My Urban explorations are not intended to engage in or encourage any act of vandalism, theft, violence or any other type of crime. It simply aims to photograph and film places that now are abandoned, lost, decaying or forgotten. Sometimes the places are in full use, but so interesting that they fit into Urbex. The stunts, climbs and infiltrations you may see on this website and the connected social media could be extremely dangerous in nature, and should not be copied. I take full responsibility for my own safety in every place I visit.
Over 80% of the Urban exploration is for me to just locate
and find the places. Like many other explorers, I use
Google, Google maps, Google earth and even other websites
with interesting information. I also find a lot of places by
just roaming around or talk to local people. You have to be
a kind of detective. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, I
would like to give you some advice.
Google is a good way to enter the Urbex world and start exploring. This is the number one search engine for ordinary people who want to find a lot of frequently visited places. You may find photos that looks amazing, but pay attention! Always look for a date when the photo was taken and uploaded. A lot of places could look totally different today, and some of them may even be demolished.
People post "abandoned photos" every hour, and these may be
interesting, but hold you horses. Of all photos that I tap
to see, about one in a thousand mention the exact location.
But if you pay attention to details, a whole new world will
be open for you.
An example, let's say you see a house, tagged in a village in France, with the description "Awesome view over the valley". Search for the village on Google maps and look for a point of view or a hill. If you don't find it go deeper and look for details in the photo such as other buildings, rivers, shape of the trees, signs, roads, etstimated distance to the ocean or other landmarks etc. Don't forget to read the comments, they could be full of hints and clues. Once you learned to do this in the right way, you will be able to map out more places than you will ever visit.
Public Urbex groups are full of posts about abandoned
places, espacially because people also repost and share
links, clips and videos from Urbex people (Thank you).
Another way to find places here is to click on the
magnifying glass where you search for a person etc, and just
type in what you're looking for. This gives you a lot of
hits in different pages, groups, persons and so on. If you
put some effort into this and read all comments, espacially
the older ones, you will find some interesting stuff.
When you've been into the exploration long enough, networked and shown that you are a reliable person, you will be invited to the secret/closed Urbex groups. What's shared there stays there.
Search for either a random or a specific abandoned place, you know best what you're looking for. Scroll through the comments, they may reveal the location of a place. Another way to go is to activate the website source code and look for the keywords.
Online or IRL - you chose. My experience says that IRL is
the best way to connect. None of us will walk around with a
sign that says "I am an Urban explorer", so you have to be
attentive. You may sometimes recognize an explorer out in
the streets, or meet some of us at the same abandoned spot
as you are curretly exploring. This gives you a good
opportunity to say Hello.
The most explorers are nice people, but some are out just to do a job, and don't want to be seen or disturbed. It may sound weird but if you want to network, be prepared to show that you're not a guard or police out there to arrest anyone. Build confidence and trust your gut feeling. If you have a well known "Urbex name" and a portfolio to show, it will help a lot. If you are serious I promise that you will make a new friend that day.
With Van Life comes a lot of benefits. One of them is that I
can drive around without feeling any stress about the end of
the day. I don't have to hurry back to a hotel before it
gets dark, or wait under a tree until the rain is gone. Of
course this applies as long as I move where I can bring my
van. Destinations that can only be reached by boat or
airplane require a bit of different planning.
However, to go by car, train, bus, bike or walk is a really good way to explore. I visited a lot of places where I didn't wanted to drive straight up to the point. I parked like 2 km away, took a walk and guess what, I found even more places on the way.
For many years before I moved into the van, I visited a lot of abandoned places, many of them without bringing any camera. Now I visit even more places, always with a camera. My goal is not to publish every place I visit, but the places that appeal to me in such a way that I want to share the moment I had. I don't focus on one specific kind of objects, but on what fits my feeling for the day.
I've only meet good and serious explorers out there, and I
would be happy to share coordinates with them in person, but
in the virtual world you don't know who's watching. Some
locations we explorers just want to keep for ourselves,
espacially when there are people just sitting and waiting
for a moment to destroy and steal. There will be other
explorers after me and I want them to have the same amazing
experience. The coordinates I share are not to less
significant places, but to places I know that urbex
explorers wouldn't mind if other people visit.
In some cases I may share secret coordinates, but it requires that you have a proper portfolio of previously visited places, and that I get an interesting coordinate in exchange.
I never know for sure before I enter. Once I visited a
lonely house with no roads, no path and no sign of any life
nearby. I went inside, began to shoot, and I was hugely
surprised when I discovered a man who actually lived in one
of the rooms. He had a small burner, some bottles of water,
and slept in a tent. The place was abandoned, but my point
is, however it looks, always be prepared for the unexpected.
With that said, I advise you to keep your eyes open for:
• Parked cars nearby
• Overgrown grass and trees
• Untouched snow (remember that You leave traces)
• Broken windows
• Broken doors
• Graffiti doodle
• Working lights
Probably yes. Everything has an owner, no matter what it looks like. Many explorers are smooth as ninjas, and can easily sneak into places without being seen or heard. However, it can still be trespassing, and if the alarm goes off, the countdown begins, and it increases your risk of getting caught. One idea might be to talk to the owner or someone in a nearby house, and simply explain what you want to do.
Well, it has happened that the owner of the place showed up and fired shots at the explorers. People have also died because of their interest in taking the perfect photo. The causes have been different, but to explore an area that no one takes care of, always comes with risks. Even if the place is solid as a rock, there may still be other dangers. Instead of listing them all, I sum up with, Remember to always watch your back.
It's good to know about your rights and the states of trespassing in the area where you're exploring. In some countries the guards and police are friendly and just tell you to leave, without any penalty, no strings attached. But in some countries they don't care if you're a citizen or tourist, they will give you a fine anyway. However, in both this cases they have to proof that you were inside or behind the "No trespassing" sign. Read more about this further down, below "Where to get in".
Even if you have a carrier with free surf in your home country, it may be different when you are abroad. If you use your cellphone as a map while you're driving, it uses about 400Mb/hour, and you may end up in places where you don't have any service at all. Of course you can download maps of the area where you're planning to go, but what if you spontaneously want to explore more? A GPS will help you even in the deepest forest and down in a valley.
You don't want to be out of nowhere hungry and with no gas in the car. If you going to spend all day exploring, you can spend a few minutes at a gas station. Get full tank and something to eat before leaving the civilization.
If you don't trust yourself to walk around with you car key in a well sealed pocket, you may get a Keypod. It gives you the opportunity to hide the key, for example under your car. Another solution is to put the key in a small plastic bag and hang it in a tree a bit from the car. To remember where and what tree, you just spin a lap of black tape around the trunk.
There's always a way in, you just have to find it. The best way in is the stealthy, without anyone seeing you. If that doesn't work, act like you belong at the place. If there's a fence around the area or object, take a walk and look for openings. In many places there are "No trespassing" signs, but not every 5 meters. What if you come through the forest, and don't see any sign? Or what if you walk past a building, the door is open, and you think you hear someone yelling for help? In many countries they have the "Freedom to roam", which gives you the right to walk around in every public place and wilderness. If the situation requires or if you are in danger, you also have the permission to cross private property.
Don't break anything to enter - that's absolutely prohibited and the exploration itself may be sufficiently illegal. The most commom ways in is through an opening of a missing door, window or part of the roof. I have also made my way in through ventilation systems, poorly built walls and tiny holes that led into basements. If you can't find an easy way in, take that as a sign and think again. Is it really abandoned? Should you and leave instead? Whether you are a beginner or an experienced explorer, if you find a way in and there's only One, make sure you remember where it is. For example, mark it on the inside with orange tape. Remember to always use common sense as well. Don't climb on broken ladders, don't enter windows with shards, don't trust the floor even if there's a hole just in the middle, don't be naive.. You get the point here.
Rather be as quiet as possible, than attracting attention. Put your phone and watch in airplane mode and watch your step. Put your camera and GoPro in silent mode as well, no beeps. If you for some reason need to hide, then be sure that no equipment emits any sound. Also, do not give away any sign by starting a bonfire or smoking at the spot.
Except for the "No trespassing" signs, you should look out for alarm decals, cameras and dogs. Pretty new signs and cameras on an old building may mean they've already seen you. Dogs usually shows up with the guard, and they won't stop for a pack of sausages.
Sooner or later you may end up face to face with someone. It
could be another explorer, a homeless person, random tourist
or a security / police. Whether you see the person clearly
in daylight, or If you don't see the person at all because
of a strong light from a torch, you just hear a voice, don't
run away, espacially not if it's dark. Keep calm and figure
out who it is, but be prepared to defend yourself, if the
person tries to rob you.
There's a big difference of walking slow and run with increased pulse. You may fall through a hole, get stuck or not paying enough attention to your surroundings, which could be really dangerous. You know you're probably in an area where you should not be, so if the person isn't a threat, just explain why you're there, what you are doing and maybe show some of your work. Allmost all of there situations ends up well.
All around the world, in every city there are abandoned places. Even entire cities are abandoned in many countries, but you don't have to go there to explore. A good start is to put 15 minutes and search for abandoned and forgotten places in the area where you live. This could be more interesting than you think. Another good thing with this is that you probably know where you are, and you won't get lost.
This is 2.0 of exploring, and should not be underestimated. If you are interested in exploring caves, shelters, subways and other dark areas, make sure you have plenty of light - and a clean pair of shorts. Your limitation in how you approach will make you an easy prey for crackheads, holes, traps, broken stairs, elevator shaft, cameras etc. If you've been to the area in daylight you may have better conditions but your mind works differently when it's dark. You will think, and analyze the surroundings in a different way. Paddle in a small boat in the middle of the night to reach an area is highly risky as well, espacially if you don't know where the water is streamy. If you have any of this in your mind, make sure you never go alone.
You have seen it on several videos, explorers who want to take the perfect shot, at the top of a 300 meters chimney. Or explorers who want to experience the city from new angles, such as bridges, church roofs, industries, subways etc. Sneaking into places that are not abandoned always comes with a bigger risk of getting caught. In most of these places there are alarms and cameras, which could be possible to get around, but remeber that some places even have quiet alarms and a full time security guard. You are much more limited in how and where you can operate and move. If you enter, you better know what you are doing. Go as straight as possible to your target, don't wiggle around. This is Not for beginners who want to "try something cool".
Safety first. If you feel unsure, always have someone with
you. It doesn't have to be a pro explorer, but a friend who
can keep quiet about the coordinates, except if you need to
call an ambulance. A lot of places are located in areas with
no traffic, no electricity and no daily supervision. This
means that the condition of the object could be worse than
you thought. If none of your friends can come with you, post
a request in a Urbex group or forum. You may find a new
friend that thay as well.
I've been into the Urban exploration and other similar activities for many years, so for me it has become natural to explore alone. If I visit a place which is really off grid and there's no service in the area, I always text someone before, and tell them to call me in 3 hours.
It's fun and interesting to walk around in a building, take photos and really enjoy what the nature has achieved. However, if you want to keep yourself alive you should trust your gut feeling and leave when your mind tells you to. If you don't get a good feeling when you arrive, you may leave. It has been times when I had a dubious feeling but still decided to enter. Once inside, I hastened my shooting to then quickly leave, which gave completely useless photos. The Urban exploration wasn't good either. This should be a nice activity or hobby, not a race or competition. You should feel calm and take your time to enjoy your visits.
Even if you have the time of your life in the most beautiful abandoned place, you have to know when it's time to leave. You should enjoy your stay but if you get the slightest feeling that something isn't right, trust that feeling. It may be unconscious things that happen, but which the body still feels. For example, a silent alarm may have been triggered, a supervisor has arrived on the outside, or in the next room a reckless person is sitting waiting for a victim. I'm not writing this to scare you away in 2 minutes, but this is relevant information, based on own experiences.
Take a few minutes, look at the place or object you're going to shoot and just let it sink in for a while. Do you want a foggy morning, daylight, sunset or lowlight? Maybe it's best on a rainy day? If you know you can get a better vibe in the photos, it might be worth not to enter, but come back. If you've seen the place in photos by other explorers, it might help you and save you some time in your planning.
Since you're probably guilty of trespassing while you enter a place, it a very bad idea to also become a thief. Imagine if everyone take items they want, then when you show up, your reaction is going to be "What?, this is not like all photos i've seen" and then you're going home, write in a Urbex group that the place is totally different and there's nothing to see. Take photos and let the explorers after you get the same experience. I personally don't use to move around things either, but I think it's okay to do, to get a really nice shot.
Besides proper clothing consisting of shoes, long pants, sweater, hat and gloves, I am always equipped with a camera or two.
Two powerful torches is priority. Always with spare batteries or powerbanks.
If I have a co-explorer with me, this is the way to stay connected. No need of cell coverage.
Gives the equipment an opportunity to walk that extra mile.
A place could be toxic, but also full of dirt and dust that it's difficult and dangerous to breathe. A face mask or respirator helps me pass this area and I can even make a stop to take photos. The European standard for all embracing protection, such as dust, mold and asbestos is called FFP3.
A simple search on google and you will find stories about explorers who have been robbed, by people who have been waiting in locations where they know we are coming to take photos.
If minor incidents occur, so I can continue my exploration.
Some explorers say don't carry weapon, I'm not one of them. I rather have a mulitool with me in case I get stuck or locked in, but I will not bring it up until it's really needed.
Helps to spot the place from a distance.
My first thought when I got the tip was "what?", But over time I have realized that it is a very useful product. You don't want to be locked in and have to call the firefighters to get you out.
To mark the inside of where I get in, and/or mark up a route to find the way back.
Good to bring if I'm going to visit an active military shooting field. In places like that you definitely want to make yourself visible.
Where the door stops cannot be used, due to slippery floors, or too heavy doors, these will help. The tie downs are also used to hang the backpack in, below me, when I climb in narrow spaces.
The hook is useful and pretty easy to throw up or attach, depending on if I'm going up or down, where there's no ladder or other points to hold on to. The rope is about 20 meters, which is enough in most situations.
Also called wire rope ladder, this is a perfect solution to get through ventilation systems, windows a few meters up, or over fence consisting of high vertical bars.
Picnic is the shit.
Yes, that's how we do it, welcome to the Urbex world. I show myself in front of the camera in a place where I probably shouldn't be. I'm not ashamed that I visited a place, and would never regret a visit.
The simple answer is - probably not.
I travel a lot and I don't plan for every stop I do. If I wake up with a "Let's go feeling", or find a place along the road, I won't prioritize to wait just to have someone with me. However, if you happen to be in the same area, send me a message and we'll see.
People who appear with me in my videos etc are persons I have built up a team work with - for a long time. I never include a random person in any video I make who is not comfortable in front of the camera, especially not when it comes to Urban exploring.
Yes, but only from film teams, TV channels and/or magazines. If you're interested, send me a message with your thoughts and suggestions.
Yes. If you know a place that you want me to visit to take photos and make a video, just send me a message.