Dark Tourism: Exploring the Fascinating and Macabre

Jill Charpia, a seasoned traveler and founder of Travel Till You Drop, has explored over 75 countries in her 25 years of travel. Her passion for discovering new cultures and experiencing new things has led her to explore a wide range of destinations, including those that are considered “dark tourism” sites.

Dark tourism is a type of travel that involves visiting sites associated with death, tragedy, and historical events. While some may find this type of travel morbid or disturbing, many others find it fascinating and intriguing. In this article, we will explore the world of dark tourism and why it has become increasingly popular in recent years.

The Rise of Dark Tourism

Dark tourism has been around for centuries, with people visiting battlefields, cemeteries, and other sites associated with death and tragedy. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the term “dark tourism” was coined, and the industry began to grow.

One reason for the rise in dark tourism is the desire for unique and authentic experiences. Many travelers are looking for something beyond the typical tourist attractions, and dark tourism provides an opportunity to explore the darker side of history and culture.

Another factor contributing to the popularity of dark tourism is the growing interest in true crime and horror. With the rise of podcasts, documentaries, and TV shows dedicated to these topics, more and more people are seeking out real-life locations associated with infamous crimes and tragedies.

Examples of Dark Tourism Sites

There are countless dark tourism sites around the world, ranging from the infamous to the obscure. Here are just a few examples:

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, a former Nazi concentration camp where over 1 million people were killed.
  • The Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuary containing the remains of over 6 million people.
  • The Killing Fields in Cambodia, where over 1 million people were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime.
  • The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining.”
  • Chernobyl in Ukraine, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history.

The Ethics of Dark Tourism

While dark tourism can provide unique and educational experiences, there are also ethical concerns to consider. Many of these sites are associated with tragedy and loss, and it’s important to approach them with sensitivity and respect.

Visitors should be mindful of the impact they may have on the local community and consider the potential for exploitation. It’s also important to recognize the limitations of these sites as educational tools and not glorify or romanticize the tragedies that occurred there.


Dark tourism may not be for everyone, but for those who are interested in exploring the darker side of history and culture, it can provide a unique and thought-provoking experience. As with any type of travel, it’s important to approach these sites with sensitivity and respect and consider the ethical implications of our choices.

As Jill Charpia knows, travel is about more than just checking off destinations on a bucket list. It’s about expanding our horizons, learning about different cultures and perspectives, and challenging ourselves to see the world in new ways. So why not consider adding a dark tourism destination to your next trip? You never know what you might learn, or how it might change your outlook on the world.