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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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IgoUgo Travelers Pick World's 10 Best Ghost Towns

IgoUgo Travelers Pick World's 10 Best Ghost Towns Photo

Photo by smokeysf

Posted on October 30, 2009 in Trip Ideas

While we usually avoid extolling destinations that will give you the willies, Halloween demands a list fit for mystery men and women. Here, as seen in a new Reuters article, IgoUgo travelers recommend 10 fascinating abandoned towns--places that delight horror-movie fans and history buffs alike. So whether you go local or go for a passport stamp, get away from it all (all the living, anyway) at these haunts.

Kolmanskop, Namibia
Before you enter this abandoned town, you’ll need to stop in nearby Luderitz for a permit--a holdover from the days when Kolmanskop was a free-for-all for diamond hunters. “The town was at its heyday in the '20s,” says smokeysf. And now? The remaining buildings (owned by De Beers) are being “steadily shrouded and eaten into by the Namib sands,” according to ThisOldHag.

Kolmanskop photo by smokeysf

Fatehpur Sikri, India
“If you’re visiting Agra,” MichaelJM advises, “make sure you pull in a visit to this place.” Emperor Akbar hoped Fatehpur Sikri would be the most beautiful city in the world, and it was well on its way--until people realized the new city lacked access to water. It was abandoned as the capital of the Mughal Empire after just 10 years and is today “a perfectly preserved 16th-century town,” says Amanda.

Fatehpur Sikri photo by MichaelJM

Oatman, Arizona
Of the Arizona ghost towns, quirky Oatman has to be our members’ favorite: it’s here that wild burros roam the streets and 60,000 dollar bills decorate the walls of the local hotel (where, incidentally, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their wedding night). Oatman is a friendly spot full of characters--and did we mention small? “We bought a cookbook at a store,” says anjieh guide, “and the owner was the writer of the book.”

Oatman photo by Vanilla Sugar

Deception Island, Antarctica
A regular stop on Antarctic sailings, Deception Island was “a popular place for scientific outposts,” says Ben the Grate, until several volcanic eruptions destroyed the bases in the 1960s. Today you can see their remains, plus swim in hot springs that jemery says look like “a doughnut with a bite taken out of it.”

Deception Island photo by Ben the Grate

Rhyolite, Nevada
Gold was discovered here in 1904, and “within 16 years, the town had thrived and fallen into disrepair,” according to apparent ghost-town fan MichaelJM. Today the most complete building in town is constructed of 30,000 beer bottles and the only residents--besides those in the ghostly Last Supper art piece--are “of the slithering, creeping, crawling, biting variety,” says Katie Morgan. Wear hiking boots in case you step on a snake!

Rhyolite photo by TheLastEnchantment

Arltunga, Australia
Heather F’s favorite part of this old Outback mining town (and early European settlement) is the “loneliest pub in the scrub,” aka the Arltunga Hotel. She calls it “an ideal place for lunch or a cold beer before or after exploring Arltunga or fossicking nearby.” (We looked up “fossicking;” it means to search for gold or gemstones.)

Arltunga photo by Heather F

Grafton, Utah
Founded for its fertile land and abandoned largely due to conflicts with Native Americans, Grafton is most famous as the more recent set of the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. “It is a bit hard to find,” says ArnyZona, but worth it for film (or Redford or Newman) buffs.

Grafton photo by Linda Hoernke

Stromness, South Georgia Island
Stromness whaling station is even more remote, in a sense, than Deception Island: darrmont got there by trekking “across mountains” on the famous route of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The station was abandoned in 1961, but the relatively posh managers’ “Villa” has been repaired in recent years in hopes of providing safe access for the growing number of visitors.

Stromness photo by darrmont

Great Blasket Island, Ireland
After its population began to dwindle and the few remaining inhabitants could no longer support their lives there, Great Blasket was abandoned in 1953--despite its offspring being among the “most hearty and creative people in Ireland,” says atherts. (Interestingly, as ladyanne47 tells us, most descendants now live around Springfield, Massachusetts.) A combination boat-raft trip takes visitors to Great Blasket today to hike among wild donkeys, sheep, rabbits, and puffins.

Great Blasket Island photo by atherts

South Pass City, Wyoming
A ghost town with the illustrious distinction of being the birthplace of women’s suffrage in the US, South Pass City has seen a recent return to semi-glory. “Restoration has been done with such authenticity and attention to detail that every one of the 30 historical buildings, containing over 30,000 mostly original artifacts, is a delight to enter and explore,” raves btwood2. “The hotel rooms look inviting enough to rent, the saloons to enjoy a drink. The jail, on the other hand, looks gruesome and forbidding.” Sounds like a slammer fit for a ghost town.

South Pass City photo by btwood2

If these long-deserted towns aren’t creepy enough for you, take a peek at last year’s picks for IgoUgo’s 10 Favorite Mysterious Places. They’ve only gotten scarier with age.

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