11 Peculiar Abandoned Islands That Deserve A Spotlight

These abandoned islands are more than just remnants of the past – they’re windows into history, filled with tales of human curiosity, tragedy, and the relentless evolution of time. Some completely shut off from the outside world while others allow the curious tourist to pop in, but all isolated by time.

1. Hashima Island, Japan

Abandoned Islands: Hashima Island, Japan

Also known as “Battleship Island” due to its eerie resemblance to a battleship, Hashima was once a thriving coal-mining town. Once petroleum started replacing coal in the 60s, the island’s fate was sealed. Abandoned in the 1970s, it now stands as a silent concrete jungle, a haunting reminder of its industrial past.

2. Poveglia Island, Italy

Poveglia Island, Italy

Located in the Venetian Lagoon, Poveglia has a dark history. It served as a quarantine station for the bubonic plague in the 1700s and later as a mental hospital. Rumours have it that the staff of the mental hospital used to torture its patients so local authorities decided to make this island a no-go.

3. Gruinard Island, Scotland

Gruinard Island, Scotland

Once a testing ground for biological warfare during World War II, Gruinard was deemed so dangerous that it was abandoned and quarantined for almost 50 years. Though it was decontaminated in the 1980s, its eerie history still haunts the landscape. Still, it’s deemed “safe” to visit so if you’re up to this kind of challenge, book the trip.

4. Spinalonga, Greece

Abandoned Islands: Spinalonga, Greece

This small island near Crete was once a leper colony, more exactly from 1903 to 1957. The abandoned ruins of houses, shops, and churches tell the sad story of those who lived in isolation, cut off from the world. However, they did the best they could given the current situation: they built their own lives around the disease, getting married and having kids.

5. Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls), Mexico

Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls), Mexico

If dolls give you the creeps, this island might be your absolute worst nightmare. It’s covered in thousands of dolls hanging from trees, a sight that is perfect for a horror movie. It’s said that the caretaker, Julian Santana Barrera, began collecting them after he discovered the body of a drowned girl. Apparently he thought the dolls will ward off any bad spirits that may have haunted the place.

6. Ross Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Ross Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Once the administrative headquarters of the British in the Andamans, Ross Island now lies completely in ruins. Abandoned several years after the 8.1 earthquake 1941 earthquake, it’s a haunting blend of overgrown green and shattered colonial buildings.

7. Johnston Atoll, USA

Johnston Atoll, USA

This remote Pacific island served as a nuclear testing ground, between 1958 and 1975, along with storage and disposal of chemical weapons, among many other military-related purposes. Abandoned since 2003, it’s currently uninhabited except for the occasional visits by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees that first have to get a permit from the Air Force.

8. Bannerman Island, USA

Abandoned Islands: Bannerman Island, USA

Located in the Hudson River, Bannerman Island was safe storage for an eccentric Scottish arms dealer’s castle and arsenal. Once used to store military surplus until it was sold, a gunpowder explosion sealed its faith, being abandoned soon after. And this is just one of many abandoned or/and creepy places in the US.

9. Bouvet Island, Norway

Bouvet Island, Norway

Declared by Norway a nature reserve, this is officially the loneliest corner of Scandinavia. Explored through the centuries by British, French, and Americans, it’s now considered Norwegian soil. Accessible only for researchers studying the fauna and flora, Bouvet Island is covered almost entirely in glaciers.

10. Snake Island, Brazil

Snake Island, Brazil

So, we have an island chock full of venomous snakes, pit viper aka the golden lancehead. Their venom is so deadly they could kill an adult in mere minutes. Its only human inhabitants had one purpose: to take care of the lighthouse. But, as each fell prey to the venomous snakes, the island was declared abandoned in 1900, soon after the death of its last lighthouse keeper. While the general public is forbidden from visiting the island, researchers still go on “field trips” so they can study the snakes.

11. King Island (Alaska, USA)

King Island (Alaska, USA)

What was once an island populated by roughly 200 eskimos is now an abandoned, eerie place. Their lives revolved around the sea, eating, wearing and selling anything that came from the sea. When the only local school was closed they were forced to move to the mainland, leaving the island life behind. Not only that, but their way of living, the houses built on stilts, were more and more dangerous to live in due to recent rock slides.

What is the biggest abandoned island in the world?

Devon Island. Devon Island is located in Nunavut, Canada and is the biggest abandoned island in the world.

Can you live on an abandoned island?

Yes. In theory you can live on an abandoned island. You will need water, food and shelter. Depending on the island’s resources you could get all of these with ease or it could prove very difficult. 

How many abandoned islands are there in the world?

There could be as many as 2 million uninhabited or abandoned islands in the world. 

How long has someone survived on a deserted island?

4 years. Alexander Selkirk survived for that long on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean in the 18th century.

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