Most Restricted Places on earth include places on the planet that are either completely forbidden to visitors or have highly restricted access.
There are many places around the world that do not welcome visitors. The reasons for such restrictions range from security, safety, military etc.
In my current blog, I will be sharing with you a list of 44 most restricted places on earth that prohibit visitors for one reason or another.
44 Most Restricted Places on Earth, forbidden places you can’t visit!
While searching for some forbidden places in India, I came across many places around the world where travellers and visitors are restricted.
Of all the forbidden places in the world, I knew a few famous ones like Area 51, some came as a surprise. Here are the most restricted places on earth that travellers are not allowed to visit.
Other than the places given in the list above, army and intelligence areas around the world are generally off-limits to visitors. Also, nuclear and certain research facilities are also forbidden travellers and locals alike.
1. Vale do Javari, Brazil: Restricted to Protect Amazon’s Least Contacted Tribes
Vale do Javeri is one of the largest indigenous territories in the world. The region houses some of the most indigenous tribes of Brazil including the Matis, the Matses, the Kulina, the Mayoruna, Korubo, etc.
Entry into these forests has been restricted by the Brazilian government for the safety of its indigenous tribespeople and to protect their heritage & lifestyle.
The tribes have remained uncontacted till now. Experts believe that any contact with the outside world could be dangerous to the natives as they could carry diseases which can wipe out the complete tribes.
2. Korean Demilitarized Zone, DMZ: One of the Most Militarized Zones in the World
A start opposite to its name, the Korean demilitarized is possibly one of the most militarized zones in the world.
This piece of land marks the separation between South Korea and North Korea. Therefore, this is a completely prohibited area.
No one, except the high ranking officials, are allowed to visit this site.
3. Ilha da Queimada Grande, Brazil: An Island Inhabited by World’s Deadliest Snakes
This is one of the most dangerous and the most restricted places on earth. The entire island is covered with snakes. It’s believed that the snakes became trapped on the island when the rising sea levels disconnected the island from the mainland.
For the safety of visitors and snakes alike, visitors are completely barred from entering the island. Only selected researchers and the Brazillian Navy is allowed to visit the island.
The main highlight of the island is the critically endangered snake species called the golden lanceheads. There are about 4000 lancehead snakes on the island.
4. Mezhgorye, Russia: Russian’s Secret Nuclear Missile Facility
Located in the Ural Mountains, Mezhgoyre in Bashkortostan is a top-secret town in Russia that is completely forbidden to any visitor.
The town is supposedly home to Russia’s nuclear missile site and no visitors are allowed even in its vicinity.
The town also has the infamous Mount Yamnatau. The United States claims that the mountain contains the Russian Government’s extensive bunker complex.
5. North Sentinel Island, India: The Native Tribe Doesn’t Appreciate Visitors
If you have been updated with the recent news, you might have heard of the North Sentinel Island in Andaman. In late 2018, an American man was killed by the native Sentinelese tribals. He had supposedly reached the remote Island secretively and was trying to preach Christianity to the isolated natives.
Located in the Indian Ocean, the natives of the North Sentinel Island have been isolated from the main island for ages. Any efforts to make the natives a part of the mainland have met resistance.
In 2006, the Indian government has prohibited travel within 3 miles of the Island to prevent any further casualties and to protect the native inhabitants. This is thus one of the most forbidden places in India.
6. Zone Rogue, France: Ravaged by WW I, the Area is Not Habitable
Also called the Red Zone, Zone Rouge constitutes a chain of uninhabited areas in North-eastern France which is one of the most restricted places on earth.
The area was sealed off after World War I as it is believed to be completely damaged by war. The area contains a huge amount of human and animal remains, along with unexploded weapons that have contaminated water and land.
The French government prohibits any activity in the zone including agriculture, forestry, settlements, etc.
7. Cave of Altamira, Spain: Won’t Let Visitors Destroy the Ancient Art any Further
The cave is located near the famous Spanish town of Santillana del Mar. It is known for its charcoal drawings and polychrome paintings of contemporary local fauna and human hands.
Entry to the cave was restricted in 1977 because of the damage caused by the increased number of visitors.
The heat, moisture and carbon dioxide produced by visitors led to gradual degradation of the cave paintings.
8. The Svalbard Seed Vault, Norway: Backup for the Plant Seeds of the Entire World
Popularly called the Doomsday Vault, the vault acts as a safety backup to preserve plant seeds. The seeds stored here are actually the duplicate samples, of seeds held in gene banks around the world.
The vault is meant to safeguard the seeds in the event of a global catastrophe. Therefore, for security reasons, private visits inside the seed vault are forbidden.
The place is one of the most restricted places on earth. You can see the vault from the outside and can visit the Svalbard museum for more information on the vault.
9. Pine Gap, Australia: One of the Most Restricted Places on Earth
Located in Australia, Pine Gap is a joint defence facility between Australian and the United States government.
The top-secret military base is jointly operated by USA’s top agencies including the CIA and NSA. It is strictly a no-go zone.
Originally said as a space research centre, the facility is said to be supporting the United States in both intelligence activities and military operations. No wonder, trespassing through the Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap can land you in huge trouble.
10. Morgan Island, USA: Monkeys on this Island can be Deadly
Morgan Island is an uninhabited island in South Carolina that is home to thousands of Rhesus monkeys.
The monkeys on the island are said to be infected by the herpes B virus. They were moved here from Puerto Rico as they were passing the disease to the native population.
Therefore, it is completely restricted to visitors for their own safety and the safety of the monkeys. However, researchers with special permissions are permitted to enter the island.
11. Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic: The Arch Can’t Withstand the Burden any Longer
The sandstone arch in the Pracicka Brana is the Czech Republic’s most spectacular landmark that draws visitors from far and wide.
Due to the erosion of the arch, visitors are restricted from getting on top of the arch. As a traveller, you are allowed to gaze at the arch from a distance.
Geologists are of the opinion that due to the constant erosion; the arch might soon collapse.
12. Farallon Islands, USA: Protects Wilderness
Farallon Islands is a remote island that is home to a large number of bird and animal species. The islands are located around 30 miles from California.
The Islands are off-limits to visitors because of the steep, rocky shoreline and also to protect wildlife, which is very sensitive to disturbances.
They are home to the largest seabird nesting colony south of Alaska, the largest colony of western gulls in the world, and they also are said to support half the world’s population of Ashy storm-petrels.
13. Robins Island, USA: Outsiders are Completely Forbidden from this Island
The island is privately owned by Wall Street Financer Louis Bacon.
The Island has been held privately for the last many years. Since it is private property and is not open to the public.
The owner of the island hasn’t developed it commercially. In fact, he has helped preserve the island by planting oak trees and helping preserve the local bird species.
14. Area 51, USA: Aliens or Not, There is No Chance of Getting Close
Of the most restricted places on Earth, Area 51 is probably the most well-known. Located in the midst of a desert in Nevada, not much is known about this place.
The area is the United States Air Force Facility and is completely off-limits to the general public.
The place has spurred many conspiracy theories. The most popular one is the alien conspiracy theories including the one that states that it is here where the US officials conceal evidence of alien existence.
15. Heard Island and McDonald’s Island Australia: Restricted to only Researchers
The Islands are located in the southern Indian Ocean and belong to Australia. The Islands are one of the remotest places on the planet.
The Islands form a part of the IUCN’s Strict Nature Reserve and are therefore strictly protected. Only researchers are allowed to visit that too after obtaining permits from the Australian Antarctic Division.
Although inhospitable for human life, the islands have the perfect living conditions for animals including penguins, sea birds and seals.
16. North Brother Island, USA: An Island with a Dark Past and a Creepy Present
This is another island with a dark past. The Island is located in New York City and is currently abandoned.
It is on this Island where Typhoid Mary- the first American to carry typhoid fever was quarantined. Later it was used as a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. Currently, the island houses a bird sanctuary and is completely off limits to visitors.
It is illegal to visit the island. If you wish to visit it for some reason, you would have to take permission from the New York City Department.
17. Lascaux Caves, France: Forbidden to Protect any Damage to Cave Art
Located in France, the Lascaux Caves are known for their prehistoric paintings. The paintings depict animals like cattle stags, along with the fauna of the time.
The Caves have been restricted to the public since 1963. The entry of tourists into the cave changed the cave environment and caused fungal and microbial growths.
The number of visits to the cave is highly restricted so as to avoid permanent destruction of the cave art. Travellers can see the replicas of the original caves at Lascaux II, Lascaux III and Lascaux IV.
18. Jiangsu National Security Education Museum, China: They Don’t Want Foreigners Knowing their Secrets.
This spy museum is also amongst the most restricted places on Earth as only Chinese citizens are allowed here.
No foreign visitors are allowed to visit the Museum as they are considered to be sensitive. Although Chinese citizens are allowed, they are restricted from clicking pictures inside the premises.
The museum has a number of exhibits on display including guns, documents, devices used by spies, etc.
19. Mount Weather, USA: Meant to be Emergency Centre of US Government
This secret facility is located in Virginia and is meant to serve as an emergency centre for the United States Government in case of a natural disaster.
Visitors are completely prohibited from entering the area. Armed guards, fences and razor wires guard the whole area.
The place is so secret that no one even knew the place existed before 1974 when a plane crashed into the said location.
20. Room 39, North Korea: Holds the Secret to the Activities of the Dictator’s Family
Also referred to as Bureau 39, Division 39, or Office 39, Room 39 is a secretive North Korean Party Organization associated with the ruling Dictator Kim’s family.
The Office is said to be located inside a ruling Workers’ Party building in Pyongyang. It is strictly off-limits to any visitor- domestic and international alike.
Many believe that the organization is involved in illegitimate activities including counterfeiting and drug smuggling.
21. Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia: Highly Restricted Entry
Officially known as RAAF Woomera Range Complex, the Woomera Test range is a military and Aerospace centre located in South Australia.
Entry to the area is strictly restricted and controlled by the RAAF for safety and security.
The area is spread over a whopping 122,188 sq. km, the area was declared closed to the public in 1947. There are a few areas such as observatory, museums, etc. that are open to visitors.
22. Poveglia Island, Italy: An Abandoned Island with History of Death & Violence
This small island has a dark history. It was used as a plague quarantine centre and later as a mental hospital. Prominent buildings of the island include a church, a hospital, an asylum and a bell-tower
Visits to the island are completely prohibited. The island is state property and completely uninhabited.
Estimates suggest that over 1 lakh people died of plague here and were buried in the pits. It is also speculated that many mental patients were tortured and killed here.
23. Yanomami Indigenous Territory, Brazil: Home to Amazon’s Least Known and Uncontacted Tribes
The territory is home to some of Amazon’s least known and uncontacted tribes, the Yanomami and Ye’kuana people.
The area is one of the several protected areas of the Amazon Rainforest. The forests are restricted to visitors in order to protect the environment and the indigenous tribes.
The area and the tribes are under serious threat from illegal miners around the protected forest area.
24. Ise Grand Shrine, Japan: Restricted to the Royal Family
Also known as Ise Jingu, this is the most important and holiest Shinto shrine in Japan.
The access to the main shrine is restricted to the common public. Only members of the royal family and high-ranking priests are allowed behind the four walled wooden fences.
People visiting the shrine can visit the shrine from outside and walk around the forests near the shrine.
25. Surtsey Island, Iceland: Off-Limits to Visitors to Minimise Human Interferece
Surtsey Island is believed to be the newest island on the planet made by volcanic eruptions. The island has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008 for its immense scientific value.
Only a few scientists are allowed to visit the island to protect the island’s environment and minimize human interference.
Scientists believe that the ecological balance of the island is extremely sensitive and any human interference can hinder its natural course of development.
26. Dulce Base, USA: No One Knows What Goes In this Secret Underground Laboratory
Another hot favourite among conspiracy theorists is the Dulce base located in New Mexico.
With immense security, the base is one of the most restricted places on the earth. It is believed to have a huge hidden underground laboratory that conducts inconceivable experiments.
Conspiracy theorists believe that the base is used to experiment on aliens and on hybrids and certain advance technologies. Since no one is allowed, guess we’ll never know the truth behind the theories.
27. Albatross Island, Australia: A Protected Habitat for the Largest Flying Bird
The Island acts as a breeding ground for one of the largest flight birds – the albatross. The island is believed to be home to around 40 % of the bird population.
The island is off-limits to visitors in order to protect the habitat of the many birds and animals that live here.
Other than albatross, the island also has penguins, short-tailed shearwaters, silvery gulls, Australian fur seals, Tasmanian skink, etc.
28. Plymouth, Montserrat, British Overseas Territory: The Town that got Buried under Volcanic Matter
Plymouth is a ghost town located on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean. The town was abandoned in 1997 when the entire city was buried by volcanic matter.
While visitors are allowed to visit the Island of Montserrat, the main areas of the Plymouth town are restricted from public access to ensure safety.
Visitors can see the town from a distance, from a boat as the volcano continues to bubble and release sulphuric fumes.
29. Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA: A Heavily Guarded Facility that Stores US Government’s Treasures
Fort Knox is a US Army post in Kentucky that stores a large portion of gold and other valuable items in possession of the US government.
The facility is heavily guarded and no one is allowed to enter without authorization. Around 30,000 soldiers protect the facility.
The facility has some of the most sophisticated safety features and remains one of the most restricted places on the earth.
30. Metro 2, Moscow, Russia: Forbidden as it’s Hard to Find
Metro 2 is said to be a four-lined secret underground metro system in Moscow operated by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The only reason why you can’t visit the place is because no one knows the exact location of the metro system.
The metro system is said to connect the Moscow Kremlin with the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters.
31. Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory: Forbidden to anyone Other Than High-Ranking Officials
Diego Garcia is a small island in the Indian Ocean which was once inhabited by around 2000 people. In 1973, The British forcefully evicted all the native inhabitants and made it their overseas territory.
Today the island serves as a military base for the US Army and is off limits to visitors except for officials. Visitors are not even allowed within 3 nautical miles of the island.
The island of Diego Garcia is strategically located and offers proximity to East Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
32. Navassa Island, Caribbean: Disputed Territory between USA and Haiti
Navassa Island in the Caribbean Island is a disputed territory between Haiti and the United States. In the midst of the dispute, the US declared the island and the waters around it as Navassa Island Wildlife Refuge.
The Island and 12 nautical miles radius of the Island are restricted to the general public to ensure the protection and preservation of the island.
Visitors who visit to visit it for scientific reasons, have to take permission to enter its territorial waters and land.
33. The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China: Resting Place of the Emperor Obsessed with Afterlife
The tomb has the mausoleum of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Although the outside of the tomb is accessible, the majority of its contents and off-limits.
The Chinese Government has restricted the excavation of the tomb to respect the burial site of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty. The emperor was obsessed with the idea of living forever and finding the elixir of immortality,
No visitors are allowed to visit deep into the tomb. You can still see the terracotta warriors and a few other items found on the burial grounds.
34. Coca Cola Vault, USA: Prohibited Entry to the World’s Best Kept Secret
The secret formula for Coca Cola is a secret that has been guarded for over a hundred years.
The secret formula has been kept in the Coca-Cola Vault in the World of Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.
Visitors are completely forbidden from entering the vault.
35. Bank of England Vaults, UK: One of the Most Secure Facilities in the World
The Bank of England Vault is said to contain 1/5th of the total gold reserves of the world.
Access to the vault is highly restricted and only authorized personnel are allowed to go inside. The names of the people who have access to the vault are also kept a secret.
The vault holds over 5000 tons of gold estimated to be worth over USD 200 billion.
36. Maya Bay, Thailand: Forbidden till the Ecosystem is Back on Track
Maya Bay in Thailand was made famous by the 2000 movie ‘The Beach.’ The making of the film and the subsequent influx of tourists caused damage to the beach.
In 2018, Thai authorities closed the beach to prevent any further damage to the coral reef and the beach ecosystem.
According to some estimates, the bay might become accessible to tourists by the end of 2020 or in the mid of the year 2021.
37. Cheyenne Mountain Complex, USA: A Military Installation with Highly Restricted Entry
The mountain complex is a military installation and defensive bunker located inside Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado.
Because of security reasons, the mountain complex is not open to the general public.
The complex has an Air Force Station that is used for crew qualification training. The whole facility is one of the most secure locations on the planet.
38. Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, UK: The Largest Electronic Monitoring Station in the World
What looks like big golf balls from a distance is actually a very secure Air Force facility in Menwith in England.
In 2006, the facility was declared a protected site making it a criminal offence for a person to trespass into the station.
Providing communications and intelligence support services to the United Kingdom and the United States, the station is said to be the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.
39. Aksai Chin, Ladakh: The disputed border area between China and India
Located in Ladakh, Aksai Chin is a disputed border area between China and India. Aksai Chin is also called Line of Actual Control (LAC) and separates India controlled Ladakh from China-controlled Ladakh.
Due to its strategic location, Aksai Chin is off-limits to all visitors. Only military personnel and officials are allowed in the region.
The whole region is a dream come true for travellers and adventurers. It comprises of wonderful cold desert landscapes, salt lakes, salt planes, valleys & gorges and the serene Karakash river.
40. Bohemian Grove, United States: Restricted Entry for Very Exclusive Members
Bohemian Grove is a restricted area located in Monte Rio, California. The area is privately owned by a gentlemen’s club called Bohemian Club.
The Bohemian grove is the annual meeting spot for members of the Bohemian club. Other than the members, no person is allowed to visit.
The male-only club members range from high-ranking politicians to Nobel prize winners to various military officials, etc.
41. Google Data Centres: High-Security Zones to Protect the Data
Google data centres are the facilities where Google stores and processes all its data.
All google data centres are high-security zones and are completely off limits to visitors to protect against any kind of data breach.
Google has its data centres in 4 continents- North America, South America, Asia and Europe.
42. The Queen’s bedroom, UK: COmpletely Restricted Access after ‘Break In’ in 1982.
While visiting England, Buckingham Palace is always on top of the list. However, one place that is strictly off limits to visitors is the Queen’s Bedroom.
The bedroom is heavily guarded since the 1982 incident when a man named Michael Fagan broke into the bedroom.
Since the incident, the general security at the Palace has been ramped up making the Queen’s bedroom one of the most restricted places on earth.
43. Chapel of the Tablet, Ethiopia: Forbidden to Anyone Other Than the Appointed Guard
The chapel of the Tablet in Aksum, Ethiopia supposedly holds the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was moved to the Chapel adjacent to the old church.
No visitor is allowed inside the chapel except the Guardian of the Covenant who is appointed as the guard of the Ark. The guard is chosen by the previous guard and must be a virgin.
Visitors must see the Chapel from outside and not even the leader of the Ethiopian church can see the Ark.
44. Chauvet Cave, France: An Effort to protect the Pre-Historic Art
Located in Southern France, Chauvet Cave contains some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world.
In 1994, the cave was sealed off to the public to ensure that the cave art is not harmed by the visitors as in case of Lascaux and Altamira Caves.
Although a visit to the original caves is impossible, visitors have access to the cave replica. The replica is considered to be the largest cave replica in the world.
These are all the places that are currently restricted to public visitation around the world. Let me know in the comment section if you know of any other most restricted places on earth.
- How and Where to Obtain an Inner Line Permit 2023? - January 1, 2023
- 77 Most Deadly & Dangerous Places on Earth - February 22, 2022
- 14 Stunning Islands you are Not Allowed to Visit as a Traveller! - January 20, 2022