Friday October 28, 2016
Vampires, witches, and ghosts... Hallowe'en (short for All Hallows' Eve) has its origins in the Gaelic festival Samhain, marking the end of the harvest and the arrival of the dark winter months. According to Irish mythology, Samhain was a time when the 'doorways' to the Otherworld opened, allowing supernatural beings and the souls of the dead to come into our world. Sometime around the 9th century the festival was Christianised as the eve of All Saints' Day, a time to commemorate the dead.
To celebrate this time of the year we have chosen three destinations with spooky connotations to celebrate Hallowe'en in style!
Vampires in Romania
Can't imagine Hallowe'en without bloodthirsty creatures? Throw a copy of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula in your carry-on and head for Transylvania! The atmospheric medieval city of Brasov is the perfect base for exploring Bran Castle and its ties to Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century prince famous for his cruelty who inspired the legend of the most famous of vampires: Count Dracula.
In Brasov Curtea Brasoveana is an independent hotel set in a traditional house, with quiet and spacious rooms. To warm yourself after exploring chilly castles you can enjoy their free sauna, and relax in their Turkish baths. Only 10 minutes by foot from the old town, enjoy a warm welcome and a comfortable stay here!
Witches in England
Hallowe'en wouldn't be the same without witches to cast evil spells and concont vile potions in their giant cauldrons. Hop on your broom and zip over to the Harry Potter Warner Studio Tour to meet more modern and friendly witches and wizards.
If you haven't got a broom, you can always rely on more classic forms of travel. From London's Euston station catch a train to Watford, where shuttles will take you to the studios.
For this excursion from London, we suggest unpacking your trunk at TheWesley (and not Weasley!), a charming independent hotel with elegantly-decorated rooms, close to Euston Station. It's the first ethical hotel in London, member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and a social enterprise: anything the hotel makes goes straight to charity.
Ghosts in Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses is a strange and mysterious place where you can almost feel the ghosts of the dead haunting this site of pilgrimage. Over one hundred thousand crosses have been placed on the hill by catholic faithful over generations to signify the peaceful endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism despite the threats it faced throughout history.
To explore Lithuania from its captial, Vilnius, we recommend the Apia boutique hotel. Independent and family-run, it is set on a quiet street in the heart of the old town. Renovated in 2014, its 12 comfortable rooms are tastefully decorated, and breakfast is served in the neighbouring 5-star Narutis hotel.