, with many of them being free to visit.

More about these macabre sights

The Père Lachaise Cemetery wasn't always as popular as it is today. After famous playwright Molière was said to be buried here, everyone wanted the grounds to be their final resting place. Today, it houses the remains of famous people like writer Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison from the rock band The Doors. It is also an incredible free thing to do on your next trip to Paris. Highgate Cemetery in London is a Victorian burial garden famous for its sculptures and the high-profile people buried here, such as German-born philosopher Karl Marx and writer Douglas Adams.

Monumental Cemetery in Milan (Cimitero Monumentale di Milano) even has a "hall of fame" for its better-known residents, as well as grand family mausoleums. Elsewhere in Italy, the Catacombs of Priscilla are one of the underrated attractions in Rome that you'll want to add to your bucket list. Inside these 8 miles of tunnels, 40,000 people are buried, including important figures like popes and martyrs. For this reason, it has the nickname "Regina Catacumbarum," the queen of the catacombs. When you visit these spots, you can easily combine them with more mainstream or light-hearted tourist attractions, too!

Macabre sights outside of these European cities

It's not just England, Italy, and France that have morbid attractions; there are plenty more to enjoy in other areas of Europe, too. One particularly fascinating one is the Sedlec Ossuary in the town of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. It is also known as "The Bone Church," an old Gothic church decorated with the exhumed bones of people buried there and moved to make room for new residents. Highlights include a chandelier and shield, both adorned with skulls and other types of bones.

The tunnels of the Petrovaradin Fortress in Serbia are another thrilling place to add to your macabre itinerary. Located on the banks of the Danube River, the tunnels underneath the fort are also known as the catacombs. They are around 10 miles long and shrouded in mystery, but there are symbols, historical objects, and even a well to discover, as well as buried treasure if the legend is true. If you visit some of these incredible sights, you'll surely uncover a hidden side of Europe that few visitors are brave enough to experience.