20 Of The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries

31 October 2016
Read Time: 4.2 mins

Halloween isn’t all about ghosts and gargoyles, in fact some of the world’s largest resting places are also the most beautiful destinations to visit. Here are 20 of the most spectacular cemeteries well worth a visit.

Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, Australia

 The best view from a resting place? (Image: Getty)

 

If any cemetery in the world holds prime real estate, it’s this one. Teetering on the cliff edge along the infamous coastal walk between Bronte and Clovelly beaches in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, this cemetery is a ripper vantage point to catch sunrise, watch surfers or simply drink in the ocean breeze.

Cemetiere du Pere Lachaise, Paris, France

 Sunset in the world's most famous cemetery. (Image: Getty)

 

The world’s most visited cemetery, this beautiful, hilly cemetery has a long list of famous residents. Do your research as to where they are before visiting though as finding Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Jim Morrison, Chopin and Edith Piaf, among others, in the 44 hectare cemetery you could be here all day searching.

Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague

 The world's most overcrowded cemetery. (Image: Getty)

 

Probably the world’s most crowded cemetery, of the 12,000 headstones visible, there are estimated to be more than 100,000 bodies buried here. Dating to the 15th century, there are more than 12 layers of graves – spooky!

Cemetery of Punta Arenas, Chile

 

A photo posted by Igna Riquelme (@ignapple) on

Colourful tombs and carved cypress trees dictate the landscape at this impressive resting place in Chile’s most southern region of Patagonia.

Merry Cemetery, Romania

 Colourful headstones at the Merry Cemetery. (Image: Getty)

 

The brightly coloured wooden headstones marking graves here depict images and poetry about the deceased. The drunk of the town for example, depicts him holding a bottle to his lips!

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, USA

 Spring in the Bonaventure Cemetery. (Image: getty)

 

Once a plantation, this cemetery is today one of Savannah’s most beautiful sights. It became famous after appearing on the cover of the 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, USA

 Winter in the Green-Wood Cemetery. (Image: getty)

 

Pre-dating Central Park, and a popular green space for New Yorkers, this cemetery has one of America’s largest collections of 19th and 20th century mausoleums and statues.

South Park Street Cemetery, Kolkata, India

Founded in 1767, this colonial era cemetery is today overgrown with tropical growth, a jungle resting place for the who’s who of India’s former colonial rulers.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

 The ornate tombs of Argentina's elite. (Image: Getty)

 

Founded in 1822, this cemetery is home to ornate tombstones of the city’s rich and powerful families, reminiscent of a golden era between 1890 and 1930, when Buenos Aires was one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

Neptune Memorial Reef, Key Biscayne, USA

Both the world’s largest man-made reef and the only underwater cemetery, ashes are spread across statues 40 feet below the surface, and loved ones, or visitors can dive to pay their respects.

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Israel

 Overlooking Mount of Olives. (Image: Getty)

 

Named for the olive trees that once occupied the land, this ridge, east of the old city of Jerusalem, has been a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds 150,000 graves.

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, USA

 Sunrise in beautiful Arlington Cemetery. (Image: Getty)

 

Set on 253 hectares, Arlington is the final resting place of over 400,000 American servicemen, veterans and their families.

Saint Louis cemetery, New Orleans, USA

 The colourful Saint Louis cemetery. (Image: Getty)

 

Founded in 1789, this cemetery is a maze of vaults and tombs, the final resting place of some of the city’s most vibrant characters. The most famous grave here is probably that of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, whose tomb receives visits from tourists and voodoo enthusiasts alike.

Glasgow Necropolis, Scotland

 The Glasgow Necropolis overlooks the city. (Image: Getty)

 

The resting place of some 50,000 people, Glasgow’s City of the Dead is a multi-faith cemetery, with the graves of Catholics, Protestants, Quakers, Jews, Lutherans and more.

American Military Cemetery, Normandy, France

 Simplicity at the American Military Cemetery in Normandy. (Image: Getty)

 

The first US Army cemetery on European soil, this cemetery is the resting place of almost 10,000 American militants, each grave marked by a simple white cross.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, California, USA

 

#hollywoodforevercemetery A photo posted by Lisa (@balletgirrl) on

Across the street from Paramount Studios, this is the resting place of many of Tinseltown’s biggest names, including Jayne Mansfield, Johnny Ramone, L’Wren Scott and Harry Chandler.

Okunoin Cemetery, Mount Koya, Japan

 Surrounded by wilderness in Okonoin Cemetery. (Image: Getty)

 

Japan’s largest cemetery in the forest of Mount Koya, this beautiful cemetery is home to more than 200,000 graves. It’s distinctive memorials even include monuments to termites killed by pesticides and fish killed by chefs.

Maqbaratol Shoara, Iran

The Tomb of Poets is a resting place for Iran’s cherished creatives, including scientists, scholars and writers. The Postmodernist and Moorish architecture of the monument is an impressive sight in itself.

Abney Park Cemetery, London, England

 A piece of wilderness in central London. (Image: Vicki Fletcher)

 

Most visitors to London know about Highgate Cemetery, however this lesser know, yet equally as impressive cemetery is an alternative that won’t disappoint. Access to Highgate Cemetery is limited mostly to tour groups, whereas Abney Park is open for everyone to enjoy. This overgrown jungle is a maze of pathways, shaded courtyards and even an empty church.

Panteon Antiguo, Oaxaca, Mexico

 Decorations for Day of the Dead. (Image: Getty)

 

On October 31, the night before Day of the Dead celebrations, this cemetery comes to life with people welcoming the spirits of family and friends past, who are believed to return on November 1 and 2. Graves are decorated and groups gather in celebration.

Vicki Fletcher

A writer and photographer for Flight Centre, Vicki loves road trips down unknown tracks, hiking into mountain ranges, following locals to the best food in town, and spending long afternoons people watching in city squares. She's written for publications across Australia and Europe. Top travel tip: always look up. Follow Vicki on Instagram @vickijanefletcher.