The scariest date of the year is upon us and although Halloween 2020 may be a little different compared to other years, this doesn't mean that the celebrations have to be less scary.
Face your fears and take yourself on a haunting adventure through 10 of the scariest destinations in Portugal: explore Portugal's haunted houses if you dare, and don't miss out on the spine-tingling ghost stories. It's time to being this terrifying tour.
Quinta das Lágrimas, Coimbra
The luxurious and romantic Quinta das Lágrimas (Estate of Tears) in Coimbra and its hotel have a truly grim past. In this place of great natural beauty, Inês de Castro was murdered, at the King's behest, because of her romance with Peter (at the time Prince of Portugal).
If you visit the Quinta, it is said that, in the Fonte dos Amores (the Lovers' Fountain) by the Gothic Portal, you can see a stone dyed red by the blood of Inês, who was posthumously-recognised as Queen after her death. Stroll through the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas and find out if Queen Inés is still haunting the estate and its grounds.
Teatro Lethes, Faro
Legend has it that a dancer, driven to the extreme by the demands of her work, committed suicide in this theatre in Faro in the Algarve and that, even today, she still dances on the stage.
Rumour has it that if you sit in the audience and remain in absolute silence you can even hear her footsteps on the wooden stage. Are you brave enough to pay a visit and see for yourself?
Convent of Mafra, Mafra
The Convent of Mafra, celebrated by the Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author José Saramago, is associated with many legends that try to explain the strange noises that are heard all over the building. Many say they are due to strange and mutant beings who live in the dungeons, while others claim that the ghosts of the many workers who died there during the construction of the convent, due to the precarious working conditions, still haunt this space, seeking revenge for their premature death.
Monsanto Panoramic Restaurant, Lisbon
Also known as the "UFO of Lisbon", this impressive architectural space was built 50 years ago during the Estado Novo (Second Republic).
The space was intended to be used as a panoramic restaurant with support services, a banquet hall and several complementary facilities but was only open for a little over two years due to changes in the original project. This meant that the work was never finished.
Today it is abandoned and, although it has a mysterious and somewhat frightening air, it offers some of the most beautiful views of Lisbon.
Capela dos Ossos, Évora
Welcome to what literally translates as "Bones Chapel" in Évora. This building is not for the faint hearted, especially not for those who are afraid of death, since it is decorated with more than 5,000 skulls, and thousands of other bones. Legend has it that the chapel was built in the 17th century by three monks and that several graves were robbed in the cemeteries nearby to find more decorative materials.
Monte Palace Hotel, São Miguel, The Azores
The Monte Palace Hotel opened in 1989 with the promise of being one of the most luxurious, refined and attractive hotels in the country. Despite the luxury and expectations surrounding this building, several corrupt financial schemes led to the ruin of the hotel and its closure. Nowadays in 2020, the space is still standing, but rather dilapidated due to abandonment and vandalism.
If you are brave enough, you can take the opportunity to spend a night camping at the Monte Palace Hotel, listening to the strange and haunting noises in the surrounding area, or you can choose to stroll through its tropical gardens where you might even see a ghost or two.
Mont’Alto Sanatorium, Valongo
Psychiatric hospitals are a favourite scene for horror films, so if we're talking about a real, haunted psychiatric hospital, you can expect some real scares.
The Valongo Sanatorium was previously the place of treatment for hundreds of tuberculosis patients, who lived in small spaces and were victims of neglect and mistreatment. The legends of this place are many and they all speak of the ghosts of the patients who still walk the corridors of the hospital to this very day.
Castelinho de São João do Estoril, São João do Estoril
A little girl who wanders the walls of the Castelinho de São João do Estoril, during the night, with a rag doll in her hand... It's enough to give you shivers down your spine, right?
Legend has it that, many years ago, a blind girl who lived there fell off the cliff and died. The house the became a support space for the visually impaired and has already had several owners, without ever being able to find someone to stay there for a long time. Does the spirit of the little girl with the rag doll still haunt its inhabitants?
Palácio de Valenças, Sintra
Sintra is, par excellence, one of the most romantic destinations in Portugal, however, it also hides some mysteries. There are several night tours around Sintra that are based on the legends of the area; such as the story of Palmira, the servant of the Count of Valenças, who committed suicide after an unrequited love for the Count. Now, if you visit the palace, it is said that you can hear Palmira crying for her disaffection.
Ponta da Má Merenda, Praia da Vitória, Terceira Island
Last, but not least, is a simple story in the Azores: a beautiful and very rich girl, a handsome and very poor boy and a father who, being against this love, wants his daughter to marry a rich, old and ugly man. The girl refuses to marry and ends up trapped in the fort of Praia da Vitória, until her death. Her true love discovered her death, after years of building a fortune, and lost his mind.
Now, on stormy nights, it is said that with a little attention you can hear the lamentations of the lovers and that on sunny days the sea carries their passionate voices.