The 16 Creepiest things to see in Portugal
If you’ve got a bit of a dark streak in you and love a good ghost story, you’ll love getting to know the creepiest places in Portugal! Our list covers locations all over the country that will give you goosebumps! From haunted castles, to locations where witchcraft was said to be practiced, murders, cemeteries and even a preserved head! We’ve rounded up our top 16 creepiest places to visit in Portugal!
1. Valongo Sanitarium – Valongo
Closed in the mid-seventies, the Valongo Sanitarium was an old tuberculosis hospital. Between 1958 and 1975, over 300 patients were housed here in deplorable conditions as the hospital only had 50 beds. Today it is said to be haunted by the ghosts of these same patients. Due to its history and its eerie appearance it is a popular site visited by paranormal investigators!
2. Cemiterio dos Prazeres – Lisbon
In English, the Pleasures Cemetary, is equally romantic and haunting. Situated high on a hill in the city of Lisbon, and the burial spot for many illustrious members of Portuguese society, the disposition of the tombs and graves, give it a ghost town feel. Some of these old tombs have glass doors, with old yellowing lace curtains, which means that you can actually see the caskets inside!
3. Termas de Aguas Radium
What was once home to the Spanish count Don Rodrigo, and due to the supposed “healing waters” surrounding the structure, in the early 20th century, this was a hotel spa. People flocked to bathe in its waters, which in reality were radioactive waters! From the 1920’s to the 1930’s radioactivity was thought to be beneficial, so the water was also bottled with the name “Radium Water” and sold to and consumed by many! Decades later, it was discovered that the waters were actually dangerous, and in the 1950’s the spa was closed down. It is said that to this day, the building is haunted by the victims of radium poisoning!
4. Bela Vista Hotel – Portimao
Sitting on top of the cliffs of the famous Praia da Rocha, would you think that this beautiful hotel and spa could possibly be on our list? In the 1900’s, this was a 38 room mansion of the Magalhaes family. It is said that the owner’s daughter died in what is now room 108. Guests have told stories of hearing footsteps, moaning and even crying around this room.
5. Quinta da Juncosa – Penafiel
This old farmhouse was home to the Baron of Lajes and his family. A very jealous man, he suspected his wife of being unfaithful, and as punishment, he tied her to a horse and galloped around the property until she was dead. After later finding out his suspicions were wrong, he proceeded to kill his children and himself. Due to the guilt, it is said that Baron is still not at peace, so it is said that the spirits of both the Baron and his wife are seen frequently on the property!
6. Quinta das Conchas e dos Lilases
In the heart of Lisbon, you will find the lovely green park, Which was once farmland to Francisco Monteiro. In the 16th century, Monteiro was a successful farmer and one of the founders of the Geography Association, but he also had an evil side! He fell in love with a native of Sao Tome, and due to her dazzling beauty, he decided to hold her captive in a cage, inside of his manor house. The poor woman, after years of being held captive, lost her mind and eventually died. It is said that her cries are heard around the house, that is now a ruin. To add to this, legend says there is also a hidden treasure in the house, both of which draw people to come visit!
7. Serra da Estrela Sanitorium – Serra da Estrela
The Sanatorium in Serra da Estrela was once a treatment facility built by Portugal’s railway department to treat its employees who suffered from tuberculosis. It was later leased as a sanatorium, which closed down in the 80’s after most of the patients had passed. Today it is a beautiful luxury hotel, but as visitors have attested, is haunted by patients who have died there.
8. Initiation Well – Sintra
One of the most beautiful location to visit within the famous Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra is the Initiation Wells, or Inverted Towers. Though unclear what they were used for exactly, they certainly were not used for water! It is said that this was a location of secret initiation rights. If you look up reviews of Quinta da Regaleira, and more specifically the Initiation Wells, you will find most people feel a sense of apprehension and wonder at what may have happened here!
9. Casa Amarela – Ovar
Casa Amarela, meaning Yellow House, has been abandoned for years, as potential buyers are said to have seen ghosts. The most popular of the stories is that of an overbearing father, who discovered that his innocent daughter, was in fact involved with a man. In a fit of rage, he murdered both daughter and her lover, by throwing them into a pit inside the house and leaving them to die. It is said that the ghosts of these lovers haunt the house as a way of protecting their love.
10. Castelinho de Sao Joao de Estoril – Estoril
Between Lisbon and Cascais, right on the coast, there is a beautiful little castle. Legend has it that a little blind girl accidentally fell off the nearby cliffs to her death. Her parents, in her memory, offered the castle to the Holy House of Mercy, where it was used as an institution for blind children. It is said that the ghost of a small girl holding a doll is frequently seen in the castle, which is why for years, it was unable to be sold, as prospective buyers would see the ghost and change their minds. Today it is inhabited by a family and no sightings have been reported…. for now!
11. Dr. John Pike’s House – Olhao
This spectacular, abandoned house was home to Dr John Pike, who was a poet and naturalist. Having moved to Portugal and built this house in the beginning of the 20th century. As the story tells, strange things happened in this house, leading to the tragedy of his old mother dropping his infant child out of a first story window. Overcome with grief, Pike moved out of this house, as he could not stand to live there any longer. To date, it has not been sold as there are accounts of hearing a baby’s cry and shuffling around the house
12. Castelo de Almourol – Praia do Ribatejo
Considered one of the most beautiful castles in all of Portugal, the Almoural Castle is also said to be the home of the ghost of a lovelorn princess! Legend tells the tale of Dona Beatriz, who fell in love with a Moorish slave. It is said that during the full moon you can see the ghost of Dona Beatriz and her slave embracing!
13. Chalet Biester
Nestled in the mountains if Sintra, is the beautiful Chalet Biester. Also known as the House of Witches, this building is known for having seven underground floors, where secret rituals were held, and as legend has it, one of the three books of the devil was also written here. Though it is a private property, it’s still a place you may want to drive by!
14. Quinta da Pauliceia – Agueda
With the ultimate haunted house feel, Quinta da Pauliceia is home to the Aguedense family from Brazil. It is said that in the 1800’s all but one of this family died of influenza. Neca Carneiro, the only survivor, later passed of unknown circumstances, and since then, the house has been abandoned as there were no known heirs to the property. Named one of the most haunted houses in Portugal, neighbors have heard sounds coming from the property! From gunshots, to horses neighing, and even screams, if you’re into the paranormal, you may want to give this place a shot!
15. The Head of the First Serial Killer in Portugal – Lisbon
Though this is not technically a tourist attraction, it is a fact that the head of Diogo Alves, Portugal’s very first serial killer, is preserved AND exhibited at the University of Medicine in Lisbon. Alves, was said to have killed over 70 people, by throwing them over the Aguas Livres Aqueduct. He was later discovered and was the last criminal hanged in Portugal in 1841.
16. Bone Chapels in Portugal
Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about Portugal’s Bone Chapels! A fascinating yet chilling experience, this has nothing to do with murder or anything of the sort. Starting in the 16th century and due to overcrowded cemeteries, bones were exhumed and cast into the cement walls of the chapel. This was a way of bringing the remains of loved ones closer to God. In Portugal you will find quite a few bone chapels, 6 to be exact. In Alentejo, you can find Bone Chapels in Evora, Campo Maior and also Monforte. The Algarve is home to three Bone Chapels, one in Faro and the other two in Alcantarilha and Lagos!