From the famous Room 39 in North Korea to the Area 51 in the United States, there are plenty of places on earth with high protection and limited access. Many of these spots are usually linked with military services and political circumstances. Namely, you actually don’t want to be there. Yet, here is a list of places on earth you wish you could visit but can’t.
1. Vatican Secret Archives, Italy
Hidden behind the walls of Vatican City, there exists an immense collection of history. The Secret Archives of Vatican is home to an abundant number of historical documents and correspondences. With letters written by Michelangelo, King Henry VIII’s marriage annulment request and many more, the archives contain about 35,000 items.
Apart from the Pope and a small group of staff who work there, access to the archives is strictly limited. Although any document from the archives can be requested, personally entering into the archives is definitely forbidden.
2. Surtsey, Iceland
Surtsey, located in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago in the south of Iceland, is one of the newest islands in the world.
TO SAY that Iceland has become a popular destination is an understatement. The country of less than 350,000 inhabitants got 1.8 million foreign visitors in 2016, i.e. a 39% increase from the previous year. According to Tourism Iceland, if you’re visiting Iceland in August, there will be around 65,319 other visitors hovering around the southern part of the island with you, which means that your experience won’t be very unique or reflective of what Icelanders actually do when they have some time off. Here are some alternatives to 9 tourist hot spots in the country to make your trip more original and crowd-free.
1. Skip the Blue Lagoon and go to the Secret Lagoon instead.
The Blue Lagoon is usually people’s first or last stop while visiting Iceland as it’s on the way to/from the airport in Reykjavik. Back in the day, this used to be an eerie place that no tourist and very few locals would set foot in as it looked more like a puddle formed by nuclear power waste than a place of luxury and relaxation.
From above the world was grey, but below, it was the most brilliant blue I’ve ever seen. So vibrant that it looked like someone had dragged the saturation level on a photo editor up as far as it could go. And yet, it was all real.
Snorkeling and Iceland are not two words I ever thought really belonged beside each other. After all, “Ice” is in the name, and although the country defies this by turning a lush green in the summertime, the water isn’t exactly known for being balmy. Let alone thinking about snorkeling in Iceland in winter!
The first time I visited Iceland in winter my local friends took me to Thingvellir to throw a coin in the crystal clear waters at Thingvellir. They mentioned people snorkel and dive in Silfra, and I shivered at the thought and promptly forgot about it.
In the intervening years until my most recent trip to Iceland, I learned a lot more and saw many pictures about snorkeling in Iceland at Silfra, and placed it firmly on my Iceland bucket list, should I ever return.
On a cruise to Iceland, you’ll experience dreamy, breathtaking landscapes of volcanoes, glaciers and pristine wilderness. The country is home to more strange beauty than most places in the world. With its black sand beaches, blue ice caves and snow-covered mountain peaks, Iceland offers plenty of natural drama.
The capital of Iceland, Reykjavík, is located on the edge of the arctic circle. The majority of cruise ships dock at the Skarfabakki cruise port. This port is located just under two miles from the city center. Most tours leave from Reykjavik’s downtown area, which is easy to access from the pier.
Luckily for cruise travelers, many of Iceland’s most dramatic sights are located within easy reach of Reykjavík. Here are five spectacular things to visit on your Iceland cruise.
The Blue Lagoon
A trip to Blue Lagoon is the perfect way to spoil yourself.
At Thingvellir National Park, site of the world’s oldest parliament, you can scuba dive between tectonic plates where Europe meets America.
I come from a long line of people going west. At the turn of the century (19th/20th), many Norwegians left home for America, some for a brief spell and some forever. Some to try their luck, some for curiosity, some just for the kicks: a new country, new people, a new language, a melting pot of cultures.
But the idea of pulling up roots and settle on other shores didn’t begin there. About 1000 years earlier, Ingólfr Arnarson and Hallveig Frodesdatter from Sunnfjord in Western Norway decided to leave their homeland and give the west a go. This couple were the first to settle in Iceland, and founded Reykjavik in 874.
Scuba diving Iceland’s Silfra crevasse is an extreme adventure due to the cold temperatures, but it’s worth the experience for those brave enough to do it.
I look down into Iceland’s Silfra crevasse and I can feel the chill of the pristine glacial water drifting up toward my face. The water is crystal clear and I can see the jet black lava stone bottom 70 or 80 feet beneath the surface. A bucket list moment had finally arrived. I was diving in Iceland. It was time to plunge into some of the coldest and clearest water in the world.
Diving into the Silfra Iceland
When regular people dream of vacations they think of sunny beaches, warm weather and relaxation. Then there are scuba divers.
I have been a licensed scuba diver for the better part of my life.
The HBO hit show “Game of Thrones” takes place in a world of fantasy, but dozens of the scenes were filmed at real medieval castles and in wild forests and craggy mountainsides across Europe and Iceland.
Google Earth captured images of 33 of these real-life places for fans of “Game of Thrones,” a series based on the books by author George R.R. Martin.
For instance, the above photo showing the Arena of Meereen — featuring Daario Naharis (actor Michiel Huisman), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) — was filmed at a bullring in Osuna, Spain.
But beware: Views of these scenes from Westeros’ seven kingdoms contain spoilers up through Season 6. [Read the Full Story About the Show’s Set Inspiration]
One of the world’s youngest islands will be drilled in an effort to understand how land forms on Earth.
The tiny island of Surtsey wasn’t even there 50 years ago. This 1.3 square kilometer island was formed off Iceland’s southwestern coast somewhere between 1963 and 1967 by a series of volcanic eruptions. And next month, a team of scientists will drill two holes into the depths of this young land. Supported in part by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, this will be the most detailed look at newly-formed land, which researchers hope will help them understand how molten rock, cold seawater, and the underground biosphere interact.
Being so new, Surtsey could probably boast some of the wildest, most untouched environments currently on the planet.
Scientists will look into the heart of Surtsey, an island created 50 years ago by a volcanic eruption.
Geologists and biologists are about to pierce one of the world’s youngest islands: tiny Surtsey, which was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions off Iceland’s southwestern coast between 1963 and 1967. Next month, the team plans to drill two holes into Surtsey’s heart, to explore how warm volcanic rock, cold seawater and subterranean microbes interact.
It will be the most detailed look ever at the guts of a newly born oceanic island. “Surtsey is our best bet at getting a detailed picture of this type of volcanic activity — how ocean islands start to form,” says Magnús Guðmundsson, a volcanologist at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.
Ever since Bran Stark fell from the tower on that fateful day six years ago, people have been flocking to the places where Game of Thrones was shot. From the icy landscape of Iceland to the cobbled streets and heritage sites of Seville, Spain and the narrow lanes of Dubrovnik, Croatia, there are tours that take fans to all these places.
As the Bard said, the game is afoot. And by game, we’re talking about the one involving a certain ferrous throne. Game of Thrones fever is gripping the entire world, as it does every year since 2011. And in turn, tour operators have capitalized on GOT fever by organizing tours that take fans through all the major sites. Guides tell visitors about what key moments were shot at what site, bringing fans closer to the brutal world of Westeros.