The Alnwick Garden
Despite its harmless-sounding name, this is not your grandmother’s garden. The Duchess of Northumberland — Jane Percy — decided to collect some of the rarest plants in the world to include in this garden, even including some deadly ones into the mix. Although visitors are kept at a distance from the dangerous plants, anyone who would sneak into the Poison Garden would be making their last mistake. The garden's website claims that "The Garden is peaceful and tranquil" where "families and children can run freely throughout." Um, what!?
While The Poison Garden is only one of many gardens in Alnwick, it's definitely the most popular. Tourists are separated from the nearly 100 toxic plants by terrifying black iron gates that only tour guides are able to open. Visitors are prohibited from touching or ingesting any of these plants, obviously, yet that doesn't stop some visitors from "occasionally faint[ing] from inhaling toxic fume while walking in the garden." Sound like the opposite of tranquil!
Christmas Island is an idyllic Australian destination home to exciting wildlife species like the coconut crab. They sound cute and tropical, right? Wrong! These monsters can grow up to three feet and are found, not just on beaches, but in the trees as well. Sounds more like a horrific sci-fi film than Christmas!
There are plenty of other safe activities for tourists to enjoy on Christmas Island but seeing the crabs travel during their annual migration to the coast is the main event. It's no mere bird migration. Over 40 million of these crabs used to live on the island! So it's quite the exodus for the crabs. Unfortunately for them, travelers often crush the crabs while driving, so Christmas Island had to install barriers, bridges, and underpasses for the crabs to funnel through.
Valley of Death
Despite what you may think, this landform is not the same as California's Death Valley. Not content to let America have all the fun, Russia has its own Valley of Death at the Valley of Geysers in the Kamchatka Peninsula that's arguably deadlier than its American counterpart. However, the danger here lies in the toxic gas released by the volcano — it’s killed all plant and animal life in the valley, and humans notice adverse symptoms immediately upon entering the area.
The mile area at the foot of the stratovolcano Kikhpinych is the "Valley of Death" itself where volcanic gases kill anything that enters. In the late 1900s, researchers determined that the trap is created by a toxic mix of hydrogen sulfide, carbon and sulfur dioxide, and carbon disulfide. You don't have to be a chemist to realize that it isn't a friendly mix...
Structurally, Trift Bridge in Switzerland is incredibly secure — you’re not in any real danger. This famous suspension bridge was exclusively designed for pedestrian traffic to traverse 560 feet across the Swiss Alps over Lake Triftsee near the Trift Glacier. But try convincing yourself that it's perfectly safe as you stare into the 300-foot gulf below you!
If you're afraid of heights then this attraction is already terrifying but getting to the bridge would be equally dire. Getting there requires a trip in a cable car, a gondola ride, and a difficult one-and-a-half-hour hike uphill to the base of the bridge. That's a big no-no from us.
El Caminito Del Rey
Caminito Del Rey is a man-made walkway along the side of a mountain that claimed the lives of enough people to have it closed off from the public, but that didn't stop people from trespassing onto its deadly path. In 2015, the path reopened after many years of renovations made to restore the deteriorated concrete and exposed rusted metal supports.
Also known as "The King's Little Path," it's difficult to imagine people actually using this walkway for travel. The forest can't possibly be as bad as traveling on a wooden path 330 feet over the river below. After five people died from 1999 to 2000, the route was dubbed the "world's most dangerous walkway."
The Kokoda and Black Cat Trails
Papua New Guinea
This trail — a 60-mile stretch of Papua New Guinea jungle — is one of the most dangerous on the planet. Between the unforgiving heat, dangerous wildlife, and armed locals, there are many people each year who do not make it out alive despite their best efforts.
The Black Cat Track is a trail only recommended to "very fit and experienced trekkers" but a sudden attack in September 2013 that killed three people caused even the professionals to reschedule their visit. During the attack, bandits called the "Rascals" killed three people. Also, many foxholes and weaponry left over from World War II are still lying around, which can lead to serious injury on their own.
While tourism is technically allowed in North Korea, it’s highly regulated by the government — less than 10,000 Westerners are permitted to enter each year. But that raises the question of why you would want to visit a place that doesn't want you there in the first place. While the majority of their human rights violations fall upon the citizens of North Korea, the hermit kingdom has been known to imprison and torture visitors for “disrespecting” the country, too.
According to Travel Safe - Abroad, "North Korea has strict rules with potentially huge consequences for a serious breach of them, but if you stick to them, it's probably the safest country in the world for tourists. Any incidents are extremely rare and pretty much always result from someone choosing to break the rules in a serious way."
The Beaches of Acapulco
While its beaches may be lovely, the crime rate of Acapulco is nearly 30 times that of the average American city. Once a favored vacation spot for Hollywood's biggest stars during the 1950s, the city is now overrun with gang violence. A large number of these murders are drug-related, but unfortunately, tourists sometimes get caught in the middle.
Even if you did your best to avoid the country's rampant crime, the beaches are incredibly polluted with styrofoam cups and various types of litter. Not only is there a risk of being kidnapped over in Guerrero, but you'll cut your foot on broken glass that litters the sand without the proper footwear. Say goodbye to barefoot walks along the shore!
Middlemoor Water Park
A water park trebuchet is one of the most self-evidently terrible ideas in human history. And yet, here we are. For the low, low price of $60, brave (re: stupid) riders could load themselves up and be launched into the air at 60 mph into the “safety” of a net.
The lucky riders who managed to survive being launched 75 feet across the park could be left with anything from a broken pelvis to mild concussions. Despite these numerous injuries, the trebuchet remained in service until 2002, when a rider — Oxford student Dino Yankov — missed the "safety" net and was killed.
Cliffs of Moher
With its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Irish countryside, it is no wonder why travelers are drawn to the Cliffs of Moher. However, the steep hills and rugged walkways have seen many people plummet to their deaths. For this reason, the area has the unfortunate distinction of being a popular suicide location.
For most of the destination's nine-mile length, the cliffs rise to an average of 390 feet tall. And, at their tallest, the cliffs reach just over 700 feet! Despite its notorious reputation, the Cliffs of Moher is one of the most visited sites in Ireland with over 1.5 million visitors every year.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Hawai'i's many volcanoes are known for their beauty and power around the world. At Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, the most adventurous tourists travel to the mouth of an active volcano and ride bicycles down its slope. This attraction has been temporarily shut down more than once due to multiple accidental deaths.
The active volcanoes of Hawai'i have been known to erupt frequently, resulting in serious burns to some of the visitors unfortunate enough to be in their vicinity. Kilauea and Mauna Loa are the most famous active volcanoes on the "Big Island" and the Chain of Craters Road runs over actual lava through the park. Sounds more like a movie set than a tourist attraction!
You might think Mount Everest is the deadliest climb in the world, but that (dis)honor actually goes to Mont Blanc — the tallest mountain in the Alps and the rest of Western Europe. While only about 200 people total have died climbing Everest, Mont Blanc sees about 100 fatalities a year.
Mont Blanc AKA "White Mountain" stands between Italy and France where tourists enjoy various activities, including hiking, climbing, snowboarding, skiing, and sightseeing. Most climbers opt for the two-day journey up the Goûter Route. While the route is technically "simple," there are always risks related to climbing in the Alps from hypothermia and frostbite to altitude sickness.
A simple visit to Pamplona, Spain is probably not going to put you in much danger, depending on when you visit and where you stay. But many tourists travel to Pamplona for one reason and one reason only — to witness the infamous Running of the Bulls. The San Fermín festival, in which bulls chase participants down the streets of the city, is exactly as reckless as it sounds.
Every year, the festival results in around 50 to 100 injuries as it's not uncommon to be gored by the bull's horns. If you’re looking for a vacation spot of ultimate relaxation — one that guarantees you won't be impaled — you might want to plan around July 6 to July 14.
The Colorado River System
Running across seven U.S. states and through the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River system is a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking through the canyons as well as to see engineering marvel the Hoover Dam. The River itself may look deceptively calm during certain times of the year, but melting snow and heavy rains will fill these waters to the brim.
This excess water causes the river system to have treacherous currents that have been known to suck people in and trap them under the water. Tourists would rather not see the river bottom when they're rafting! In 2007 alone, the river system logged 12 deaths and 176 near-fatal injuries. Whitewater raft at your own risk!
Located in the Mojave Desert of Eastern California, Death Valley speaks for itself. With a name like Death Valley, what does anyone really expect from the place besides death? And when you add in the fact that it’s also the hottest place in the United States (and one of the hottest in the world), its reputation for danger really begins to make sense.
While deaths from heat exhaustion are the main concern here, extreme weather conditions, like flash flooding, also pose a risk. Death Valley isn't rife with toxic chemicals like Russia's Valley of Death, but its environment is equally punishing. Tell us, again, why this literal desert is considered a tourist attraction?!
When Action Park first opened in Vernon Township, New Jersey, in 1978, it was one of the first water parks of its kind. And that's not a good thing. At this point, most people today only remember it for the numerous injuries that occurred during its surprisingly long 18-year lifespan.
As one of the first modern American water parks, guests were basically Action Park's guinea pigs. From 40-foot waves in the wave pool to a water slide with a loop and live electrical wires in the water, it’s a blessing for everyone that this place was shut down in 1996.
Eagle's Nest Cave
Eagles Nest Cave —one of the most dangerous tourist destinations in the world — is located in Florida... Is anyone surprised? Referred to by some as the underwater version of Mount Everest, this sinkhole reaches depths of up to 300 feet and has claimed twelve lives since the '80s.
Eagle's Nest is located inside the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area in Florida Springs and can be viewed from the safety of a wooden deck. However, there's not much to look at from up above besides gooey green algae, alligators, and mosquitoes. But diving into the sinkhole is even more dire, with some expert divers claiming there was zero visibility.
Whether you’re a human or an animal, you’re probably not safe at SeaWorld in San Diego, California. Over the years, trainers have sustained countless injuries from aggressive encounters with orcas. One male orca in particular — Tilikum AKA "Tilly" — was responsible for the untimely deaths of two trainers and one visitor!
SeaWorld has been a controversial attraction ever since the whale Kandu V broke her jaw after smashing another whale's head into a wall. Their reputation tanked in 2006 after killer what Kasatka drowned Ken Peters in the stadium and led to the release of the horrific 2013 documentary Blackfish after Tilikum killed Dawn Brancheau in 2010.
Praia de Boa Viagem
While this Brazilian beach draws in countless tourists and plenty of revenue each year, it is also known for its history of shark attacks. Since 1992, there have been over 60 reported incidents of aggressive shark activity. This, however, isn’t enough to keep adventure seekers from swarming the beaches each year.
Tiger sharks are among the top aggressors along Boa Viagem's five-mile stretch of beach. Attacks from these sharks weren't common until the '90s when Pernambuco built Suape port. Experts theorize that the port messed with the sharks' natural behaviors, leading to hyper aggression among the tiger sharks, who are already notoriously aggressive.
The views from the top of the small, craggy island of Skellig Michael AKA the "Great Skellig" in Ireland are unbeatable — but the trip itself is unbearable. Most visitors come to see the ancient monastery on the island, which inconveniently happens to be located at the top of a precarious path of 600 steps that are more than 1,000 years old.
Several people have died over the years because of this dangerous trek, and there was even a safety review board that determined a fatality is likely to occur once every five to fifty years. And due to rising sea levels creating its steep landscape, the island is inhospitable for humans.
The Danakil desert located in northeast Ethiopia is a popular tourist spot because of its brightly colored terrain that's truly a unique sight that any person would love to see. Unfortunately, the desert is also home to volcanic activity, which means that toxic gases abound and breathable oxygen is in short supply.
Similar to the Valley of Death in Russia, the air filling up the Danakil Desert is barely breathable as it is, so throwing a bunch of poisonous gases into the mix is a recipe for disaster. Even a brief visit to the desert can affect your health, some researchers claim, due to the high concentration of sulfur in the air.
Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome
This ascent is over 5,000 feet, much of which is nearly vertical. While it may sound like a rock climber’s dream, the Half Dome has taken about 60 lives in recent history. It is estimated that those who do make it to the top burn between 4,000 and 10,000 calories in doing so.
While the Half Dome is a great workout, it's one of the most dangerous features of Yosemite National Park. In fact, back in the 1870s, the California Geological Survey deemed the structure "perfectly inaccessible" until one traveler George G. Anderson reached the summit by using drills and iron eyebolts to climb.
New Smyrna Beach
The hit movie Jaws made people more afraid of shark attacks than they should be. The chances of being killed by one are tiny — unless you’re visiting Florida's New Smyrna Beach, that is. With a tally of nearly 250 recorded incidents, it holds the record for most shark attacks per square mile.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, New Smyrna of Volusia Country is the "Shark Attack Capital of the World." Most of the time, breaking an official Guinness Book record is something to be celebrated, but this one is just plain scary! Long story short: Visit New Smyrna to tan on the beach and shop around as long as it's not swimming in the ocean!
We don't know about you, but the name Bikini Atoll sounds super similar to Spongebob's Bikini Bottom. Unfortunately, this "bikini" location part of the Marshall Islands is much deadlier than the cuddly underwater Spongebob town. Bikini Atoll may look like a paradise untouched by humans, but that’s definitely not the case.
The area served as a nuclear testing site in the 1940s and '50s — meaning the land is still teeming with harmful radiation. Visits to Bikini Atoll itself have been restricted for some time now but you can still take boat tours around it... As long as you’re not worried about growing a third arm, we say go for it!
Barcelona probably looks like the weirdest travel destination to include on this list because plenty of people visit and live in the bustling Spanish city. While there’s nothing particularly deadly about a visit to Barcelona, it is home to some of the most “talented” pickpockets in the entire world.
Not all tourist attractions have to be deadly to be considered dangerous. Here in Barcelona, you might not lose a limb to a killer whale or fall from the top of a steep cliff, but being stranded in a foreign country without your wallet or passport sounds pretty dangerous to us.