How to find abandoned places

The first question most people ask when they gain an interest in Urban Exploration is “How do I find abandoned buildings?” There are many tricks and tools available to locate derelict buildings to explore. The most simple method is spotting them as you go about your everyday life, as chances are there are many derelict locations local to you. Bright signs shouting “KEEP OUT” can ironically draw your eye in to a potential hidden gem behind the fencing- which is also a tell-tale sign.

Research Urban Exploration Online

Forums and Facebook groups give a good start point to finding Urban Exploration sites. They often require some follow up research which can lead to news articles about places closing down, or planning documents that give locations.

Similarly, simply googling “abandoned places in place name,” gives some good start points. Once you’ve found a nearby derelict building that has peaked your interest, you can dig a bit deeper to find the exact location. has a long list of blogs for abandoned places we’ve explored- and whilst we’ll leave the location research to you, reading through blogs is a good start to finding abandoned buildings in your area.

Once you’ve done your initial research and identified an abandoned location you think might be explorable, you need to narrow down your search to find the exact location, whether it is likely to be accessible and other relevant information. Using auction listings and historic building listings can help to pinpoint precise locations.

How To Find Abandoned Places On Google Maps

Starting from nowhere and scouring satellite views on Google Maps is not likely to be the most efficient way of finding abandoned buildings. However if you have a vague idea of a building’s location it can be incredibly useful. Quite often Google Maps is the last step from knowing a road name or “north of X Village,” to getting precise coordinates. It helps if you have an idea of what the building might look like from above but, even if you don’t, the signs of dereliction (weeds growing, fences, crumbling rooftops) stand out from the sky. Once you’ve identified the potential site from above, go down to ground on Street View and take a closer look.

Join an Urban Exploration Tour

This is most useful when you’re wanting to explore aboard in new and unfamiliar territory. Joining an Urban Explorer who offers tours gives you the local knowledge (of locations, history and laws) and takes the hassle out of getting to often remote locations whilst on holiday. We’ve joined Urbex Tour to explore a Soviet Nuclear Bunker and drainage systems in Kiev, and Abandoned Bulgaria to explore in and around Sofia.

Urban Exploration Tours & Ticketed Sites

Urban Exploration isn’t just about finding a crumbling building and climbing through a smashed window. Some abandoned places are open to the public for guided tours, or on set open days, with the added advantage of a guide and the knowledge that you are in relative safety. Though visiting “officially” might not have the same thrill and adrenaline rush as finding your own way into an abandoned building, there are plenty of unique sites to visit. These sites are not usually accessible in any other way, so though you might have to pay to get in, it’s usually the only choice. We’ve explored Abandoned Tube Stations and World War II shelters on official tours, and they have all been fascinating places to visit.

Remember to stay safe and within the law whilst Urban Exploring- see our other useful guides for more about staying within the law and the dangers of Urban Exploration. 

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