We're all guilty of typing in the addresses of upcoming trips into Google Earth and taking a virtual tour of our soon to be holiday destinations. Sure, it takes some degree of uncertainty out of trip planning, it can put you at ease to know that your accommodation is only a short walk from the train station. Although it does take a little bit of the curiosity out of travelling to strange places.
Fortunately, there still are a few sights uncharted or out of reach of the internet's grip. Some of these places are shrouded with mystery, while others are deliberately kept under wraps from the public for security or confidentiality reasons. From rooms hidden within national monuments to underwater restaurants and even underground cities, here's a list of holidays that Google Earth will struggle to ruin.
24 Coober Pedy - Underground Town In The Middle Of Nowhere
If you're fed up with all the above-ground nonsense that dominates the news headlines these days, why not simply go underground?
This quaint little town in remote South Australia migrated beneath the surface for a number of reasons. The main one is that it is so darn hot in some remote places of Australia that you're better off living underground if you're not near a beach. Also, this town mainly arose out of an opal mine (why else would one choose to live so far from civilization?).
23 Mount Rushmore Vault - A Bit Of Extra Headroom
A lot of people know Abraham Lincoln for his great mind but there's more in that head of his than meets the eye. Behind his stone-sculpted head on Mount Rushmore there is a hidden room.
Unfinished until the 1990's, this room was intended to store many items of significant interest and contains panels displaying things such as the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.
22 Babylon - One Of The Seven Hidden Wonders Of The World
This iconic city referenced in the bible, appears as simply farmland on Google Maps, despite reportedly having a great deal of money spent on rebuilding it.
The hanging gardens of Babylon is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World, making its exclusion from Google Maps all the more confusing.
21 Antelope Canyon - A Very Cosy Hiding Place
It's no surprise Antelope Canyon can't be reached on Google Earth, as some sections are hard enough for a human to reach, let alone complex mapping technology and cameras.
This beautiful natural creation on Navajo land in Arizona is definitely worth visiting for yourself as no amount of internet trawling could do justice to the wondrous sand textures throughout this underground passage.
20 Great Barrier Reef - Catch It If You Can
Off the coast of northeastern Australia lies one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the great barrier reef.
You're allowed to swim here but the sooner you visit the better, as coastal development and pollution are rapidly destroying this place with about half of the coral being lost over the last 30 years.
19 The Vatican Secret Archives - Do Your Homework If you Want To See This One
Property of the current reigning Pope, this archive of all kinds of documents is off limits to most of us. It includes things such as letters from Michelangelo requesting payment for his work on the Sistine Chapel and the trial of Galileo for heresy.
To get in here you need a pretty good reason. A series of requests must be sent, as well as supporting letters from Universities and churches which are needed just to have a waltz around.
18 Amsterdam's Palace - A Mystery Of The Highest status
Ornately designed and fitted out by some of Amsterdam's most prestigious artists, this is a beautiful pitstop for all those architecturally minded. It's also a good place to stop by for the sleuth within all of us, as the palace is mysteriously blurred out on Google Maps.
So if you're hoping to catch a glimpse of this marvellous structure, you're really going to need to get here in person to achieve a decent view.
17 Baker Lake - Only for Locals (And Maybe Intergalactic locals)
This remote lake on Inuit country in Canada is interestingly hidden from Google Maps. A search on Google will result in a blurred image where Baker Lake is supposed to be.
There are a whole host of theories, and questions have arisen as to whether there are extraterrestrial beacons being hidden here. The only way to find out is to make the pilgrimage yourself and hopefully not get escorted to another galaxy.
16 Portlaoise Prison - Kept Under Lock And Key
Maximum security to say the least. The oldest running prison in Ireland has been subject to a great deal of controversy including questionable conditions for inmates and high profile prisoners. The history of attempted break outs may be the reason the image for the prison hasn't been updated for some time now, perhaps so the floor plan can't be stolen by and cunning minds.
15 Snow Saddle - Shrouded In Fog (And Confusion)
This beautiful peak in the heart of the Himalayas, also known as Kangtega is another location strangely missing from the giant database that is Google Earth. There have been many wild theories from hidden cities to UFO test sites.
Whether it's a simple online glitch or the hiding place of something a little bit unusual, you definitely won't solve this mystery from your laptop.
14 Lascaux Caves - The Paleo Diet Is Popular, How About Paleo Art?
Inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the Lascaux Caves in the southwest of France contain many incredible drawings of flora and fauna from the upper paleolithic period (about 10,000) years ago.
Opened to the public in 1948, it has been closed to travelers since 1963 because all the breathing and talking caused the paintings to deteriorate due to higher carbon dioxide levels (that must be why they ask you to be quiet in art galleries).
13 Club 33 - Only For Mickey's Close Circle of Friends
You're going to need an invitation from some of Hollywood's finest if you want to see the inside of this highly exclusive club at Disneyland. If you want to be kicking back with the A-listers (with pockets deep enough to do so) and join one of the most exclusive clubs on the planet, Club 33 has got you covered.
It's time to start hanging out with Tom Cruise and start moving into some celebrity circles if this sort of lifestyle takes your fancy.
12 The Coca Cola Vault - All The Ingredients That We'll Never Know
If you ever wanted to know what's in all that Coca-Cola you've been drinking, I've got some bad news for you; the chances of that are next to impossible. The recipe for this world famous drink is locked away in the highly secure Coca-Cola vault in downtown Atlanta.
So, unfortunately, there's to be no home brewing of this soda anytime soon.
11 Hidden Rooms Beneath The Eiffel Tower - The Only Way is Up
For most of us, the world famous Eiffel tower is a landmark to be climbed, yet, for those in the know, there is just as much history and intrigue located beneath. Just beside the southernmost leg of the tower is an old bunker, which although largely considered 'secret' is actually open at various times throughout the week.
There is a lot of history of the tower down here as well as theories that there are tunnels running to various key points in Paris, so you'll have to see it to believe it I suppose.
10 Underground Metro-2 Russia - A Top Secret Train line
This secret underground metro system, known colloquially as the Metro-2 is a train line in Moscow, the existence of which is still up for debate. It was supposedly built during Stalin's reign in Russia but has never been used for public transport.
It is thought to more or less mirror the current Metro-1 in Moscow and rumor has it that it is currently in use but only for government operations, a confusing idea indeed, but worth getting to the bottom of if you have a day or two spare in Moscow.
9 The Campbell New York City - Reliving The Great Gatsby
No list of the hidden places of the world could be complete without the addition of a secret bar in the city of the birthplace of the speakeasy. The Campbell, a bar tucked away in the old office of railroad executive John Williams Campbell, exemplifies the decadence and secrecy of the prohibition era in North America.
Definitely a place to add to the list for fans of The Great Gatsby, only unlike Jay Gatsby, this time you won't be breaking the law.
8 St Dunstans Garden - London's Most Secret Picnic Spot
Known as St Dunstan's in the East, this was a church built around 1100 AD smack in the middle of the City of London. Mostly destroyed during WWII, it isn't common knowledge that the ruins and resulting gardens are now actually public land.
It is definitely a good place for a quiet escape in a city known for it's non-stop chaos.
7 Las Cuevas de Guadix - An Underground Spanish Oasis
One might be surprised to discover that the quaint old town located in Granada, Spain, is actually host to an unexpected, underground civilization.
Many tourists are surprised to see people going about their lives almost completely underground with everything from accommodation, restaurants and even swimming pools all below ground level.
6 Ithaa Underwater Restaurant - Pescetarians Beware
Located just off the coast of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island within the Republic of Maldives, this restaurant is another place that makes the list on account of it being subterranean.
It's probably not the ideal dining solution for a pescetarian, as you might be at risk of having your dinner be the same creature that's swimming around you, but it's an interesting pit stop nevertheless.
5 Huis Ten Bosch Palace - Mystery of the highest status 2.0
Built in 1645, Huis Ten Bosch is another location oddly blurred out on Google Maps. Perhaps it's simply a matter of privacy for the inhabitants, or perhaps there's all sorts of theories surrounding this mysterious omission from Google Earth.
Such is the intrigue surrounding this palace that there is actually a replica built in a theme park in Japan.
4 Ristorante Grotta Palazzese - Valentine's Day Done Right
Regarded as one of the most exclusive restaurants in the world, Grotta Palazzese is located in a natural cave, which has actually hosted banquets and gatherings since as early as the 1700s.
It's definitely a prime location for a romantic dinner. With views of open cavern walls and water as far as you can see, you'll surely feel like you can't be reached by Google Earth.
3 Pub Hidden Within The Tower Of London - The Best Beer You'll Never Have
Speaking of exclusive, this pub hidden within the walls of the Tower of London definitely tops the list for the most exclusive pub. It is open only to the specific guards working at the Tower, known as Beefeaters, making the total customer count somewhere around 37.
Known as the Yeoman Warders Club, it's a place of refuge for the guards who tirelessly watch the tower and pose for countless photos for tourists.
2 Apostle Islands Wisconsin - The Blueprint For Pixar's Ice Age Movie
Off the coast of North Wisconsin, these islands in Lake Superior are host to many diverse and unique plants and animals.
Perhaps the most well-hidden part is the water caves which during winter can display many frozen waterfalls and the like. It's a great way to feel like you're on set of the Ice Age films, but you're unlikely to find a woolly mammoth unfortunately.
1 Crooked Forest Poland - Something's Definitely Askew Here
In a far corner of Poland, near a town called Gryfino, lies a well hidden mystery that still to this day can't entirely be explained. A gathering of trees grew at 90 degree angles at the base, hence the name of this mysterious forest.
It it interestingly surrounded by a whole bunch of perfectly straight trees, which makes this phenomenon inexplicable by most who have had the chance to witness it.
References: Ranker, thethings, theclever, littlethings, c-net, tripadvisor