One of the great things about modern technology is the growing emergence of virtual tours. I love being able to pop online and take a virtual tour of a place I’ve never been before. It really helps during times like these when more and more of us are stuck inside. If you find yourself homebound with the urge to travel, you are in luck. You can still see international sights and beauties of the world from the comfort of your own home. Many places offer virtual tours for those of us who need our fix of travel during state- and self-imposed quarantines. See below for 21 locations that offer virtual tours to satisfy your wanderlust.
MUSEUM VIRTUAL TOURS
The Louvre is such an incredible museum. It houses some of the most famous works of art in Europe. This virtual tour takes you through the Galerie d’Apollon, the moat surrounding Louvre, and the collection of Egyptian antiquities.
THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM
Van Gogh is probably the most famous painter in the world. Or at least the most recognizable name in the world of art. Perhaps we have Dr. Who to thank for part of that? If you’ve ever wanted to see more of Van Gogh’s artwork, this is the tour for you. The virtual tour of the Van Gogh Museum allows visitors to wander around the halls as if they were really there. Visitors can view artwork, listen to audio commentary, and read descriptions about select pieces.
The Vatican probably has one of the most extensive collections of art in the world. The have sculptures, paintings, tapestries, literature, music, and architecture. All of these are housed in one of the most famous buildings in the world. The virtual tour of the Vatican Museums allows visitors to stroll through the Pio Clementino Museum, the Chiaramonti Museum, the New Wing, the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, the Niccoline Chapel, and the Room of the Chiaroscuri using 360 degree views. What makes this virtual tour even more incredible is the ability to zoom in on any view.
Your virtual experience of the Uffizi Gallery includes a variety of online exhibits, select artwork, and a virtual tour through the gallery. While on your tour of the gallery, click on the images in the corner of the screen to learn more about the pieces shown.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
The Natural History Museum allows visitors to take self-guided virtual tours through select exhibits and areas within the museum. You can also access select collections and research areas at research stations as well as past exhibits no longer on display. That sounds pretty cool to me!
HISTORIC SITE VIRTUAL TOURS
Versailles is one of the most famous travel destinations in the world. As such, it’s not surprising that there are a few virtual experiences of the site. If you want to wander around the grounds of the palace, this virtual tour lets you see 360 degree views of the palace, fountains, and gardens. If you want to see the interior of the palace, check out 3D models of different artefacts, and have 360 degree views of the main rooms, this virtual tour will definitely make you happy.
ANNE FRANK HOUSE
The Anne Frank House is one of the most popular sites in Amsterdam, made popular by the book she wrote while in hiding from the Nazis during WWII. This virtual tour allows you to see and learn more about the rooms where she and her family hid for over two years.
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
The Great Wall of China seems to be a destination on so many bucket lists and I bet a lot of people had to cancel visits to the Wall. If you still want to see the wall while stuck at home, check out this virtual tour. It takes you on a 360-degree view of different areas along the Badaling section during different seasons, which I found quite interesting.
I’ve seen Stonehenge in person and let me tell you, that place is pretty fantastic. It’s one thing to see it in pictures, but another to see it in person. Since nobody can see it in person now, the next best thing is a virtual tour. This virtual tour places you right in the center of the site and gives you a 360 degree view from where you’re ‘standing.’ What I really like is that there are a lot of short video clips with more information about and views of the site.
This site is also known as the Ducale Palace and is an iconic landmark in Venice. The virtual tour of this palace lets visitors explore a Venice canal before entering the palace. I really like that this tour allows you to get up close and personal with the paintings on the wall. I just wish it allowed the same for the ceilings.
NATIONAL PARK VIRTUAL TOURS
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
The virtual tour of Yellowstone allows visitors to see highlights of the park and read more about each location. Interactive maps let visitors click on text and image icons to see or read more. This can be helpful in deciding which areas of the park you most want to visit.
NAHUKU LAVA TUBE
I never thought I’d ever walk inside a lava tube, but now I can say I’ve seen inside one. This virtual tour gives a 360 degree view inside a lava tube, views straight down a cliff into the ocean, and a flight over an active volcano.
KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK
I’ve always loved glaciers and I’m pretty excited about being able to do a mini tour of one up close. This virtual tour takes you from the top of a glacier and down into a crevasse. After that, you see the difference between glacier height from 2004 to 2016 and then go on a kayak tour between icebergs.
VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK
The Virgin Islands are so beautiful and I love that they have a virtual tour. This virtual tour takes you through a series of pictures of the park complete with historic photos and tidbits of information. I actually found this quite informative and enlightening.
ROCKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
So, one of the cool things about the Rocky Mountains National Park virtual experience is the sound. Seriously, the sound. You can check out the park webcams and in another browser or on your phone, open their sound library to listen to a variety of animals. You can hear birds, thunderstorms, a stream, wind, and wildlife. How cool is that?!
MISC VIRTUAL TOURS
Central Park is pretty fantastic and is one of the most visited sites in New York. One of the things I really like about this virtual tour is that you have your own tour guide telling you all about what you’re seeing as you walk through the park. Your 30-minute walk through the park starts at 72nd street and hits all the main sites in the park.
NASA has created a website that allows intrepid travelers to explore the surface of Mars from the comfort of their own home. While the site does take a little bit of time to load and can be a little jumpy, this virtual tour is interesting and worth checking out.
One of the things I regret missing in London was visiting the Royal Parks. Thankfully, I can still see it while home on another continent. This virtual tour lets visitors wander the grounds of the park and see all the natural beauty it holds.
UNDER THE SEA
If you’re sad you had to cancel a diving trip, you’ll be happy to hear that NOAA has you covered. Their virtual dives cover a variety of sites in American Samoa, the Florida Keys, Flower Garden Banks, Gray’s Reef, Monterey Bay, the Olympic Coast, Stellwagon Bank, and Thunder Bay. While you can’t wander like in a true virtual tour, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of each destination.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
If you’ve ever wondered what an international space station looked like, now you can! This virtual tour lets visitors wander the corridors with a full 360 degree view, just like if you were there. It can be a little disorienting to not know which way is up, so just be aware of that when doing this tour.
I have always wanted to go on an African Safari, so I was pretty excited when I found this site. This is a company that is showing off little bits of their experiences, but it’s still neat to check out. This virtual tour will let you see typical accommodations, a little of what it’s like to be on a walking safari tour, and what it’s like to experience wildlife while on a safari. I thought it was pretty fun.