A sanctuary is an area where PvP combat is disabled for all players, and turning on your PvP flag will have no effect until you leave the sanctuary. Sanctuaries were introduced in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Places like Nighthaven and Booty Bay are not sanctuaries; PvP combat is still possible there. Just because PvP combat is disabled, that does not mean that a sanctuary is a safe haven; for example, the monsters on the Stair of Destiny are not PvP NPCs and will attack players if aggroed.
Entering a sanctuary differs from the effect of manually turning off one's PvP flag, (or, on PvP servers, entering a friendly territory) in that PvP combat is immediately disabled; there is no five minute wait. Because of this, it is possible to evade PvP combat by entering a sanctuary, for example, if someone is attacked by another player on their way to the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands, their attacker cannot continue attacking them if they cross the portal and enter the Stair of Destiny.
- The Stair of Destiny, Hellfire Peninsula
- Shattrath City, Terokkar Forest
- Acherus: The Ebon Hold, Eastern Plaguelands
- Dalaran, Crystalsong Forest
- Argent Tournament Grounds, Icecrown
- The Frozen Halls, Icecrown Citadel, Icecrown
- Angrathar the Wrathgate, Dragonblight (though not a true sanctuary in the letter of the term, if one has completed the Wrathgate questline, the area-wide debuff prevents any aggressive action)
- The Maelstrom (technically just above and around the Maelstrom)
- Temple of Earth, Deepholm
- Malfurion's Breach, Molten Front