Haserot angel in sepia filter at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland Ohio
Haserot Angel at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio is a highlight. This intriguing memorial is also known as The Angel of Death Victorious at one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world.

Any other cemetery enthusiasts out there? Do you add visiting the most beautiful cemeteries in the world on your travel itinerary? I so, here is a running list of the famous and not-so-famous and prettiest cemeteries in the United States and around the world.

This post contains recommended links to products and services. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. While you will not accrue any additional costs to support my blog, I may receive compensation if you purchase these products and services. All images are taken by kmf and available for digital download.

Where to find the famous and most beautiful cemeteries in the world

angel statue in cemetery
Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid, Spain is one of the largest and most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. More than 5 million people are buried here.

Cemeteries fascinate me rather than scare me. I love the history and the untold stories behind the beautiful monuments and memorials of love. When I visit, I often wonder if loved ones still visit the gravesites; are there still people in this world who remember them and love them? So I say a little prayer to acknowledge and honor their legacy.

Note: Post originally published Oct. 31, 2019; updated May 29, 2023.



How finding the most beautiful cemeteries in the world began

I don’t recall when we started adding beautiful and historic cemeteries to our travel itineraries. I’m thinking it was probably when we lived in Vermont.

Our friend, who was in the monument business, wanted to take us on a tour of Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont. At first, I thought it was a little odd. This was before the internet so I had no idea what to expect. I later learned that thousands of people visit this beautiful outdoor museum every year.

Hope Cemetery was unlike any cemetery I had ever visited before. I could not believe that there were so many beautiful (and some quirky) headstones and monuments in small-town Barre. You’ll learn more about that cemetery later in this post.


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This post contains recommended links to products and services. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. While you will not accrue any additional costs to support my blog, I may receive compensation if you purchase these products and services. All images are taken by kmf and available for digital download.


Tour of (some of) the most beautiful cemeteries in the United States

Here is a virtual tour of the famous and not-so-famous and most beautiful cemeteries in the United States. At least of those that I have visited so far. Some of these cemeteries claim to be haunted, the oldest, the largest, the best, the top, historic, abandoned, the most eccentric and the most beautiful. You can decide for yourself which of these open-air museums and outdoor sculpture galleries warrant their respective titles.



Iowa – beautiful small-town cemetery tour

Cornfield early in the spring with blue sky
Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa. I come from a long line of family farmers so only fitting that my father, grandmother and great grandparents are buried in a cemetery next to this Iowa cornfield.
Belmond, Iowa Cemetery
Cemetery with flags blowing in the wind, green grass, headstones and blue sky
This small-town cemetery in Belmond, Iowa displays flags on Memorial Day (one in which is in honor of my father who served in the U.S. Army).

This not-so-famous but definitely a beautiful cemetery in rural Belmond, Iowa has a special place in my heart – it’s my paternal family’s cemetery. Belmond is my father’s hometown and his final resting place, and my grandmother lies next to him, which brings me much comfort. My great grandparents and great-great grandparents were also laid to rest here in this small-town cemetery.


Buddy Holly Crash Site, Memorial and Museum in Clear Lake, Iowa
Buddy Holly Crash Site Entrance Large Black-Rimmed Glasses
The entrance to the Buddy Holly Crash Site Memorial in Clear Lake, Iowa is marked by a tribute of his trademarked black-rimmed glasses.

While the Buddy Holly Crash Site Memorial isn’t a cemetery, it is a place where fans visit where he, along with musicians The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, and the pilot, Roger Peterson, died in a plane crash on Feb. 3. 1959 – the day the music died.

You’ll find the entrance is on a gravel country road in Clear Lake, Iowa, where the farmers leave a mowed path to the memorial site (about a quarter of a mile). Here is where you can leave your mementos or moments of silence. You can read more about our experience at the Buddy Holly Crash Site and Museum in Clear Lake, Iowa in a more detailed post with more photos.

Memorial at Buddy Holly Crash site in corn field with memorial markers for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper
The crash-site memorial for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper is located in a cornfield about a quarter-mile off a gravel road in rural Clear Lake, Iowa. Read my full article for more details including directions on where to find the Buddy Holly Crash Site.

In downtown Clear Lake, Iowa, you can visit the Buddy Holly Museum, which is also home to The Surf Ballroom. That’s the venue where these three musicians last played along with Waylon Jennings (who gave up his seat to The Big Bopper who had come down with the flu).

Evergreen Cemetery in Fairfield, Iowa
Girl statue in cemetery
Have you ever walked through your own hometown cemetery? I must admit that I have not. My husband captured this photo in our hometown cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery in Fairfield, Iowa.

The Evergreen Cemetery in Fairfield, Iowa is my hometown cemetery. Many maternal relatives and friends are buried here as well as my husband’s parents and brother. It’s a very peaceful and beautiful cemetery with lots of trees.

Cemetery sculpture of woman
I wish I had joined my husband as he toured our beautiful hometown cemetery in our hometown. Will need to remedy that the next time I visit.

To be very honest, I really have not spent much time in this cemetery from the perspective of admiring the sculptures and its beauty. My husband captured these images at Evergreen Cemetery so we have him to thank for these beautiful cemetery photos.

Peeling paint on a mausoleum in a cemetery
Another shot captured by my husband at Evergreen Cemetery in Fairfield, Iowa.

Louisiana cemetery tour

Many cemeteries in Louisiana claim they are the most haunted. I’m not sure about that, but I do know New Orleans especially is home to many beautiful, historic and unique cemeteries.

New Orleans, Louisiana cemetery tour
Above-ground tombs in New Orleans cemetery
Since New Orleans, Louisiana is below sea level, all internments are above ground at all cemeteries.

One of my favorite things to do in New Orleans is to take the cemetery tours in New Orleans. I highly recommend them as they are beautiful and unique. New Orleans is below sea level so they can’t really bury people there. Rather, they are laid to rest in marble vaults above ground.

A cemetery tour offers a great opportunity to learn about the city’s history as well as the people. Although one cemetery tour in New Orleans gave me a voodoo doll, which kind of freaked me out a little so I left it behind on the bus.

Here are a few images my husband and I captured on those cemetery tours in New Orleans.

headless monument at New Orleans cemetery
St. Louis Cemetery 1 in New Orleans is one of the most historic and beautiful cemeteries in the U.S.

white monument new orleans cemetery
Beautiful monuments in New Orleans cemeteries

Row of above-ground tombs at New Orleans cemetery
One of the top things to do in New Orleans is to take a cemetery tour.

White pyramid monument in new orleans cemetery
From my understanding, this empty vault at one of the New Orleans cemeteries was purchased by actor Nicolas Cage. If you look closely, fans appear to have left lipstick kisses on this pyramid.

Massachusetts cemetery tour

I love all things history and I especially loved touring the historic cemeteries in Massachusetts – some of the oldest cemeteries in America.

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in Boston, Massachusetts
Historic Copp's Hill Burial Ground in Boston Mass with church steeple in the background
One of the stops on The Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts is the historic Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.

We spent a day in Boston last year on the Freedom Trail. It was downpouring so we didn’t have an opportunity to spend much time at each of the sites. However, we did capture a few photos at Copp’s Hill Burying Ground – one of the oldest and historic cemeteries in America.

Originally called North Burying Ground, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground cemetery was established in 1659 (the second oldest in Boston) and named after William Copp, a shoemaker and early settler.

Historic Copps Hill Burying Ground Boston Mass line of headstones
I’m in awe that historic cemeteries like this one, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, are in such great condition centuries later.

Among the 10,000 who are buried at Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in Boston (including the USS Constitution builder), more than 1,000 were free blacks and slaves.  

Historic headstones in Boston cemetery
Boston’s Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the final resting place for more than 10,000 people.

Old Burying Point | Salem, Massachusetts
Man giving a tour at cemetery
Kenneth, our walking tour guide, at The Burying Point in Salem, Massachusetts. He’s holding an apotropaic witch bottle that was believed to ward off the devil and evil spirits.

Last year, my husband, son and I spent a couple of days in Salem, Mass. Our amazing guide, Kenneth, took us on a walking tour for about three hours (which was only supposed to be 90 minutes to two hours). He was so generous with his time and sharing his knowledge (we had a lot of questions). I cannot say enough great things about him.

Read about our stay in a haunted hotel near Old Burying Point Cemetery – the historic Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Mass.

Here are photos from one of our more poignant stops at The Burying Point Cemetery. Established in 1637, it is Salem’s oldest cemetery and among the oldest in the U.S.

The Burying Point cemetery sign
The Burying Point in Salem, Mass. was established in 1637 – making it one of the oldest cemeteries in Massachusetts as well as America.

Two headstones behind a chain and in front of a tree in a cemetery
Historic headstones at one of the oldest cemeteries in the U.S., The Burying Point in Salem, MA
Salem Witch Trials Memorial Wall
Salem witch trial memorial wall at The Burying Point Cemetery
One of the memorable stops on our walking tour of The Burying Point cemetery in Salem, Mass. The Salem Witch Trials Memorial features 20 granite benches that represent the men and women who were charged with witchcraft and executed in 1692 and 1693.

Of special note at The Burying Point cemetery is the Salem Witch Trial Memorial Wall. While all of the 200 men and women accused of witchcraft between 1692 and 1693 could have taken a guilty plea deal to avoid death, 14 of the women and 5 of the men who refused to plead guilty went to trial (and one man refused to enter any plea). All were executed by hanging with the exception of one man, Giles Corey, who was pressed to death. Such a tragedy in our nation’s history.


Bridget Bishop Salem Witch Trials Memorial Wall with flowers
Bridget Bishop was the first person executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in 1692. Kenneth, our walking tour guide, brought along a bouquet of flowers and asked me to place them on the wall.

Minnesota cemetery tour

Home to many Native American tribal burial mounds, you can also find several early settler / pioneer cemeteries within Minnesota state parks as well as a mass grave, a cemetery under a park, and a beautiful cemetery that looks and feels like a park.

Beltrami Park / Maple Hill Cemetery
Gravesite marker at Beltrami Park Maple Hill Cemetery in Minneapolis
One of three grave markers that remain at the former Maple Hill Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minn.

To quote my husband, “That’s some Poltergeist sh** right there.”

That was his reaction when we stopped at Beltrami Park in NE Minnesota on Halloween last year. Beltrami is home to bocce ball courts, a basketball court, a playground, picnic tables, and a cemetery established in 1857.

“You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones.”

Poltergeist

That quote is not 100% accurate for Beltrami Park. Three grave markers still remain. If you can find them.

Controversary swirled around Beltrami Park back in the day. Formerly known as Maple Hill Cemetery, about 1,000 caskets were moved to two different cemeteries in the 1890s. Yet thousands of early settlers as well as 46 Civil War Union veterans still remain in this park. No joke. That is not a Halloween-themed urban legend. This former cemetery is a neighborhood park.

Gravesite marker at Beltrami Park in Minneapolis

We attempted to find all three gravesite markers when visiting Beltrami Park. However, it was a bit challenging with all the leaves on the ground. As we only found one, we plan to revisit to find the other two.

Gravesite marker at Beltrami Park in Minneapolis

What’s interesting to note is that garden cemeteries were common in the mid-1800s as public parks were not. Residents often picnicked and strolled through cemeteries then. Maple Hill Cemetery closed in 1890 and after years of neglect is when it was decided to donate the land to the Minneapolis Park Board. That’s when many of the remains were moved to nearby Lakewood Cemetery and Fort Snelling Cemetery. However, it is unknown how many gravesites remain at Beltrami Park. That’s because many sites weren’t marked or the markers came up missing during those years of neglect and vandalism.

Cemetery tree with blue sky
That looks like a cemetery tree to me.
Itasca State Park Pioneer Cemetery
Old cemetery in the woods
Minnesota’s oldest state park, Itasca State Park, is also home of one of the the state’s oldest cemeteries: Pioneer Cemetery, established in 1898.

Minimal information is available for the Pioneer Cemetery in Itasca State Park (located near Park Rapids, Minn.), which was established in 1898. Sometimes only the date of death is recorded on the grave markers. One exception is the disturbing and controversial death of the cemetery’s founder, William McMullen. He, coincidentally, became the second of only 14 people buried in Pioneer Cemetery at Itasca State Park.

But the Pioneer Cemetery is not the oldest burial ground at Itasca State Park. Ten burial mounds with the remains of Woodland people dating back 800 years are now protected by law at Itasca State Park. Local nations provide direction on the maintenance of these sacred burial sites. Learn more about this cemetery and burial mounds in my post: Top things to do at Itasca State Park.


Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Beautiful cemeteries in the world Lakewood Cemetery statue
Beautiful cemeteries in the world Lakewood Cemetery statue

One of the most beautiful cemeteries I recently discovered is less than 25 miles from my home. Celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2021, Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis is one of the prettiest open-air museums to celebrate the lives of many Minnesotans. You’ll find the prettiest flower gardens, stunning sculptures, memorials, monuments, architecture and a mesmerizing reflection pool. And it’s a beautiful destination for fall colors.

Fall colors on tree at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis

Lakewood Cemetery offers miles of winding roads where you can walk or run (no bikes) around a beautiful pond and where you can pay your respects to those who made this urban cemetery their final resting place including Vice President Hubert Humphrey, U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, Governor John S. Pillsbury (the founder of the Pillsbury Company), and Tiny Tim. 

Gravesite of Tiny Tim at Lakewood Cemetery mausoleum in Minneapolis
You can find the gravesite of Tiny Tim (Herbert Butros Khaury) at Lakewood Cemetery as well as beautiful tulips in the spring. A bit of an homage to his classic ukulele song, Tiptoe Through the Tulips.
Red tulips the best flower gardens in the Twin Cities at Lakewood Cemetery

Refer to this is map of Lakewood Cemetery, which you can follow on your own self-guided visit. You can also take a tour; check out the Lakewood Cemetery website for upcoming dates and see one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world.

Reflecting pool at one of the world's most beautiful cemeteries Lakewood Cemetery reflecting pool
One of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries, Lakewood Cemtery, features a serene reflection pool.

Lutheran Memorial Cemetery, Hinckley, Minnesota
Entrance to Great Hinckley Fire Monument and Cemetery
The gate to the Lutheran Memorial Cemetery in Hinckley, Minn.

In 1894, a forest fire known as the Great Hinckley Fire, killed 418 men, women and children in Minnesota. You will find a mass grave at the Lutheran Memorial Cemetery, located in Hinckley, Minnesota, along with the Great Hinckley Fire Monument.

The Great Hinckley Fire Monument inscription
More than 400 perished in the Great Hinckley forest fire in 1894. You can find this memorial at one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world in Hinckley, Minn.

Great Hinckley Fire mass grave in a cemetery
The unassuming mass grave of those who perished in the Great Hinckley forest fire in 1894 is located in Hinckley, Minn. – just minutes off from I-35.

Rochester, Minnesota cemeteries

We visited three different cemeteries on our Haunted Rochester (Minnesota) Trolley Tour: Calvary Cemetery, Lost Cemetery and Oakwood Cemetery. I don’t normally visit cemeteries at night so would love to return and walk through all of these cemeteries.

Headstone with baseballs and coins sitting on it
Fans of Archibald Graham (former baseball player and physician) leave mementos such as coins and baseballs on his headstone at the Calvary Cemetery in Rochester, Minnesota.

If you’re a fan of Field of Dreams, you may recognize the name Archibald Graham (i.e., Moonlight Graham and Doc Graham). He is buried at the Calvary Cemetery in Rochester, Minnesota. See my related post about the Haunted Rochester Trolley Tour for more details.

Go the distance Archibald Doc Graham baseball on headstone in Minnesota cemetery
Traditionally, coins are left on a deceased soldier’s gravesite to let family members know that someone has visited the gravesite. Many times people leave coins on non-military gravesites out of respect for the family.

Bench in front of a tree at night
Bench at Lost Cemetery in Rochester, Minnesota.

The story of Lost Cemetery in Rochester, Minnesota is a little disturbing. For many years, the grassy hill at a former state hospital / asylum hid an unmarked mass grave of patients who had died from the 1880s through the 1960s. Gravesite markers were finally erected to respectfully memorialize those who had passed.

One notable gravesite at Lost Cemetery is that of William H. Costley / William H. Crossley. He is believed to have been the first male slave emancipated by President Abraham Lincoln. This cemetery is also a stop on the Haunted Rochester Trolley Tour.


Headstone in cemetery at night
One of the stops on the Haunted Rochester Trolley Tour is at the final resting place of Dr. Joseph Graham Mayo at the beautiful Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Joseph Graham Mayo, son of one of the famed physicians who founded the Mayo Clinic, is buried at the beautiful (and possibly haunted) Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester, Minn. See more details in a related post: Haunted Rochester Trolley Tour.

statue overlooking gravesite and headstone with fall colors in the background
This statue named Winter overlooks the gravesites of Dr. Chuck and Alice Mayo, the son and daughter-in-law of Dr. Charlie and Edith Mayo, who also lived in the Mayowood Mansion in Rochester, Minn. in later years.

Another worthwhile tour is the historical Mayowood Mansion in Rochester, Minnesota. In addition to the beautiful home of Dr. Charles H. and Edith Mayo, you’ll find breathtaking gardens and grounds – which is also the final resting place of their son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Chuck and Alice Mayo.

The epitaph reads:

Grieved not I or she
The cause is just
And surely in reunion is reprieve

See my related post: Top things to do in Rochester, Mayo – Tour the historic Mayowood Mansion.


Thomson Pioneer Cemetery, Thomson, Minnesota
Old headstone in the woods
The Thomson Trail at Jay Cooke State Park will take you right through the Thomson Pioneer Cemetery – the burial site from the 1880s and 1890s.

Not much is known about the Thomson Pioneer Cemetery located within the borders of Jay Cooke State Park in Thomson/Carleton, Minnesota (just south of Duluth off from I-35). You’ll find the gravesites and remaining headstones from the late 1800s in a large open field as well as among the trees along Thomson Trail in Jay Cooke State Park.

Old headstones in the woods
Thomson Pioneer Cemetery includes headstones from the 1880s in a large field as well as among the trees.

Old headstone of an infant
A poignant marker memorializing the short life of an infant in the 1880s.

Wykoff Cemetery | Wykoff, Minn.
Soldier memorial at Wykoff Cemetery in Preston, Minnesota
Vietnam veteran’s memorial at a rural cemetery in Wykoff, Minn.

As I was road tripping it to the Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park, I passed a small country cemetery in Wykoff, Minn. The Vietnam veteran’s memorial pictured made me turn around and stop in. Along with some historic headstones, this rural cemetery also featured a memorial fence of sorts. The white picket fence bordering a cornfield displayed some in-memory-of-plaques. Keep your eyes open on your road trips as you may find some of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world in unlikely places.

Serene rural cemetery in Minnesota
The white fence that borders a cornfield and this small, rural cemetery in Minnesota also serves as a memorial with in-memory-of plaques displayed.
Zumbro Hill Cemetery at Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park; Preston, Minn.
Beautiful cemeteries pioneer gravestone pre-Civil War Forestville State Park Zumbro Hill
This headstone, among several others, at Zumbro Hill Cemetery at Forestville State Park in Preston, MN dates back to pre-Civil War days.

You’ll find the peaceful and secluded Zumbro Hill Cemetery at Forestville State Park in Preston, Minn. The headstones date back to before the Civil War and are situated among very tall trees with a couple of park benchs where you can sit and reflect. This park also features a historic village from the 1800s. Check out my related post: Take the Minnesota State Park Challenge for more details.

Ohio cemetery tour

In my opinion, Ohio is home to the most beautiful cemetery in the United States – and a top contender for the most intriguing memorial and arboretum in the world.


Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio
angel statue in cemetery
The most intriguing memorial, statue, artwork, sculture at any cemetery in America or the world is the hauntingly beautiful Haserot Angel (aka The Angel of Death Victorious) at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

When my son was 14, he planned our summer vacation to Ohio. Yes, Ohio. It pleasantly surprised us and become one of our favorite family getaways ever.

Family summer vacation itinerary includes beautiful cemetery visit

Our itinerary included Cedar Point: The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and The Christmas Story House.

Although I added Lake View Cemetery to our list of things to do in Cleveland, I didn’t receive any objection from my husband or my son as they find cemeteries intriguing also. Even Sam’s friend who joined us on our vacation didn’t think it was weird. At least he never said anything.

boys walking in cemetery

Granted, Lake View Cemetery is more like a park – a beautiful park. In fact, it’s known as Cleveland’s Outdoor Museum and Arboretum. And here’s why.

President Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland
President Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio

president garfield memorial at lake view cemetery in Cleveland
Another view of the historic President Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

woman sculpture headstone in cemetery
Beautiful memorials such as this sculpture at the Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland makes it my favorite cemetery in America.

mausoleum lake view cemetery
Another reason why Lake View Cemetery is one of my top things to do in Cleveland, Ohio.

Vermont cemetery tour

With easy access to granite quarries, it’s no surprise that you’ll find one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Barre, Vermont.

Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont
Cemetery headstone of man and woman in bed
You’ll find very personal headstones, monuments, memorials and statues at one of the most beautiful cemeteries in America – Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont.

I believe Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont is where I first became intrigued with the artistry behind the cemetery monuments, memorials and statues made out of granite. While New Hampshire (which borders Vermont) is known as the Granite State, the City of Barre claims it is the Granite Center of the World.

Our friend who introduced us to Hope Cemetery and his family were in the monument business. He shared with us that many Italian and Scottish stonecutters immigrated to Barre, Vermont so that’s why you’ll find beautiful cemetery headstones, sculptures and monuments at Hope Cemetery – many worthy of a museum exhibit.

Beautiful Hope Cemetery headstone monument
Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont attracts thousands of visitors annually.
Where our pursuit of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world began – Hope Cemetery in Vermont

In fact, Hope Cemetery is referred to as an open-air museum where it attracts thousands of visitors a year. Hope Cemetery is 65 acres with more than 10,000 headstones and monuments. In addition to the more traditional headstones and sculptures of angels and cherubs, you’ll find some unique memorials such as a soccer ball, a husband and wife laying in bed, a couple looking off into the distance, a stonecutter cutting stone, a race car and more.

We toured Hope Cemetery back in 1990 where my husband captured our experience on a camcorder. So if these shots seem a little raw and out-of-focus, that’s because they are (me recording a video recording and screenshotting with my iPhone). I’m due for a visit to Vermont so will definitely make a return trip to one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the United States – if not the world.

Close-up of a stonecutter gravesite headstone carved by his brother
A close-up of a stonecutter’s headstone monument at Barre, Vermont’s Hope Cemetery. It’s believed that his brother carved this memorial.

Washington DC / Virginia cemetery tour

Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, Virginia
Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, Virginia

My visit to Arlington National Cemetery holds a very special place in my heart. When my father passed away in 1999, I planned a trip with my grandmother to Washington D.C. Just the two of us in honor of my father. All three of us were history buffs so visiting the nation’s capital seemed fitting. It was my first time to DC and my grandmother’s first time as well.

In fact, our trip to Washington D.C. was her first time on a jet airplane, first time in a cab, first time on a subway and first time she ordered room service. We had so much fun even in our grief. And she often told me it was a trip of a lifetime.

Finding family gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery

One of my most meaningful moments and memories with my grandmother was finding her cousin’s gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery.


Paul F. Kringel, Jr., my grandmother’s cousin, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He died in action in the Pacific Theater just days before Japan surrendered.

Second Lt. Paul (Bob) Kringel, Jr., a copilot with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater, was killed in action on a mission six days before Japan surrendered ending WWII.

Kringel was copiloting the lead bomber (B-25J) in heavy haze over Beppu Bay on Kyushua, Japan on Aug. 9, 1945. Flying at a low level, the wingtip of the bomber struck a tree and then the Japanese aircraft carrier before crashing beside the ship. The entire 44-31054 crew died on that missing – one of the last groups of U.S. servicemen to perish in World War II. They included:

  • Col. Edwin H. Hawes, command pilot
  • Second Lt. Paul F. Kringel, Jr., co-pilot
  • Capt. John W. Long, Jr., navigator
  • S/Sgt. Frank D’arcy, engineer
  • S/Sgt., Morris Zissman, gunner
  • S/Sgt. Edward C. Mitchell, gunner

A few years after my first visit to Arlington National Cemetery, I returned with my husband and son to pay our respects to my grandmother’s cousin and the 400,000 others who are buried there.


Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery

Only two U.S. presidents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. President William Howard Taft (who died in 1930) and President John F. Kennedy (assassinated in 1963). Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is buried next to him. JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy, is buried nearby.

It’s important to note that while I find cemeteries intriguing with their history, their stories and their works of art, cemeteries are also places of reverence.

Tour of (some of) the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe

As a reminder, this post is about my pursuit of the most beautiful cemeteries in the U.S. as well as the world. I’ve listed (at the end of this post) a few that have been recommended to me from my fellow travel bloggers. Let me know in the comments about any other beautiful cemeteries I should visit.

Italy cemetery tour

Our visit to Italy was much too short so looking forward to a return trip to explore more historical places including cemeteries.

Basilica Santa Croce in Florence, Italy
Close-up of The Tomb of Michelangelo | Basilica Santa Croce, Florence, Italy
The Tomb of Michelangelo | Basilica Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

The Basilica Santa Croce in Florence, Italy is the final resting place of Michelangelo – the famed artist, sculptor and poet from the Italian Renaissance period. He is best known for the statue of David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings.

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (philosopher and writer and known as the father of political philosophy and political science – Machiavellian theory) is buried at Basilica Santa Croce in Florence, Italy as is famous astronomer, philosopher and mathematician Galileo Galile.

Dante monument in Florence Italy with blue sky
Dante monument is located in the Piazza di Santa Croce.
Dante’s tomb controversy

While you’ll find the Dante monument and Dante’s memorial in Florence, his body and tomb are actually located more than 100 miles away in Ravenna, Italy next to the Basilica di San Francesco. That’s because he was exiled from his birthplace of Florence and hadn’t lived there for two decades. The story goes that his bones were ordered back to Florence a couple of centuries later, but they sent back an empty tomb.

Empty tomb of Dante in Florence Italy
Dante’s memorial in Florence, Italy – which is actually empty.

Luxembourg cemetery tour

My husband’s maternal family comesfrom Luxembourg so we we visited one of the most beautiful cemeteries on our last visit to Luxembourg.

Cemetery of Notre Dame (Cimetiere Notre-Dame) in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg | Europe
headstone in a cemetery in Luxembourg
My husband’s family cemetery in Luxembourg, dating back to 1755.

My husband’s grandparents are buried in the city’s Cemetery of Notre Dame, which was established in 1755. It’s custom for families to be buried in the same burial plot on top of each other.

We visited the family cemetery on our last trip to Luxembourg to pay our respects. While I never met Steve’s grandfather, Grandma Kolbach lived in the States for many years – a wonderful woman who I remember, cherish and love tremendously. You can read more about my husband’s family history and our journey to honor his grandfather, Jean Pierre Kolbach – a concentration camp survivor – in a separate blog post.

above ground vaults and trees in cemetery
You’ll find the beautiful cemetery of Notre Dame in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

above ground vaults and trees in cemetery
Cemetery of Notre Dame in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

headstones and statues and memorials in cemetery with trees
Another view of the beautiful Cemetery of Notre Dame in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxembourg

Another cemetery in Luxembourg is the final resting place for General George Patton. The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, located in Hamm, contains the remains of 5,076 Americans – most of them died during the Battle of the Bulge. My great uncle fought in that battle and survived. He also served in General Patton’s Third Army as a half-track driver.

My husband has a picture of him and his grandmother visiting in the late 1970s so will post as soon as we locate it. And this one is listed on my cemetery bucket list.


Spain cemetery tour

You’ll find so much fascinating history in Spain. And I love the afternoon I spent at one of Spain’s most beautiful cemeteries – and one of the largest in Europe.

Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery (Cementerio de la Almudena) in Madrid, Spain

Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid is the final resting place of more than 5 million – more than the current population of Madrid.

Last May, I spent an afternoon at Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid, Spain. More than 5 million people are buried there – more than the current population of Madrid – and is one of the largest cemeteries in western Europe.

Here are just a few of the beautiful and haunting sculptures from my visit. You can find more information and pictures of cemetery statues and monuments in my blog post: Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery – Madrid’s beautiful outdoor art gallery.




Pursuit of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world continues

Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery | Madrid, Spain

These are just a few of the cemeteries we’ve visited. For example, my husband and son went to the Hollywood Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. My niece Audrey and I were at Price is Right. I’ll search for those pictures (pre-digital era) to scan and post later.

And Ben & Jerry’s factory and headquarters in Vermont features a Dearly Depinted Cemetery (final resting place for discontinued flavors…please bring back Dastardly Mash).

Must-see list of beautiful and historic cemeteries in the world

Here are the names currently on my list of the most beautiful cemeteries to tour in the United States as well as the world (recommended by other travel bloggers). As I’m in pursuit of more beautiful cemeteries in the world, I would greatly appreciate any recommendations on any I should visit. Please feel free to leave in the comments below. Thank you!

  • Bonaventure Cemetery; Savannah, Georgia
  • Colón Cemetery; Havana, Cuba
  • Forest Lawn; Los Angeles (Glendale), California
  • Greenwood Cemetery; Brooklyn, New York
  • Grove Street Cemetery; New Haven, Connecticut
  • Highgate Cemetery; London
  • Huguenot Cemetery; St. Augustine, Florida
  • Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial; Hamm, Luxembourg
  • Mt. Auburn Cemetery; Cambridge/Watertown, Massachusetts
  • Oakland Cemetery; Atlanta, Georgia
  • Old Dutch Church; Sleepy Hollow, New York
  • Old San Juan Cemetery; San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery; Paris
  • Recoleta Cemetery; Buenos Aires
  • Riverside Cemetery; Asheville, North Carolina
  • Riverview Cemetery; Trenton, New Jersey
  • Saint Mary’s Cemetery; Utica, New York
  • Tolomato Cemetery; St. Augustine, Florida
  • Watts Cemetery and Chapel; Guildford, Surrey, UK

Pin it for later – The most beautiful cemeteries in the world

Beautiful and haunting headstone and monument of an angel sitting with a staff known as The Haserot Angel or The Angel of Death Victorious.
The haunting Angel of Death Victorious or The Haserot Angel is located at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio – the most beautiful cemetery in the United States in my opinion.

The most beautiful cemeteries in the world

In pursuit of most beautiful cemeteries

In pursuit of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world

Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

128 comments

  1. What beautiful pictures! I’ve never really thought about visiting a cemetery, but I might be convinced after reading this post.

      1. Beautiful photos! I remember taking a tour of a New Orleans cemetery as a teenager. It was so interesting. After reading your post, I definitely want to visit more!

  2. I think this is such an interesting hobby you have while on vacation! You have listed some really beautiful cemeteries… You may have inspired me to check a few of them out!

  3. I was surprised to see that I have visited 3 of these cemeteries you talked about! It is interesting to read the headstones and find out more about the people buried there. Some beautiful monuments!

    1. That’s cool that we’ve traveled in each other’s footsteps. In addition to the beautiful monuments, I find cemeteries so peaceful and calming.

  4. These are very beautiful cemeteries, I have been to some on this list, Salem and Arlington. Such a great beautiful post.

    1. Thank you so much. Arlington was especially meaningful with our family connection and Salem is one that still sticks with me. Beautiful and haunting at the same time.

  5. your pictures are absolutely beautiful! I have such an appreciation for cemeteries. I live in a historic area in my town right next to a cemetery that is so old, it’s closed to the public. Thank you for sharing these beautiful locations!

      1. Wow, a lot of great information & history. I admit that I have never really thought about touring cemeteries, maybe I’ll have to see what we have here in NC.

        1. Let me know if you find any unique or beautiful ones in North Carolina. I’m going to do some more research to find at least one in every state to add to my list. One reader recommended Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina.

  6. Great pics! These cemeteries are stunning. Nice bit of info about your family’s connection to Arlington too. Some of the most beautiful places we’ve seen were cemeteries

  7. Wow!! They are all so different and beautiful at the same time. Wonderful how your grandmother was able to find her cousin’s gravesite. You should check out St Augustine for cemeteries.

    1. Thanks for the tip on St. Augustine. Finding my grandmother’s cousin’s gravesite was pretty special. And we almost didn’t because everyone called him Bob growing up and she had forgotten his real name was Paul. Fortunately, she remembered just as we were walking away from the desk.

  8. I feel your pain about not finding photos from the Barre, VT cemetery. I have the same issue with some of my old photos, all taken with film though.
    These monuments are gorgeous. We’ve gone through several in Salem and Boston but this year when I suggested it around Halloween my kids were very much against it. Too funny. They have ventured into cemeteries with me other times but the addition of Halloween was too much.
    I think we might have to make a visit to the cemetery in Barre but wait til the summer so we can actually see the headstones and memorials.

  9. Arlington National Cemetery is one of my favorites. I could wander around there for hours. I find cemeteries to be peaceful. I run in the one my mom is buried in. It is more a memorial park and so peaceful.

  10. Ok I find cemetery’s equally creepy and interesting. The history and thinking about the people and the lives they led. It’s very cool and surreal. I haven’t visited many cemeteries but historic ones are for sure worth a stop.