With so many wonderful places around the world, it’s hard to decide what to visit first. If you’re an avid traveler, then it’s safe to assume that your bucket list is pretty full. But what about those locations that are completely off limits?
You probably didn’t know these strange places even existed. But there are military bases, dangerous towns, and historical cities where people are forbidden from entering. In fact, some of these places have been completely cut off from the rest of the world.
Area 51, Lincoln County, Nevada
Area 51 is a military base in the Nevada desert that has gained a lot of attention by conspiracy theorists and “The X-Files” enthusiasts. Rumors have been swirling around for years, with people believing the base is hiding alien remains, ships and technology. There’s a fence, two warning signs and security cameras, as well as a base full of soldiers ready to stop you if you try to break in.
Coca-Cola Vault, Atlanta, Georgia
The recipe to make Coca Cola is one of America’s best kept secrets. Only two company executives reportedly known the formula, and each one is said to know a different half of the ingredients. It does seem unlikely since there have been several employees who know the secret to making Coke, but try breaking into this vault, and you’ll be sorry.
Ark of the Covenant, Ethiopia
The Ark of the Covenant is a sacred container for the Ten Commandments that has allegedly resided in Aksum, Ethiopia for about 3,000 years. The only one permitted to see it is the Guardian of the Ark, as a Smithsonian magazine reporter discovered when he paid the chapel a visit in 2007.
Google Data Center, Lenoir, North Carolina
The Google Data Center in Lenoir, North Carolina, is one of many processing hubs for millions of Gmail accounts, YouTube videos, and Google searches. But if you’re interested in paying this data center a visit, then good luck. Visits from outsiders are more rare than Halley’s Comet.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway
Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway was designed to store seeds from various plant species so once a major disaster passes and the world is ready to be rebuilt, scientists can begin repopulating the planet with plants.
Jiangsu National Security Education Museum, Nanjing, China
The Jiangsu National Security Education Museum in Nanjing, China, opened its doors in 2009, but foreigners weren’t allowed in its first year out of fear that national secrets would be leaked. Now it’s open to everyone, but there aren’t a lot of photographs of artifacts or information about what you’ll find in the museum.
Lascaux Caves, France
The Lascaux Caves in France were discovered by four French teenagers in 1940. These caves offer some of the best examples of prehistoric cave art that are over 20,000 years old. But they were closed to the public in 1963 because visitors released humidity and carbon dioxide that damaged the cave art. Eventually, the French government spent $64 million to recreate the cave. But only scientists can view the original cave art.
Bank of England Vaults, London, England
The Bank of England in London, England, was built in the 1930s and is home to over 400,000 gold bars, each of which weighs 28 pounds. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth was given a private tour of the vaults. That’s how exclusive they are.
Moscow Metro-2, Russia
The Moscow Metro-2 in Russia was rumored to have been commissioned by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Construction of this secret metro line reportedly started before World War II, and other lines were allegedly constructed until 1953 when Stalin died. The lines were supposed to transport weapons and heads of state, but no one knows if it really exists. However, this may be a photo of one Metro 2’s tunnels.
Room 39, North Korea
Room 39 in North Korea houses the country’s slush fund organization and makes foreign currency for the country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. A defector told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that money is raised legally and illegally through a network of companies running products across China’s border, and there’s no way to get into Room 39.
Pine Gap, Australia
Leaked National Security Agency (NSA) documents have confirmed that the United States and the Australian government have a secret base near Alice Springs called the Pine Gap. The base positions satellites to track potential airstrikes, global intelligence plans and nuclear weapons.
RAF Menwith Hill, United Kingdom
Although RAF Menwith Hill is a Royal Air Force base located in the United Kingdom. It is run by the NSA. Those geodesic balls are known as radomes, and they’re designed to keep the radar equipment that monitors satellites safe. The base uses this technology to monitor Wi-fi traffic and even phone calls.
The town of Mezhgorye in Russia was founded in 1979 and housed nuclear warheads. The town is now reportedly closed off, but the 2010 Census claims that it has a population of 17,352. So, the residents most likely spend their days working on military programs for the Russian government.
Snake Island, Brazil
Located 25 miles off the coast of Brazil is Ilha da Queimada or Snake Island. It’s illegal for anyone to visit this dangerous location because there are about 4,000 poisonous snakes on the island like the pit viper which can kill a person with a single bite almost immediately.
Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican City
The Vatican Secret Archives in Vatican City contain sacred objects like a letter from French philosopher Voltaire. The public doesn’t have access to the archives, but researchers do. And since the Catholic Church is so protective of the archives, conspiracy theorists have been racking their brains trying to guess the vault’s contents for years.
North Sentinel Island, India
North Sentinel Island is sandwiched between India and Thailand and is home to a tribe known as the Sentinelese. These people are cut off from civilization. They’re so hostile that India forbids anyone from approaching the island.
Disney Club 33, Anaheim, California
Disney Club 33 was designed by Walt Disney as a place for him to chill or to accommodate business associates. It’s an invitation only club, and you’ll have to fork over $100,000 to get in. The annual membership cost is $30,000 a year. And no, Disney’s Fast Pass will not help you get here.
The White’s Gentlemen’s Club, England
The White’s Gentlemen’s Club was founded by an Italian immigrant in 1693. It started out as a hot chocolate shop and quickly turned into a private gentlemen’s club. Only notable members like male members of the British Royal Family are allowed in. The membership costs are reportedly pretty high, too.
Woomera Test Range, Australia
The Woomera Test Range in Australia is bigger than all of Portugal. It’s used by Australia and its allies to test weapons and fire missiles. Given the area’s dangerous nature, visitors are forbidden from visiting the range.
Diego Garcia Island, Indian Ocean
The Diego Garcia Island is in the Indian Ocean but is also part of the United Kingdom. However, in 1966, the United States secured the rights to the island, and it’s now a United States military visit with 654 buildings and approximately military personnel. In 2009, the military evicted thousands of the island’s inhabitants and it’s unknown what goes on in there, but rumor has it that it’s a secret military prison.
Bohemian Grove, Monte Rio, California
Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, California, has been a gentlemen-only resort for America’s rich and powerful men since 1872. In 2000, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones infiltrated the Grove and witnessed the Cremation of the Care ceremony, where members wore costumes and created a coffin effigy in front of a 40-foot owl. But not much else is known about the compound.
Surtsey Island, Iceland
Surtsey Island in Iceland was formed in the 1960s after a volcanic eruption. The island’s ecosystem supports puffins and vegetation and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Only a handful of scientists are allowed to step foot on the island.
Poveglia Island, Italy
Poveglia Island is located near Venice, Italy. In the 18th century, Italians shipped people infected with the bubonic plague to the island to stop the illness from spreading. A mental hospital was also run from 1922 to 1968, and patients were reportedly tortured by doctors. Rumor has it that about 100,000 corpses are buried on the island, too.
North Brother Island, New York
North Brother Island in New York was a quarantine hospital in the 1880s. Then in 1905, a steamship near the island caught on fire and killed over 1,000 people. The island was eventually abandoned in 1963 and now, this location is currently off limits to anyone.
Ise Grand Shrine, Japan
Ise Grand Shrine in Japan is a complex devoted to the sun goddess Amaterasu. It contains 123 small shrines that surround two main shrines called Naiku and Geku. The public isn’t allowed inside the central shrines, and wooden fences also prevent access to the main shrines unless you’re Japanese royalty.
Heard Island, Australia
Heard Island is the tallest mountain in Australia, and has its own active volcano known as Big Ben. It’s one of the country’s best kept secret. But even if you could make it up there, you wouldn’t be able to see the Big Ben due to the dense clouds. You’d most likely only only hear the molten rock bubbling up. It’s why no one is living on the island and only the Australian government has main access to it. However, they do on occasion allow research expeditions to enter the island.
Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China
The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang was constructed in China from 246 to 208 BC. It’s also known as the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor and was built on top of a 76-meter-tall tomb. The tomb was not excavated and no one is allowed inside. But surrounding the tomb is the Terracotta Army, which are a bunch of warrior statues found in 1974.
Pravcicka Brana – Czech Republic
Pravcicka Brana in Bohemian Switzerland National Park in Czech Republic is a rock arch formation that stands 16 meters above ground and is 26.5 meters long. It’s one of the largest natural sandstones in all of Europe. Due to erosion, the government restricted public access in 1982.
UN Buffer Zone, Cyprus
The UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus was established in 1964 using barbed-wire fencing, concrete wall segments, and watchtowers. It separates the island, and armed UN forces protect the area to make sure no one crosses the border without authorization.
Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock is a holy Islamic site and an architectural icon. But it is also a very sacred place so non-Muslims are not allowed access to the Temple Mount to pray, wear religious clothing, or bring prayer books to the area.
Niihau Island is part of a chain of islands that make up Hawaii, but it’s been privately owned by the Robinson family for over 150 years. The island is home to about 160 Hawaiian natives who speak traditional Hawaiian and practice the crafting of lei pūpū. Besides the Robinson family, only invited guests, government officials and US Navy personnel are allowed on the island.
Russian Submarine K-84 Ekaterinburg
In 2011, the Russian Submarine K-84 Ekaterinburg became uninhabitable after a fire damaged its hull while docked in Murmansk. Journalists claimed that 16 nuclear missiles were onboard during the fire. But the government denied it.
On April 26, 1986, a nuclear disaster near Chernobyl, Ukraine, left the town of Pripyat flooded with radiation, forcing inhabitants to evacuate. Although cleanup efforts are still ongoing, don’t make any plans to move here for at least another 20,000 years.
Fort Knox, Kentucky
Fort Knox houses most of the United States’ gold reserves in its vaults. To gain access, you’ll need to enter several combinations, which have to be inputted by more than one person. So, if you try to break in on your own, you’ll be out of luck.
Mount Weather Operations Center, Washington DC
The Mount Weather Operations Center outside of Washington DC was designed to be a safe house in the event of a catastrophic event. It was built during the Cold War and was used during 9/11. It was designed to protect American political VIPS and the nation’s treasures. But it’s off limits to regular people.
Robins Island, New Suffolk, New York
Robins Island in New Suffolk, New York, is a 435-acre privately owned island. The owner spent money to turn it into a nature preserve and sanctuary and is now home to a population of turtles. Homes and cottages for the island’s caretakers are being built, but everyone else has to steer clear of the island.
The Queen’s Bedroom, United Kingdom
Although Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom is one of the country’s main attractions, the Queen’s bedroom is off-limits to visitors. Only the Queen can reside here, but in the 1980s, one man named Michael Fagan broke in to win a bet with friends.
The Granite Mountain Records Vault, Salt Lake County, Utah
The Granite Mountain Records Vault is located just outside of Salt Lake County, Utah. It’s owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They excavated 600 feet into the north side of Granite Mountain in Little Cottonwood Canyon in 1965. It’s said to contain billions of records important to the church, and the public is not allowed.
Dulce Base, New Mexico
The Dulce Base is located in New Mexico. Although the population above ground is said to have about 2,600 Native Americans, there is an underground base full of labs which reportedly houses technological wonders and experiments in human-animal hybridization. Security is tight, so good luck getting in.
Albatross Island, Tasmania
Albatross Island is in Tasmania and is also a breeding colony of shy albatross, a species of birds who were hunted nearly to the point of extinction. The island is home to other animals like penguins and Australia fur seals. To protect the animals’ habitat, tourists are banned from visiting the island.