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30 Unbelievable Places That Are Illegal to Visit

Area 51, Nevada

This top-secret U.S. Air Force facility in Nevada has a long history shrouded in suspicion. The base's purpose has never been publicly revealed, but it has been surmised over the years to be the testing grounds for experimental aircraft. The CIA only publicly acknowledged its existence for the first time in 2005.

Conspiracy theorists and UFO seekers may travel SR 375—the Extraterrestrial Highway—to the nearby town of Rachel but won’t make it past the Area 51 border patrol at the front gates. While the population of Rachel, Nevada, is only 54, travelers can stay at the Little A'Le'Inn or grab a meal from the attached restaurant.

(image via Wikipedia)

North Sentinel Island, India

This island forest in the Bay of Bengal is home to the Sentinelese, an isolated-by-choice indigenous group with an estimated population of fewer than 500. This close-knit tribe keeps their slice of paradise off limits and is known to launch flaming arrows at outsiders who venture too close. 

(image via Wikidpedia

Snake Island, Brazil

Looking for the perfect tropical getaway? Mark this one off your list! An estimated 4000 golden lanceheads (a species of pit viper) exclusively occupy this 100-acre island just off the coast of Brazil. With venom powerful enough to melt human flesh, I’d say no one is missing out on this visitor-forbidden piece of Earth. 

(image via Youtube)


The Lascaux Caves, France

In 1940, teenagers discovered caves in southwestern France that had walls featuring 17,000-year-old engravings and paintings of symbols and animals. The caves were closed after the work began to deteriorate, but a reproduction of this ancient attraction will open in the Centre International de l’Art Parietal in Montignac in December 2016. 

(image via Wikidpedia)

Room 39, North Korea

Kim Jong Il created the division of the North Korean government in the 1970s. Counterfeiting, illegal weapons, drug sales, and other unsavory business operations are believed to be among the reasons for its existence. Very few are allowed entry to this secret building. 

(image via Urban Ghosts)

Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway

This mountainside seed vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen is secure enough to protect the world’s crop varieties from the most devastating natural and man-made catastrophes. Employees of the facility, which is owned and operated by the government of Norway, are the only people allowed inside. You can take a virtual tour, though!

(image via Wikidpedia)

US Bullion Depository, Kentucky

This well-guarded vault at the U.S. Army installation of Fort Knox houses tons of gold bullion and, during WWII, important historical documents, including the Declaration of Independence and Magna Carta. Heavily armed guards, a four-foot-thick granite wall, and a lock that takes a special team of 10 to open means you aren’t getting in. 

(image via Wikipedia

Pine Gap, Australia

Situated near Alice Springs, the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is a ground satellite station owned and operated by Australia and the United States. This spy base can reportedly listen to every continent except the Americas and Antarctica. Entry is restricted to its approximately 1,000 employees who are sworn to secrecy. 

(image via Wikipedia

Chapel of the Tablet at Our Lady Mary of Zion, Ethiopia

This is where the Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims to keep the original Ark of the Covenant, which is said to house the stone tablets on which Moses transcribed the Ten Commandments. The holy artifact is solely protected by an elderly, high priest who never leaves the small church yard. He is expected to name his successor on his deathbed. 

(image via Flickr)

Bohemian Grove, California

Deep in the majestic redwoods of northern California lies a private 2,700-acre playground. Wealthy, elite members of the exclusive, all-male Bohemian Club have been roasting S'mores here every summer since 1872. Don’t even consider infiltrating this controversial camp, or you might suffer the fate of this Vanity Fair editor

(image via Wikidpedia

Poveglia, Italy

When the bubonic plague hit Italy around 1348, the infirm were sent to live and die in quarantine on Poveglia, a small island between Venice and Lido. It became home to a mental hospital in the 1920s, and helpless patients became subjects of cruel experiments. It is said to be rife with paranormal activity, and tourists are strictly banned.

(image via Islands as Metaphors)

The Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican City

Martin Luther’s excommunication papers, letters from notables like Abraham Lincoln, and other documents dating back to the 8th century are kept safely on the 50 miles of shelving in this papal library. Pope Leo XIII started allowing select Catholic scholars to research the archives in 1881, and the rules for admittance remain strict to this day.  

(image via The Star)

Ise Grand Shrine, Japan

This roughly 2,000-year-old Shinto shrine was erected for Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. Reportedly, it contains the Sacred Mirror of the Emperor. Members of the Imperial family and a select few shrine priests are the only people allowed inside. 

(image via Wikipedia)

Surtsey, Iceland

A volcanic eruption on Iceland’s Vestmannæyjar archipelago produced a new island, Surtsey, in 1963. Quickly declared a restricted nature reserve, it is only open to researchers. Here, they carefully study the flora and fauna of this young and pristine ecosystem. 

(image via Flickr)

Tomb of Qin Shi Haung, China

The Terracotta Army that guarded the tomb of China’s first emperor has been exhumed. It consists of clay reproductions of his servants, animals, and family. The main tomb, on the other hand, remains untouched. Respect for ancient burial rites and the dangers of digging up poisonous, mercury-rich soil might keep this mausoleum shut forever. 

(image via Wikipedia)

Ni'ihau, Hawaii

Ni'ihau is the westernmost and 2nd-smallest of Hawai'i's main islands, but tourists can't visit it. Why not? Elizabeth Sinclair purchased the entire island from the Kingdom of Hawai'i in 1864, so Ni'ihau is private property. Sounds like $10,000 well-spent to us!

(image via Wikimedia)

Mezhgorye, Russia

This is a "closed town" operated directly by the Russian government. It's closed status results from the majority of residents being affiliated with nearby Mount Yamantau, claimed by the U.S. government to be the side of a Russian nuclear facility, secret bunker, or both. The population is estimated to be about 17,000.

(image via Wikimedia)

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Unless you are a practicing Muslim, you won't be allowed to enter the city of Mecca. The area has undergone a huge infrastructure campaign, so there are tons of interesting buildings and architecture to see, including the largest clock tower in the world. But since only about 1% of the U.S. population is Muslim, most American travelers are prohibited.

(Image via Flickr)

Guadalupe Island, Mexico

This island off the coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula is one of the best places to spot the famed (and dreaded Great White Shark). But you can't just go on tours whenever you want. The area is a biosphere reserve, and you must get a permit (if selected) in order to visit the area.

(image via Wikimedia)

Metro-2, Russia

During Joseph Stalin's tenure as the leader of the Soviet Union, it is purported that a second secret underground metro system was built between governmental headquarters like the Kremlin and the Federal Security Service (FSB). Though it has never been confirmed, some people have claimed to have uncovered entrances and tunnels of the secret line.

(image via Wikimedia)

Coca-Cola Vault, Atlanta, Georgia

The Coca-Cola recipe is one of the most heavily-guarded secrets anywhere in the world. While you can visit the World of Coca-Cola at the Coke headquarters in Atlanta, there's just no way you're getting into that vault!

(image vai Flickr)

North Brother Island, NYC

At one time, North Brother Island was a quarantine site and then later a rehabilitation facility for drug addicts. It closed over 50 years ago and has been abandoned ever since. Even though it sits in the East River in one of the most populated metro areas in the world (New York City), people are forbidden from the island as it is currently designated a bird sanctuary.

(image via Wikimedia)

El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Mexico

No, we didn't make a mistake. Yes, visitors are allowed around the grounds of Chichen Itza. But climbing up the steps was stopped in 2006 after a woman fell to her death. That same year, the El Castillo interior was closed to visitors. The only way to see the interior throne room now is via pictures.

(image via Wikimedia)

Pravcická Brána, Czech Republic

This land bridge is famous throughout Europe, and visitors used to have fun walking across it, gazing down into the open expanse below. Be because of heavy erosion, people have been banned from the top since 1982. The only way to enjoy this natural feature is from the ground.

(image via Flickr)

Bhangarh Fort, India

This fort built in the 1600s is now abandoned. According to legend, it is one of if not the most haunted place in India. The area does except tourists, but due to local feelings, finding a guide might be difficult. Visiting the area at night, however, is strictly forbidden.

(image via Flickr)

Heard Island, Australia

Heard Island is one of the most remote places in the entire world. The island is located in the South Pacific Ocean, around midway between South Africa and Australian but more southward toward Antarctica. No humans live there, and because the environment is so endemic and fragile, visiting scientists typically stay in temporary tents.

(image via Flickr)

Robins Island, New York

The eastern end of New York's Long Island forks. In between the two forks is Peconic Bay, and in that bay sits Robins Island. No one is allowed on the island unless they are invited by the owner, Louis Bacon, because it is privately owned.

(image via Facebook)

Granite Mountain Records Vault, Utah

In this vault, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the church keeps an estimated 3 billion pages of family history records on file. But don't think you can get a peek of your own. Visitors aren't allowed inside!

(image via Facebook)


If you are an American citizen, it is still technically illegal for you to visit Cuba (at least for strictly pleasure tourism). Americans can still visit the country through approved tour operators, however. But when it comes down to it, general vacation is still forbidden.

(image via Flickr)

Diego Garcia, British Indian Overseas Territory

This Indian Ocean atoll is currently administered by the UK. However, in order to take control, they forcibly expelled the indigenous inhabitants (around 1,500 individuals) in order to turn it into a joint UK/U.S. military outpost. Today, only military personnel are allowed on the island.

(image via Wikimedia)