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Top Dark Tourism Destinations to Discover

Dark holidays have recently grown in popularity. However, the term ‘dark tourism’ only entered common usage in 1996.

Commonly associated with death or tragedy, morbid destinations have become a phenomenon due to increasing awareness, as well as improved air travel.

Read on to learn a little more about some of the most well known dark holiday destinations.


Popular Dark Holiday Destinations

Chernobyl Tours

The Chernobyl disaster in the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic occurred on one dark night in April 1986.  A reactor in Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant exploded and fired a scorching-hot fountain of radiation into its surroundings. Within weeks the radiation was detected in countries all over the world.

Chernobyl’s aftermath concluded with the local population feeling the real effects of radiation contamination. Many went to the Chernobyl Zone to cleanse and mitigate the consequences of the explosion. One of them, Radiation Surveillance Officer Sergii Mirnyi, has developed trips, topics and content for Chernobyl tours.

A Chernobyl tour offers you an eye-opening experience of the area, post-disaster. However, it should be mentioned that it is perfectly safe when you follow the rules of conduct at the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Chernobyl today is also listed as a world heritage site after being selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

What you will learn at Chernobyl:

  • Facts about the Chernobyl accident.
  • Other radiation catastrophes.
  • The real effects of radiation.

Auschwitz-Birkenav Museum

Auschwitz concentration camp is located in Krakow, Poland where the tour starts and where over two million tourists travel each year to visit the Auschwitz – Birkenav museum.

Visitors travel on a comfortable air-conditioned van, accompanied by licenced drivers and professional museum guides, to gain an insight into Auschwitz’s history and how the life of many prisoners sadly ended.

 Auschwitz's dark destination

At Auschwitz you will see:

  • Gas chambers
  • Watchtowers
  • The death block

An unworldly Auschwitz tour includes a visit to Auschwitz’s extermination camp. A trip to Birkenau camp and a tour of the Auschwitz Salt Mine can also be enjoyed in one day but the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum is the main attraction in Krakow. You can also visit the beautiful Ojcow Valley or go site seeing around the medieval Old Town.

Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorial

Visits to Ground Zero can be made in your own time, although on average a visitor will spend at least two hours paying respect to the victims and learning about the significance of the Word Trade Centre.


A visit to Ground Zero, New York can include:

  • The three-part historical exhibition
  • A museum tour
  • Museum guides to gain an understanding, through the stories of those affected.
  • Film features and live talks

Memorial museum opening hours run between 7:30 am – 9 pm daily.


Other Dark Tourism Locations

Peter Hohenhaus, a travel blogger, has compiled over 800 dark holiday destinations spanning 112 different countries. While we have chosen some of the most popular, visit the dark tourism website to read about more and choose your own.

Dark Sky Holidays

If dark tourism holidays are not for you, try dark sky holidays instead. Discover the best locations to gaze across the twinkling of stars, meteors and bright constellations.


Specialist Travel Insurance for Dark Destinations

Whichever dark destination you decide to visit, ensure you have specialist travel insurance organised before you depart.

Our friendly team of specialists will talk you through our medical travel insurance options to enable you to set off with complete peace of mind. From cover for cancellation, emergency medical expenses, and much more, you can jet off on your trip knowing that you are covered.

To find out more about our services and receive your no-obligation quote, you can either fill in our online form or call our friendly UK-based team on 02392 419 080.


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