Forbidden Places in the World That You Aren’t Allowed to Visit
It’s probably safe to say that most people long to vacation in places like Hawaii or Paris, but then there are those of us who yearn for the bizarre and the unknown. If you’re part of the latter group, then you’ve clicked into the right place! Unfortunately you can’t actually visit the little-known places on this list, but we think you’ll find some enjoyment in reading about them nonetheless!
Spy Hubs, New York City, USA
The spy hubs are forbidden to visit because they’re government facilities. The NSA (National Security Agency) has eight fortified, window-less skyscrapers dotted around the United States. There are several government buildings in New York City that are rumored to be spy hubs, including the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the New York Public Library.
These buildings are off limits to visitors because they’re government facilities. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.
Club 33, Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA
Club 33 is forbidden to visit because it’s a private club. Club 33 is a private club located inside Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The club is known for its exclusivity and lavish parties. Membership into the club is by invitation only and there’s a waiting list of over 14 years. The initiation fee is $25,000 and the annual dues are $10,000.
The club is forbidden to visitors because it’s a private club. Only members are allowed to enter the club. It has been criticized for its elitist membership and lack of transparency.
Dulce Base, New Mexico, USA
Dulce Base is forbidden to visit because it’s a military installation. Dulce Base is a United States Air Force base in New Mexico. It’s home to the 7th Special Operations Group (7SOG) and the 58th Special Operations Wing (58 SOW).
The base is known for its secretive operations and is rumored to be the site of a secret government laboratory where experiments are conducted on aliens and human-animal hybrids. The base is off limits to visitors and only authorized personnel are allowed inside.
Utah’s Mormon Vault, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
The Mormon Vault is forbidden to visit because it’s a religious facility. The Mormon Vault is a storage facility for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It’s located in the basement of the LDS Church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The vault is used to store the church’s most important documents, including the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon and 3.5 billion images on microfilm and digital media. The vault is off limits to the public because of this. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.
Google Data Center, Douglas County, Georgia, USA
Google Data Center is forbidden to visit because it’s a private facility. The Google Data Center is a private facility in Douglas County, Georgia. It’s one of the most technologically advanced data centers in the world. It is also one of the most secure places in the U.S.
The data center is used to store and process massive amounts of data for Google. The site is off limits to visitors because it’s a private facility. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.
Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado, USA
Cheyenne Mountain Complex is forbidden to visit because it’s a military installation. Cheyenne Mountain Complex is a United States military facility in Colorado. It’s home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM).
The complex is buried beneath 2,000 feet of granite and is designed to be invulnerable to a nuclear attack. The complex is prepared to house high level U.S. officials in the event of nuclear war. The site is off limits to visitors because it’s a military installation. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.
Grossinger’s Catskills Resort Hotel, New York, USA
Grossinger’s Catskills Resort Hotel is forbidden to visit because it’s abandoned. Grossinger’s Catskills Resort Hotel was a luxury resort in New York. It was open from 1919 to 1986 and was once the largest resort in the Catskill Mountains.
During the 1950s, Grossinger’s was the crown jewel of New York’s Catskills resort area. The hotel was abandoned after years of decline. It’s now a forbidden place because the buildings are unstable and dangerous. The resort is slowly being reclaimed by nature and is off limits to visitors.
Mercury, Nevada, USA
Mercury is forbidden to visit because it’s a ghost town. Mercury is a ghost town in Nevada. It was a boomtown in the early 1900s during the silver mining boom. Mercury is another forbidden area whose status was brought on by U.S. nuclear testing.
The town was abandoned after the mines dried up and today it’s a popular tourist destination for those interested in abandoned places. The government has forbidden visitors from entering the town because of the unstable buildings. The only outsiders allowed in the town are credentialed federal researchers.
Menwith Hill Air Force Base, North Yorkshire, England
Menwith Hill Air Force Base is forbidden to visit because it’s a military installation. Menwith Hill Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base in North Yorkshire, England. It’s home to the National Security Agency (NSA) and the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The base is known for its secretive operations and is off limits to visitors.
The goings-on inside the mysterious 550 acre base with its numerous domes have mystified local residents so much that they’ve launched legal complaints against the government. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.
North Sentinel Island, India
North Sentinel Island is home to the Sentinelese people, who are one of the most isolated tribes in the world. They have no contact with the outside world and they attack anyone who comes near their island. They are one of the last populations on earth who have yet to come into contact with the modern world and have been known to meet outsiders with violence.
In 2006, two fishermen who were stranded on the island were killed by the tribe. The Indian government has forbidden anyone from visiting the island in order to protect the Sentinelese people from the outside world.
Snake Island, Brazil
Located off the coast of Brazil, Snake Island is home to thousands of venomous snakes. It is also called Ilha da Queimada Grande. The snakes are so dangerous that the Brazilian government has forbidden anyone from visiting the island.
The only people who are allowed on the island are scientists who are studying the snakes. Even then, they have to get special permission from the government before they are allowed to set foot on the island. It’s closed to the public to protect both people and the snakes that inhabit it.
Surtsey Island, Iceland
Surtsey Island is a volcanic island that is located off the coast of Iceland. It was formed in 1963 when a volcanic eruption created a new island. The volcanic eruption lasted from 1963 to 1967, making it one of the youngest islands in the world.
The island is uninhabited and it’s forbidden to go there without a permit. The reason for this is because scientists are studying how plants and animals colonize new land. It is currently used for scientific research only with the goal of observing how ecosystems develop. Surtsey Island is the perfect place for this because it’s free from human interference.
Doomsday Vault, Norway
The Doomsday Vault is a seed bank that is located in the Arctic Circle in Norway. Also called Svalbard Global Seed Vault, it is scientists’ answer to a potential future apocalypse. It was created to store seeds in the event of a global catastrophe.
The vault is buried under the permafrost and it can store up to 4.5 million different types of seeds. The vault is ready for practically any kind of apocalypse: it’s tucked away in the mountains above sea level, can withstand earthquakes and explosions, and is built to last about 200 years. The vault is closed to the public but you can take a virtual tour of it online.
Lascaux Caves, France
The Lascaux Caves are home to some of the most well-preserved cave paintings in the world. It is located in Montignac, France. The caves are estimated to be around 17,000 years old and they depict animals that lived in the area at the time. The caves were open to the public until 1963 when they were closed due to the damage that tourists were causing.
Now, only a handful of people are allowed to enter the caves each year and they have to wear special suits to protect the paintings from their breath. You can visit Lascaux II, which is an exact replica located about 600 feet away from the original.
North Brother Island, New York City
North Brother Island is located in the East River between Queens and the Bronx in New York City. The island has a dark history. It was once home to a hospital for people with contagious diseases. Then, it was turned into a rehabilitation center for drug addicts.
The island is now abandoned and it’s forbidden to go there. Isolation and quarantine are still practiced on the island. The island is currently being used as a bird sanctuary.
Big Diomede Island, Russia
Big Diomede Island is located in the middle of the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska. The island is part of Russia but it’s just 2.4 miles away from Alaska.
It’s forbidden to visit the island without a permit from the Russian government. Big Diomede is not suitable for habitation. The reason for this is because the island is a military base. It’s home to a Russian military base and a radar station. The island is also off-limits to planes and ships.
Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China
The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang is the final resting place of the first emperor of China. It’s located in Lintong County, Shaanxi Province. The tomb is surrounded by a massive burial site that includes an army of 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors.
It’s believed that the tomb was built to protect the emperor in the afterlife. Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of imperial China and the founder of the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC. It’s currently forbidden to enter the tomb because it’s still being excavated. However, you can see some of the artifacts that have been found in the nearby museum.
Uluru Rock, Australia
Uluru Rock is a sacred Aboriginal site that is located in Australia. It’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The rock is over 500 million years old and it’s considered to be a holy site by the Aboriginal people. In 2019, the Australian government decided to ban climbing Uluru Rock out of respect for the Aboriginal people.
This peculiar-looking sandstone monolith was once available for climbing on, but since October 2019, the people of the Anangu tribe have asked tourists not to do so anymore due to the erosion it was causing. The rock is now only open to those who want to walk around it or take part in cultural ceremonies.
Poveglia Island, Italy
Poveglia Island is located in the Venetian Lagoon off the coast of Italy. It has a long and dark history. It was first used as a quarantine station for people with the plague. Then, it was turned into a mental hospital where patients were subjected to horrific experiments.
The island is now abandoned and it’s said to be haunted by the ghosts of the people who died there. It has since been closed off to the public, clearly for good reason. The Italian government has forbidden anyone from visiting the island.
Robins Island, New York
Robins Island is a small island off the coast of Long Island, New York. It’s forbidden to visit the island because it’s privately owned. It was originally purchased by Louis Moore Bacon with the intent of becoming a private escape of vacation homes for his family.
The island is home to a nature preserve. It’s also home to many endangered species of plants and animals. The island is only accessible by boat and there are no boats for public use.
Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant, Ethiopia
The Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant is located in Aksum, Ethiopia. It’s forbidden to enter the chapel because it’s believed to house the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant is a sacred object that according to the Bible, was used to carry the Ten Commandments. It’s been missing for centuries and its whereabouts are unknown. Some believe that it’s on Mount Sinai in Egypt. Others believe that it’s in Ethiopia. But no one knows for sure. Unfortunately none of us laypeople are allowed into the chapel – not even historians or researchers.
Niihau Island, Hawaii
Niihau Island is the westernmost and seventh largest inhabited island in Hawaii. The island is also known as “The Forbidden Island” because it’s forbidden to visit without permission from the owners. The Robinson family has owned the island since 1864.
They’ve forbidden outsiders from visiting in order to protect the Hawaiian culture and way of life. The island is home to about 170 people. Most of them are Native Hawaiians.
Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic
Pravcicka Brana is the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe. It’s located in the Czech Republic. The arch is over 20 meters high and 30 meters wide. But unfortunately no one has been allowed to visit since 1982 due to the constant foot traffic causing too much erosion.
It’s forbidden to climb on the arch because it’s a protected area. Pravcicka Brana is part of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
Bhangarh Fort, India
Bhangarh Fort is a 17th-century fort located in Rajasthan, India. The fort is said to be haunted by the ghost of a princess. It’s believed that she was cursed by a magician who was in love with her. The curse resulted in the death of everyone in the fort.
The fort is now abandoned and it’s forbidden to go there after sunset. No one knows what happens if you try to visit after dark, because according to the locals, anyone who’s ever attempted has mysteriously disappeared.
Pluto’s Gate, Turkey
Pluto’s Gate is a cave located in the ancient city of Hierapolis, Turkey. It was created as a religious site dedicated to the god Pluto and used as a ritual passage to the underworld. The cave is forbidden to visit because it’s incredibly dangerous.
The cave is full of deadly carbon dioxide gas. The gas is so dense that it can kill you within minutes. The cave was used by the ancient Romans as a place to kill animals for their entertainment. It was also used as a place to execute criminals. The cave is still deadly today and it’s forbidden to go inside.
Disney’s Discovery Island, Florida
Disney’s Discovery Island is a small island located in the middle of Bay Lake, near Orlando, Florida. The island is forbidden to visit because it’s privately owned by The Walt Disney Company. The island was originally home to a wildlife park called “Treasure Island”.
The park closed in 1999 and the island has been abandoned ever since. It’s forbidden to visit the island because it’s unsafe. The buildings are in disrepair and there are no lifeguards on the island.
Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean
The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the ocean. It’s over 11,000 meters deep. The pressure at the bottom of the trench is over 1,000 times that of atmospheric pressure at sea level. It’s forbidden to visit the trench because it’s too dangerous and almost inaccessible.
The trench is more than 36,000 feet deep and only a handful of people have ever been to the bottom of the trench. And only one person has ever done it solo. His name is James Cameron and he’s a film director. He made a documentary about his experience called “Deepsea Challenge 3D”.
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is a 2,600 square kilometer area that’s forbidden to visit. In 1986, the world’s biggest nuclear disaster to date occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. Residents were evacuated from nearby towns for about 1,000 square miles around the site.
The zone is still too radioactive for human habitation. It’s thought to be one of the most radioactively contaminated places on Earth. Most of the area is abandoned. But there are a few people who still live there. They’re called “self-settlers” and they’re not supposed to be there. But they continue to live in the exclusion zone because it’s their home.
Paris Catacombs, France
The Paris Catacombs are a network of tunnels and caves that run under the city of Paris. They’re best known for being the final resting place of over 6 million people.
The catacombs are off-limits to the public because they’re structurally unsound. Most of them are off-limits to the public because the risk of getting lost or having something collapse on you is terrifying. They’re also home to a colony of bats. The catacombs are only open to a select few, mostly researchers and scientists.
Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean
Diego Garcia is a small island in the Indian Ocean. The island is forbidden to visit because it’s a military base. It was once home to 2,000 residents, but in 1973 the British government evicted all of the residents in order to make room for the US to build a military base there during the Cold War.
The base is used by the United States and the United Kingdom as a strategic location for military operations. The base is also home to a large number of nuclear weapons. If you want to visit Diego Garcia, you need to get permission from the military. And that’s not likely to happen.
Ise Grand Shrine, Japan
The Ise Grand Shrine is a religious site located in the city of Ise, Japan. It’s forbidden to visit the shrine because it’s a sacred site. The shrine is dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu. She’s the goddess of the sun and the patron deity of Japan.
The shrine is only open to the public every 20 years. That’s because the shrine is rebuilt every 20 years. The old shrine is dismantled and a new one is built in its place. The rebuilding process takes about 15 years. So, if you want to visit the Ise Grand Shrine, you’ll have to wait until 2033.
Alnwick Poison Garden, England
The Alnwick Poison Garden is located in the grounds of Alnwick Castle in England. The garden is home to over 100 plants that are poisonous to humans. The plants are labeled with signs that warn visitors not to touch them.
The garden is forbidden to visit because it’s too dangerous. The plants in the garden can kill you if you touch them. Seven people fainted in just one summer after inhaling too many of the toxic fumes during tours. The garden is open to the public, but only for guided tours.
Terra Indigena Xinane Isolados, Brazil
Terra Indigena Xinane Isolados is a Brazilian indigenous territory that’s forbidden to visit. The territory is home to the Xinane tribe, who have isolated themselves from the outside world. The tribe has no contact with the outside world and they want to keep it that way.
The tribe has forbidden outsiders from visiting their territory. The only way to visit the Xinane tribe is to be invited by the tribe. And that’s not likely to happen.
Morgan Island, South Carolina
Morgan Island is a small island located off the coast of South Carolina. The company uses the island to breed rhesus monkeys for scientific research. There are over 4,000 monkeys on the island. The monkeys aren’t native, but were brought over from Puerto Rico during an outbreak of herpes virus B.
The island is also home to a small population of humans who take care of the monkeys. The island is forbidden to visitors because of the risk of disease. The monkeys on the island are vaccinated against diseases, but there’s still a risk that they could infect humans.
Navassa Island, Caribbean Sea
Navassa Island is a small island located in the Caribbean Sea. The island is forbidden to visit because it’s a nature reserve. Navassa Island is uninhabited and disputed between the United States and Haiti.
The island is home to a number of rare and endangered species. It’s also home to an active volcano. The island is off-limits to visitors because it is being preserved. Anyone who desires to visit must obtain a special permit, and those are rarely given out.
Point Nepean National Park, Australia
Point Nepean National Park is a national park located in Australia. The park is forbidden to visit because it’s a quarantine station. You can hike around much of this park on your own, but certain parts are off-limits to the general public due to its nature and dangerous conditions, including treacherous waters.
The station is used to quarantine animals and plants that are brought into Australia. The station is also used to quarantine humans who are sick with diseases. The park is off-limits to visitors because it’s too dangerous.
Varosha is a ghost town located in Cyprus. The town is forbidden to visit because it’s a military zone. Up until 1974, Varosha was once a happening beach resort town in Cyprus. The town was abandoned in 1974 after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
The town has been uninhabited ever since. Today the town is still completely abandoned, and trespassers risk being shot by the Turkish military.
Mezhgorye is a small town in the mountains of Russia. The town is forbidden to visit because it’s a top-secret military base. It is rumored to be used as a nuclear missile site and is guarded by battalions to keep trespassers out. The base is home to a number of nuclear missiles.
It’s also home to the Russian military’s secret “doomsday device”. The device is a nuclear weapon that’s designed to be used in a nuclear war. Mezhgorye is off-limits to visitors because it’s too dangerous.
Heard Island, Australia
Heard Island is a small island located in the southern Indian Ocean. It is a pint-sized territory owned by Australia, but located out in the middle of nowhere smack dab between Antarctica, Australia, and the southernmost tip of Africa.
The island is forbidden to visit because it’s a World Heritage Site. The island is home to a number of rare and endangered species. It’s also home to an active volcano. The island is off-limits to visitors because it’s too dangerous.
Room 39, Pyongyang, North Korea
Room 39 is forbidden to visit because it’s a top secret government facility. Room 39 is a secretive organization that is believed to be responsible for the North Korean government’s illegal activity, including drug trafficking and counterfeiting US currency.
Defectors from the regime claim that Room 39 handles activities including “counterfeiting, insurance scams, and drug production, along with some legal endeavors, are estimated to make the country between $500 million and $2 billion USD.” The organization is based in a nondescript building in Pyongyang. Very little is known about Room 39, and the North Korean government denies its existence.
Area 51, Nevada, USA
Area 51 is a forbidden place to visit because it’s a military base. According to many in the UFO community, Area 51 is a secret military installation in Nevada where the United States stockpiles alien technology. Area 51 is a United States Air Force facility located in the Nevada desert.
The base is top secret and off-limits to visitors. It’s rumored that the base is used for reverse engineering of alien technology, but that has never been confirmed. The base is heavily guarded and any unauthorized visitors will be arrested.
Plymouth is a forbidden place to visit because it’s an active volcano. Plymouth is the capital of Montserrat. The city was abandoned in 1997 after the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano. That year, the Soufrière Hills volcano became active, leading to the total evacuation of the town.
The inevitable eruption turned the town into an ash-covered wasteland, leaving half the island as a designated exclusion zone to this day. The city is now a ghost town and off-limits to visitors. The city is too dangerous to visit because of the ongoing volcanic activity.
The Vatican’s Archives, Vatican City
The Vatican’s Archives are forbidden to visit because they’re top secret. The archives are the personal property of the Pope and contain some of the Vatican’s most sensitive documents. The Vatican Apostolic Archive was established in 1612 to house the private papers of the popes and Catholic Church.
The archives are not open to the public, and only a handful of people have ever been allowed to see them. Originally, the archives were completely private. Since 1881, the archives have been opened to a select group of pre-approved scholars.
Coca Cola Vault, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The Coca Cola Vault is a secret room located in the Coca Cola Factory in Atlanta, Georgia. The vault is forbidden to visit because it’s where the recipe for Coca Cola is kept. The real, handwritten original recipe and formula for Coca Cola is housed in a multimillion dollar vault at the company’s Atlanta museum.
The recipe for Coca Cola is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world. The only people who know the recipe are the Coca Cola CEO and a handful of other executives. The vault is viewable from the outside, but cannot be accessed by the general public.
Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA
Fort Knox is forbidden to visit because it’s a military installation. Fort Knox is a United States Army base in Kentucky. It’s home to the United States Bullion Depository, which is where the US government stores its gold reserves. The well-fortified military base, which protects the country’s gold reserves, is guarded by minefields, barbed wire, electric fences, armed guards and cameras.
The depository is off-limits to visitors. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside. The fort is also home to the United States Army Armor Center and the United States Army Armor School. The vault has only been opened once 1974 for members of the news media and members of Congress in 1974.
Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, Virginia, USA
The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center is forbidden to visit because it’s a government facility. The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center is a top secret government facility located in Virginia. The center is responsible for Continuity of Government operations in the event of a national emergency.
Very little is known about the inner workings of the facility, but it’s believed to be a high-tech bunker where government officials can ride out a nuclear war or other disaster. The massive bunker was built during the Cold War to safeguard members of the United States government in the event of a nuclear attack or other disaster. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.
Bohemian Grove Men’s Club, Monte Rio, California, USA
The Bohemian Grove Men’s Club is forbidden to visit because it’s a private club. The Bohemian Grove Men’s Club is a private club for men who are influential in business and politics. Members of the club include former Presidents, CEOs, and other powerful men. The club is known for its lavish parties and secretive rituals.
Supposedly every July a large group of member VIPs – including US Presidents, government officials, business leaders, artists, musicians, and celebrities – gather for a massive party. The club is forbidden to visitors because it’s a private club. Only members are allowed to enter the club. It has been criticized for its elitist membership and lack of transparency.
Maya Bay, Thailand
Maya Bay is forbidden to visit because it’s been damaged by tourism. Maya Bay is a small bay on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh in Thailand. The bay is famous for its clear water and limestone cliffs. It was made famous by the 2000 movie “The Beach”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
After the movie was released, the number of visitors to Maya Bay skyrocketed. The influx of visitors took a toll on the fragile ecosystem. In 2018, the Thai government closed the bay to tourists in an effort to allow it to recover from the damage.
Heart Reef, Australia
Heart Reef is forbidden to visit because it’s a protected area. Heart Reef is located in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Thanks to its shape, the piece has become a popular photo destination. The reef is forbidden to visit because it’s a protected area. The reef is home to many endangered species of coral and fish.
Visitors are not allowed to swim or snorkel in the reef. Hordes of tourists were doing serious damage, so divers and snorkelers have been banned from the immediate area. The only way to see the reef is from a helicopter or a boat.
Marshall Islands Pacific Proving Grounds, Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands Pacific Proving Grounds is forbidden to visit because it’s a military installation. The Marshall Islands Pacific Proving Grounds was a United States military facility in the Marshall Islands. It was used for nuclear testing from 1946 to 1958.
The facility was one of the most contaminated places on Earth after years of nuclear testing. The area was so devastated by nuclear fallout that some areas have been deemed unfit for any human. The islands are now part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The government has forbidden visitors from entering the contaminated areas.