We know you are like us: the kind of chronic traveler who notes down the name of a beautiful place the moment they find out about it, hoping to go there at one point in the future. This time around, you won’t be able to go, ever, though. Keep the urge to discover the world at bay this time around, because the locations we are about to discuss are all off limits! Yes, you got that: the places you will see in this gallery here are all really beautiful, but you will never be allowed to visit any of them… So, enjoy the photos in the gallery, because it’s the only way to admire these 7 amazing places!
Southeastern France hides an invaluable treasure: the Lascaux caves, dating from the Paleolithic era, were closed to the public a few years ago, when the authorities realized that contact with the outside world was gravely damaging the cave paintings.
Lascaux Cave (Flickr Claude Valette)
This wonderful island is densely inhabited by poisonous snakes, so it is impossible to visit! These snakes are currently the only inhabitants of Queimada Grande… And they have no intention to abandon their home!
Snake Island (pic Prefeitura Municipal de Itanha)
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard hosts a very important and unique global depot of seeds, one of the most well-protected, safe and strongest seed reserves worldwide. It includes 250 million seed species from all over the world to use in case of necessity, and of course, access is only restricted to researchers.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Flickr Amber Case)
Pripyat, the ghost town
Ukraine hosts a ghost town where nobody lives, and from which everyone steers clear. The reason for this is the fear caused by the event that shocked all of Ukraine and most of Europe in 1986, namely, the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The city was evacuated and stayed deserted since then, and the buildings and land around it are said to be dangerously contaminated to this day.
Pripyat (Flickr Ashley Smith)
The Vatican secret archive
The world’s most important church hosts a secret archive that nobody can access. The archive is made of about 50,000 shelves; the only people who are allowed to consult the documents here are researchers with degrees in certain topics, and only upon written approval. Access is restricted only to documents dating from before February 1939.
The Vatican secret archive (Flickr su-lin)
Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang
There is a location in China that is considered to be entirely off limits by all inhabitants, and that is the first emperor’s tomb: Qin Shi Huang was the same emperor who ordered the construction of the Great Wall. The tomb is enormous and hosts the famous terracotta army, guarding the emperor’s resting place. Access was also restricted here to avoid damage.
Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang (Flickr Julian Mason)
In 1960, all of a sudden, a portion of land surfaced from the waters to form a small island. Surtsey is a volcanic island, and it is considered one of the world’s most untouched natural environments. Only a few researchers, among which vulcanologists, botanists and biologists, were ever granted permission to visit.
Surtsey Island (Flickr Ron Cogswell)