Halloween in Croatia: Top Spooky Sights

From mummies to murder, Croatia is the scene of truly macabre sights. And what better day to visit them than All Saints Day which is a national holiday in Croatia? Here’s what to see:

The Mummies of Vodnjan


Creative Commons license Jonathan Rome

Not far from Pula in Istria, lies the sleepy town of Vodnjan and the even sleepier mummies that repose in in the town church of St Blaise. The clothed bodies of St. Leon Bembo (d. 1188), St. Ivan John Olini (d. 1300), and St. Nicoloza Bursa (above d. 1512)  lie wooden and staring behind glass. For mysterious reasons the bodies of these local saints failed to decompose, perhaps because of the good deeds they performed in their lifetimes? Healing energy supposedly wafts around the body of the latter saint. More on visiting Vodnjan.

Mirogoj Cemetery

Creative Commons license by Budgiekiller

Creative Commons license by Budgiekiller

Lying just a short bus ride from central Zagreb, Mirogoj cemetery provides everything necessary for a truly luxurious Eternal Slumber. Designed by Herman Bolle at the end of the 19th century, Mirogoj is a festival of graceful arcades, elegant pavilions and gentle domes. The lush greenery is peaceful and dotted with sculptures and sculptured tombs. Famous residents include the poet Petar Preradovic and political leader Stjepan Radic. Look for the bust of Vladimir Becic by Ivan Mestrovic.



Maybe some of the departed souls in Miragoj were victims of torture? Probably so since the practice was once widespread. A new museum in Zagreb provides grisly insight into the exact methods used. The Tortureum allows visitors to see, touch and even try 70 torture devices including the Iron Maiden, the Rock, and Scold’s Bridle. Specially designed multimedia rooms allow the visitor to experience the fear and discomfort of torture victims.


vlcsnap-2014-10-31-17h34m58s165Just offshore celebrated Dubrovnik  is a tiny island that is said to be haunted. The fact is that the island of Daksa was the scene of a massacre of Nazi sympathizers in 1944 and the bodies lay unburied for decades. Now the island is for sale but no one is buying. Seamen claim that the victims can be heard groaning on dark and stormy nights.

Veliki Tabor

Creative Commons license by Ex13

Creative Commons license by Ex13

Perched in the hills surrounding Zagreb,  Veliki Tabor is a romantic collage of turrets, towers and tiny windows but the interior harbours a shattering secret surrounding the death of Veronika of Desinic. According to the story, Veronika was a poor young lass who caught the eye of the wealthy son of the castle’s owner. His father was displeased with the romance, putting his own son in jail and drowning Veronika. Her body was bricked up in the wall behind the entrance and it’s said that on stormy nights you can still hear her wailing. One of the grislier displays is a woman’s skull which was actually found within the walls during the castle renovation.

Zadar Sea Organ


Zadar’s famous sea organ is not actually emitting the sounds of dead souls but it certainly sounds like it. Designed to transform the sound of waves into music via a network of pipes, tubes and whistles, the mournful sounds that it creates would provide the perfect soundtrack to an Edgar Allan Poe story. Go at night.

10 Best Hostels in Croatia

If the dorm experience is not your thing, note that many of the boutique hostels listed below offer great deals on double rooms with private or shared facilities. It’s hard to beat the conviviality of the hostel experience as common areas offer the opportunity to meet travellers from all over and a helpful staff is always ready to provide advice and assistance. For solo travellers, hostels can be an unbeatable experience even if your budget allows for more. When it comes to location, comfort, attractiveness and staffing, here are the best hostels in Croatia.


Hostel Link

Hostel LinkLovely and medieval Lovran makes an ideal base to explore the eastern Istria coast and the Hostel Link will keep you comfortable. Only steps from the sea and decorated in a lively contemporary style, some rooms even overlook Kvarner bay. There are doubles, twins and triples as well as 3-bed dormitories. Get the latest prices.


Boutique Hostel Joyce


Right in central Pula, Boutique Hostel Joyce is named after writer James Joyce who, famously, spent time in Pula. Free towels and linen are provided as well as maid service and a 24-hour front desk. Doubles and twins with terrace, garden and city views are available. Get the latest prices.


Hostel Rijeka

hostel-rijekaRijeka is seeing a surge of tourists lately, attracted by the city’s nightlife, history and no-nonsense atmosphere. Hostel Rijeka is ready for them, offering an excellent, central location, free breakfast, a terrace and a lounge area. There’s a double, a quad, and beds in four and six-person dormitories. Get the latest prices.


Hostel Splendido

hostel-splendidoFrom Sibenik, it’s just a short hop to Krka Falls National Park, one of Croatia’s coastal highlights. The stylish Hostel Splendido is centrally located and just 200m from old Sibenik. Among the amenities are free parking, a comfortable terrace and a communal kitchen. There’s a double available plus four and eight-bed dormitories. Get the latest prices.


Hostel Emanuel

hostel-emanuelThere’s no shortage of accommodation in Split at every price level but Hostel Emanuel is a standout for its cutting edge contemporary style in a convenient location. The bunk beds with curtains, reading lamps, plugs and lockers set a new standard for hostel comfort. Only bunk beds in four and six-person dormitories are available. Get the latest prices.


Boutique Hostel Forum


The word “boutique” perfectly describes the deluxe Boutique Hostel Forum in central Zadar. Pull-down shades and individual climate control and plugs in each bunk bed make the dorms almost as comfortable as the double rooms but without the view and private facilities.  I visited this hostel a few years ago and was mightily disappointed it was completely booked. Get the latest prices.


Hostel Shappy

hostel-shappyRight in the heart of Zagreb’s Lower Town, Hostel Shappy is famous for its terrace-bar outfitted with a vast selection of local spirits as well as a well-outfitted entertainment center. There are four, five and ten-bed dormitories plus double and twin rooms with and without private facilities. Get the latest prices.

Hostel Moving


Although Hostel Moving is a few tram stops from the center of Zagreb, travellers rave about the comfort, cleanliness and friendliness of this hostel. There are male and female four-bed dormitories, quads, a family room and doubles with en suite facilities. Get the latest prices.

Swanky Mint Hostel

hostel-swankymintIn Zagreb’s Lower Town, Swanky Mint Hostel is also just steps from the Upper Town and its attractions. There’s a shared kitchen, lounge area and onsite bar with frequent events. There are studios, single and double rooms plus beds in four, six, eight and eleven-bed dormitories. Get the latest prices.

Main Square Hostel


Right in central Zagreb just a few steps from Jelacic Square, Main Square Hostel has an eye-popping design. On a traditional street in Upper Zagreb, this modern hostel will wow you with flat-screen satellite TV and seating areas in all rooms and dorms, a shared kitchenette, dining area, lounge, vending machines and 24-hour reception. There are four, six and eight-bed dormitories as well as double and twin rooms. Get the latest prices.