If you are a thrill-seeker, and seeking thrills that have an element of the ‘other world’, Spain’s got something in store for you. Sure, it’s known for its plentiful sun, bountiful beaches, and paella, but there’s a supernatural side to Spain that is worth exploring.
Spain-Holiday.com, the portal for holiday rentals in Spain, has gathered 10 of the most interesting paranormal locations in the country that you are able to visit during your travels. From intriguing to terrifying, these destinations bring out a little bit of everything – ghosts, ghouls, witches, curses and more. We recommend that you keep an open mind, and travel safely with a cross, rosaries and pics of your most trusted gods!
The abandoned village of Belchite, Zaragoza
While there are many abandoned towns in Spain, none of them has a history as tragic and chilling as Belchite. A brutal battle took place in this town during the Spanish Civil War, with more than 5000 casualties, including most of Belchite’s 3000 inhabitants. The brutal aftermath caused the town to be abandoned, and its buildings slowly became ruins. But this was not the only effect of the slaughter that took place. Strange shadows in pictures, human-like apparitions and sudden screams: are only some of the unexplained phenomena that occur frequently in the town. Some visitors even have reported hearing the church bells ringing… from the empty and destroyed bell tower. If you would like to visit the eerie Belchite, take one of the guided, nocturnal tours and get close to its ghosts of the past.
The witch caves of Zugarramurdi, Navarra
Witch hunts were very common during Medieval times, and more so in Spain, where the Inquisition squashed any and every indication of witchcraft. The most famous case of witchcraft they investigated took place in Zugarramurdi, with deadly consequences for most of those involved. Thousands of people were accused of witchcraft, and while most of them repented, 40 people were tortured for months and in the end sentenced to death by burning. The witches of Zugarramurdi went into hiding after this tragedy. While today, you may not be able to find where they disappeared to, in the caves where they held their rites, you can get a feel of both – the tragedy that came upon the women and men who were accused of witchcraft and also the dark weight of what false accusations and persecution can bring upon people.
The mysterious faces of Belmez, Jaen
In a remote corner of Andalusia, you can find the town of Belmez de la Moraleda, a sleepy mountain village with less than 2000 inhabitants. The town was not on anyone’s map until 1971 when a peculiar paranormal phenomenon took place inside one of the whitewashed houses. It began with a stain in the shape of a man’s face on the kitchen floor. Although the stain was scraped off and covered, the face reappeared a couple of days later, and more faces began appearing throughout the house. While several analyses were performed to try and determine how the faces came into existence, they all contradicted each other, and until today, the exact cause of these strange faces is unknown. The house was built on top of an ancient cemetery, so the rumour went that they were manifested by the ghosts of people buried under the structure. Today, you can visit the house and get up close and personal with the faces of Belmez. Perhaps you will even be able to solve the mystery of this curious phenomenon…
The haunted Cortijo Jurado in Malaga, Andalusia
On the outskirts of Malaga, you can find a mansion that has to lay in ruins for decades. It belonged to the most powerful families of Malaga and is touted as the most active paranormal hotspot of the city. The mansion’s haunted history starts with the disappearance of five girls whose bodies were found near the mansion, covered in strange wounds. Rumours of satanic rituals by the owners of the mansion soon spread among the locals.
The Cortijo Jurado was later used as a prison and execution spot during the civil war. Years later, urban explorers found a vast network of hidden tunnels that departed from the mansion, with one of those tunnels leading to a torture chamber. With this sad and deadly history of the Cortijo Jurado, one may be tempted to think that there are many spirits still haunting the building, unable to move on. Numerous apparitions have been reported to appear in the building, mainly in the courtyard and on the first floor. Visitors have also heard disembodied voices indicating that bodies are buried deep under the central courtyard. Whether they are victims of the satanic rites or executed prisoners remains a mystery. Discover the mysteries of the Cortijo Jurado yourself during one of the nocturnal visits!
The mysterious disappearances in La Mussara, Tarragona
La Mussara is a small ghost town in Tarragona, abandoned by its inhabitants decades ago. The town itself may look unassuming, but locals know better than to wander around La Mussara and its surroundings.
If you decide to pay the ruins a visit, locals may warn you that it’s likely that you may never return. That is because, over the past years, several people have disappeared from La Mussara without a trace. What happened to them is unknown, but the local legend says that when the fog covers the countryside around La Mussara, it causes gateways to another world to open, which will swallow any unsuspecting hikers, for them to become trapped in this other reality.
The fog seems to cause other strange and paranormal phenomena in La Mussara too. People have reported hearing disembodied voices, seeing strange figures and even hearing the church bells ring, even though the bell tower has been completely empty for years. If you are visiting Tarragona, the hiking routes near La Mussara are absolutely amazing and highly recommended. You can explore the ruins of the village and discover the amazing landscape of Northern Spain. But if you see fog appearing it
maybe a good idea to turn back…
The Ghosts of the Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid
Anyone who has visited Madrid knows that for the best collection of 20th-century art, you should visit the Museo Reina Sofía. There you can admire world-famous works of art by Picasso, Dalí and other artists. But the museum is not only home to art: many visitors have witnessed ghosts and other apparitions wandering around the hallways. These spirits are very likely the unfortunate souls of people that were buried on the museum’s plot when the building was still used as a hospital. This story was confirmed in the 90s when construction workers discovered mummified remains and human bones during renovations of the building. The ghosts of the museum like to mess with the workers, by making strange noises, slamming doors and turning on elevators that are not connected to the electric grid. When you visit the Museo Reina Sofia you might also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of the ghosts, because they are known to wander about the exposition rooms to appreciate the artworks.
The glowing people of Barranco de Badajoz, Tenerife
The Barranco de Badajoz is a ravine located on the island of Tenerife. Years ago it was famous for the extensive mining operations running through the ravine walls, but nowadays it is a popular hiking area. This ravine has many strange, paranormal legends connected to it. There have been many reported incidents of strange lights and luminous or glowing beings in the ravine, and when the mine was still active, two miners allegedly made contact with these beings and even spoke to them. The most mysterious story is that of a girl who disappeared while she was in the ravine and came back 30 years later, looking the same as the day she went missing. She said that people made of light took her to a cave and talked to her for a few minutes, after which she left the cave and went home immediately.
These legends or tales have caused many locals to believe that the Badajoz ravine is connected to a parallel dimension, the home of these peculiar creatures. The ravine is still very active with many reports of paranormal activity until today, so if you decide to hike your way through, keep your eyes out for any strange phenomena!
The Monastery of the Devil in Carmona, Seville
A monastery cursed by the devil himself, that’s what you will find when you visit Carmona, a sleepy village near Seville. The building was only in use for about two decades before a terrible tragedy occurred. One night, all monks except one were brutally murdered. The surviving monk discovered the bodies in the basement and supposedly came face to face with the devil who decided to spare him for the simple reason that the monk had to announce his arrival to everyone.
Immediately afterwards, a fire started spontaneously and burned the entire monastery to the ground. It is said that the spirits of the murdered monks are still trapped inside the ruins, and have manifested themselves through spheres of light, whispers and apparitions. There are several guided nocturnal tours you can join if you want to discover the monastery and its dark legend, but if you are feeling particularly brave, you can also visit the abandoned ruins on your own…
The most famous cursed village in Spain: Ochate, Burgos
The small town of Ochate is famous in Spain for being cursed, due to the many tragedies and mysteries surrounding this location. It was a bustling town until 1860 when the first of three epidemics in only one decade struck the city. The epidemic only affected the town and did not spread to the neighbouring villages, which started the rumour of the curse of Ochate. Most of the town’s inhabitants abandoned the place, and years later the final villagers moved away because of a gruesome murder committed by one of the residents. Ever since, Ochate is said to have been home to countless supernatural incidents, such as ghosts wandering the bell tower, unusual lights appearing in the sky, and the disembodied voices of women and children reaching out to visitors. If you feel brave enough to face the curse of Ochate, visit the town and discover its mysteries! Porta does Alén, the gateway to the underworld in Pontevedra.
On the highest peak of the Serra do Cando in North Spain, hikers will come across a strange Dolmen construction that looks a lot like a door. Locals call it the Porta do Alén, the gate to the underworld. No one knows exactly who raised the structure or when, but it is known that the region’s inhabitants have used it as a sort of altar for centuries. According to legend, the Porta do Alen connects to the world of spirits. Through this gate, the Santa Compaña (Spain’s version of the Wild Hunt) enters our world looking for victims to take to the underworld. Locals and other visitors will also leave offerings such as food, small objects, plants and notes around the gate to ask for good luck.
More obscure legends tell of a ritual that was used in ancient times to banish malevolent spirits through the gate back to the underworld, and that they are still waiting at the other side of the door to return to our world. That’s why local superstition says to never walk through the gate yourself because maybe you will invite some of them to cross over. Visit the Porta do Alén and experience the bone-chilling atmosphere of this otherworldly gate yourself. That is if you’re brave enough to do so.
Just a note though. These ghostly tales, spooky folklores and urban legends are interesting and thrilling, but one must take them with a pinch or two of salt perhaps? Yes, yes, we know. We did ask you to keep an open mind and carry a cross for good measure but make that an open mind and a pinch of salt, please! Happy travels to all thrill seekers, and if you find a ghost or ghostly being, do give us a shout.