Places On Earth With The Most Travel Restrictions
While exploring the world and traveling to new places is a lot of fun, there are some places you’re prohibited from ever visiting.
Whether they contain government secrets, house valuable items, or simply are too dangerous to outsiders, these places only allow a limited number of people to enter the premises.
Bank Of England Vaults, London, England
The Bank of England is one of the most powerful institutions in the United Kingdom; it sets interest rates and issues banknotes in the British currency. It takes three-foot-long keys to open the vaults, which hold 5,134 tonnes of gold worth £200 billion.
Visiting is strictly off-limits unless you’re a member of the security team, an employee, or the queen.
Just off the coast of Iceland lies a volcanic island called Surtsey. People are prohibited from visiting the island due to its scientific significance, since it has evolved from a volcanic landscape which was absolutely barren of life into a place where plants and animals are now thriving.
There are approximately 12 species of birds, gray seals, and some types of plants living on this volcanic island.
Chapel Of The Ark Of The Covenant, Axum, Ethiopia
According to the Book of Exodus, the Ark of the Covenant, also called the Ark of the Testimony, is a gold-covered wooden chest which contains the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. It is rumored that this Ethiopian chapel is the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
Nobody is allowed to see the Ark—not even the Ethiopian president. A single monk watches over the ark and never leaves the chapel grounds.
A Certain Yanomani Village, Brazil
There are about 22,000 Yanomani people who live in the Amazon forest. However, a certain village near the Brazil-Venezuela has never had contact with the outside modern world. About 100 people live together there under a circular hut-like structure, and it’s forbidden to travel to them—which is good because outsiders likely wouldn’t survive the visit.
Area 51, Nevada, USA
One of the most infamous restricted locations, Area 51 supposedly contains secret military aircraft and UFOs. The area is an outpost of the Edwards Air Force Base; however, the main purpose of the area is not known.
The government is extremely secretive about the area, which has led to a slew of conspiracy theories about what the area is really used for—many believe it contains aliens. Area 51 is monitored by cameras and underground motion sensors 24/7. Photography is banned, and if you are caught moseying around the area, you can end up facing imprisonment.
Fort Knox Bullion Depository, Kentucky, USA
Also known as the United States Bullion Depository, it’s an important part of US history. During WWII, the depository safeguarded the U.S. Declaration of Independence as well as the U.S. Constitution, the Magna Carta, and other important historical documents.
There are many conspiracy theories about what lies inside (such as alien spaceships). What’s known for sure is that it protects America’s gold: 2.4% of all the gold ever refined in history.
Zone Rouge, Northeastern France
Meaning “The Red Zone,” Zone Rouge is a group of off-limits areas the French government blocked following WWI because they were too damaged by the war to be appropriate for human use.
It’s rumored to have had a considerable amount of human and animal remains on the land. Its danger lies in the fact that tons of weaponry and unexploded munitions are still scattered about. Towns in the Zone were left to nature and never rebuilt.
Room 39, North Korea
Room 39 (officially Central Committee Bureau 39 of the Workers’ Party of Korea) is a secretive North Korean party organization that’s allegedly involved in illegal activities like counterfeiting $100 bills, producing controlled substances, and international insurance fraud.
Many people suggest that operations of Room 39 help to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Room 39 is thought to be situated inside a ruling Workers’ Party building in Pyongyang, not far from one of the North Korean leader’s residences.
White Gentlemen’s Club, London, England
Founded in 1693, White Gentleman’s Club is the oldest gentleman’s club in London and is widely regarded as the most exclusive club in the city. The only woman who has been inside, other than employees, was Queen Elizabeth II, who had a brief visit in 1991.
You need to be invited to join, and the membership price is $85,000 a year. Once inside, the prices aren’t cheap either.
Google Data Centers, Multiple Locations Worldwide
If you try to set foot near a data center, you will face fences, checkpoints, badges, and biometric iris scans, just to name a few. There are other security measures in place to keep out unwanted guests, however, and Google refuses to disclose what they are. Tours of the centers are off-limits, and less than 1 percent of Google’s employees are allowed to enter.
All existing data centers use about 2% of the world’s electricity, so Google so uses wind turbines to power some of the facilities.
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Pripyat, Ukraine
An explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26th, 1986, caused fire and smoke to emit radioactive particles into the sky which then spread over western USSR territory and the rest of Europe. The city of Chernobyl was evacuated shortly after the disaster.
Due to residual radiation and the health risks it poses, travel to the Exclusion Zone is highly restricted. However, wildlife has flourished due to the lack of human occupation.
North Sentinel Island, Bay Of Bengal
North Sentinel Island is part of the Andaman Islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. It’s home to the Sentinelese people, one of the last groups of remote humans who remain completely disconnected from the outside world and live as hunter-gathers.
Travel to the island is strictly forbidden in order to prevent the tribespeople from contracting diseases to which they aren’t immune. Outsiders who attempt to visit meet a violent demise at the hands of the tribespeople.
Snake Island, Brazil
Snake Island (Ilha da Quimada Grande) is located off the coast of Brazil. Its rocky and rainforest terrains are home to many critically endangered snakes—particularly, golden lanceheads.
Because of the high number of snakes on the island, the Brazilian Navy decided to restrict public entry to the island, the intention being both to protect visitors from the venomous species and to protect the snakes from human presence.
Svalbard Seed Bank, Norway
This seed bank is located on Spitsbergen, an island in the middle of the Arctic. The vault stores multitudes of seeds on the off chance that a global catastrophe wipes out most of the world’s crops. Currently, it has about 864,000 distinct seeds and the space to hold up to 4.5 million.
It has no permanent staff and there is not a single person who has all of the codes you need to get inside of the structure.
Moscow Metro-2, Russia
Metro-2 is the informal name for a secret underground metro system that runs parallel to the public Moscow Metro. The system was built, or at least started, during the time of Joseph Stalin’s rule and was given the code name “D-6” by the KGB.
Whether it really exists is still a mystery. There have been interviews over the years involving people who claim to have been involved in the metro’s construction. Recently, demolition of the supposed spot of the Metro-2 uncovered a tunnel that could be part of a larger system.
Jiangsu National Security Education System, Nanjing, China
Only Chinese citizens have the right to enter this museum; foreigners aren’t allowed in since the museum stores sensitive spy information. Several of its halls display the history of Chinese security since 1927—classified documents, guns disguised as everyday objects, weapons, and uniforms.
People who appear to be Westerners are turned away from the museum; however, those who have Chinese features can usually enter without being probed.
Granite Mountain Records Vault, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, USA
Granite Mountain is located just outside of Salt Lake City. Excavated 600 feet into the north side of Little Cottonwood Canyon is the Granite Mountain Records Vault, which the Mormon Church owns.
Inside are 2.4 million rolls of microfilm with around 3.5 billion images of family history and genealogical records. The vault’s library of microfilm increases every year by up to 40,000 rolls.
Located in a remote part of Norway, the Doomsday Vault is unlike anything on the planet and is highly restricted. The huge vault actually houses numerous types of plant seeds in case a global apocalypse happens.
Because of the delicate nature of the private vault, only special guests are granted access inside.
Pine Gap, Australia
The facility contains a large computer complex with 14 radomes protecting antennas, and it employs over 800 people including CIA officers.
The location in Central Australia allows the United States to monitor spy satellites as they pass over the third of the globe which includes China, the Asian parts of Russia, and the Middle East. Due to the area’s very remote location, spy ships passing in international waters are unable to intercept the signal.
Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, England
The station contains an extensive satellite ground station and is a communications intercept and missile warning site. It’s considered the largest electronic monitoring station on Earth; it houses many satellites owned and operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office.
Activists have spoken out against the activities taking place at the station, stating that they are undemocratic and invasive because of programs like the ECHELON Interception System—a system that leaks into private and commercial communications.
Coca-Cola Vault, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The iconic Coca-Cola recipe is so valuable to the company that they store it in a big closed vault where entering is most definitely off-limits. The drink was first created in 1886 and was one of many “cola” drinks on the market at the time that claimed to have health benefits.
The recipe for the drink was protected in the Guaranty Bank in New York from 1919 to 1925 and then transferred to the Trust Company Bank where it was held until 2011.
Lascaux Caves, France
The Lascaux Caves located in Montignac, France, is one of the most restricted places on Earth. Featuring pre-historic cave art more than 17,300 years old, the cave has been closed off to the public since 1963.
That being said, archeologists are allowed to venture into the caves on a case-to-case basis.
Located off the coast of Iceland, Surtsey Island is one of the most restricted places in the world. Closed off to the public, only scientists and researchers are allowed to step foot on the land had steadily been eroding.
Scientists believe the island will completely disappear into the ocean if too many people are allowed on it.
Ise Grand Shrine In Japan
Located in n Ise, Mie Prefecture of Japan, the Ise Grand Shrine is one of the most expensive shrines in the country, with 80,000 shrines on the property.
The shrine’s Shinto traditions date back to the 8th century and everything is rebuilt every 20 years. No one but Japanese royalty is allowed on its grounds.
North Brother Island
Located in New York, North Brother Island was once a quarantine location and the house of the infamous Typhoid Mary, the first known American to have typhoid fever.
Once a popular destination for people who like to explore abandoned places, North Brother Island is now closed off to the public and has many restrictions set in place.
Dulce Base, located in New Mexico near the border of Colorado is a high secured compound and said to be one of the most restricted places in the world.
It is said that the base is part a compound housing advanced technology and a laboratory where classified experiments take plaec.
Heard Island is located between Madagascar and Antarctica and is technically owned by Australia. It is also one of the most restricted places on the planet. Highly unexplored, the island is totally barren and houses two active volcanos.
Because of the landscape is fragile, the Australian government has restricted access to anyone wanting to venture onto the terrain.
Tomb Of Qin Shi Huang
The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China’s first Emperor, is a mausoleum that has been situated underneath a pyramid for more than 2,000 years. While much on the contents of the tomb remains a mystery, it is still considered one of the greatest discoveries of all time.
To keep the tomb in pristine condition and pay respect to the late emperor, the Chinese government has forbid people from entering or excavating its contents.
Pravcicka Brana is a sandstone archway located in the Czech Republic and used to be a hot tourist destination in the region up until 1981. Then, it was decided, to preserve the natural archway, people would no longer be allowed to cross it.
Now, it is one of the most restricted places in the wrold.
Even though Niihau Island has 160 residents, no one else is allowed to step foot on the island.
To preserve the wildlife and vegetation, the only way for people who don’t live there to get onto the island is either to be part of the United States Navy or have a relative who lives on the island.