Halloween: Spain’s most haunted places

Spain may not really celebrate Halloween like the US does, but it reportedly has more than its fair share of haunted spots and ghostly sightings. Here are some of the scariest places to visit in Spain if you're on the hunt for paranormal activity.

Belchite ghost town
The skeletal remnants of two ghost town of Belchite in northern Spain are said to be home to more than a few otherworldly spirits. Photo: David Sánz/ Flickr

Preventorio de Aigües, Alicante

This eery site built in the municipality of Aguas de Busot in the 19th century initially served as a luxury hotel. Later, however, it was turned into a sanatorium for children who developed tuberculosis during outbreaks at the end of the Spanish Civil War.

The Aguas de Busot Preventorium was abandoned after the Spanish Civil War. Photo: Kasiber/Wikipedia
The Aguas de Busot Preventorium was abandoned after the Spanish Civil War. Photo: Kasiber/Wikipedia

Today the building is abandoned but is said to be a hotbed of paranormal activity as the ghosts of sickly children still roam throughout. There are also rumours that staff practiced black magic in the building’s church.

Preventorio de Aigües
They say that under the basement there’s a whole network of tunnels and trenches. Photo: Adriano Agulló / Flickr

Los Rodeos Airport, Tenerife 

On March 27th, 1977, two airplanes crashed into each other at Los Rodeos Airport in northern Tenerife and more than 583 deaths were recorded as a result of the accident. Since that day, over the years, several soldiers stationed at a nearby military barracks (Garita sur) have reported seeing the ghostly apparition of a small girl walking past at night. It is said that when trying to identify all the passengers after the crash, one girl was reported missing and her body was never found. Could this be the same girl who still haunts the area to this day?

Tenerife airport crash
A Spanish civil guard looks for survivors among the wreckage of the 1977 double plane crash at Los Rodeos. Photo: STF / AFP

El Parador de Cardona, Catalonia

Spain’s Parador hotels are located in some of the most fascinating buildings in the country such as mansions, former hospitals, castles and monasteries, so it’s not surprising that one of them is considered to be haunted.

El Parador de Cardona is an hour's drive away from Barcelona. Photo: Jerry Michalski/Flickr
El Parador de Cardona is an hour’s drive away from Barcelona. Photo: Jerry Michalski/Flickr

The Parador of Cardona is housed in a huge castle, which was once a fortress that served as a prison and torture centre in the Middle Ages. It is said that spirits of the former prisoners still walk the halls, but most of the paranormal sightings have been reported in room 712. Hotel managers never rent our room 712 to guests unless they specifically ask to stay there.

Parador de Cardona
An aerial view of the Parador de Cardona. Photo: Paradores / WikiCommons

La Casa de las Siete Chimeneas, Madrid

Located in the Plaza del Rey, the House of the Seven Chimneys is currently home to Spain’s Ministry of Culture, but is said to be haunted by several ghosts. The house was built in the 16th century as a love nest for Philip II and his mistress Elena, but Elena was ultimately married off a Captain Zapata before rumors about the affair could circulate. Shortly after the wedding, however, Zapata was killed in battle in Flanders and then after giving birth to their daughter, Elena died too.

Rumours began to fly between the servants that there were stab wounds on Elena’s body and that she was murdered to silence any claims that her daughter might belong to the king instead. It was then that her body went missing. Years later people claimed they saw the ghostly figure of a woman floating above the chimneys. Then, 19th century when the building was renovated by the Bank of Castilla, the bones of a woman were found in the walls of the basement. 

Casa de las Siete Chimeneas
Casa de las Siete Chimeneas. Photo: Luis Garcí / Wikipedia

Isla de Pedrosa, Cantabria

Located off the coast of Cantabria, the Isla Pedrosa has today become known as the Isla Embrujada (Haunted Island) because of the strange things that have been seen there. In the 19th century, the island was used to house sailors and others suffering from exotic diseases. People claim to have seen the so-called ‘bird girls’, two sisters suffering from Progeria whose deformities were said to be caused by the devil. Today, some buildings that house juvenile and reintegration centers have been maintained, but many still lay abandoned, including a haunted theatre, which was once attended by the sick.

Isla de Pedrosa, Cantabria
Isla de Pedrosa, Cantabria. Photo: Vanbasten /WikiCommons

Belchite, Aragón

Belchite is not just one haunted house or building, no it’s a whole ghost town. The town, just south of Zaragoza was completely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and today remains largely the same as when it was left. Apparently, Franco had wanted horrifying ruins to be a reminder to people that he had the power to punish. Although it remains uninhabited, the skeletal remnants of its church, houses, and school are said to be home to more than a few otherworldly spirits.

Belchite, Aragon
The ghost town of Belchite. Photo: Roberto Latxaga / Flickr

La Boquería, Barcelona

Barcelona’s famous historic market, just off La Rambla, is probably a place that many of our readers have been to. But may not have realised is home to several shadowy apparitions. The market was actually built over the ruins of a monastery, founded by the Carmelites in 1586. One night the building was attacked and set ablaze, killing all the monks inside. Legend says that on the anniversary of the fire each year on the night of July 25th, you can still hear the ghostly voices of the monks singing throughout the market. 

La Boquería at night. Photo: Dom Christie/Flickr

El Fuerte de San Cristóbal, Navarra

The mysterious Fortress of San Cristóbal near Pamplona was a military fortress built during the reign of Alfonso XII to defend the city against attacks. However, its main use was as a military prison, in which the prisoners lived in horrible conditions. On May 22nd, 1938, over 700 prisoners tried to escape en masse and more than 300 died while doing so. To this day, people claim to see have seen all kinds of paranormal phenomena around the fortresses, even though it remains closed to the public.

Fuerte de San Cristóbal
Fuerte de San Cristóbal. Photo: Jorab/Wikipedia

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The cities in Spain with the best Christmas lights

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Spain as many places have already switched on their festive lights. Some Spanish cities go all out, covering their streets with lots of sparkle and magic. Here are some of the best displays to see.

The cities in Spain with the best Christmas lights

Spain puts on a great show during the festive time of year and many of its cities look especially Christmassy covered in twinkly lights and pops of colour. Here are some of the cities to visit if you want to see the best displays. 

Due to the current energy and climate crisis, many cities in Spain have said that they would shorten the number of hours their Christmas lights are switched on for this year, while others have swapped over to LEDs instead. Some of the best cities for Christmas lights, such as Madrid and Vigo have insisted that they will not cut back on decorations, however, and will still look as magical as ever. 


The Andalusian city of Málaga is one of the best when it comes to festive atmosphere in Spain, giving a spectacular display of light and colour. The city’s main shopping street – Calle Larios has for the last few years become one of the most famous Christmassy streets in Spain with an incredible show of light and music and decorative elements forming arches over the top of the road.

Over 500 streets around the city are decked in lights and there are also themed video mapping displays shown on the cathedral.

Calle Larios in Málaga is one of the most Christmassy streets in Spain. Photo: Thomas COEX / AFP


Being the capital of Spain, it’s not surprising that Madrid is one of the best places to see the Christmas lights. The city uses no less than 7 million LED lights to light up the streets in the centre, as well as some of its most iconic buildings.

Some of the best places to see the lights include Puerta de San Vicente, Puerta De Alcalá and Puerta de Toledo. More than 40,000 12-meter Christmas lights are also strung up every year between Gran Vía and Calle Alcalá. Madrid’s plazas are decked out in Christmas joy too, with not only lights but lots of sparkly trees. The Plaza Mayor is particularly one of the most festive because of its Christmas market. 

Don’t miss one of the city’s most unique Christmas scenes at the Naturaleza Encendida show in the Royal Botanical Gardens. 

Visit the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid for its magical Christmas displays. Photo: Gabriel BOUYS / AFP


Christmas lights in the Catalan capital extend 100km throughout the centre, but you’ll find twinkly displays in all of its neighbourhoods too. One of the most impressive areas is the grand Passeig de Gràcia which is typically covered in sparkling spirals as well as reflective metallic-coloured butterflies, which make them twinkle in the daytime too. Emblematic buildings such as Gaudí’s Casa Batlló and the Hotel Majestic also create fantastic displays with candles. 

Plaza de Catalunya is another spot where lights abound, particularly around El Corte Inglés and down onto La Rambla. Don’t forget to check out the Christmas video mapping on the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, the city’s UNESCO Modernist old hospital.

Barcelona’s La Rambla transforms into a winter wonderland. Photo: JOSEP LAGO / AFP


Vigo may be one of the smallest cities on our list, but it’s definitely big when it comes to Christmas. It’s said that the mayor of the city Abel Caballero loves this time of year and goes all out when it comes to decorations. Vigo dedicates one of the biggest budgets to its Christmas décor and has installed a system for more than 11 million LED lights for this purpose. Think coloured garlands, luminous figures, bright angels and curtains of glitter.

One of the best places to see them is the city’s Porta do Sol, which also hosts Vigo’s huge Christmas tree. In the past, there has been a 10-metre-high Christmas bauble, a giant present between Gran Vía and Urzáiz, a huge snowman and the bright star of Bethlehem in García Borbón and a magical luminous castle on Calle Policarpo Sanz. 

The mayor of Vigo is a big fan of Christmas. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP


For the past couple of years, Zaragoza has dedicated a budget of some €700,000 to decorate its streets for Christmas to give more colour and Christmas twinkle to its streets. Alfonso I is one of the best streets, where over 100,000 LED lights make a multi-coloured ceiling across the top of the road. There’s also a 22-metre-high tree located on La Plaza de Basilio, decorated with even more glowing lights.

Zaragoza’s Christmas displays don’t disappoint. Photo: Iramonf / Wikimedia Commons


The Basque industrial city of art and design is no exception when it comes to holiday lighting. The city streets are illuminated by around 500,000 LED lights ranging from around 8 metres to 18 metres high. It’s particularly attractive around the Casco Viejo and its Siete Calles.

Look out for statues of Olentzero, the Basque version of Santa Claus, who is a charcoal maker and comes to bring gifts to the children on Christmas eve.

Bilbao’s Christmas lights form a display of pictures. Photo: RAFA RIVAS / AFP

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The largest city in Tenerife is known for its vibrant nightlife, so it’s not surprising that it puts on a good show at Christmas too. Around 140 of its streets and squares are lit in preparation for the season with around 3 million LED lights. 

Typically its decor is made up of 176 arches, 26,334 meters of colourful garlands and 686 Christmas symbols arranged on its lamp posts. One year the city even had a 90-metre-long tunnel made up of cascading coloured lights. 

Kids love looking at the Christmas lights in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Photo: DESIREE MARTIN / AFP


Like the capital of Andalusia itself, Seville’s lights are both classy and romantic and it’s a special place to enjoy this time of year. It may not have as many lights as nearby Malaga, but what it does do, it does well.

Some of the best places to see them include Plaza de San Francisco, Avenida de la Constitución, Sierpes e Imagen, Tetúan, Laraña, Campana, Plaza del Salvador, Asunción and Alfonso XII. 

Head to Seville to see its elegant Christmas lights. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP


Valencia is another great city to spend the holidays in Spain and puts on a great show with its Christmas lights. One of the most iconic parts of Valencia’s holiday season is the video mapping projected onto its town hall. 

Plaza de la Reina will have three-meter structures that are made to look like almond trees and there will be other festive elements like ice skating rinks and Christmas concerts. 

Head to Valencia this year to see its impressive displays. Photo: Valencia Igor Ferreira / Unsplash