There are a lot of amazing places around the world that we all want to visit: the Grand Canyon, Paris, Mount Everest, Bali...we all have different dream destinations! But there are lots of fascinating sites that are, unfortunately, next to impossible to see in real life. Here are some of the world’s most interesting locales that are either extremely expensive, super dangerous, highly illegal, or impossible to access!
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galápagos in the Pacific Ocean are volcanic islands that are slowly shifting over time as new islands rise slowly from the depths while old islands sink beneath the surface of the sea. Charles Darwin visited the islands in 1835 aboard the HMS Beagle, and his observations on the island contributed to his theory of natural selection. That’s because the animals and plants evolved in isolation and turned out pretty weird! The islands are home to unique species of giant turtles, huge iguanas, lava lizards, nocturnal gulls, and vampire finches. It’s possible to visit the islands, but it’s expensive, and travel is restricted to certain sites requiring licensed guides. The rules protect the unique biodiversity, but it means that some of the most beautiful parts of the Galápagos are off limits.
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine
In 1986, the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl exploded in a cloud of radioactive gas that drifted across Europe. Thankfully, the heroic efforts of scientists, firefighters, workers, and soldiers—some of whom died from radiation sickness—prevented the reactor from collapsing further. The workers sealed the meltdown beneath thousands of tons of concrete and a 30-mile area around the plant was evacuated and put under military guard. Evacuees were forced to leave so quickly they left their homes, cars, and belongings relatively intact. The entire city of Pripyat became a ghost town—every house and apartment silent as a tomb, filled with dishes, toys, and beds; the streets with cars and bicycles; schools and playgrounds sitting frozen and empty. Everything is dangerously irradiated, and researchers have even seen creepily mutated animals that live in the area! There’s a strange fascination evoked by the ghostly remains of Chernobyl, but don’t get too close. Seriously.