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

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

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.

Surtsey, Iceland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, England

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

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

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

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.

Pine Gap, Australia

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

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.