1. Area 51

One of the most famously exclusive places on planet Earth—Area 51—is clearly not available for visit. And why, exactly, is this? Well, because that’s where they hold the aliens of course! Just kidding. We are nearly 100 percent certain there is no extraterrestrial shenanigans going on there. You’re welcome.

a warning sign at area 51
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Anyways, you can’t go here because it’s one of the primary locations where the government tests secret technology. This includes everything from new guns and munitions to new aircraft technology. To keep this stuff secure, they place it in the remote Nevadan desert. If you’ve ever driven through the Nevadan desert, you’ll understand why.

2. Coca-Cola vault

Some vaults hold secrets of the most illicit nature. Others hold the riches of the most stupendously wealthy. This vault, however, holds the secrets to one of the most valuable commodities on Earth: Coca-Cola. The vault, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is inaccessible to the masses—and for reasons we would all expect.

a vualt for money in some secret location in paris
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Coca-Cola does not want its most sacred formulas distributed to the masses. Instead, it wants them kept for the very few at the top of the Coca-Cola dark pyramid. While rumors swirl that the actual formula is split between the two Coca-Cola executives, there is no way to verify this statement’s truth. So, take this info with a grain of sugar.

3. The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant is supposed to be the place where the Ten Commandments are held. We doubt the veracity of this claim. Apparently ensconced in the vicinity of a chapel for something like 3,000 years, the supposed stone tablets were then taken to King Solomon’s temple.

a small grave site that holds something presumably spooky
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None of these speculations have been empirically verified. However, the myth is still entertained by many. But, if the Ark were to exist, you would expect that it would be supremely difficult to enter. This would be the case of any institution that held historically relevant documents. But, in all reality, this location is most likely more legendary than it is legit.

4. Google Data Center

Google has quickly risen as one of the most technologically innovative companies known to our modern society. Having been founded in September of 1998, the company quickly rose to prominence. It went public in 2004, and is now worth an amount hovering around $200 billion.

a large warehouse that stores something
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With a net worth that high, you would expect that Google’s most valuable possession—its data—would be kept well guarded. And that is the case of its data center. Located in Lenoir, North Carolina, the facility holds the capacity to process something like 3.5 billion queries a day. That’s a lot, in case you were wondering.

5. Lascaux Caves

Lascaux Caves is one of the earliest sites wherein early humans made their mark—literally. The site, discovered in 1940 by some French children, shows some of the earliest known images of cave paintings currently known (dated at around 20,000 years old). While there certainly are others (like Magura Cave in Bulgaria, for instance), Lascaux is one of the more famous.

a painting on a cave wall of a cow or something
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While these caves were something you could visit, they were eventually closed to the public because their popularity was accelerating their decay. The more people that would visit, for instance, the more CO2 would inhabit the cave’s atmosphere. And the more CO2, the more decay. Now only scientists can see the real paintings.

6. Bank of England Vaults

The vaults of the Bank of England are clearly off-limits to all but the most elite few. And this makes total sense. You wouldn’t want the masses to have access to the most important indicants of wealth that exist in the English nation. The primary resource you’ll find in this vault is gold, the finite resource upon which most wealth is built.

a bank on the streets of london
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The steely chambers are thought to encase something around 400,000 bars of gold, which, depending on the weight, can run you anywhere from $1,400 to $41,000 dollars per brick. The vault is so exclusive that the royalty of England aren’t even privileged free access. Queen Elizabeth, for instance, was only granted a private showing in 2012.

7. Moscow Metro-2

Stalin did all sorts of surreptitious things. Among these included the manufacture of a secret police force, some secret underground bunkers, and an attempt to keep a country-wide famine under wraps. But also on this list was a secret metro system that could, if needed, transport Stalin from a compromised location to a safe one.

a subway tunnel lit up by stage lights
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We’re not certain, however, about the reality of this railway system; many details have been fabricated and aggrandized over the years. People claim the system was built during WWII and continued until his death in 1953. This secret location continues to hold a mysterious DNA about it. And, even if all the stories are true, you probably wouldn’t be granted access to see it.

8. Pine Gap

Pine Gap is a secret military base with the aim of maintaining security in Australia and North America. The facility’s main goal is to monitor the presence of satellites, warheads, nuclear weapons and the like, to ensure that nothing destructive is rocketed toward the US or its allies.

a military facility in australia
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Because of this, the place is clearly off limits. We only know the place exists because of (1) Google Maps, and (2) the fact that leaked NSA documents established its existence. At least that’s the story. This could, in reality, just be a farm in the desert of the vast and open Australia. Keep moving, nothing to see here.

9. Mezhgorye

Mezhgorye is claimed to be Russia’s equivalent to Area 51. Primarily. the area was used to store nuclear technology during the Cold War. But, once that war ended, the area and its surrounding town was closed down to the public. According to census data, the population of the town is around 17,352.

a map of some secret area in russia
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Because of this, it is presumed that the surrounding population is there to dedicate their services to military technology, maintenance, and construction. While with secret locations like this it is difficult to understand the exact nature of what goes on, we do know that closed areas are at least suggestive of a larger operation at play.

10. Snake Island

Snake Island, officially known as Ilha da Queimada Grande, is located roughly 40 miles off the coast of Sau Paulo, Brazil. What’s terrifying about this island is that it’s home to approximately 4,000 different snakes. This is staggering considering that it’s only 110 acres large (about one-tenth the size of Central Park in New York).

a golden snake on the limb of a tree
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What’s especially terrifying is that this island houses some of the most poisonous snakes in existence. The Golden Lancehead, for instance, is one of the most poisonous snakes alive—and it’s also only found on this island. This, in part with the island’s dense concentration of snakes, has led to its illegality: the area is closed to everyone but the Brazilian government.

11. Vatican Secret Archives

Of the other secret and inaccessible places on planet Earth include the Vatican Archives in Vatican City. While you can enter if you are a member of diocese, you have to learn Latin or show your intent as a serious scholar to gain entry. This is a shame, considering the archive’s vast historical value.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
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Among the things it holds within it are letters from famous enlightenment philosophers, historians, and documents that stretch back as old as the Church itself. And, like with many other secretive places (read: Area 51), many conspiracy theories have flourished in the wake of its mystery.

12. Bohemian Grove

Bohemian Grove is one of the most satiating finds for those involved in the conspiratorial world. It serves, they think, as a vindication to other theories that both boggle and frustrate. Nestled in the Northern Californian woods, these secluded grounds were thought to be an area in which the wealthy would conspire. Many believe it’s where global decisions would be made by the elite.

a bunch of fireworks shooting off in a park in black and white
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Naturally, such an event with such high-profile leaders would be extraordinarily difficult to infiltrate. Not so, it turns out. The security at Bohemian Grove is notoriously lackluster. Hikers can explore the area with little more than a polo and sweater tied around the neck.

13. North Sentinel Island

North Sentinel Island is a remote island between the coast of India and Thailand. The island is so remote, however, that it is, for the most part, untouched by the modern world. And because of this, the only people who live there are those who moved there hundreds or thousands of years ago.

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While this island is not technically off limits, it is home to people so hostile—the Sentinelese—that it is ill-advised for you to visit. In November of 2018, for instance, a young man traveled to the island in an attempt to make contact with natives. The attempt failed disastrously, and such ventures are dangerous for both parties: the locals are susceptible to the germs we carry, and outsiders are met with spears and arrows.

14. Surtsey Island

Islands are formed relatively frequently. This happens especially frequently in areas of high volcanic activity. Sometimes they will gurgle up from hot spots beneath the surface of the Earth’s crust, for instance. And that is the case with Surtsey Island in Iceland.

volcanic island smoking from eruption
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This freshly formed island, however, is off limits to anyone not there to help preserve its burgeoning ecosystem. If you want to get in big trouble by some scientists, then, be our guest—try to make your way to the island. But, if you’re trying to go for a more relaxing beach venture, this probably isn’t the destination you’re looking for.

15. Poveglia Island

The bubonic plague (also known as the black plague) was a scourge to 14th century European society. It is estimated to have killed around 30 to 60 percent of the population. That means something like three out of every five people you knew were dead from the widespread disease.

VENICE, ITALY MAY 2: A general view of the 19th century Venetian geriatric hospital on May 2, 2014 in Poveglia island in the Venice lagoon, Italy. Poveglia island, a 19th century Venetian geriatric hospital, has been put up for sale by Italy's public property agency. A resident's association "Poveglia per tutti" (Poveglia for all) is trying to buy it and give it back to the community. (Photo By Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)
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Italy, in an attempt to ameliorate this damage, would ship their sick people off to an island—Poveglia Island, to be exact. And it’s here where their decrepit would rot. This dark and bleak section of Italy’s history has bred much folklore around the island, leading many locals to think it cursed and wicked. Because of this, many consider it forbidden.

16. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is one of the most remote buildings on planet Earth. Built such to withstand the downfall of humanity, the building is built within a mountain range deep in the North Pole Norwegian mountains. Because of this, it is thought to be a great refuge for those looking to withstand the apocalypse.

a weird building in the middle of the arctic
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But also because of this, the bank is considered one of the most forbidden places on the planet. It houses many of the seed varieties we would need if we were to attempt to repopulate the flora of the Earth. And because of this, it is off limits to all but the most security-cleared of botanists. And even then it’s still hard to get to.

17. North Brother Island

North Brother Island in New York lies roughly between the Bronx and Queens. Unfortunately, because of the island’s uncomfortable past, it has been abandoned and is now off limits to most. In the late 19th century, the place was used to quarantine those thought likely to spread illness.

an old black and white photo of new york in the past
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But even more unfortunately, the place was home to a tragic ship fire that killed something like 1,000 people. The island was just considered too much of a hazard in the aftermath and cut off from society at large. Now, the derelict hospital within its sandy beaches is reverting back to the nature upon which it was erected.

18. U.N. Buffer Zone

The U.N. Buffer Zone is an area between Greece and Turkey. The place is also, as history tells it, an area embattled by civil war. Corroded by battle and time, the derelict and ramshackle buildings within have been cut off from the public. Ensconced in barbed wire and thick mesh fences, then, to get here you’d need more than a little agility and fence-climbing prowess.

a few barrers and barbwire at a derelict location
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Among the things that you could find, however, if you were to try and enter its premises, is a litany of abandoned buildings, hospitals, and shops that are no longer in operation. And it is here where you’ll discover the ghost town of a place that outlasted its inhabitants.

19. RAF Menwith Hill

The Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Menwith Hill, UK, is reasonably one of the more forbidden places on this list. Storing many of the nation’s secrets—hiding everything from novel military technology to new types of weaponry—the base is a no-go-zone for to those outside the military.

a few weird buildings being built in a nondescript location
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And even within the military, you need to be of high enough rank to actually get in. The original intent of the facility was to spy on the activity of Soviet Russia. When the tension between countries faded after the Cold War, the technology was repurposed such to monitor WiFi traffic and phone calls.

20. Fort Knox

Fort Knox is a military base located in Kentucky. The vault within the heavily guarded base ostensibly maintains most of the country’s gold reserve, protecting it from friend and foe alike. It’s understandable that a literal fortress full of pure gold would have mad security systems in place. The whole area is quarantined and off limits for most who would like to visit.

a tank on the welcome sign to fort knox
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Among the safety measures the fort employs includes landmines, thick wire fences, and a few concrete buildings built with reinforced steel. The result is a nearly impregnable fortress that would take an Ocean’s Eleven type of scheme to penetrate. If you’re planning to see the sights in Kentucky, then, it’s probably best to stick to Mammoth Cave or the Cumberland Gap.

21. Tomb of the Qin Shi Huang

Most tombs, since they serve as research locations for the archaeologist, are off-limits to the public. If the masses were allowed to visit, they would invariably disrupt the site, comprising the finds of the archaeologist and ruining the dig. Since archaeology is a valuable science, this is frowned upon.

an army of clay soldiers in a warehouse somewhere
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But, unlike some of the other forbidden sites, the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang in China is not protected by underground landmines or armed guards. Still, however, you are not allowed to enter. Within the tomb lies thousands of clay statues. And in the case of this tomb, archaeologists aren’t even allowed to visit. These 8,000 year old soldiers, then, will remain as is.

22. Chernobyl

Chernobyl, unlike some of the other areas on this list, is not an archaeological dig or abandoned island. Instead, it is the result of nuclear fallout from one of the most severe nuclear disasters to have ever happened, destroying the land around Chernobyl in Ukraine. Today, the city serves as a testament to just how devastating the power of nuclear energy can be when uncontained.

a dome over an abandoned nuclear facility
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After the catastrophic meltdown on April 26, 1986, the radiation leakage sunk into the surrounding terrain, killing all flora and fauna in the vicinity. The radiation is harmful in that it disrupts the DNA inside the organisms’ cells, causing them to self-destruct. This radiation then lingers in the ground, and while many parts of the Chernobyl site are still restricted, brave tourists can now visit the wasteland at their own risk.

23. Admax

In Florence, Colorado, you’ll find more little more than a small town and a large, maximum-security prison. This prison is the Admax. And, as you would expect of one of the most guarded of American institutions in existence, this place is sealed from the outside world to keep its notorious convicts inside.

the front of penitentiary in florence, CO
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This makes absolute sense—you wouldn’t want those with the freedom of living outside the prison to be allowed free reign inside. Tall barbed-wired fences and layers of reinforced cement and stell keep the prisoners in and the civilians out. What’s more is that this prison is punctuated by guard towers staffed with those who patrol and scan the area for renegades.

24. White House Situation Room

The White House is understandably prohibited to the masses. Holding some of the most important people in the United States and the world, not everyone should have access. And this is especially true of the Situation Room, an area in which some of the most important foreign policy decisions and proposed and pondered.

a desk with chairs pushed in around it
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If you want access to this room, then, you’ll want to start off early—maybe in high school. Here, you can straighten your life trajectory such that you can become a governor, senator, and then supreme court judge. If you follow a path like this, you might be handpicked by the President and allowed entry. Seems likely, huh?

25. Ise Grand Shrine

The Ise Grand Shrine is famous for being one of Japan’s most ancient buildings. Having been constructed somewhere around 6,000 years ago, the place serves as an area to praise. And because of these sacred connotations, the shrine is off limits to all but the most elite priests and priestesses.

a shrine behind a wooden fence
Wikipedia

Among those allowed entry include the religious leaders of the imperial family—those related to the previously reigning emperor. So, if you want to gain entry into this forbidden shrine, you best have the bloodline. Otherwise you’ll find yourself escorted off the premises by residents that are guaranteed to have more agility than you. You can always take a DNA test to see if you belong to the sacred bloodline, though.

26. Mount Weather

Mount Weather is an area in Virginia built during the Cold War as a Doomsday shelter for those in power at the time. Because of this, the placed is heavily guarded and secretive. It has, for instance, the usual barbed-wire fences and isolated location. But it’s more than just difficult to find and get to.

Mount Weather, VA, November 07, 2007-- Aerial of Mount Weather, Virginia. (OFFICIAL FEMA PHOTO/Karen Nutini)
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The place is especially well hidden because of who it was built for—the President. While Cold War hysteria has definitely simmered, the area remains forbidden to the masses. Maybe this is because it still serves as an active safe haven to the higher-ups that might need it in the event of disaster. It’s difficult to say.

27. The Queen’s Bedroom

Safely located within Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s bedroom is a safe haven for none other than the Queen of England. If you wanted to enter it, then, you would likely need to manifest some sort of futuristic face mask-type thing. Then and only then would you be able to convince security and the like to let you through.

LONDON - MARCH 15: A general view of a room containing fine art at Buckingham Palace where the Queen showed Italian items from The Royal Collection to Carlo Ciampi, President of the Republic of Italy at the Picture Gallery, Buckingham Palace on March 15, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
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There was, however, an instance in which this likely impenetrable system was breached. In 1982, for instance, a man by the name of Michael Fagan sleuthed his way inside. The breach was considered one of the most egregious instances of security failures in all of England’s history. How does one simply walk into Buckingham Palace without being noticed?

28. Club 33

Club 33 isn’t necessarily a club for the rich and opulent. Instead, it’s home to those with thick and thorough Disney connections. The club, located in the confines of The Happiest Place on Earth (Disneyland, of course), is home to only those of the most elite Disney kind. The waitlist for the club is something like 14-years long.

a disneyworld castle
Wikipedia

Since the wait is abhorrently (and strangely) longer the actual Disney lines themselves, you can essentially consider this place forbidden. This is especially true given its $40,000 initiation fee. Now, if you have the skrilla and the time to wait, it might be considered a fruitful venture. For most of us, however, this is just considered something better left forgotten about.