Who doesn't love scrolling through travel posts and adding exotic, stunning locations to their bucket list? However, some places in this world are forbidden to visit, no matter how beautiful. And after seeing why they've been deemed off-limits, we're not sure we'd want to traverse these sites anyway. So we've gathered them up for you to see from the safety of your screen instead of embarking on a risky adventure.
Morgan Island, South Carolina, USA
There are plenty of places in the world reserved solely for the animal kingdom, and South Carolina's very own Morgan Island is one of them. And it's not just any old animal that inhabits this island, no sir. This island's residents are a bunch of glorious monkeys. Thousands of Rhesus monkeys were moved from Puerto Rico to Morgan Island after viral outbreaks connected to the monkeys in the late 1970s. So now, they're isolated on this island, and no one is allowed to step foot on it.
It makes us sad to think of an island full of adorable monkeys that we can't visit. Although, since they're not conditioned to being around humans, we doubt this bunch is a friendly group.
Lascaux Caves, France
Sorry, but that's just how it is - you're not going to be let into France's most prestigious cave system and UNESCO world heritage site. We know it sucks, and we hate to be the ones to bear the bad news, but there's just nothing you can do about it. The cave is home to some of the earliest human drawings ever recorded. Always under the threat of degradation, the French government and other relevant institutions have gone to great lengths to preserve this historical site.
And that means no people are allowed to visit this marvel. It's for the sake of preserving history, people.
Area 51, Nevada, USA
Since the dawn of its very existence, rumors regarding the nature of this military base in Nevada have been rampant. Seriously, there are few places as shrouded in conspiracy and mystery as Area 51. This place has been said to have everything from secret, sadistic scientific research to the housing of extraterrestrial life. It was even the center of an internet meme craze that culminated in hundreds of people gathering around the base.
The public, official reason why this place is forbidden to visitors? It's a test site for the CIA and the air force.
North Sentinel Island, India
You may have seen aerial pictures of this island, given just how famous it is for its scenic views, beautiful waters, and white sandy beaches. While North Sentinel Island is technically in India, it is actually governed by a totally independent party. The natives of this island are known as the Sentinelese - and you can probably forget about ever meeting them on their native lands as they are known for forbidding foreigners entry.
The island is thought to house approximately 100-200 native residents, fiercely defending their homes from any foreigners attempting to get on the island or even make contact.
Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican
Very few places on our green Earth are more guarded than the Vatican's secret archives. If you were ever itching to know about the alleged dark underbelly of the Catholic church, then you're going to have to keep itching. There's just no way you will gain access to this place. Then again, it's believed that these archives contain mostly historical scrolls in Latin, so you probably wouldn't know what to do with them anyhow.
It's believed that some of these scrolls date back to the 9th century or even earlier than that. It's said that there are approximately 55 miles worth of shelves housing books. We wonder if there's anyone in the world who actually kept up with what's in there.
Pluto’s Gate, Turkey
If you didn't know by now, it's probably about time somebody told you - Turkey is home to some of the most beautiful, interesting, and extravagant landmarks known to man. Pluto's Gate just happens to be one of them. Unfortunately for all of us, Pluto's Gate is strictly off-limits to visitors. This isn't new, though. People have been keeping their distance from this landmark since ancient times - and for a very good (and frightening) reason.
According to legend, nothing could possibly survive in this area. Modern scientists set out to test this possible myth and found that high levels of CO2 formed life-ending lakes that would kill any visitor.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway
Norway's Svalbal Global Seed Vault seems innocent enough, but it's one of the world's most important and safe-guarded places. This place, which houses pretty much all the different kinds of seeds ever genetically engineered by us humans, is humankind's plan B. Yes, you read that right. In the event of a crop-destroying appocalypse that wipes out all our seeds and makes them go extinct, this place will have backups.
So basically, this isn't just one of the most critical places on the face of the Earth; it's also one of the most morbid. Maybe that's why they keep it so far away from civilized society.
Grand Shrine Of Ise, Japan
Anybody who has ever been to Japan (or ever wanted to go to Japan) probably already knows that the country is filled to the brim with hundreds, if not thousands, of different shrines. Now, while all of them are unique and worth seeing, this one seems to be one of the more important ones, which is a shame given that it is strictly off-limits for the general public to visit.
Unless you're a priest or a member of the Japanese Imperial family, you won't be able to get inside this shrine, so you'll just have to make do with the view from behind the fence.
North Brother Island, New York, USA
Despite its cutesy name - doesn't North Brother Island so welcoming? - this place has a murderous history. The first instance of ominous happenings related to this island happened when a nearby ship sank, and approximately 1,000 refugees were forced to take shelter on the island. Only some of them survived. Later on, the island would become a hospital for people with infectious viral diseases.
Today, the island is pretty much just a home for birds. It is, however, still restricted to the public. We're not quite sure why but we have heard a few rumors about ghosts.
Snake Island, Brazil
There are many places in the world one shouldn't dare go. And while we understand that you might want to know why each site is off-limits, there are certain places you shouldn't question. For example, after reading "Snake Island," you should already be convinced this is a place to stay far away from without even knowing the creepy details. But we'll give them to you anyway, obviously.
There's an estimated one snake per every square meter of the island. We think that's all you need to know to understand why the Brazilian government forbids people from going here.
Mormon Church Secret Vault, Utah, USA
We're not quite sure why the Mormons would need a secret vault, but they have one, and it's located in Utah. Guess pretty much every organization has its secret, and that stands true for the Mormon Church, too. The military-grade vault houses a bunch of unknown (and possibly sacred) Mormon documents and records. Located inside the Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, who knows what's happening inside this vault? Not the general public, that's for sure.
That being said, there are a few general estimates of the amount of information in that vault. It's estimated that approximately 3.6 billion images and files are inside — quite a lot.
Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan, India
Maybe you haven't heard of the Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India. That's okay; we won't hold that against you. Unlike most of the other entries in this list, you could actually go to visit this beautiful fort - just not at night. During the day, tourists are allowed to come and take photos of the beautiful architecture. But things get dangerous at night, and from sundown to sunset, it's off-limits.
The reason that this place is closed off at night is that it's haunted. Yes, that's right. The Indian government has deemed this fort haunted by specters since the 17th century.
Chichen Itza Pyramid, Mexico
The Chichen Itza Pyramid in Mexico is one of the most renowned and well-regarded tourist attractions in the entire world. That being said, why on Earth would they make this list, then? Well, because you're not allowed to climb on top of the structure. This wasn't the case until 2006, when a tragic accident compelled local lawmakers to ban the climbing of these pyramids. Still worth seeing, though. No doubt about that.
If this is enough to make you reconsider visiting the great pyramid, we suggest that you reconsider your reconsideration. Just look at how beautiful this pyramid is. Isn't that enough to merit a visit?
Heard Island Volcano, Australia
Australia's Heard Island is the home of the infamous Heard Volcano. Now, while the island technically belongs to Australia, it's actually located between Madagascar and Antarctica. That alone would be enough to discourage most people from going there (it's an expensive flight for many of us), but just in case you needed another reason to avoid the island, the Heard Volcano is still active to this day. The island also has notoriously poor weather conditions.
What do you get when you combine all these factors? Well, you get an island that takes approximately two weeks to travel to and is reserved for only scientists and National Geographic staff.
Bohemian Grove, California, USA
So you want to get into the beautiful Bohemian Grove in California? Ah, indeed, a tale as old as time. It's a shame because you probably won't ever be able to get into this exclusive property reserved for the most prominent and elite men in the world. Senators, presidents, renowned artists, and highly-statured businessmen gather here once every year, in July, for a two-week retreat. Not much is known about what happens during these retreats.
But we do know that what happens in the club stays in the club (which is exactly why we barely know anything about it.) Furthermore, any kind of business or work talk is apparently restricted on grounds.
Mausoleum Of Qin Shi Huang, China
If you didn't already know by now, Ancient civilizations sure loved to build things underground. To be fair, modern societies do it, too. It seems as though the entire world has always been obsessed with incredible underground constructions. The Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang may just be the culmination of our species' infatuation with the underground. The Chinese emperor's tomb was discovered by accident alongside the Terracotta Army guarding it.
Despite being a huge archeological discovery, a lot of the Emperor's Tomb remains undisclosed to the public. Scientists and the Chinese government are weary of trying to excavate the tomb for fear of accidentally damaging the historical remains.
Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA
The notorious Fort Knox in Kentucky is well known to locals. In fact, if you live anywhere in the US, you've probably already heard of it. You may also know that it's one of the safest-kept places on the entire planet. This is due to the obscene amounts of gold stored inside the fort's vault making up a large majority of the US gold's reserves. Yeah, they're hoarding all that treasure in there.
So to prevent any kind of heist, this place has become one of the most heavily secured locations in the entire United States of America.
Look closely at this picture. Actually, just look at it - it doesn't even have to be that close of a look. Just one glance will help you understand why this place is considered one of the most haunted in all of Italy. The Italian island of Poveglia used to be a quarantine zone for people struck by the Bubonic plague, which famously killed at least a third of Europe's entire population in the Middle Ages.
Later on, the island became home to a mental asylum. It's suspected that some particularly sadistic and unethical experiments were performed on the patients unfortunate enough to find themselves there. The piece of land has since been abandoned and closed off to visitors.
Surtsey Iceland is one of those islands entirely reserved for science. After quite a dramatic volcanic eruption from 1963 up to 1967, this island was formed, making it the world's youngest island. But ever since its inception, the place has been closed off to the public due to the unique opportunity it gave scientists: they can study how ecosystems form without the interference of humans. Sounds super cool, right?
The catch is that the researchers who end up on the island must be extra careful regarding what they bring with them on their scientific expeditions. Science is serious business.
Russia is a big place. And when we say big, we mean huge; and by huge, we mean absolutely ginormous. Given its monstrous size, it should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that there are quite a few strange Russian towns that most people, not even Russians, have ever been to, let alone heard of. Mezhgorye is one of these small towns hidden somewhere n the Ural mountains.
It is absolutely forbidden to any and all visitors. There is quite a bit of speculation as to what's going on here - some say nuclear weapons; others say secret bunkers.
Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic
The Pravcicka Brana may have just been the most popular tourist attraction and most frequently traveled destination in the entire Czech Republic until it was closed off to the public in 1982. What caused this unfortunate closing-off? Well, there was no particular trigger, but the continuous presence of humans had accelerated the natural process of erosion, thereby almost destroying the grounds entirely. So basically, we're to blame, but we also kind of aren't.
Given that erosion is just a fact of nature, it's really our desire to preserve this natural beauty that goes against the very nature of nature itself. How's that for deep?
The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
Welcome to one of the holiest - and one of the most contested - places in the world. The Dome of the Rock is located in the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem. The gold-topped holy place shining out of Jerusalem's skyline is a total cultural and historical landmark. It truly is a sight to behold. Unfortunately, most people in the world won't be able to see it due to the high tensions in the area.
However, you could get a close look at it without actually entering, which is what tourists do. That, too, is worth a visit.
The Queen’s Bedroom, Buckingham Palace, UK
Not everyone's home can be considered a tourist attraction, no matter how neat or well-designed. The late Queen of England's house (also known as Buckingham Place) is an attraction that people actually pay money to see. Crazy right? Yet, even though those people paid good money to get a tour of the palace, the late Queen's bedroom has been strictly off-limits to any and all visitors. Disappointing right?
Well, disappointing as it is, it's kind of understandable. After all, it was the Queen's bedroom. How would you feel if people barged into your room all day? That doesn't sound pleasant at all.
Niihau Island, Hawaii, USA
Now, this island has quite an interesting story. The island has been privately owned since 1864, when Elizabeth Sinclair, the famed matriarch of the Sinclair family, purchased it in its entirety. In the 1950s, the island was closed off to the public due to a Polio outbreak. Since then, it's been almost barred off ever since. This is also due to the island residents' desire to maintain and cultivate the island's local culture.
It is, after all, the only island in the place in the world in which Hawaiin is the official language. A handful of organized tours allow tourists to see some parts of the island, though.
Coca-Cola Recipe Vault, Georgia, USA
Believe us or not, the secret recipe to Coca-Cola, that famous soft drink that has pretty much taken over the world, is one of the most well-guarded and safe-kept secrets in the entire world. Well, guess that does make sense, given just how big Coke is, but to see the lengths that the company actually went to guard the recipe is pretty amazing. Guess they have their priorities.
Not only is the secret formula locked up in a vault, but some guards are hired to patrol the area and make sure nobody yoinks the recipe.
Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, Ethiopia
Now, this church is called the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. It's located in Ethiopia and has managed to garner quite a reputation. A lot of rumors have been circulating regarding this church. Most of them are pretty wild. One of them, for instance, states that the original Ten Commandments, along with the Ark of the Covenant, are stored somewhere in the church. Now isn't that something?
It's also said that only one person in the entire world is allowed to see the Ark, and that person is a monk appointed by his predecessor.
UN Buffer Zone, Cyprus
The United Nations created this buffer zone during the civil war between the Greeks and Turks in the isle of Cyprus. The zone was supposed to separate the two disparate political entities, but after the ceasefire was agreed upon and life returned to its regular course, the area was abandoned. Today, it almost seems as though it has been frozen in time. The place is almost a ghost town.
We're pretty sure the area will, at one point, become some kind of historical site somewhat open to the public. That day, however, is not today.
Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, Virginia, USA
Now, this is one of the more interesting entries on this list. The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center may be the safest place in the world. Too bad you won't be able to enjoy that safety for yourself. You see, the site is reserved for government officials. In case of a world-altering apocalypse or anything that could seriously threaten the existence of the US, this place would be the place to go for all political MVPs.
So basically, the safest place in the world is completely off-limits to regular people like us. Sucks for us, we guess. But life goes on.
Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone, Ukraine
There are several reasons why Chernobyl is off-limits, but all of them have to do with the fact that the place is a hotbed for deadly, life-threatening, body-mutilating radiation. Now, if that doesn't make you want to steer away from this place as far as possible, then we can only recommend that you seek professional help or something that'll calm your death drive a little bit.
Chernobyl's nuclear disaster in 1986 is one of the most well-known and awe-inspiring manmade disasters of the 20th century, and with good reason. It practically turned an entire city into a ghost town.
Moscow Metro-2, Russia
So you've heard of the Moscow Metro, right? Well, what about Moscow Metro 2? Yeah, there's a second one, and here's the kicker - it's almost completely underground. It's also kind of a secret, so don't go around yelling about it. The Metro 2 is a system of underground tunnels made in case of a nuclear catastrophe. In the event of such a hazardous event, life could continue underground.
That is, at least, what the creators had in mind. The whole thing was built throughout the first years of Stalin's reign.
Disney Club 33, Disney World, USA
This place is only open to Disney superfans. And by Disney superfans, we mean people who receive an invitation to join the club and don't mind forking up an initial one-hundred grand plus thirty thousand in annual fees to earn their membership. So yeah, that narrows down the people eligible for this club by quite a hefty margin. Sorry, it isn't your love for Frozen that will get you in here; it's cold, hard cash.
Disney Club 33 was initially designed by Walt Disney for himself and his business associates. However, the famous businessman passed away before the lounge was completed.
Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, UK
One of the United Kingdom's best-kept military secrets. Intelligence gathering facility during the cold war. Nobody knows what it's for. That is, except for the people who are in the know. We wonder who they may be. This secret base opened in 1954. The place was, throughout history, any conspiracy theorist's biggest dream (and possibly nightmare). What on Earth is going on behind that barbed wire, and what are those golf ball buildings for?
Those are the type of questions that conspiracy theorists in the UK have been obsessed with ever since this place was built.
White’s Gentleman's Club, UK
Oh, yes. This place should seem familiar to anyone who's had his or her's fair share of Netflix binges. What started as an honest and humble chocolate shop turned, by some miraculous turn of events, into an incredibly exclusive members-only club for gambling. We are, of course, talking about the White Gentlemen's Club in the UK. It's safe to say that this club is one of the most exclusive private clubs in the world.
The entry fee alone is over one hundred grand, and the members all have to be Eton and Oxford (or Cambridge) graduates. Now, if that isn't exclusive, we don't know what is.
Heart Reef, Australia
Now, while it may be tempting to go ahead and explore the heart-shaped island of Heart Reef, located on the captivating and mystical Great Barrier Reef in Australia, you'd be getting yourself in quite a bit of trouble if you did so. The place has been barred from all visitors by the Australian government, which is doing its best to preserve the reef and keep it from harm and degradation.
So, as sad as it is, you'll probably have to pay for a helicopter ride if you want to check out this romantic reef. Sorry, this one's an aerial-only affair.
Pine Gap, Australia
Up next is Pine Gap, located in the Land Down Under, AKA Australia. It used to be a secret military cold war base that was used to keep tabs on all the different airstrikes going on in the world (it's just so hard to keep up with them nowadays). That isn't, however, what most people thought it was. It's just as they say: where a military base lands, a conspiracy theory follows.
Most residents of the surrounding areas actually thought the base was a facility for space exploration. But the truth is, is that it's a US-run, top-secret military base. Both options are pretty cool, to be honest.
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
We are, of course, talking about Mecca, one of the most sacred places in the world for the religion of Islam. The thing is, is that all non-muslims won't be granted entry to the site. They may just be fined if they're found out snooping around. It's just the lay of the land - some places are for worship and not tourism. This place is one of them.
However, fret not. There are plenty of other places in the world filled to the brim with historical and religious significance that you could go visit without a care in the world.
Diego Garcia Military Base, Indian Ocean
So imagine getting sold off to the United States in order to settle off a debt of approximately 14 million Dollars. We're not quite sure how we would feel if that were us, but that's exactly what happened to Diego Garcia Island (which makes sense; putting yourself in an island's shoes is pretty difficult.) What used to be a small part of the British Empire turned into a secret military base in the Indian Ocean.
Now, this isn't your typical exotic island filled with coconut trees. Despite its seemingly innocent looks, this base is absolutely teeming with state secrets only permitted army officials get to see.
Room 39, North Korea
Look, we're going to keep it a buck with you guys - visiting North Korea is hard in and of itself. The country is incredibly secluded, and it has very little interest in sharing its way of life with foreign visitors. That being said, there is some kind of tourist industry in North Korea, albeit a very controlled one solely consisting of strictly guided tours across selected areas of the country.
Some places remain a mystery to most North Koreans, such as the infamous Room 39 located within the government building. The place is shrouded in rumors, and what truly goes on within that room shall remain a mystery for the foreseeable future.
Australia's Bomb Testing Site Is as Big as Portugal
Now, let us tell you something about the prohibited area of Woomera Test Range, Australia. The place is as big as Portugal, and it's used pretty much exclusively to blow things up. Yeah, that's right, the place is just a huge ground made for testing rockets, bombs, and all other kinds of explosive weaponry. Now, while this may sound cool at first, it's also really dangerous. So you won't be able to go there.
Still, we can't help but admit that we think it would be cool to check out the area. Imagine all the secret weapons you'd get to see in action.
Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean
If there's one thing we should have learned from our ancestors, it's that the ocean isn't only pretty. No, no. It's also cruel and unforgiving. After all, the ocean has been a grave to many. That's why it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's filled to the brim with a bunch of zones too dangerous to even set foot (or sail) in. The Mariana Trench is just one of those places.
It is the deepest part of the ocean yet discovered, and its only bubbles of carbon dioxide and sulfur have been spotted making their way to the surface — quite the no-go zone.