We all love a bit of mystery – so what’s more tempting than visiting somewhere it’s illegal to go?
When it comes to travel, generally, places to visit include the famous sights of the world, such as the Empire State Building or the Taj Mahal. But what about the destinations of the world shrouded in mystery that are completely forbidden to visit? To spark your imagination (and hopefully not your travel plans), here is our list of 8 the most illegal places to visit in the world.
1. Ilha da Queimada Grande: Brazil
Snake Island. Enough said. The Brazilian government has outlawed visitors from the island, as it has the highest concentration of one of the deadliest snakes in the world, the Golden Lancehead Pit Viper. Inhospitable to humans, myths about the island abound, with some saying it’s the hidden location to ancient pirate’s treasure and others even saying it is home to aliens. All we know for sure is we wouldn’t like our insides liquefied by poisonous venom, so best to steer clear of this island off Santos.
2. Surtsey: Iceland
This island south of Iceland was formed by volcanic eruptions as recently as the 1960s and is the youngest landform in the world. For that reason, it is protected from human interference. Surtsey is a pristine natural laboratory that can only be accessed by scientists, who stay in the only man-made structure on the island, a small shack with bunk beds inside. The island has been providing information about the colonisation of new flora and fauna, and scientists have to remove any trace of their interaction when leaving. For the sake of science, please do not try to attempt to go to Surtsey.
3. Area 51: United States of America
Area 51 is perhaps the most famous forbidden location in the world. The mystery surrounding Area 51 has been the subject of many movies and conspiracy theories about the restricted area are incredibly popular. The Area, hidden in secluded Nevada, was completely unknown until it came to light after documents were leaked; the CIA confirmed its existence in 2013. The general consensus is that it is a base which has been used to test aircrafts and weapons for the US Army, but the facts have not been confirmed as they are strictly prohibited. There is also a theory that it has been used for extra-terrestrial research, which was further supported when a US Scientist by the name of Bob Lazar went public about his experiences working in the prohibited area. Whether Bob Lazar was lying or not, we will most likely never find out – but one thing we do know for sure is you certainly will not be allowed to visit Area 51.
4. Svalbard Global Seed Vault: Norway
Cut into the side of a mountain of the island of Spitsbergen, and halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole is one of the most secure locations in the world. Housing over 960 thousand seeds from countries all over the globe, the seed vault is a safe place to protect seeds and flora species. The seeds can then be extracted in the case of circumstances which destroy all life of the plant on the planet. Only people who work there are allowed in. It is secured by several doors and security features, and is only accessible by aircraft or snowmobile. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is definitely a great location and one we should steer clear, because we may regret attempting to tamper with it in the future if we ever happen to lose all of our food sources…. Food for thought!
5. North Sentinel Island: North Andaman Islands, India
Unless you want a barrage of arrows and rocks coming your way, we certainly suggest not visiting North Sentinel Island. The local people are one of the last communities untouched by modern civilisation and are willing to keep it that way by any means possible. The area is also guarded by the Indian Navy; contact with outsiders may be fatal to the island community who have not gained immunity to many of the diseases we’re used to in the rest of the world. You are not allowed within 5 nautical miles of the island, with the population wanting to be kept to their own devices. We can only imagine what their world is like…
6. Poveglia: Italy
The island, less than half a mile from Venice is said to be the most haunted place on earth. It was once used as a plague quarantine station and is said to have been home to over 160 thousand infected individuals. Rumour has it, the soil on Poveglia is 50% human remains, and in 1922 a mental hospital was opened on the island, with myths now purporting that doctors tortured and hurt the unwell inhabitants. The island is now illegal to visit and strictly off limits which sounds good to us anyway!
7. Mezhgorye: Russia
Situated in the Republic of Bashkortostan and donned Russia’s own Area 51, Mezhgorye was given town status in 1995 but is actually top secret. All access to the town is monitored by the President himself because of infrastructure built into the side of the mountain. The town is said to be home to nuclear weapons that were stored after the Cold War and have enough space and supplies for 60 thousand people. Mezhgorye also allegedly houses 72 nuclear missiles and the infamous ‘Dead Hand Project’, in which an AI system can release nuclear weapons based on a computer system, even after all of the commanders have died. Scary right? Do not attempt to visit this place.
8. The Queen’s Bedroom: England
Not so much a location, but a room, our last pick is the highly forbidden bedroom of the Queen. Deep into Buckingham Palace is Queen Elizabeth’s bedroom, and it is completely off limits, and not just because you would have to find your way into the Palace, which is already near impossible, and then make your way through the Palace. Only specific security personnel and staff can visit this inner sanctum. However, if you managed to sneak you way in, you wouldn’t be the first one! In 1982, a man named Michael Fagan managed to get into the room, and sat on the Queen’s bed while she phoned the police. At the time, this was not considered a criminal offence (but now is) but is still historically considered to be part of one of the biggest royal security breaches of all time.
Looking for more wacky travel stories? Explore the mystery of Australia’s forgotten rollercoaster, the Orphan Rocker. Alternatively, big spenders might want to check out this private island, available to rent for a meagre half a million dollars per night.