25 Interesting Places That You’re Not Allowed To Visit

There are literally millions of places in the world which are worth visiting. From beaches to museums, from mountains to ruins, from the countryside’s fields to the cities’ skyscrapers, the world is filled with completely different types of landmarks that deserve to be seen. But to those of you who are in constant search for new extravagant locations and sights to discover, I’m afraid we have some bad news: there are several intriguing places to which tourists are strictly forbidden to enter. Here’s a list of 25 these interesting sites where nobody can go to.

#25. Mount Weather, USA

Virginia is a state full of history. In fact, this is the state where Jamestown is located, which happens to be the country’s first English settlement established in the year 1607. Many people visit Virginia due to the fact that it is right next to Washington D.C., making it a quick and easy weekend trip.

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However, there is one particular site in Virginia that is strictly off limits: Mount Weather. Located 48 miles outside Washingon D.C., Mount Weather is an underground facility where the President would be sent to in case of an emergency, such as a nuclear threat. However, there are no pictures showing its interior. The only pictures available are the aerial ones, such as the one shown above.

#24. Lascaux Caves, France

France is annually visited by no less than 85 million people per year, making it the most visited country in the world. As a matter of fact, tourism represents nearly 10% of the country’s Gross National Product, and it supports 2.9 million jobs throughout the nation. That represents over 10% of the country’s employment!

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But even though there are thousands of amazing historical sites to visit, one of them is restricted to tourists. We’re talking about the ancient Lascaux Caves located in Dordogne, a region found in the southwest of the country. The problem is that these 20,000-year-old cave paintings have been damaged by the carbon dioxide exhaled by tourists. Therefore, as a means of preserving them, the government has decided to forbid entrance to the caves. The drawings look amazing in the picture, don’t they?

#23. Ise Grand Shrine, Japan

Japan has a unique and thrilling history. It is filled with historical and religious cities, including temples, forts, palaces, museums, and ruins. People from all over the world travel to Japan to witness its historical heritage, and if you don’t believe me, then take this: over 5 million foreigners travel to Japan each year only for tourism. That’s quite a number!

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But there is one particular place where people cannot enter: the famous Ise Grand Shrine, whose beauty can be appreciated in the picture above. It turns out that only priests and priestesses of Japan’s royal family are allowed to access this sacred temple. And here’s another interesting fact: the temple is destroyed and rebuilt every 20 years, in conformity with the Shinto philosophy.

#22. Club 33, USA

Disneyland is one of the world’s most famous amusement parks in the world. It was opened in July 1955, and even though it’s difficult to believe, it was built in only one year! And here’s another fun fact: when it was opened, the ticket only cost $3.50. Too bad we can’t travel in time, because that price isn’t even a fraction of what it costs today!

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However, despite the park’s dozens of incredible attractions, there is one particular spot to which practically nobody can enter. I’m talking about the famous Club 33, one of the most exclusive supper clubs in the world. The thing is, in order to enter you must pay $20,000 dollars as an initiation fee as well as an annual fee of $10,000. So actually, this place isn’t exactly forbidden to tourists. The thing is, who on earth can pay such ridiculous amounts of money, and just to grab a bite?

#21. Google Data Center, USA

Oregon is truly a fabulous state. If you don’t believe me, take a look at these numbers: the state features more than 6,000 lakes, 112,000 miles of rivers, 5,900 campsites, 230 state parks, and 13 national forests. So if you’re into hiking, trecking, camping or rafting, then Oregon is the place to go!

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But one of the state’s many fascinating places is completely off limits, and I’m talking about the Google Data Center. Google definitely takes security seriously, and the company’s data center is maybe even better protected than many of the country’s secret military bases. This picture is one of the few that have been revealed.

#20. Metro 2, Russia

Russia is the biggest country in the world. Therefore, it’s needless to say that there are hundreds of amazing places to visit all throughout the country. From Moscow’s Red Square in the extreme West of the country to the remote volcanoes of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the extreme East, Russia is filled with surprises.

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But amongst these surprises, there is Metro 2, the secret subway system which lies underneath the capital city of Moscow, conceived by the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Even though the government hasn’t mentioned a word about it during all these last decades, several people who have worked there or who have helped create it have revealed its existence. What can it look like?

#19. White’s Gentlemen’s Club, England

At the beginning of this article, we stated that France was the most visited country in the world. However, England is not too far from France! One every twelve jobs are directly or indirectly supported by tourism, and tourism employs around 2,9 million people. So despite the country’s rough weather, millions of people from all over the world choose to travel each year to English territory, mainly to visit its capital city of London.

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However, there is one particular site where tourists aren’t allowed to go to. The White’s Gentlemen’s Club is the most prestigious of its kind in England, and in order to be invited, you’ve got to be both a male and a member of the royal family. This definitely isn’t the case of any of us, so all we can do is appreciate the picture shown on the right, which happens to be one of the few that we have of its interiors!

But this is not the only English site included on this list. Keep on reading until you find out what the other one is!

#18. Bohemian Grove, USA

Very much like the White’s Gentlemen’s Club, the Bohemian Club is a private club aimed at a very special elite. The club has two locations: the Union Square in San Francisco, and the Bohemian Grove in the Sonoma County, both located in the state of California. Founded in 1872, it is one of the most exclusive clubs in the world: membership is only granted to prominent people such as presidents, CEOs of large corporations, and even artists.

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Important military contractors, oil companies, banks, and national media also have high-ranking officials among the list of club members. So as you can see, no ordinary citizen is allowed entrance. However, little is known about the club and the way it functions.

#17. RAF Menwith Hill, England

As we said before, the White’s Gentlemen’s Club isn’t the only place in England where ordinary people aren’t allowed to enter. The same is the case for RAF Menwith Hill. This is a Royal Air Force station somewhere near Harrogate, New Yorkshire, which provides intelligence support services both to the entire United Kingdom and the USA.

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This odd and mysterious site contains a satellite ground station, and it is believed to be the largest electronic monitoring station in the whole world. And look how weird it looks: doesn’t it look as if it were covered by enormous golf balls? Who knows what lies inside!

#16. Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican City

Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. As a matter of fact, it is just an eighth of the size of New York City’s Central Park. Naturally, it is home to a great number of churches, including the St. Peter’s Basilica, which happens to be the world’s largest Roman Catholic church.

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However, several parts of this tiny country are restricted to tourists. Such is the case of the Vatican Secret Archives. But even though its name clearly suggests that nobody is allowed entrance to the building where the archives are found, few people know that anyone can request to view any of its documents as long as they are over 75 years old.

#15. North Sentinel Island, India

India is one of the most amazing countries in the world. From the salt deserts of Gujarat to the ancient forts of Rajasthan, and from the amazing beaches of Goa to the breathtaking mountains of Himachal Pradesh, this country offers a rich natural and cultural heritage that makes it very popular among tourists. As a matter of fact, tourism provides the country $124.8 billion dollars per year!

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However, in the middle of the Andaman Sea in the southeast of the country, there is a small recondite island called North Sentinel Island. Even though it has beautiful beaches, tourists aren’t allowed to go there. The thing is, the indigenous tribe that lives there is not keen on receiving visitors, and they throw arrows upon anyone who attempts to set foot on the island. In order to prevent any attacks, in 1956 the Indian government decided to prohibit people to approach the island any closer than 5 nautical miles.

#14. Room 39, North Korea

Even though it’s full of beautiful mountains, North Korea is one of the least visited countries in the world. The main reason behind this is that the government imposes many restrictions on tourism, and the only tours available are quite expensive. But apart from this, there is one particular place where nobody can enter, not even North Koreans.

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The place we’re talking about is Room 39. This is a top-secret party government building which belongs to a secret party organization with the same name. It is believed that this building harbors a great number of illegal operations, including counterfeiting and insurance fraud. Room 39 is supposedly found in a building which belongs to the ruling Workers’ Party, in the capital city of Pyongyang.

#13. Tomb Of Qin Shi Wang, China

In March 1974, a group of seven men was digging a well in Xiyang, a village found in China’s Lintong county, when they suddenly came across the fragments of bronze arrowheads and a terracotta warrior. After this unplanned discovery, a team of archaeologists carried out excavations over an area of 20,000 square meters, and to everyone’s surprise, they discovered 7,000 statues of terracotta warriors and horses, belonging to China’s first dynasty, the Qin dynasty.

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The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Qin Shi Huang is found only a couple of minutes away from the terracotta warriors. The main tomb chamber, which contains the Emperor’s coffin, is the core of the architectural complex. However, entrance to the Mausoleum is strictly forbidden, and as a matter of fact, the tomb itself has not been excavated. As you can see, the Chinese government is extremely protective of the tomb of their first Emperor.

#12. Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean

The Mariana Trench is the deepest natural trench in the whole world: it’s deepest portions are believed to measure 11,034 meters. It is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 200 kilometers east of the Mariana Islands, a US overseas territory. But why do you think this place was included on the list?

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Even though the Mariana Trench is not exactly forbidden, the place is almost impossible to reach. As a matter of fact, only three people have successfully visited it. So unless you’re sure you’ll be the fourth one to do so, you should probably avoid taking the risk.

#11. Coca Cola Receipt Vault, Atlanta

Atlanta is one of the busiest cities in the US. It is home to one of the world’s busiest airports (Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International), and its attractions are visited by over 100 million people each year. But somewhere in the city lies a very mysterious place which very few people know about: the Coca Cola Receipt Vault.

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For dozens of years, people have wondered how Coca Cola, one of the world’s most popular and addictive beverages, is made. And for decades, the top secret recipe to this popular soda was locked inside a bank, very close to the company’s main headquarters. But recently, the company has decided to create a vault of its own within its headquarters in Atlanta.

#10. Bank Of England Vaults, England

If you found the Coca Cola vault intriguing, then you’ll probably be interested in this site as well. The Bank of England Vaults holds around 400,000 bars of gold, which are worth over 100 billion pounds. This makes the Bank of England the second largest keeper of gold in the world, only after the New York Federal Reserve.

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In order to access the Bank’s vaults, you need a key that is over 35 inches long. Can you believe it? If you’re wondering how the key looks like… well, I’m afraid we can’t help you because the names of the people who have access to these vaults are top-secret.

#9. Surtsey Island, Iceland

Iceland is one of the most remote countries in the planet. Home to only 320,000 people, it is located really close to the Arctic and boasts a unique natural heritage. In fact, most of the people that travel to Iceland visit its breathtaking waterfalls and mountains, while some are interested in witnessing the natural phenomenon known as Aurora Borealis.

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But among the country’s many natural landmarks, there is Surtsey Island, which happens to be one of the newest islands in the world. It recently emerged as a result of a volcanic eruption during the 1960s, and it is nearly in pristine conditions. The country wants the island to remain in this original and natural form, the reason for which only a few scientists have been allowed to visit the place.

#8. Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway

Yes, we’re back to vaults! But unlike the vaults of the Coca Cola Company or the Bank of England, these ones are located in the middle of the mountains close to the Arctic. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, bordering the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, and the Greenland Sea.

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It is believed that if all of the plants of the world were wiped out, the seeds that are stored in this top-secret vault could literally bring the Earth back to life. The creation of such a place was a marvelous idea, wasn’t it? However, the place is so restricted, that even countries who have contributed seeds are not granted access. It’s such a pity because look at how beautiful those mountains are!

#7. Pine Gap, Australia

Australia is the biggest island in the world and is home to some of the world’s most unique species of animals. But it turns out that this isn’t the only remarkable feature of this country. 18 kilometers southeast of the city of Alice Springs, there is a satellite monitoring facility named Pine Gap, to which nobody can enter.

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Pine Gap is controlled by both the Australian and the US governments. Despite popular belief, there aren’t any old satellites in Pine Gap. The place actually specializes in receiving and transmitting spy communique. I know what you’re probably wondering: how do they do this, and what on earth are those giant white balls?

#6. Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia

Pine Gap isn’t the only mysterious site included on this list. The stranded place shown below is the Woomera Prohibited Area, which is the largest bomb testing stretch of land in the entire world. It is not even necessary to mention that people are not allowed to enter the place. But even if it were possible, who on earth would enter a site where bombs are tested?

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This restricted territory covers 122,188 square kilometers and is located around 450 kilometers north-west of Adelaide. As you can imagine, there are numerous warning signs across on nearby public access roads throughout the WPA warning travelers not to leave those routes without the permission of the Department of Defence.

#5. Area 51, USA

Nevada is truly an amazing state. Not only is it home to Las Vegas, one of the most popular cities in the world, but it also features incredible national parks filled with enormous mountains, such as the Great Basin National Park. But there is one particular site that is also located in Nevada and which happens to appear in our Top 5: Area 51. And do you know why it has earned a place in our top 5? Because very little is known about it, thus being one of the world’s most mysterious places.

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Area 51 is a United States Air Force base where nobody is allowed entrance. Anyone who attempts to get near the base will be immediately sent to prison. For many years, people have believed that within the base’s premises, experiments have been performed on aliens and UFOs. Who knows whether or not this is true.

#4. Chapel Of The Arc Of The Covenant, Ethiopia

Out of all the list, this is the only site found in the African continent, which is one of the reasons why we thought it deserved to be in our Top 5. The beautiful building that you can see below is actually the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church found in Axum, Ethiopia. But apart from its beauty, what’s so special about it?

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This chapel is believed to house the Ark of Covenant, which contains the 10 Commandments handed down to Moses. But apart from the priest who tends the church, nobody is allowed to enter under no circumstance. On June 25, 2009, the patriarch of the Church Abune Paulos said he would announce the following the day the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, but he took it back afterward. What a disappointment!

#3. Mezhgorye, Russia

As you can see, the places included in this list are very diverse. From elite clubs to military bases, they all have nothing in common except for the fact that they cannot be visited. But there’s one thing that makes Mezhgorye special: it’s not only a building but an entire town! Yes, you heard right: this entire town is top-secret and does not welcome visitors under no circumstance.

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Located amid the Ural Mountains, this closed town was established for the employees at the nearby nuclear facility to live in. It is said that this secret town once stored a total of 73 nuclear warheads, capable of 365 times the power than the nuclear bomb dropped in Hiroshima. As much as 18,000 people live here, so tons of people must work at that nuclear facility!

#2. Snake Island, Brazil

Brazil’s Snake Island, also known as Ilha de Queimada Grande, is one of the most exotic islands in the world. You’re probably wondering where its name comes from. It’s not because it’s shaped like a snake, but because it’s literally filled with them. In fact, there are more than 5,000 different types of venomous snakes living on this remote island. So for obvious reasons, visiting the island would be a completely unpleasant experience. At least for any species that is not a snake.

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This place is so dangerous that the Brazilian Navy has forbidden anyone from landing on this island. Basically, because doing so would lead to a quick imminent death. After reading this, you’re probably wondering exactly how many snakes we’re talking about. Well, there’s an average of one snake per square meter. But can you guess which place is at the top of our list?

#1. Pripyat, Ukraine

Out of all the places included in this list, this one is probably the creepiest. Even though you can technically get into Pripyat, there is no reason why anyone would want to do so, since it is literally the most radioactive town in the world. Which, in other words, makes it the most dangerous one as well. But why is this so?

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The ghost town of Pripyat was once a lively city with nearly 50,000 inhabitants. It is the town nearest to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, where the world’s worst nuclear accident took place on April 27, 1979. Due to the incredibly high levels of radiation, it is believed that it will be 20,000 years before the area is once again habitable. So for 20,000 years, this place will be number one in our list!

  • About Author

    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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