There are some places in this world you should avoid when travelling, and others, the decision is being made for you as the site is forbidden to everyone. That might make some people want to go there even more, but some of the forbidden places are dangerous and if anything, they are forbidden for the safety of the people that may want to go there. It can be difficult to be told you can’t travel somewhere, but once you see this list, a few of them will have you agreeing that staying away is probably for the best of everyone involved.
Meanwhile, there are some places you can go to, but we suggest you avoid them altogether for many reasons. Some are overcrowded, with plenty of tourists taking up every space possible, while some are dangerous in their own right, but that hasn’t stopped tourists from going. Just because a lot of people are going to a certain place, doesn’t mean it should be on your list of places to travel to in the future. So look at this list and see plenty of places that are off-limits to you and places you should just consider off-limits for your own good.
Let's start with the 14 you should avoid...
29 Amsterdam During Summer
Amsterdam makes a lot of tourists' bucket lists and it should because it’s a beautiful place, but if you are going to go there, avoid going during the summer. According to the Travel Magazine, Amsterdam has great weather and 300 festivals a year, with most of them happening during the summer which clogs up the streets and all the tourist spots. If you want to avoid the crowds, go during the spring and see the tulips bloom and avoid the massive waves of people.
28 New York At New Years
A lot of people have the dream of being at Time’s Square in New York City for New Year’s Eve to be part of the ball drop. But it isn’t all that it’s made out to be, as a lot of time people are standing around waiting for musical acts in the cold or rain, and according to Global News, while it doesn’t get one to two million people, it does get over 100,000, which makes for a crowded party. You can’t bring much in as well, due to security, so you’re basically at the mercy of a show that is made for television, more than the people there.
Disneyland and Disney World are every kids' dream come true, as they get to mingle with their favorite Disney characters and enjoy plenty of games, rides, and attractions. But according to CNN, Disney is raising the price of their parks, going up almost $30. And those Disney Princesses, well you can see them if you’re willing to pay a lot of money for the extra special greeting, or willing to wait in line for a long time. There are definitely parks available that offer all the rides without the massive hit to the wallet.
26 Jacob’s Well
Jacob’s Well looks cool if you’re standing from atop the cliff looking to jump into the seemingly endless black hole of water below, but it is a dangerous attraction that has claimed eight lives, according to the Daily Mail. The water is so clear and it just looks like a massive hole in the ground, and it does go down about 30 feet, before turning into a series of chambers. It’s a thrill-seeker's dream, but one you should avoid considering you really don’t know what you’re jumping in to.
25 Danakil Desert
These colors may look amazing, but the Danakil Desert is a place you would want to avoid unless you like it really hot. According to the Atlantic, the Danakil Desert is the hottest place on Earth, with an average temperature of 94 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures have got over 122 degrees. It’s filled with sulfur springs, volcanoes, geysers, acidic pools, vast salt pans, and colorful mineral-laden lakes, but unless you got yourself a camel ride, skip this inhospitable place and go somewhere where if it’s hot, you can at least cool down.
24 New Orleans During Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is one of the biggest annual parties in the United States, held every year in New Orleans. The celebration in February draws a lot of people, as according to CNN, 1.4 million people would attend, making for a very crowded French quarter in Bourbon Street. It may be a great party and all, but with so many people, it’s hard to enjoy with all the beads, parades and drinking going on. It’s cultural, but you want to enjoy the culture and not fight for a spot to see it all happening.
23 Coney Island
Coney Island invites plenty of people to enjoy the beach and the boardwalk, and according to New York City’s website, 14 million people visited in 2009 alone. That’s an overcrowded mess and it’s hard to find a spot to lay down, or you’re waiting in long lines to enjoy some rides. And even the rides aren’t family-friendly, as some are just for adults, which is great if you’re on a date, but for any family-style vacation, you’re out of luck.
22 Daytona Beach Is A Parking Lot
Daytona Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the United States for those looking for a beach. It’s so cool that you can drive your car right up to the shoreline. But according to the New York Times, this tradition is dangerous because people might not be looking where they are going and hit someone who is laying out in the sand. Plus it doesn’t make the sand that clean to begin with, as dirt from the tires, oil and other vehicle fluids get in the sand and make for a not so nice spot to lay your towel down.
21 Mall Of America
With over 5.6 million square feet of shopping space, according to the Huffington Post, the Mall of America is the largest mall in the United States and offers plenty of experiences, other than just shopping. But the problem is, everything costs money, from the amusement parks and rides to other attractions inside. Sure, you can go walk around and see everything, but it’s pretty costly to do anything, but at least you save on sales tax on clothing, as Minnesota doesn’t have any.
20 Isle Of Skye
The Isle of Skye is a lovely Scottish island with a massive problem. Tourists are overtaking them. According to the Guardian, tourists are overcrowding the most beautiful spots in the country, buckling under the weight of the people coming to see the island. Cars are often left parked anywhere they can find a spot, making it difficult for locals to even get around in their own home. And people often only stay for 48 hours, visit the hot spots and leave and don’t put a lot back into the local economy.
19 Venice, Italy
Romantic couples always dream of taking a gondola ride down the canals of Venice, but locals aren’t loving it as much as you might. Maybe it’s time to avoid Venice because locals are charging high dollars to do gondola rides and other things, mostly because they are outnumbered. According to the Telegraph, only about 50,000 locals are left in Venice, while 30 million tourists are showing up each year and crowding the city streets. It’s making people want Venice to be on the forbidden list but for now, it’s a good place to avoid.
18 Acapulco, Mexico
Acapulco is a place you will want to avoid when going to Mexico because it is known for a lot of violence, gangs, and a heavy police presence. It’s known as the murder capital for a reason, and according to the Telegraph, that has a lot to do with the tension between the local gangs and police. The US State Department has issued a travel advisory to Acapulco, and even because of the hardships, people do still end up going, but it would be good to avoid.
17 King’s Landing AKA Dubrovnik, Croatia
If you’re a fan of the hit television show Game of Thrones, then Dubrovnik, Croatia is the place to visit, as it is the place that represents King’s Landing in the television show. But according to the New York Times, the city is having a massive tourism problem because of people coming to the city for the show, and it’s starting to threaten the city’s normal life, as there are so many people wanting to take tours of the show’s iconic scenes. Just enjoy the show and avoid going there and disrupting the locals for what is nothing more than a scene in a show.
16 Machu Picchu
The ancient ruins of Machu Picchu bring thousands of people a day, so many so, that it’s actually hurting them and the Machu Picchu lands. According to CNN, Machu Picchu is close to losing it’s UNESCO World Heritage List standing because they haven’t been able to limit the number of people. Over 5,000 people come a day, and UNESCO has said it needs to be half that in order to maintain their standing. And locals aren’t seeing any benefit from Machu Picchu, and people come, see Machu Picchu and leave and don’t put anything back into the local economy.
And here are 15 places that are forbidden...
15 Snake Island
This island off the coast of Brazil lives up to its name. Snake Island is home to the golden lancehead pit viper who became trapped on the island after sea levels rose and cut off their route to the land. Now there are thousands of them on the island and it’s forbidden for people to go there because it’s too dangerous. According to Smithsonian, the island is outlawed by the Brazil Navy because it is said that there is one snake for every meter of the island. And their venom is very lethal, so best o stay away.
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is an area surrounding the power plant there that experienced a meltdown event back in 1986 that has left the area radioactive. According to The Guardian, the area is one of the most radioactive areas in the entire world, and it does bring plenty of scientific interest, as well as some tourists who want to be brave. But the area is still forbidden to go into, as people can get very sick if they stay there for a long period of time.
13 Laguna Caliente
Laguna Caliente is located in the crater of a now, inactive volcano, but those looking to dive into a volcano lake would be wise to not do so, as Laguna Caliente is the most acid lake in the world, according to the Geological Society of London. The acid content in the lake is higher than a car battery, so people are forbidden to go swimming in it, and it’s even dangerous to be around, as the lake creates acid rain and fog which can also affect people’s health.
12 Area 51
Area 51 has been a heavily kept secret for decades and it is believed that is where the government holds aliens that have come to Earth. But unless you have top-secret clearance, you are forbidden to go near the air force base. According to the New York Daily News, security is so tight that it has been said that you will be spotted well before you spot anyone, as they have microphones, cameras and other technology to detect people coming to close.
11 Lascaux Caves
Located in France, the Lascaux Caves are estimated to be 20,000 years old and the paintings on the wall depict cattle, bison, cats, and other animals. But it’s the hall of bulls that gets a lot of notice, as the bulls are 17 feet long each. But unfortunately, tourists won’t be able to see them anymore, because the caves are off-limits to people because they first, don’t want people to destroy the caves and also because there is so much mold and fungi growth that can be very harmful to humans.
10 North Sentinel Island
Tourists won’t be visiting North Sentinel Island anytime soon, because the local natives won’t allow it. According to CNN, the natives have long been opposed to communication with the modern world, even when disaster strikes. When the 2004 tsunami hit, the Indian Coast Guard flew by to see if the people needed help but were instead met with arrows being shot at their helicopters. No one was injured, but they got the message and the island has been kept off-limits.
9 Bohemian Grove
This place isn’t forbidden if you have the right connections. Bohemian Grove is a massive campground in California that is the ultimate playground for some of the most powerful men in the United States. According to the New York Times, the camp holds a more than two-week encampment in July, and guests include some former leaders of the United States, accomplish writers, businessmen, politicians, and scientists. One major rule, however, is that no business can be conducted while at the camp.
8 Ise Grand Shrine
Japan has a wonderful culture and many shrines, but none are forbidden, except for the Ise Grand Shrine. Japan’s over 80,000 shrines all keep standing, but the Ise Grand Shrine is torn down and rebuilt every 20 years in order to symbolize the circle of life and death. According to M.I.T. Press, the shrine is built to exact specifications, and unless you are a member of the Japanese imperial family, you won’t be allowed access as they are considered hallowed halls.
7 Poveglia Island
Poveglia Island is prime real estate in Italy, as it is located between Venice and Lido. But it’s forbidden to go to, mostly because it has some dark secrets and history. According to the Telegraph, the island is considered the most haunted place in Italy, because at one point the island was home to quarantine colony for people with the plague and an asylum for the mentally ill. It’s secrets run deep and in order to get on the island, you have to go through a lengthy paperwork process that most people aren’t willing to go through.
6 Vatican Archives
The Vatican has a special place for people in the Catholic faith, and it is home to many of their secrets and records. Those are housed in the Vatican Archives, which has centuries of material, including letters, papers, and accounts of demons and aliens. According to History Channel, only scholars who undergo a thorough vetting process are allowed access to the archives, and even though they have lightened up a little, a lot of their secrets still remain off-limits.
5 The Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located in Old City of Jerusalem and is one of the cores and oldest shrines in Islamic architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered the most iconic building in Jerusalem, but according to Tourism Israel, unless you are Muslim, you won’t be allowed inside and will be turned away. You can visit around the building complex, but the Dome of the Rock is off-limits to those of that religion, so avoid going if you don’t want to be told to leave, and respect that a religious shrine isn’t a tourist trap.
4 Bikini Island
Bikini Island was a paradise before the United States started to do bomb testing there 70 years ago. In total, according to the Guardian, they dropped 23 bombs and it made the local water radioactive, along with the island itself. While fish and marine life are returning, it’s still off-limits to people who aren’t scientists because of the radioactive poisoning that can happen if you stay long enough. It’s a shame because it has some amazing beaches and laid back lifestyle you would want in a tourism spot.
3 Niihau, United States
Niihau is the seventh-largest island in Hawaii, and the population is just 170 according to the US census. It’s known as the forbidden island, as the island is owned privately and has stayed in the family since being purchased in 1864. Some people are allowed access for helicopter tours, but mostly the locals like to keep the island for themselves and don’t allow tourists to stay long periods or overnight. It became forbidden because, during a polio epidemic, the owner stopped allowing people to save the residents.
2 Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion
The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion is known to be the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, or at least that is the claim. The problem is, no one is allowed inside the church, according to Yahoo News, except for a single monk whose job it is to take care of the Ark, which is where the 10 Commandments were placed. If someone does try to go in the church a bell rings and the local residents come running to protect it, so it’s better left forbidden, rather than getting a town after you.
1 Fort Knox
Fort Knox is one of the most famous bases in the military because it houses a large portion of the United States gold reserve. But civilians haven’t been allowed inside in years. According to the Daily Mail, a group of politicians and civilians went in in 2017, after not having gone in since 1874. More than 147 million ounces of gold is in Fort Knox, worth over $186 billion. But you can’t just book a tour to go through and the reason they open it up every once in a while is to just show it is all still there.