Unique and Beautiful Cemeteries Around the World

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Just in time for Halloween, I've decided to put together a round-up of some of my favorite cemeteries I've visited around the world.

Yes, that's right – my favorite cemeteries.

I'm one of those people who loves visiting cemeteries when I travel. It's not because I have some morbid obsession with death, though. I simply find cemeteries to be interesting – and very often beautiful.

Cemetery in Vietnam
Cemetery in Vietnam
Bonaventure Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah

Most cemeteries are built to be completely utilitarian; they are groomed and organized and there to serve just one purpose. But other cemeteries are more than just a place to bury the dead.

Here's a look at some of the most interesting, beautiful, and haunting cemeteries I've visited around the world.

8 Unique Cemeteries to Visit Around the World

1. Merry Cemetery

Romania

Merry Cemetery in Romania

This colorful and unique cemetery in Romania is one of my absolute favorites. Each grave marker is a colorful cross with a short poem or story about the deceased written on it, along with an illustration of the person, often depicted doing something they enjoyed in life.

Merry Cemetery

Instead of mourning death, Merry Cemetery celebrates life – making it one of the coolest (and happiest!) cemeteries I've ever been to.

READ MORE: Merry Cemetery: A Different Way to Look at Death

2. Bonaventure Cemetery

Georgia, USA

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah

Located in Savannah, Georgia, in the heart of the Old South, Bonaventure Cemetery is probably the most beautiful cemetery I've visited. With weathered statues of crying angels, oak trees draped in Spanish moss, and some very old family plots, this is a cemetery you should definitely visit if you ever have the chance.

Bonaventure Cemetery

This cemetery has a ghost story or two connected to it, but it's a beautiful and peaceful place to visit – during the day, at least.

READ MORE: In Photos: Bonaventure Cemetery

3. Jewish Cemeteries in Poland

Warsaw and Krakow

Krakow Jewish Cemetery

If it's haunting, unkempt, yet sadly beautiful cemeteries you're looking for, I would recommend either the Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw, or its twin in Krakow. Both are overgrown and crumbling, but yet still stunning in their disrepair.

Warsaw Jewish Cemetery
Krakow Jewish Cemetery

For me, knowing how much Poland's Jewish population suffered during WWII made these cemeteries even more moving, and I spent a lot of time wandering through them.

Krakow Jewish Cemetery

4. Titanic cemetery in Halifax

Nova Scotia, Canada

When the RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic in 1912, rescue ships from Halifax, Nova Scotia, were the first on the scene – and the ones responsible for the recovery of the bodies of those who did not make it. 

Many of those who died were either unidentifiable, or their families could not afford to have their bodies shipped back home. Hundreds of Titanic victims, therefore, were buried in cemeteries in Halifax.

Fairview Cemetery in Halifax

The most famous “Titanic cemetery” in Halifax is Fairview Cemetery, where 121 victims are buried – including the famous J. Dawson.

While researching for his cinematic masterpiece, James Cameron visited this cemetery as part of his research. Many of the real stories of these people are told in the film (though Jack Dawson as played by Leo was completely made up, save his last name and first initial).

Fairview Cemetery Titanic grave

5. Père Lachaise Cemetery

Paris, France

When I was asking friends and acquaintances for Paris recommendations, many of them suggested a visit to the city's sprawling Père Lachaise Cemetery. It was a great suggestion that I now pass on to others.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

The cemetery is massive, yet well-kept. There are “street names,” as well as the gravesites of some very famous people – like musician Jim Morrison, playwright Molière, composer Chopin, and writer Oscar Wilde.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

This is a beautiful and tranquil (and free!) place to go for a wander in Paris.

6. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

New Orleans, USA

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans

When it comes to unique things to do in New Orleans, going on a cemetery tour should definitely be on your to-do list.

Cemeteries in New Orleans are unique in that, because of the swampy ground the city was built upon, people need to be buried above-ground here. You'll therefore find cemeteries in New Orleans to be filled with stone crypts and mausoleums built along “streets,” leading to cemeteries here being calls “Cities of the Dead.”

New Orleans cemetery

You might notice that this cemetery looks a little bit like Père Lachaise listed above (if perhaps a bit more unkempt), which isn't surprising considering the strong French influence in New Orleans.

Going on a cemetery tour in NOLA is definitely worth it.

7. St. Peter's Cemetery in Salzburg

Austria

St. Peter's Cemetery in Salzburg

I also have to mention St. Peter's Cemetery, a tiny abbey cemetery in Salzburg, Austria. I visited this cemetery out of curiosity since it inspired the abbey cemetery in “The Sound of Music,” one of my favorite films.

I was surprised by how pretty and detailed it was. And interesting, too. Plots here are rented, not bought – meaning if you don't pay rent on a loved one's body, they are dug up and removed, and the plot is rented to someone else.

St. Peter's Cemetery
Look familiar from “The Sound of Music”??

8. Culloden Battlefield

Scotland

The last site I'm going to include here is perhaps one of the saddest: Culloden Battlefield in the Scottish Highlands. It was on this spot in April of 1746 that the British defeated the Jacobite army supporting the claim of Bonnie Prince Charlie to the throne of Scotland and Britain. The battle was fast and bloody – and it changed the course of history in Scotland forever.

Cairn at Culloden Battlefield

Many of the Highland clans were nearly wiped out during the battle, and the Highland way of life (including the wearing of tartan, the speaking of Gaelic, and the clans themselves) was all but stamped out in the decades that followed.

At the battlefield itself, many of the clan members who died at Culloden (and there were hundreds of them) are buried in mass graves marked by clan stones. It's a very somber place to visit, but fascinating from a historical perspective.

Clan gravestone at Culloden Battlefield

This is now a popular spot for fans of the TV show Outlander to visit since it's an Outlander filming location, but it's first and foremost a real historic site.


Want to read even more about my cemetery travels? Here are a few more posts you can read:


Do YOU visit cemeteries when you travel? Tell me about your favorite!

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"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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38 Comments on “Unique and Beautiful Cemeteries Around the World

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  1. I’m actually planning on visiting Linwood Cemetery in Dubuque, Iowa on Friday! I went last week for a nighttime ‘Haunted History Walk’ and I want to go back and see what it looks like in the day time!

      Ooo the haunted history walk sounds very cool!

    I love cemeteries too. Other people give me weird looks when I tell them that I love finding unique cemeteries. They find it crazy. My favorite one is Mirogoj in Zagreb, Croatia. The old part of it. It looks more like a park than a cemetery. I used to find old tombstones and write down names and dates and then Google them afterwards. Sometimes I would find their lifestories and how they died…

      Oh how neat! I’ve never thought of looking up people in old cemeteries – but that’s such a cool idea!

    The Merry Cemetery was definitely one of a kind experience for me! There´s no doom and gloom in this place, no sadness when you look around..First time I felt that way in a cemetery. I couldn´t agree more with what you wrote – it really celebrates life! Each of those gravestones is like a brief glimpse into the life of that particular person. As if they said to themselves that there´s no point in hiding secrets and so they wrote an honest truth in those epitaphs. Quite a funny thing when you have your drinking problem told on your gravestone, or the fact that you cheated on your wife..

      Merry Cemetery is definitely the most unique cemetery I’ve visited, too!

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