Do Not Pass Go: 40 Forbidden Destinations Worldwide

By Anthony K

If you are a passionate and sometimes deviant traveler, you are familiar with the term “no trespassing.” Everyone dreams of visiting a specific place at some point in their lives. Sadly, it is impossible to tread all grounds. Some of these locations are locked out from visitors for a good reason; when it comes to others, one cannot help but wonder why the secrecy? There are numerous destinations worldwide that you do not stand a chance to explore, regardless of your connections. This article explores areas that demand high-level clearance or are entirely off-limits to the general public. Although you might be familiar with some of these locations, be sure to expand your knowledge with privy information and discover some of the reasons for such tight security.

1. Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican

If you have ever wanted to know about the mysteries of the Catholic Church, you will have to wait a while as the archives are heavily guarded. They have records dating back to the eighth century, such as a letter from Michelangelo to Pope Julius II and a handwritten letter by Mary Queen of Scots before her assassination.

Photo Credits: CNS/ Vatican Apostolic Archives

The fascinating vault is set underground and contains 53 miles of shelving. No one is allowed access except researchers who have been granted special permits, and even they are limited in what materials they can examine. The risks of such critical data falling into the wrong hands far outweigh the extra security costs.

2. North Sentinel Island, India

North Sentinel Island is a tiny island located just off the coast of India in the Bay of Bengal. Strangers cannot visit the island, which has aquamarine waters and gorgeous sandy beaches. The Sentinelese, the indigenous population, adamantly oppose any outside interaction. They are unwelcoming to strangers and choose not to be close to the contemporary world.

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It is one of the very rare locales that remain untainted by the outside world. The Indian Coast Guard flew over the area after the tsunami in 2004 to survey the damage, and they reported individuals surfacing and shooting arrows at airplanes.

3. Morgan Island, South Carolina, USA

Monkeys may make you think of a tropical utopia far away, but they are also here in the United States. Morgan Island, South Carolina, is home to over 4,000 rhesus monkeys. However, they are notably not native to the area. These apes were transferred following a herpes virus B epidemic in Puerto Rico.

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The island was deserted before the monkeys came. People are not allowed to visit the island for their welfare and the safety of the monkeys. Despite how cute these monkeys appear in images and movies, these monkeys are not friendly. Morgan Island is only accessible to a select group of scholars.

4. Lascaux Caves, France

Regardless of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lascaux Caves in France are not accessible to the public. Owing to fungal infections that could jeopardize the caves’ survival, France has prohibited the public from entering them since 1963. These caves provide information about the evolution of humankind.

Prof saxx /Public Domain /Wikipedia

Approximately 600 specimens of antiquity dating back 20,000 years may be found in the caverns. Although tourists are not free to enter the actual caverns, they can learn about them and the models built adjacent to them in the museum. Although you cannot enter the area, you will have the whole experience outside, making your trip worthwhile.

5. Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway

You can see right away from the photo that this isn’t a site that anyone will stumble upon, and with good reason. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, popularly known as “The Armageddon Vault,” is an important location for us all. One hundred million seeds from throughout the world are kept in the dungeon.

Photo Credits: subiet /CC BY-SA 4.0 /Wikipedia

If a catastrophic event occurred that swept out the flora kingdom, these seeds might be used to recreate our vegetation cover. It is designed to withstand any natural calamity and is elevated above sea level in the event of flooding caused by rising sea levels. Surprisingly, the vault is unaffected by politics since North Korea has supplied seeds.

6. Pluto’s Gate, Turkey

Although Turkey has several excellent spots to explore, there is one that is off-limits for your protection. People were afraid to approach Pluto’s Gate in Hierapolis, Turkey, because it dates back to prehistoric times. A historian tested the legend by throwing sparrows within to see whether they could live, and they died instantly.

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The use of innocuous birds was brutal, but it resulted in a fascinating finding. Scientists corroborated this claim in 1965 when they discovered that Carbon dioxide levels were so high that it produced a lake at the foot of the gateway at night when it got chilly enough. Any live creature could only last a few seconds in such a place.

7. North Brother Island, New York, USA

Although North Brother Island in New York’s East River appears to be a pleasant spot, it has a tragic history. Around 1,000 travelers were stranded on the island after their ship sank. It later became an infectious illness hospital when Mary Mallon, aka Typhoid Mary, was admitted.

Photo Credits: Julie McCoy /CC BY-SA 4.0 /Wikipedia

Mary was the first person to have typhoid disease, infecting 50 people, three of whom died. The island is now deserted and serves as a bird refuge. We’re wondering if the island is haunted by Typhoid Mary, which would explain why no one wants to go there. With this information, this seems like a dreadful place, and many people are right to be scared of visiting.

8. Snake Island, Brazil

Although you may be disappointed that you won’t be able to visit any of the places on this checklist, this is not one of them. Snake Island, also known as Ilha Da Queimada Grande in Brazil, is only 93 miles off the coast of Sao Paulo and is a residence to an alarming number of snakes—between one and five snakes per ten square feet, to be precise.

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Even though we can’t fathom anybody wanting to visit here, it’s definitely for the best that they aren’t allowed. Sea levels rose and buried the ground that linked the island to the mainland, allowing the snakes to reach the island.

9. Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA

Most people know Fort Knox, but only a few have visited it. Since it houses a significant quantity of U.S. gold deposits, it is known as one of the most closely guarded places on the planet. The security precautions are incredible, and none of the employees have clearance to the vault.

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The vault is not only composed of concrete-line granite and fortified steel, but it also requires many permits to get entrance. The employees only know one combination. Thus, gaining access would require a coordinated effort. Being a gold depot, the level of security is understandable.

10. Chichen Itza Pyramid, Mexico

The Chichen Itza Pyramid attracts hordes of tourists each year, so you might be shocked to see it on the list. Visitors are not permitted to climb it, even though they can visit it. People were able to ascend to the summit until 2006, when they were forced to close it due to a fatal event.

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The ancient Mayan pyramid has steps on either side, but they have eroded over time, adding danger. Although you can’t climb to the top, you can see this marvelous wonder from the ground. It is not the same, but it is still breathtaking and legendary.

11. Grand Shrine Of Ise, Japan

Japan has shrine culture down to a science. There are approximately 80,000 shrines in Japan, but none compare to the Grand Shrine of Ise. Thanks to its architecture, the skillfully made temple is the most expensive, although they used no nails in its construction.

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The Grand Shrine of Ise is rebuilt every 20 years to represent death and reincarnation, but no one is permitted to enter due to its sacred status. You’ll probably see it from the other side of the wooden fence unless you’re a descendant of the Japanese royal household or a priest.

12. Mezhgorye, Russia

Considering Russia is the world’s biggest country, it is full of mysteries. You may visit many ghost towns, strange sites, and other unusual places, but Mezhgorye is not among them. Outsiders cannot witness this small village situated in the Southern Ural Mountains.

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Two regiments surround the village, and it is rumored to be the headquarters of a nuclear missile installation, although nothing is certain. That would make sense given the level of secrecy, but there’s no way of knowing. According to Kremlin, it is used as a basement for Russian leaders and a vault for their country’s assets.

13. Mausoleum Of Qin Shi Huang, China

Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Tomb was revealed in 1974 when the Terracotta Army was uncovered, although it has yet to be explored. This was one of the most important developments in history, but they were concerned that new technology might ruin the tomb.

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The Chinese authorities prohibit visitors from entering the tomb for several reasons. The only thing known about the tomb is that it is made up of intricate networks and caves loaded with items that the Emperor might require in the hereafter. There are also rumors of booby traps to keep intruders at bay.

14. Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan, India

You cannot enter Bhangarh Fort from sunset until sunrise, though this is not strictly prohibited. Tourists can admire the gorgeous Rajasthani grandeur throughout the day, but as the sun sets, you must leave as soon as possible, mainly if you are terrified of ghosts.

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The fort was declared haunted by the Indian government since this 17th-century structure is full of ghost stories and curses that will send shivers down your spine. Those who have attempted to breach this rule have magically disappeared. Therefore, we won’t be coming here after the sunsets.

15. Surtsey, Iceland

As one of the world’s youngest islands, Surtsey, Iceland, appeared after volcanic eruptions from 1963 to 1967. People are forbidden to visit the island except for a few researchers because they want to figure out how ecosystems form without human influence.

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Scientists have identified algae, molds, birds, and crustaceans. They cannot carry any items from the mainland with them due to the risk of interfering with their research. You won’t be able to cross this off your bucket list despite it being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moreover, reaching the island is a near-impossible journey.

16. Poveglia, Italy

Not many things are more horrifying than the history of Poveglia, Italy. In the 1700s, the island separating Venice and Lido was a quarantine location for persons suffering from the bubonic plague, and they would come here to perish. The thought of a pandemic leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Years later, this structure remains out of bounds.

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In the twentieth century, Poveglia became a mental asylum, where it was reported that doctors would subject the victims to terrifying tests. It is thought to be Italy’s most eerie location. We recommend removing this place from your travel itinerary.

17. Niihau Island, Hawaii, USA

Although most people think of Hawaii as a popular holiday spot, there is an island where visitors are not permitted. Because Elizabeth Sinclair, a Scottish rancher and plantation owner, bought Niihau Island in 1864. Her family has owned the property since then.

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In 1952, Hawaii experienced a polio breakout, and no one was permitted to leave or enter the island to prevent the disease from spreading. Niihau was fortunate in that no one got sick. People still need special permission to enter the island, and even the rich and renowned find it difficult.

18. Area 51, Nevada, USA

No one has been able to access Area 51 despite numerous attempts. People have speculated about the mysteries it hides because it is America’s most prominent and strange banned place. The majority of people believe they are concealing captured aliens or UFOs.

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Area 51 is a U.S. Air Force and CIA testing territory on official records because of its remote location. If this were true, it makes sense why the place is so secretive, but you can never be too sure that they aren’t hiding some creatures from space.

19. Heard Island Volcano, Australia

Despite its location between Madagascar and Antarctica, this island is still Australian property. While it may appear to be a scene from Happy Feet, do not be fooled; Heard Island is a dangerous place to visit. The active volcano is the primary reason visitors cannot go there.

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In 2000, scientists spotted a massive lava flow coming from the volcano. If that isn’t enough to put you off, it has a reputation for adverse weather and is a two-week boat ride from the nearest landmass. It is not a place you would want to visit unless you are part of a National Geographic crew.

20. Bohemian Grove, United States

You can’t enter unless you’re a member of the club. The Bohemian Club is a private gentleman’s club located on a restricted 2,700-acre campsite in Monte-Rio, California. Bohemian Grove organizes a two-week retreat each July for some of the world’s most influential men.

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Presidents, government figures, entertainers, artists, and business executives are among the Bohemian Club’s members. Everything that transpires here is top-secret, and the only rule is that no business is discussed. In any case, most people would not want to join this club.

21. Coca-Cola Recipe Vault, United States

Coca-Cola is an iconic drink that has been around since the 1800s. Although the beverage is known worldwide, the recipe is one of America’s greatest secrets. Try to steal this formula behind a complicated vault with a hand scanner, armed guards, and a combination.

Photo Credits: Coca-Cola

It is near impossible to steal the Coca-Cola formula. You stand a better chance of altering the course of a river. Being an ancient company, it is no doubt Coca-Cola has the best security in place to preserve their private information.

22. The Queen’s Bedroom, U.K.

You might think it’s strange that people want to go inside someone’s bedroom, but when you’re the Queen of England, everyone wants to know everything you do. Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s principal residence, is open to the public for tours, but this room is entirely off-limits.

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Buckingham Palace has been the home of England’s monarchy since 1837, yet only one individual has attempted to break into the Queen’s room. It was only to win a wager with his buddies that Michael Fagan scaled a 20-foot wall and wiggled up a drainpipe to access the queen’s chamber.

23. Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic

Pravcicka Brana was the Czech Republic’s most famous attraction until 1982. Tourists were not allowed to enter after that. Unfortunately, you can’t climb over this archway unless you have access to time travel, but you may still admire it from a distance.

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Pravcicka Brana was sealed shut by the government because tourists were increasing the rate of natural erosion, which would cause it to disintegrate. The arches will eventually fall due to natural causes, but the prohibition has slowed that process significantly.

24. The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock, which dates from the first century and is one of the most sacred places for several denominations, is located in Jerusalem, Israel. The golden-topped sanctuary, located on the Temple Mount, is a prominent landmark in the Jerusalem skyline, yet it is subject to several stringent laws.

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Non-Muslim pilgrims are not permitted to enter the monument, but they can view it from the Temple Mount within non-Muslim open hours. The most magical aspect of this structure is its exterior, which everybody can see. This structure has inspired many others.

25. U.N. Buffer Zone, Cyprus

The U.N. took control of Cyprus during the escalating civil conflict between the Turkish and Greeks and established a “Buffer Zone” in the city to keep the two groups apart. This no-man’s-land is now a ghost town after they agreed on a truce, and it all became stuck in time.

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This is Europe’s only divided capital, and whatever was behind those walls was deserted. It would be wonderful if they turned it into a historic landmark, but that isn’t likely to occur anytime soon. The OBZ Occupy Buffer Zone movement once protested here.

26. Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, United States

Unless you’re preparing for the doomsday, a basement is probably the last place on your mind right now. The public officials will be alright if the world ends. The Mount Weather Emergency Center in Virginia was designed to be the safest spot on the planet in a disaster.

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During the Cold War, this bunker was constructed to secure civil servants and the country’s treasured assets. The structure is off-limits to everyone save the FEMA officials who administer it unless there is a pressing need for individuals to take refuge.

27. The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, Ethiopia

Many believe the ten commandments in the Ark of the Covenant are finally resting in Ethiopia’s Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. However, because just one person is permitted to witness the Ark, most humans will never know whether or not this is true.

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The only individual who can see the Ark is an assigned guardian abbot picked by the predecessor. The church was built in the fourth century, and the grounds include the bones of an Ethiopian Emperor. Perhaps one day, the monk will write a tell-all book so that the rest of the world will learn about the hidden secrets inside those walls.

28. Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

We wouldn’t recommend visiting Chernobyl unless you’re looking for radioactive exposure. Rescue operations began in 1986 after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which released toxic clouds into the air, but it was too quick. The destruction spread over an 18-mile radius, resulting in a barren wasteland.

Photo Credits: Carl Montgomery /CC BY 2.0 /Wikipedia

Chernobyl remains off-limits 34 years after the tragedy due to excessive levels of radioactivity. Some people may be granted special authorization, but it is difficult to obtain, and it is usually best not to expose oneself to the dangerous air.

29. Moscow Metro-2, Russia

Unless you’ve heard about the Moscow Metro-2, you’d assume it was the storyline of a fantasy movie, what with the secret tunnels and ghost trains. As per intelligence, the KGB constructed this 600-foot subway system in the event of a nuclear war.

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Essential public buildings, the airport, and secret service head offices are all connected by these lines. Nobody knows what it looks like, although it was constructed at the start of Stalin’s regime. We assume you don’t want to be here since it means a nuclear misfortune has occurred.

30. Mormon Church Secret Vault, United States

Who knew there were so many top-secret locations in the United States alone? The Mormon Church Secret Vault is set on the side of the Granite Mountains in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The military-style vault was erected in 1965 to store important church papers, but why do they need it to be so safe?

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According to recent sources, it now he is permitted in. However, we don’t know if there is valuable information. Why would you want to go to a dark and rickety vault?

31. Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, U.K

Though no one knows the Royal Air Force’s facility’s current role, it was formerly utilized for information gathering and spying during the Cold War. The NSA and ECHELON operatives are the only ones who use the 550-acre site on Menwith Hill.

Photo Credits: Matt Crypto /Public Domain /Wikipedia

Since its inception in 1954, the institution has been driving conspiracy theorists insane. They’re still figuring out what’s happening behind the barbed-wire walls and what looks like Epcot-style bubbles sprinkled throughout the grounds. Many believe it is the site where the government uses its technology to eavesdrop on personal calls and cyber use.

32. Pine Gap, Australia

Even if you get past the deadly snakes, insects, and other frightening critters, there is one spot in Australia that you should avoid seeing since visitors are not permitted. Pine Gap, a top-secret U.S. military installation in Australia’s outback, is located there.

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The facility is used to command satellites that gather data on airstrikes worldwide. Although the facility was established during the Cold War, most people assumed it was for space research. Unless you have specific permission, no one can visit the area.

33. Disney Club 33, United States

If you’re a Disney lover, this one might irritate you. The most private club in the Disney company, Disney Club 33, was founded by Walt Disney to amuse business associates. Because he died before they finished it, he never got to utilize it. Regardless, it opened, and it is the sole liquor-serving establishment in the park.

Photo Credits: Mxreb0 /CC BY-SA 3.0 /Wikipedia

The only alternative to joining this exclusive club is by invitation and paying a $100,000 membership fee. In addition, there are yearly dues of $30,000 to fork up. It may keep you awake at night wondering what’s inside, but that’s a riddle that only members are privy to.

34. Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean

Diego Garcia was used to clear a $14 million loan with the United States, even though it originally belonged to the United Kingdom. The secluded island has been converted into a U.S. military installation, and only U.S. military personnel are permitted to visit.

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According to reports, there are 654 structures on this small island, and 4,000 servicemembers operate there. Some suspect it is being used as secret military detention, but no one has been able to confirm this. Few people know that this was the departure point for planes to Afghanistan and Iraq.

35. Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean

What is known as the world’s deepest trench is located off the coasts of Japan and the Philippines. The tunnel is approximately 7 miles long, and as you go deeper, the pressure increases dramatically. Sulfur and carbon dioxide bubbles rise from the depths, indicating why this area is off-limits.

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This marks the most profound spot experts have discovered, although 80 percent of the ocean remains unknown. The suction at the bottom of the trench is the same as having a jumbo aircraft resting on top of you, which is not conducive to a lovely holiday. It would be great if you went elsewhere.

36. Mecca, Saudi Arabia

For Muslims, Mecca is the most sacred place on earth and the center of Islam. Many visitors would love the opportunity to visit this old city, but it is exclusively open to Muslims. The city is rich in history and faith, but non-Muslims who attempt to enter risk being fined or worse.

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Most individuals assume that these locations are solely for prayer and not for touring. Although strangers will never know what this city looks like. The only way to gain access to this most sacred of places involves changing your faith and adopting the Muslim way of life.

37. White’s Gentleman’s Club, U.K.

If you are a devotee of Netflix’s The Crown, you may recall this one from the series. The White’s Gentleman’s Club is a very private club for society’s upper crust. What began as a chocolate business evolved into a gambling club for males.

Photo Credits: Paul Farmer /CC BY-SA 2.0 /Wikipedia

It is now the world’s most elite and secretive club, with some delicious insights that non-members will never know. To join, you must have attended Eton and then Oxford or Cambridge, and even then, you may not be accepted. Furthermore, the annual dues are a hefty $112,000.

38. Room 39, North Korea

Not that anybody can pack their belongings and travel to North Korea; we don’t know many individuals who would want to; there is a spot within the mysterious country that is even more clandestine. Room 39, the country’s secret organization, is located within the government building.

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There have been allegations that this enigmatic Room 39 is involved in counterfeiting, the production and distribution of drugs, and other illegal operations, but no one knows the reality. Most people have no understanding of what goes on in North Korea daily. Therefore Room 39 will most likely stay a mystery for the rest of their lives.

39. Korean Demilitarized Zone, Korea

The Korean Demilitarized Zone is off-limits to visitors, not that anybody would want to go there. This swath of territory dividing North and South Korea serves as a buffer zone where the two governments can meet for talks. The area is a no-land man’s protected by armed paramilitary patrols.

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The barbed wire is part of what makes this one of the most heavily mined frontiers in the world. People can see the boundary, but they cannot approach it or enter it for obvious reasons. South Korea has a lot more to offer than just a barbed-wire border.

40. Woomera Test Range, Australia

The Woomera Test Range in Australia is so large that it could contain the whole country of Portugal. The vast tract of land is used to experiment with bombs and missiles, which explains why no one is allowed to enter.

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Who would want to spend their vacation time at a weapons test site? It wouldn’t be the finest vacation, so it’s not somewhere you’d like to go. We’re convinced they’re testing some secret weapon there, but only approved personnel is permitted to know.