The world’s most famous prisons span centuries of history, with legendary prisoners ranging from Marie Antoinette to Elizabeth I. The most visited prisons in the world include iconic American locations like Alcatraz as well as medieval prisons connected to castle complexes in Europe.
The most popular prisons are tabulated by the travel app Visited, which allows travelers to scratch off places they’ve been around the world. You can check off places you visit, set travel goals, and get a custom-printed map of your travels using the Visited app.
The top 10 most visited famous prisons include:
- 1. The Tower of London in England is the most popular prison in the world and is full of history, dating back over 800 years, and includes famed prisoners such as Elizabeth I, Guy Fawkes, and Anne Boleyn. The last prisoner executed in the prison was in 1941 and today the prison stands as a historic site offering tours of the prison complex.
- 2. Alcatraz Island is a U.S. National Park in California that attracts tourists from around the world to the former maximum security federal penitentiary. The complex now includes educational exhibits and tours that highlight the tumultuous history of the island and the state of incarceration in the U.S.
- 3. Remains of the Bastille in Paris, France, attract visitors to Place de la Bastille, where the French Bastille stood until the French Revolution. The Storming of the Bastille destroyed the whole structure between 1789 and 1790.
- 4. La Conciergerie is a former prison in Paris that held prisoners during the French Revolution. The Gothic-style prison where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned and sentenced to the guillotine is now a museum.
5. Agra Fort in Agra, India, also known as the red fort, served as the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638 when the capital moved to Delhi.
- 6. Oxford Castle is a large medieval castle in Oxfordshire, England. Most of the castle was destroyed in the English Civil War and the remains became a prison that operated until 1996.
- 7. Robben Island in South Africa is an island that operated a well-known prison and included the famed symbol of freedom, Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned on the island for 18 of his 27 years in jail.
- 8. Berlin Stasi Prison, also known as the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, is now a museum that highlights the history of the East German prison in Berlin.
- 9. The Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg served as a prison for political dissidents in Russia from the 1700s to the 1920s.
- 10. Eastern State Penitentiary is a former prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. that operated as a prison from 1829 until 1971.
Have you traveled to any of the most popular prisons? Check off places you’ve been, browse new destination ideas, and get a custom-printed map of your travels using the Visited app.