It’s Halloween season! Whatever that means in Portugal. Dia das Bruxas – how it’s called in Portuguese – officially sets the end of summer and the beginning of a new harvest season, being mainly celebrated in North America and North Europe. It was brought from the Irish immigrants in the XIX century to the US and not the opposite, as everyone believes. It just got over commercialized in the US. The name Halloween is linked with the night from the 31st October to the 1st November when the hallow evening happens.
In Portugal, it’s kind of a young tradition celebrate it but we’ve been embracing it. In general, it tends to happen in the form of clubbing custom parties, missing the whole point of it: shit your pants. That’s why I’ve decided to add a sprinkle of national portuguese horror and list the scariest experiences throughout the country you shouldn’t miss – big shoutout to the brave doing them exactly on the 31st (!). As you know, TrenDestination is all about THE experience but the ones below are the real trick or treat for horror, creepy, surreal and out of this world experience addicts (#guilty). So, grow some balls and read this alone. It will get spooky though …
#1. Haunted House Project
Ok, keeping it 100%: I shit myself with this (#NoShame). This is THE ultimate horror experience to be done! It’s called the Haunted House Project, happening inside a former palace in Sintra. Their statement is clear: Fear is psychological. BUT faints are real as they already happened (not me, although I was about to!). They have the longest waiting list you can imagine so you have to be quick and smart when doing a reservation only by email here. I did mine at 00:01 when they opened the booking season! Don’t need to say that Halloween day is fully booked.
#2. Prazeres cemetery
Originally constructed in 1833, Prazeres Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Lisbon. Its exquisite architecture including the largest pyramid-shaped tomb in Europe and some of the most exotic graves along with its esoteric and occultist aura makes it definitely worth to visit. Creepy fact? The vast majority of the tombs have windows. It’s open everyday from 9:00am to 5:00pm with free access.
#3. Águas Livres Aqueduct
The Águas Livres Aqueduct has been supplying the town of Lisbon since 1748 and it was also where the famous Lisbon serial-killer Diogo Alves used to hide and kill his victims, robbing and pushing them at night from the highest point of the aqueduct with 65 metres height. He killed a total of 76 people in 3 years. In 1840, he was sentenced to death by hanging. The aqueduct is nowadays deactivated but open to visits and each ticket costs 3,00€.
#4. Chapel of Bones
This apparent small and simple chapel built in Gothic style, on the right of Saint Francis church in Évora, is home resting place of hundreds of cadavers. Pretty much all covered with more than 5000 skulls and bones, it has a ghostly atmosphere. To go inside, one must pass through a door with the following message written: We bones, are here, waiting for yours. In the ceiling, painted death scenes are together with Latin phrases such as I leave, but I don’t die and The day that I die is better than the day that I was born. Bye Catacombs of Paris.
#5. Coisa Ruim movie
This was considered the first Portuguese horror movie, launched in 2006. Frame this: tiny Portuguese village, local superstitions, countryside atmosphere and a constant eerie vibe. It’s an astounding way to immerse in the mysterious side of the Portuguese culture and its beliefs.
#6. Tivoli Palácio de Seteais Hotel
Room number 18. A former hotel guest committed suicide inside this room and this was what triggered the haunting fame of this incredible palace hotel in Sintra. Ask the older staff members and you might have some creepy answers (#SayWhat?!). But try to sleep and enjoy the night inside room 18 …! The single room rate on the 31st is 261,00€ here.
#7. Pousada da Serra da Estrela
This former sanatorium was built in 1936 with the aim of treating tuberculosis patients. It was recently refurbished and converted into the brand new Pousada da Serra da Estrela but its eerie past can’t be deleted just like that. Wanna test it? The single room rate on the 31st is 100,00€ here.
#8. 101 places to be afraid in Portugal book
Vanessa Fidalgo is the journalist who wrote this incredible spooky book, after the successful Stories of a Haunted Portugal book. It mentions unparalleled paranormal phenomena, creepy apparitions and haunting stories and tales. Can you imagine that there are 101 places (at least) throughout the entire country where you can get scared as f&%#? 101 might be the lucky number from now on (#WhoKnows).
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