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.

Queen Elizabeth II views stacks of gold as she visits the Bank of England
Photo Credit: Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool / Getty Images

Visiting is strictly off-limits unless you’re a member of the security team, an employee, or the queen.

Surtsey, Iceland

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.

Red hot lava spews from an erupting volcano on Surtsey,
Photo Credit: Ernst Haas / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ernst Haas / Getty Images

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.

photo of chapel exterior
Photo Credit: Reddit / danruse
Photo Credit: Reddit / danruse

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.

photos of yanomani village
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

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.

sign warns against trespassing
Photo Credit: Barry King / WireImage
Photo Credit: Barry King / WireImage

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.

photo of fort knox exterior and gold blocks inside
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

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.

abandoned house and old trench
Photo Credit: Reddit / wje10
Photo Credit: Reddit / wje10

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.

government building in pyongyang
Photo Credit: ED JONES / AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: ED JONES / AFP via Getty Images

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.

interior of club and drawing of visitors from 1734
Photo Credit: Chris Ware / Keystone Features / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Chris Ware / Keystone Features / Getty Images

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.

interior and exterior of Google data centre
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

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.

GettyImages-492210546
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

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.

tribes people on beach and photo of whole island
Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe via Getty Images // Reddit / caspirinha
Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe via Getty Images // Reddit / caspirinha

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.

Golden Lancehead snake
Photo Credit: CARL DE SOUZA / AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: CARL DE SOUZA / AFP via Getty Images

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.

building in snow at night
Photo Credit: LISE ASERUD / NTB Scanpix / AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: LISE ASERUD / NTB Scanpix / AFP via Getty Images

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.

underground metro station
Photo Credit: Harry Engels / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Harry Engels / Getty Images

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.

man walking in museum
Photo Credit: STR / AFP via Getty Image
Photo Credit: STR / AFP via Getty Image

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.

doors to vault on mountain face
Photo Credit: Reddit / everything__is_free
Photo Credit: Reddit / everything__is_free

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.

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.

Enclosed listening radar domes at Menwith Hill
Photo Credit: Adrian Greeman / Construction Photography / Avalon / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Adrian Greeman / Construction Photography / Avalon / Getty Images

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.

coca cola vault
Photo Credit: Reddit / PerryPattySusiana
Photo Credit: Reddit / PerryPattySusiana

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.

Pine Gap, Australia

The facility contains a large computer complex with 14 radomes protecting antennas, and it employs over 800 people including CIA officers.

aerial view of facility
Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe via Getty Images
Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe via Getty Images

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.

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.

FRANCE-HERITAGE-LASCAUX-HEALTH-VIRUS
HILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images
HILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images

That being said, archeologists are allowed to venture into the caves on a case-to-case basis.

Surtsey Island

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.

Red Hot
Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images
Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images

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.

Naiku_04
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Northern Tip of Big Brother, Brother Islands, Red Sea, Egypt
Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images

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

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.

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Pinterest
Pinterest

It is said that the base is part a compound housing advanced technology and a laboratory where classified experiments take plaec.

Heard Island

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.

1920px-Heard_Island_by_Sentinel-2_Cloudless
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Because of the landscape is fragile, the Australian government has restricted access to anyone wanting to venture onto the terrain.

Doomsday Vault

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.

CNN International on Twitter
Leslie bessler/Pinterest
Leslie bessler/Pinterest

Because of the delicate nature of the private vault, only special guests are granted access inside.

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.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Xing Yun / Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images
Xing Yun / Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images

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

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.

Travel Destination: Czech Switzerland
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Now, it is one of the most restricted places in the wrold.

Niihau Island

Even though Niihau Island has 160 residents, no one else is allowed to step foot on the island.

Niihau_sep_2007
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

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.