Seeing the world has never been cheaper, and in many cases, it appears the world really is your oyster. But then again, there are some hush-hush places that are strictly prohibited. From top-secret factories to deserted islands, only a select few people on Earth will ever have access to these fascinating -and in some cases terrifying- locations.
Here we take a look at 30 fascinating places that most people will never be able to visit.
1. Mount Weather, Virginia, US
Buried deep within the Virginia mountains lies Mount Weather, a hidden underground military base that houses high-level civilian and military officials if national disaster strikes. Decked with all the amenities you could hope for in an underground military base, Mount Weather has everything from cafeterias to its very own mass transit system.
Like other secret bases, the area has many warning signs forbidding visitors from going any further with high chain link fences and armed guards surrounding the base.
2. Heard Island, Australia
Australia is dangerous enough. The weather is perilously hot, and the wildlife houses some of the deadliest creatures known to man. As well as this, Down Under also has a few creepy and abandoned places, one of them being Heard Island.
A volcanic island situated between Madagascar and Antarctica, limestone and debris still litter the island from previous volcanic eruptions. Because of its environmental unpredictability, the Australian government has made it illegal to set foot on it.
3. Chichen Itza Pyramid, Mexico
Chichen Itza is a famous Mayan ruin an archaeological site located in Yucatan that attracts around 1.5 million visitors every year. However, if you're thinking of going, don't expect to see the El Castillo pyramid anytime soon.
The reason why stemmed from the tragic passing of a visitor in 2006 when she stumbled down the steep steps following her descent from the top.
4. Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic
This famous Czech Republic landmark is the biggest natural sandstone arch in the European continent and was a favorite spot with tourists until it was closed off in 1982.
Ever since visitors have not been allowed on the arch. Despite these measures, the disintegration continues to this day so much so that geologists believe the arch might collapse and suffer a similar fate as the Azure Window.
5. Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China
Just imagine finishing a long day at work only to inadvertently discover Emperor Qin's tomb. The discovery was made on the outskirts of the Chinese city Xi'an in 1974. While no monetary value was placed on the find, it was deemed priceless due to it being one of the “greatest archaeological discoveries in the world,” according to National Geographic.
What lay inside the Emperor’s tomb was an abundance of military might, from thousands of clay soldiers to chariots, and weapons including swords and arrow tips. However, the Chinese government have never allowed for a complete evacuation of the sight, and likely never will.
6. Diego Garcia, British Overseas Territory, UK
Another faraway, overseas territory that isn't open to the public is a British territory in the Central Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia. An isolated island that looks more like a sun-dappled paradise, the last known residents were evicted in 1973.
Once the residents left, the British government established a vast military base that remains off-limits to all but those with the appropriate credentials.
7. Bhangarh Fort, India
Located in the Indian state of Rajasthan lies the 17th-century Bhangarh Fort. It has long been considered the most haunted place in India so much so that the government officially declared it haunted.
From sunrise until sunset tourists are not allowed to go inside. According to locals, those who have ignored the rules have never returned.
8. Poveglia Island, Italy
This tiny Italian island wedged between Venice and Lido has a haunting past that would make even the most intrepid of travelers run a mile as it is a former plague quarantine station which housed more than 160,000 infected people.
The scary part is that 50% of the soil consists of human remains. When it shut the site soon turned into a mental hospital which allegedly saw patients tortured and even killed. It's little surprise then that this place is strictly off-limits.
9. Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway
Buried deep within a Norwegian mountain on a faraway island between mainland Norway and the North Pole is the Global Seed Vault. But it's not your everyday vault. Instead of housing money, this place is home to 1.5m seeds. Yes, seeds. The kind you bury in your garden.
The reason for this stockpile is in case the world finds itself in an unprecedented global crisis.
10. White's Gentleman's Club, London
This exclusive London club is home to a small cadre of people, many of whom are in charge of the very country. Think royalty, billionaires and former political leaders.
While anyone can walk outside, entrance to the club is prohibited to all but the most exclusive members of society.
11. North Brother Island, New York
Situated alongside New York’s hip East River, North Brother Island's history couldn't be further removed from the New York City of today. Go back to the 1960s and you'd see a very different place, a place that was home to a mental health hospital where Typhoid Mary was a patient.
Other patients included war veterans and teenage drug addicts until the place became a bird sanctuary.
12. Niihau, Hawaii, USA
If you hear of a paradise getaway in the sun-blessed tropics of Hawaii, you're probably going to want to book a ticket there. Unfortunately, you can't visit the paradise of Niihau. The Hawaiian island is home to just 130 people, and despite being home to some of the rarest animal species in the world, Niihau is off-limits to tourists.
It's no surprise then that this island has been nicknamed "Forbidden Island."
13. Dulce Base, America, New Mexico
Dulce Base has long been a rumored home of extraterrestrials. Found underneath the Archuleta Mesa in Dulce, New Mexico, conspiracy theorists believe Dulce Base is an alleged military base for both humans and aliens.
This theory started in 1979 when Albuquerque businessman Paul Bennewitz claimed he had intercepted electronic communications from an alien spacecraft. Ever since thrill seekers and U.F.O. enthusiasts have flocked to catch a glimpse of the site, and tourist numbers spiked when it the location was featured on the History Channel show UFO Hunters.
14. Mezhgorye, Russia
Russia is a vast country with many testing factories and secretive, no-go areas, and another example of this is the nuclear weapons factory in the little-known Russian town of Mezhgorye. In the 1940s, the USSR created 44 secret cities dedicated to manufacturing atomic weaponry.
What makes this factory even more spine-chilling is that the town is technically “closed." Found in the southern Ural Mountains, the true goings-on in this place will probably never be revealed.
15. Zone Rogue, Britain
Translated into English as, “The Red Zone,” Zone Rogue is a series of off-limit areas in northeastern France which were sectioned off after WWI.
The potent damage caused much of the agriculture to be destroyed completely, and rather than restore it the government deemed it inhabitable and dangerous. However, some of the areas have since been re-opened.
16. Disney Club 33, America
What was once a place designated for the 33 corporate sponsors of Disneyland has since transformed into one of the world's most exclusive private members clubs. Rivalling the likes of Soho House in the glamour department, Club 33 is located in New Orleans Square and is nestled away in the California branch of Disneyland.
Equipped with a full-service bar and servers, members have to pay an initiation fee of $40,000, with many celebrities, such as Vanessa Hudgens, thought to be members. The club consists of two levels.
17. Moscow Metro-2, Moscow, Russia
The Russian government had kept shtum on this underground metro system for years before former Soviet adviser Vladimir Shevchenko confirmed the facility’s existence.
The Moscow Metro-2 was constructed during Joseph Stalin’s reign and was code-named D-6 by the KGB. The system is thought to have transported the Kremlin to many important places, including the Federal Security Service headquarters, the government airport, and even an underground town at Ramenki.
18. Snake Island, Brazil
It's many people's worst nightmare: an island full of snakes. Located on a remote island just off the coast of Brazil, rare and dangerous snakes slither through the vast swathes of empty land.
While visiting the island would be an exciting prospect for some, most of the snakes are endangered, and thus the island is off-limits to the public. For the rare few people granted access, such as conservationists and scientists, they are required to catch a ferry in Sao Paulo and travel 18 nautical miles to the 110-acre island.
Studies conducted on the island found that there is around one snake to every square meter, one species of which is the Golden lancehead viper, one of the most deadly snakes known to man.
19. North Sentinel Island, India
In a remote region of the Andaman Islands lies the home of an indigenous group of Sentinelese villagers. If foreigners greet them, they are met with spears at the coastline. If they go as far as the shore, tourists can potentially be rushed and contained in makeshift fishing nets.
Having been entirely untouched by modern civilization, the Sentinelese are fiercely protective of their people and land and intended to keep it that way. So out of kilter are they with the contemporary world that they are thought to be the only people on the planet not to have reached further than a Paleolithic level of technology.
20. Coca-Cola Recipe Vault, Georgia, USA
Recipes are always personal to those who come up with them, but for a drinks company that generates billions each year, safeguarding a winning formula can mean hiding it in a steel vault.
In 2011, the most famous recipe in the world was transferred from its original vault at SunTrust Bank a few minutes up the road to the new World of Coca-Cola exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia. Monitored 24 hours a day, the majority of the vault's interior is heavily guarded, ensuring only top-level Coca-Cola executives access.
21. Area 51, Nevada, USA
Shrouded in secrecy, Area 51 is also fiercely guarded, which is probably why conspiracy theorists believe the base is more than just a testing ground.
Whatever you believe, chances are you won't be able to find out what's truly behind closed doors due to armed guards surrounding the entrances. And for those daring to go beyond the limits, you won't get very far. Just ask this guy.
22. Surtsey, Iceland
Potentially one of the youngest drylands on Earth, Surtsey in Iceland was only formed in the late 1960s following a volcanic explosion.
The rural and pristine nature of the mostly untouched island has no doubt attracted attention across the world, but only a few scientists have ever been allowed to explore it.
23. Bank of England Vaults, London
Guarded within an inch of its life, those wanting to immerse themselves in a room full of gleaming gold bars can only do so with a 90cm long key.
Don't have one? Well, tracking down someone who does will prove difficult considering employees names are kept secret.
24. The Mariana Trench, western Pacific Ocean
The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the world's ocean, with an estimated depth of 10,994 meters.
Only three people have ever successfully reached the bottom. All others who have tried failed to return to the surface.
25. Pripyat, Ukraine
Chernobyl, along with the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, remains the worse nuclear disaster in recorded human history. 31 people lost their lives while countless others suffered long-term defects from the radioactive particles that spread over vast swathes of Eastern Europe. Resultantly and almost expectedly, the town soon became nothing but a mirage of lost objects, broken homes and empty stretches of desolate wasteland.
The city of Pripyat- where the nuclear power plant was based- is strictly prohibited by armed guards, with only those with special permission allowed access so long as an armed guard accompanies them.
26. Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia
As the name suggests, the world's largest weapons testing site, Woomera, is strictly prohibited.
And yes, that applies to daredevils too. And idiots.
27. Vatican Secret Archives, Italy
While Dan Brown and a host of conspiracy theorists/authors will tell you the Vatican is a hotbed of secrets, the 'Secret Archives' aren't that secret at all.
In fact, you can view any document that is older than 75 years old free of charge. Just don't expect to be granted access to any of the rooms.
28. Room 39, North Korea
While North Korea lets people into their nation on specially arranged tours, those wanting to explore anything other than what's on offer risk a long spell in a hard labour camp.
One such place no one with any sense should ever attempt to visit is Room 39. The secretive government facility is thought to be a place where a string of illegal operations takes place; including international insurance fraud and counterfeiting.
29. Ise Grand Shrine, Japan
Dating back to 4BC, only priests and priestesses of the royal family are allowed access to the shrine, which is rebuilt every 20 years following the Shinto idea of death and rebirth.
A fascinating place to visit.... if you can somehow gain access.
30. Abandoned Mine, Spain
What was once the property of mining giant Rio Tinto has since been discarded, and now all that remains is a desolate, lunar-like landscape.
Located in a mountainous region of Spain, Rio Tinto rehoused residents in the area so they could continue with their controversial mining operations. However, after mining operations ceased, the area was left abandoned and it is no longer considered habitable due to the corrosive damage done to water levels.