As the summer season draws to a close, we turn our attention to seven opulent summer resorts that, due to ill-fated business decisions, were abruptly deserted. These once-glamorous vacation spots, now relics of their former splendour, have either faded into obscurity or slowly succumbed to the passage of time, leaving behind stories of both grandeur and decay.
This summer has witnessed a surge in tourist numbers in various parts of the world. However, amidst the issues of over-tourism, it’s astonishing to think that there exist resorts and stunning destinations globally that have been entirely deserted and forgotten.
Abandoned tourist destinations have evolved into sought-after attractions in their own unique way. The spectacle of a once majestic edifice, now eerie and in ruins, stirs the imagination and captivates visitors.
However, what leads to the abandonment of once-popular sites? At times, it’s the result of economic downturns, which deplete the resources of owners and investors. In other cases, waning interest from the public plays a role, while occasionally, the force of an environmental disaster washes away something that once stood in glory.
We’ve gathered seven former tourist destinations, spanning from Italy to Indonesia, that have experienced challenging times. This way, you can virtually explore the world from the comfort of your own home.
Marina d’Or, Spain
Marina d’Or, nestled along the sun-kissed coast of Spain, stands as a charming relic of the past, often overlooked by tourists in search of more popular destinations. This coastal gem, reminiscent of Spain’s seaside resorts from decades past, has somehow managed to escape the relentless march of modernization. Its old-world charm is a testament to a bygone era of vacationing, where simplicity and tranquillity reign supreme. Strolling through Marina d’Or’s narrow streets, one can’t help but feel transported to a time when life moved at a slower pace, and the simple pleasures of sun, sea, and sand were all one needed for a perfect holiday.
Unlike its more contemporary counterparts, Marina d’Or lacks the glitzy skyscrapers and bustling nightlife that define many modern vacation hotspots. Instead, it offers a peaceful escape for those seeking solace in the Mediterranean. With its picturesque beachfront promenade, lined with quaint cafes and family-owned shops, it’s a place where the rhythms of life follow the gentle ebb and flow of the sea. Visitors can indulge in leisurely siestas, savouring local cuisine, and watch the world go by from the comfort of a charming terrace.
What truly sets Marina d’Or apart is its commitment to preserving the traditional Spanish way of life. The town’s architecture remains true to its roots, with whitewashed buildings adorned with colourful tiles and balconies overflowing with bougainvillaea.
Yashima Resort, Japan
Nestled amidst the scenic landscapes of Japan, Yashima Resort is a hidden gem that seems to have escaped the radar of most tourists in search of the country’s more iconic destinations. Situated on the picturesque Yashima Plateau, this resort embodies a sense of timelessness that transports visitors to a Japan of the past. While modernity has swept through the nation, Yashima remains a tranquil haven where tradition and serenity harmoniously coexist.
One of the defining features of Yashima Resort is its deep connection to Japanese culture and history. The resort’s architecture seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings, offering guests an immersive experience that harks back to Japan’s ancient traditions. Visitors can explore historic temples and shrines, including the famous Yashima-ji Temple, which dates back over a thousand years. This spiritual ambience, coupled with breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea and the surrounding islands, makes Yashima Resort a destination where time appears to have stood still.
Unlike the bustling metropolises of Tokyo or Kyoto, Yashima Resort invites travellers to slow down and savour the simple pleasures of life. Traditional Japanese ryokans offer authentic accommodations, complete with tatami mat rooms and kaiseki cuisine, providing an authentic glimpse into the country’s rich heritage.
Varosha, once a thriving tourist hotspot on the island of Cyprus, now stands as a haunting reminder of a place that time forgot. Located in the city of Famagusta, this once-vibrant seaside resort area has been abandoned and left frozen in time since 1974. A visit to Varosha feels like stepping into a ghost town, where once-grand hotels, restaurants, and shops remain eerily untouched, their interiors frozen in time.
The story of Varosha is a tragic one. During the conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots in 1974, Varosha was sealed off and abandoned. The district, which was once frequented by celebrities and jet-setters, has remained off-limits to the public for decades, with its hotels and beaches left to the ravages of nature. The result is a surreal scene where crumbling buildings, overgrown foliage, and deserted streets evoke a sense of melancholy and nostalgia.
Despite its tragic history, there is an eerie beauty to Varosha that draws visitors seeking a unique and haunting experience. The sight of once-luxurious hotels, now draped in vines and surrounded by the azure waters of the Mediterranean, serves as a poignant reminder of the passage of time and the impermanence of human endeavours.
Villa Epecuén, Argentina
Villa Epecuén, located in the heart of Argentina, stands as a haunting relic of a destination that time has seemingly forgotten. Once a bustling lakeside resort town known for its therapeutic saltwater baths, Villa Epecuén faced a tragic fate when a series of torrential rains caused the nearby lake to breach its banks, flooding the town in 1985. For nearly three decades, the town lay submerged beneath the salty waters of the Lago Epecuén. However, as the waters gradually receded, the ruins of the town began to resurface, creating a surreal landscape that evokes both nostalgia and melancholy.
The ruins of Villa Epecuén paint a poignant picture of a once-thriving community frozen in time. What remains are skeletal outlines of buildings, salt-encrusted structures, and decaying remnants of everyday life. The town’s infrastructure, streets, and even a submerged car graveyard now stand as a testament to the passage of time and the forces of nature. This eerie and almost post-apocalyptic ambience has turned Villa Epecuén into an unexpected attraction, drawing curious visitors and photographers from around the world.
In recent years, Villa Epecuén has experienced a revival of sorts, as tourists explore its otherworldly landscape and photographers capture its unique beauty. Some original residents have even returned, attempting to reclaim the land and rebuild their lives among the ruins.
Dogpatch, USA, situated in the picturesque Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, is a charming yet forgotten relic of American pop culture. Founded in the late 1960s as an amusement park inspired by Al Capp’s beloved comic strip “Li’l Abner,” Dogpatch was once a bustling destination for families seeking a taste of rural America. However, as the years passed, the park’s popularity waned, and it eventually fell into disrepair, becoming one of those vacation spots that time forgot.
Wandering through Dogpatch today feels like stepping into a time capsule of a bygone era. The park’s rustic cabins and dilapidated buildings evoke a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time when wholesome family entertainment reigned supreme. The remnants of once-thriving attractions, such as the trout ponds and horseback riding trails, now stand as weathered reminders of a place that was once filled with laughter and joy. While it may no longer draw the crowds it once did, Dogpatch retains a unique charm that appeals to those seeking a glimpse of a lost piece of Americana.
The story of Dogpatch, USA, serves as a poignant reminder of how vacation spots can rise and fall with the tides of cultural change. While it may not be a bustling destination today, its existence as a time-forgotten relic reflects the enduring power of nostalgia and the way certain places can hold a special place in the hearts of those who visited in their heyday.
Otranto Country Club, Italy
The Otranto Country Club stands as a hidden gem among the vacation spots that time has gracefully forgotten. This tranquil oasis, tucked away from the bustling tourist hubs, exudes an old-world charm that transports visitors to a simpler and more serene era of Italian hospitality. With its rustic charm and picturesque landscapes, it’s a place where time seems to have stood still.
Otranto Country Club offers a unique blend of history and relaxation. The estate features a beautifully preserved villa dating back to the 17th century, surrounded by lush gardens and olive groves. Guests can explore the charming historic town of Otranto nearby, with its medieval architecture and stunning seafront views. Unlike the crowded beaches of Italy’s more famous coastal destinations, Otranto offers secluded coves and crystal-clear waters for a peaceful Mediterranean retreat.
What truly sets Otranto Country Club apart is its commitment to preserving the essence of traditional Italian hospitality. Visitors can enjoy authentic local cuisine made from fresh, seasonal ingredients and savour the region’s renowned wines. The atmosphere here is unhurried, inviting guests to relax, unwind, and savour the simple pleasures of life, making it a vacation spot that offers a welcome escape from the frenetic pace of modern living and a glimpse into the Italy of a bygone era.
Ghost Palace Hotel, Indonesia
The Ghost Palace Hotel, situated in the lush hills of Bali, Indonesia, is a haunting reminder of a dream that was never realized. Once intended to be a luxurious five-star resort, this sprawling complex now stands as a shadow of its former self, abandoned and left to the elements for decades. The eerie allure of the Ghost Palace Hotel is undeniable, drawing intrepid travellers and urban explorers who seek to uncover its mysteries and explore the haunting beauty of a place that time has forgotten.
The hotel’s story is one of ambitious beginnings and unfortunate setbacks. Construction began in the 1990s but was abruptly halted due to financial troubles and alleged mystical incidents. The result is a complex of unfinished buildings, overgrown gardens, and forgotten swimming pools, all set against the backdrop of Bali’s lush tropical landscape. The eerie atmosphere, combined with the unique blend of Balinese and Western architecture, creates a surreal experience for those who venture into this forgotten vacation spot.
Despite its unsettling aura, the Ghost Palace Hotel has become a strangely fascinating attraction in its own right. The hotel’s decaying grandeur and the overgrown vines that have reclaimed its walls make for a photographer’s dream.