13 Witchy Haunts Around the World
While present-day pop culture witchery conjures up tarot cards and crystals charged by lunar light, the history of cunning women, weird sisters, and supernatural spellcasting—not to mention the often misogynistic persecution thereof—has global roots which run deeper than you might think. Narrowing down these witchy haunts has been diff-occult, to say the least, but our witch’s coven of 13 global picks will have you hopping on your brooms (or vacuums) to indulge in some witchy wand-erlust. Come, we fly!
Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Immerse yourself in all things European witchcraft at the wickedly good Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, England. Covering everything from Satanism to the witch trials, this enchanting establishment was founded by Cecil Williamson and is said to house one of the world’s largest collections of alchemical artifacts, talismans, and tchotchkes. Or, stick to mainland Europe with Berlin’s Magicum Museum, Hólmavík’s Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, and Switzerland’s Hexenmuseum Schweiz, which are packed with more sorcery stats than wicca-pedia.
It’s the basic witch’s basic witch destination, but you can’t skip Salem when taking a witchy tour of the world. The site of some historic (and harrowing) witch trials way back in 1692, this otherwise unassuming Massachusetts town has been dining out on its haunting history ever since. From the Salem Witch Museum to the Witch House and Bewitched Statue, there’s no shortage of witchin’ attractions to enjoy but the real magic comes from taking a town tour with a modern-day witch. And don’t miss the Hocus Pocus filming locations either.
Triora and Turin
Liguria and Piedmont, Italy
Situated on both the black magic axis and the white magic axis, Turin might be better known for its chocolate but it’s also been dubbed the “World Capital of Magic.” Explore the after-hours unease on a nighttime city tour to see demonic sculptures, unnerving shadows, and spooky silhouettes come to life in this city that’s best seen as close to the witching hour as possible. Alternatively, head south to Triora—aka “the Salem of Europe”—known for hosting Italy’s last witch trials, as well as some suitably magical Halloween celebrations and a summer witchcraft festival.
No matter where you are in the world, you’ll hear whispers of so-called “witches’ markets,” but Latin America seems particularly fond of these supposed occultist hangouts. In La Paz, Bolivia, the Witches’ Market (Mercado de las Brujas) will have you spellbound with its medicinal plants and amulets, while Mexico City’s Sonora Market (Mercado de Sonora) is often touted as a hotspot for the dark arts. Then there’s the Witches’ Market (Mercado de Brujas) in Lima, Peru, where you can find snake skins, palo santo, and black candles. Are these markets simply hawking traditional—often Indigenous—remedies to gullible tourists? We wouldn’t want to speculate.
New Orleans is sure to put a spell on you. The raucous alternative to Salem’s Halloween spirit, the home of voodoo religion and hoodoo spirituality has charm for days. Pay your respects to the city’s voodoo priestess and healer Marie Laveau on a tour of the St. Louis Cemetery No 1, or explore the complexities of voodoo at the Historic Voodoo Museum. You can also pick up crystals, herbs, and tarot cards at one of Nola’s many apothecaries—check out Haus of Hoodoo or Crescent City Conjure.
Zugarramurdi and Soportújar
Navarre and Granada, Spain
Much like Italy, Spain is also home to its fair share of hocus pocus locales, including Zugarramurdi and Soportújar. The former—site of the Basque witch trials—boasts a cave where devilry was alleged to be afoot, as well as the obligatory witchcraft museum. The latter, meanwhile, houses a witch’s fountain, witch’s lookout (complete with a very “double, double toil and trouble” bubbling cauldron statue), and eerie cave complete with—you guessed it—another cauldron. August also sees the Feria del Embrujo festival.
Harz Mountains, Germany
Travel to a Grimms’ Fairy Tales landscape in Brocken, Germany, a supposed gathering place for witches and warlocks with a legendary history known throughout Europe. On Walpurgisnacht (aka May Eve), cunning folk fly in by broom to convene with the devil. Or so the story goes. Make sure you’re there on May 1 to ride the Hexenexpress train or party with fellow folklore fans in nearby villages such as Wernigerode, Thale, and Stiege.
Something wicked this way comes atop the hills of Pendle, Lancashire. At least that was the thinking back in the 17th century, when the town embarked upon its infamous witch trial. Now, you can walk the 50 mile (82 kilometer) witch trial trail—aka the Lancashire Witches Walk—from Barrowford to Lancaster Castle, site of the trials, to discover the legends of Pendle for yourself. Or, head south to the towns of Bideford, Devon and Burley, Hampshire, two of England’s other enchanting witchy villages.
Visayas Region, Philippines
Siquijor Island is, at first glance, much like any other in the Philippines archipelago, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a mysterious magical past (and present) dominated by Holy Week herbalists and healers who sell their homemade remedies, potions, and amulets in Bandilaan Mountain View Park. Not convinced it’s worth the trip? Well, Siquijor’s idyllic setting—think: white-sand beaches, waterfalls, and plenty of snorkeling spots—should make it easy to shake off your resting witch face.
Rhode Island, USA
Thrust into the limelight by the film The Conjuring, Bathsheba Sherman—an alleged witch accused of sacrificing a baby to the devil—is buried in Harrisville Cemetery. Much like most alleged witches, the truth of the matter is far more mundane—she was acquitted of any wrongdoing. And no, her body didn’t turn to stone after her death either.
Blå Jungfrun Island
Prehistoric altars and remains of unusual ritual rites have been discovered on the once inaccessible Blå Jungfrun Island off the coast of Sweden. According to Swedish folklore, Blå Jungfrun—now a national park and the birthplace of the Easter witch tradition—is actually thought to be the site of Blåkulla, an island which once served as a witches’ meeting place. Unfortunately, you can’t stay there overnight, but that might not be a bad thing.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Official stories are more muddled than a witch’s brew, but according to legend, the spirit of Annie Palmer—born in Haiti to English and Irish parents—stalks the halls of Rose Hall, Jamaica. So far, so ghostly. But the so-called “White Witch of Rose Hall” was also believed to dabble in the dark arts, using magic to curse and kill her lovers. Not exactly a soothing hags to riches story, is it?
Witchy tourism has an undeniably dark past and nowhere makes that clearer than at the quite literally hexceptional—it’s basically the only one of its kind—Steilneset Memorial in Norway. Inaugurated in 2011, the stark structure pays homage to the 91 victims of the 17th-century Finnmark witch trials. Across the ocean, Edinburgh Castle’s Witches’ Well is a more understated memorial that marks where many Scottish folk were burned at the stake for witchcraft thanks to James IV’s satanic panic.