Top 10 Ghost Towns in The World

We've got the list of the best ghost towns around the world with history facts and travel tips in case you do dare to visit!

There is something eerie and disheartening, and yet fascinating, about ghost towns. Some are a deafening reminder that one’s destiny can change in the blink of an eye. Some prove that nature still has the upper hand in our lives.

Whether these ghost towns housed big or small communities or existed a few years or a few centuries ago, their effect is still present.

Here are the ten ghost towns that have fascinated humanity for many years; their incredible stories will leave you gasping and asking for more.

10. Kolmanskop, Namibia

Kolmanskop ghost town Namibia Desert ghost towns

The diamond fever 1908 transformed the town of Kolmanskop into a booming city. With people rushing to Southern Namibian towns to profit from this new wealth, many buildings were built in two years. Residential buildings, a hospital, a school, and even a casino were all erected in what, just a couple of years back, a complete desert.

This good fortune didn’t last, though. The First World War dampened the economy, and diamond demand decreased drastically, making the work of the diamond miners almost worthless.

The town had been deserted since the mid-1950s, and the dunes took over.

Travel tip: Visit Kolmanskop by going through Luderitz, a neighboring town. You can find flights from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, to Luderitz.

9. Pyramiden, Svalbard, Norway

Pyramiden in Svalbard norway ghost towns

Extreme temperatures and a short-lived existence are how we can describe Pyramiden, a Norwegian town from the archipelago of Svalbard.

This coal-mining town was first founded by Sweden in 1910 and then sold to the Soviet Union in 1927.

It had everything the settlement needed, including a bust of Lenin. However, as many natural resources do, the mine was exhausted, and the town deserted.

But not wholly: we can still find the world’s northernmost piano left when the town shut down entirely in 1998.

Travel tip: You can visit this ghost town and enter its buildings (with permission only). To get there, take a boat trip from Longyearbyen to Pyramiden.

8. Herculaneum, Naples, Italy

Herculaneum ,Naples Italy ghost towns

Herculaneum’s story is close to Pompeii’s since the same eruption destroyed them.

This wealthy coastal town was entirely buried by Mount Vesuvius in the summer of A.D. 79. With its 4,000-5,000 inhabitants at that time, it is today an incredible archeological site that fascinates anyone who visits it.

Travel tip: If traveling alone, get to Ercolano (Herculaneum) by train. Take the line from Naples and go to Sorrento (it also stops at Pompeii). Guided tours are also available to visit the place.

7. Kayaköy, Anatolia, Turkey

Kayakoy Fethiye turkey ghost towns

What was once home to a community of almost 10,000 inhabitants has been a ghost town since the end of the Greco-Turkish war.

After the war ended in 1923, the Turkish village of Kayaköy was emptied of its inhabitants in a population exchange to ensure each country had citizens of one religion. Today, the deserted ruins of the town are preserved as a historic site.

Travel tip: You can trek in the Fethiye Mountains and get a full view of the Kayaköy.

6. Bhangarh, Rajasthan, India

bhangarh rajasthan india ghost towns

If you like the thrill of ghost stories, then Bhangarh might be a good destination for you. The story begins when the raja of Jaipur conquered Bhangarh in the 1720s.

As you can guess, the city was quickly deserted then. Its mysteries, however, are still a talk of the present.

Amongst the ruins can be found rests of temples, pavilions, a medieval bazaar, and most importantly, a fort.

The Bhangarh Fort is considered the most haunted place in India and is thus on the bucket list of many.

Travel tip: You can take a day-guided tour that will take you from Jaipur to Bhangarh Fort.

5. St. Elmo, Colorado

st elmo colorado ghost towns

Ghost towns, mines, and railroads are intertwined in multiple ways. When the railroad connecting through St. Elmo, Colorado, had been closed, the inhabitants of this mining town rode its last train and never looked back.

The city was in its prime in 1890 and had over 150 mine claims, five hotels, a newspaper office, a telegraph office, and dance halls; the 2,000 inhabitants living there left the town’s buildings intact when they deserted it.

Travel tip: you can go on a self-guided tour of “Colorado’s Most Original Ghost Town” and even go on a hike and off-the-road ride in Gunnison National Forest, where the town is located.

4. Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat town ukraine ghost towns

Ghost towns with parallel activity claims might be frightening, but those with a proven tragic story are horrendous.

Home to almost 50,000 inhabitants, everything in Pripyat changed after the Chornobyl disaster.

The town had been hosting the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers who deserted it when the catastrophe happened. The site was practically a museum since things were left intact. However, the buildings were looted somewhere at the beginning of the 21st century.

Travel tip: You can take 12-hour guided tours to Pripyat and Chornobyl and discover the top-secret military “Russian Woodpecker” of the Cold War era.

3. Namie, Futaba, Tomioka and Okuma, Japan

namie fukushima japan ghost towns

VOA News – Photo gallery

Namie, Futaba, Tomioka, and Okuma are all towns in the Fukushima prefecture.

After the deathly earthquake and tsunami —that consequently led to a nuclear disaster— that hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, the whole region was utterly transformed.

The authorities drew a 20-km exclusion zone that led to the evacuation of nearly 300,000 people.

Travel tip: There are three zone restrictions when visiting the exclusion zone; even the former inhabitants of the cities are only allowed to go there for a few hours per month. In all cases, you must stay there for a while.

2. Potosi, Venezuela

potosi venezuala ghost towns

Buckle up; this story’s weird factor is high.

While some ghost towns had been deserted due to natural causes, wars, or nuclear disasters, Potosi is an exception.

In 1985, then-president Carlos Andres Perez ordered the complete evacuation of the city of 1,000 inhabitants. Why? To build a hydroelectric dam.

The town had been drowned; the only sign of its existence was the 26-meter church spire sticking out of the water.

Travel tip: Venezuelan droughts caused the water to recede and the town to be visible again. However, water still submerges it when it rains.

1. Agdam, Azerbaijan

agdam azerbaijan ghost towns

Ten thousand people is how many residents the city of Agdam, Azerbaijan, had in the past.

During the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the city fell into the hands of the Armenian forces, and chaos ensued. The town was so ruined that the inhabitants who fled to the east in 1993 couldn’t return to their city when it returned to Azerbaijani rule.

Travel tip: The area is guarded by military stops since it is still considered a war zone, so be careful when driving around.

Which one of these ghost towns would you like to visit first? Let us know in the comments! And if scary ghost towns aren’t your cup of tea, how about discovering the happiest in the U.S.? Click next to learn more about it!