11 Abandoned Cities And The Spine-Tingling Reasons Everyone Left

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If you’re looking for adventure but want something different, we’ve got the places for you. All you’ll need is a snowmobile, a wetsuit, some sand shoes, and maybe a radiation suit.

On long road trips through the more rural parts of the country, many of us have made our way through seemingly abandoned towns that look like they were once thriving. From the empty buildings to creaking houses sitting in overgrown fields, many of us briefly wonder what happened to these places and the people who once lived in them, but the thoughts usually leave our heads just as quickly as we pass through these ghost towns.


They’re not just in the United States, though. There are plenty of abandoned cities throughout the world, and their stories are guaranteed to spark your curiosity.

Pripyat, Ukraine

We’ve all heard of the Chernobyl disaster, but it seems like not as many people are aware of the nearby town that was forever affected by the accident.

Gazete Manifesto

Pripyat was the town in which everyone who worked at the Chernobyl power plant lived, and it was evacuated within two days after the explosion occurred.


Radiation levels since the disaster have dropped considerably and the town has actually been deemed as safe to visit, but it remains abandoned, just as it has been since 1986. However, though you won’t find people, you will find plenty of plant life, books still in the libraries, and the remains of an amusement park.

Villa Epecuen, Argentina

Villa Epecuen was a tourist town that sits on the edge of Lago Epecuen, which was said to have therapeutic properties. Around the 1970s, the town was thought to be home to around 5,000 people who were all forced out of their homes in 1985 due to extreme flooding that occurred after heavy rains caused their dam to break.

Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images

The entire town sat under around 30 feet of saltwater for years until it finally started to recede around 2009. Those who visit the site can now see the remains of what was there before the flooding.

Garnet, Montana

This town in Montana was once the place to be for a gold miner and was home to around 1,000 people in 1898. Around 1905, however, miners started abandoning the area in search of more gold, and there were eventually only around 150 remaining in the area.

Marcin Porwit/Flickr

In 1912, a fire took out most of the commercial buildings that stood in the town, and everyone who still lived there made their way out shortly after that. In the 1940s, Garnet became a complete ghost town, but it’s one that’s still incredibly well-preserved to this day.

Lion City, China

This ancient city in China lies near the base of the Wu Shi Mountain, also known as Five Lion Mountain. The city currently sits below approximately 130 feet of water.


The crazy part is that no natural disaster was involvedtown officials flooded the city on purpose because they needed a lake to fuel a hydroelectric power station.


To this day, the city is perfectly preserved underneath the water. The city that was once a hub for politics and economic discussion is now a site that both investigators and tourists love to explore.

St. Thomas, Nevada

This Nevada ghost town came to be when flood waters from nearby Lake Mead overtook the land sometime in the 1930s. The water was actually 60 feet above even the tallest structures in the town at one point, though the waters have receded since then and the town has now become somewhat of a tourist site.

Daniel Jost

At its peak, St. Thomas was a quintessential western town that was a popular spot for people to stop in on their way from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles.

Hashima Island, Japan

You’ve probably seen Hashima Island before and never realized that it was the island hideaway of the villain Raoul Silva in the movie Skyfall. Yes, that island is real, and it was once part of a large coal-mining operation run by Mitsubishi.


In fact, it was once one of the most densely populated areas in the entire world, with 5,259 people living on the 16-acre island in 1959. Sadly, because the underwater coal reserves beneath the island began to run out, the thriving island was eventually abandoned.

Chaiten, Chile

Though the community in Chaiten was small, it was completely devastated after one particular volcanic eruption. In 2008, the nearby Chaiten volcano erupted for the first time in 9,000 years, and it lasted for more than three days.

Stitched Panorama Image

The material spewing out of the volcano caused the Blanco River to overflow, and it eventually carved out a new path for the river that took it straight through the town.


Though much of Chaiten was destroyed, the government announced plans to rebuild the city in 2009, though some of it still remains just as the catastrophic eruption left it.

Goldfield, Arizona

Goldfield is appropriately named; the popularity of the town came to be due to the discovery of tons of high-quality gold ore in the area during 1892. The town thrived for many years and was home to around 1,500 people during its peak.


However, the same vein of gold ore that made it thrive is also what sent people packing, as it began to dwindle within five years after it was discovered. Now, the town is a thriving tourist spot with tours of the mines, a history museum, and reenactments of life in the Old West.

Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast

This town in West Africa’s Ivory Coast was once the capital city of the French colonies, up until around 1896. The capital eventually transferred to the nearby town of Bingerville after yellow fever swept Grand-Bassam and forced its people out.


Today, the town is home to many beachside resorts and actually has quite the tourist population, though certain parts of it still have the look of a ghost town.

Kolmanskop, Namibia

The town of Kolmanskop was once the place to be for diamond miners and was once home to a huge rush of them in 1928 after huge diamond deposits were discovered along the beach. The town was essentially abandoned by 1954, as its residents had discovered how much easier it was to search for diamonds on the beach than digging in a mine.

Michiel Van Balen

The sands of the desert the town sits in eventually overtook many of the houses, filling them with their own knee-deep sand dunes. Even though the residents left by choice, the town still gives off an eerie vibe that attracts tourists, photographers, and even ghost hunters to the region.

Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard is still home to the coal-mining town of Pyramiden, although they don’t mine there anymore. The location was sold by Norway to a Russian (technically still the Soviet Union at that point) mining company in 1927. It was later used as a front for those in the Cold War and was eventually shut down decades later in 1998.

Steven Kazlowski/Science Faction/Corbis

The site is, quite literally, frozen in time, as experts say that temperatures in the area could keep the buildings, and everything in them, preserved for years to comeup to 500 years from now, in fact. There are many tourists that set out to explore the site, which is accessible by either boat or snowmobile.

Visit Norway

Unfortunately, though, because there aren’t any restrictions when it comes to visiting Pyramiden, it has become a victim of heavy vandalism and destruction.

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