Top 10 Restricted Destinations of the World

Restricted Destinations

restricted destinations

Restricted Destinations are those places that are not open to the tourism of any sort. These places are usually not safe for people or are crucial for governmental purposes for research or military uses. And apart from this over-tourism is also one of the rising causes that prompt Governments to shut down a place for conservation. These off limit places around the world along with others make into the list of most restricted places on earth.

At times research documentaries give us a glimpse of these restricted destinations. These places are remote and difficult to reach. No matter how much they seem appealing are better to avoid these places. Travelling to these restricted destinations is a danger and therefore it’s better to satisfy the curiosity from a distance.



Top 10 Places you are Not Allowed to Visit


snake island

Snake Island

Ilha da Queimada Grande or Snake Island is one of the most dangerous places in the world. Located 25 miles off the Brazil coast, this island is so deadly that Brazil government made it illegal for anyone to visit. Researchers are only allowed on this island and that too with lots of special permits and conditions.

Estimates claim that there are over 2,000 to 4,000 Golden Lancehead vipers, who are much more venomous than their mainland variety. Along with this, there are numerous other venomous species that inhabit this island. The scientific explanation is the rising sea level that separated this island from mainland Brazil.

Snake venom is useful for medicinal purposes and is costly. This, therefore, led to another problem of smugglers going to the island to trap snakes and sell them on the black market. Surprisingly the Golden Lancehead vipers are an endangered species. This, therefore, is also one of the reasons to make this island out of public reach.


sentinel islands

North Sentinel Island

This group of Andaman and Nicobar Island (India), in the Bay of Bengal, is one of the last isolated places on earth. The Andaman and Nicobar (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 provides protection to the Sentinelese and other native tribes in the region. This is one of the most forbidden places in the world.

The Sentinelese people still lead a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. They reject any contact with other people. Also, they are among the last people to remain virtually untouched by modern civilisation.

As a result of their total isolation for so many years, the tribe faces the potential threats of infectious diseases to which they have no immunity, as well as violence from intruders. Therefore the Indian government declared the entire island and its surrounding waters 9.26 km from the island as an exclusion zone making it one of the restricted destinations that you can’t visit.


Area 51

Area 51

Since the 1950’s to the present day, Area 51 outside Las Vegas in Nevada is one of the most mysterious places in the world. It is because of its association with alien theories. US Government owns this area and as it is totally confidential, no one knows what goes on there. This secretive aura around that place gives rise to more rumours.

Various conspiracy theorists think that the base is where the U.S. government examines and stores a crashed alien spacecraft and the alien occupants. This also includes evidence from a supposed alien crash landing in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. The airspace above the base is also a restricted area. Also, supposedly anti-aircraft weaponry and fighter jets protect the area.

However, the area surrounding Area 51 is a popular tourist destination for alien enthusiasts. But access to Area 51 itself is completely prohibited. Constant surveillance and motion sensors are always active. Only intelligence and military personnel with special clearance are able to access this base.


seed vault

Seed Vault

“Noah’s Ark of plant diversity’ or the Global Seed Vault at Svalbard is one of the most restricted destinations. This is primarily because of its remote location and also high security.

This facility is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. It is 800 miles from the North Pole. And it is inside 400 feet into a mountainside. On top of that, this 11,000-square-foot vault has highly advanced security systems and strictly limited authorised access.

Starting in February 2008, the facility at present stores around 840,000 samples of 4000 different species of seeds, from all over the world. The main reason behind the seed bank is to provide a safety net against accidental loss diversity in the case of a major global or regional event. The access is highly restricted. Organizations or governments who ‘deposit’ seed variations in the vault for safekeeping only they have access to their deposits.


Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang Tomb

The tomb of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang holds many secrets to this day. Buried deep beneath a hill in Central China, a moat of liquid and poisonous mercury surrounds this complex structure. Also, there are traps all around making it inaccessible.

The accidental discovery of the site was in 1974 when a group of farmers dug wells near Xi’an, China. A firm believer in the afterlife, the burial complex of the Emperor consists of clay reproductions of his armies, family, servants, horses, and staff, popularly known as the Terracotta Army.

Though till date 2000 statues have been discovered, whereas the total estimate is around 8000. The site contains numerous traps which work till today and therefore made the excavation tough. New scientific procedures provide assistance in the excavation process. For now, tourists can view the emperor’s clay army during a site tour.


lascaux cave

Lascaux Caves

The famous caves in France stores 17,000-year-old paintings of humans and animals. More than 600 works of art depict the aurochs, horses, deer, and plants corresponding to fossil records from the Upper Paleolithic period. This cave is a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1979.  But to preserve the site, all access was stopped from 1963. Thereby entering the list of restricted destinations.

The reason behind the restriction was because the presence of tourists and the influx of light created a number of problems like the growth of lichen, crystals, microbes, and fungi. All these were capable of destroying the arts. At present only a handful of researchers visit for study or research purposes.


Vatican Secret Archives

Vatican Secret Archives

The Vatican Secret Archives is the storehouse of historic documents, state papers, papal account books, and other official correspondence, even dating back to the 8th century. The archives also include letters from Michelangelo, a letter from Mary Queen of Scots written while she was awaiting her execution, and King Henry VIII’s request for a marriage annulment.

The pope, as Sovereign of Vatican City, owns the archives until his death or resignation, with ownership passing to his successor. Only a handful of scholars after a tough and thorough application process get permission to access some of the documents. There are further limitations on the documents that a scholar can view. As for the rest of the public, it is totally off limits thus resulting in becoming one of the most restricted places on earth.


ise shrine

Ise Grand Shrine

Dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu-omikami, the Ise Grand Shrine, is one of Shinto’s holiest and most important sites. Ise Jingū is a shrine complex composed of a large number of Shinto shrines centred on two main shrines, Naikū and Gekū.

The chief priest or priestess of Ise Shrine comes from the Imperial House of Japan and is responsible for watching over the Shrine. Reconstruction of the shrine buildings at Naikū and Gekū, as well as the Uji Bridge, takes place every 20 years. This is because of the Shinto belief of the death and renewal of nature and the impermanence of all things. It is also a way of passing building techniques from one generation to the next.

The common public not allowed beyond sight of the thatched roofs of the central structures. However, the public is free to roam the forest around. All these rules make this place one of the restricted destinations.



Woomera Prohibited Area

The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA), Australia covers an area of 122,188 sq. km. The WPA is a globally unique military testing range and a key asset in Defence capability development. It is also an area of potential economic importance in terms of its natural resources. The WPA has been declared a Prohibited Area under Part VII of the Defence Force Regulations.  It serves the purpose of ‘the testing of war material’ under the control of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Tourists require a Tourist Permit (DOC) issued by the Woomera Test Range before accessing any part of the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA). But there are some places still inaccessible even with a permit. Furthermore, permits may contain specific conditions relevant to that individual permit.


Heard Island

Heard Island

Heard Island lies between Madagascar and Antarctica but politically, it belongs to Australia. This comes under the Restricted Zone. And therefore is one of the places you aren’t allowed to visit. According to the Australian Government, there are 2 reasons behind the restriction. Firstly, safety and conservation issues relating to these volcanic features. And secondly, the vulnerability of the cushion plants and other vegetation on the Peninsula to human impact.

Heard Island has two active volcanoes. The climate is also extreme with snowfall throughout the year. From February 1996 entry to the island requires a permit. Between 1996 and 2006 there were two scientific expeditions 2-3 months long. An automatic weather station has functioned since 1990.


The world is a fascinating place and it never ceases to amaze us. To know about more travel hacks and worldwide destinations check here.

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