Recapturing your wanderlust online

Iconic virtual tours of the world's most popular destinations, landmarks, national parks, and museums from your socially-distanced couch at home!

Life + Leisure Travel and Getaways Simon Elstad

This article was published on July 12th, 2020

From canceled travel plans and shuttered events to masks and quarantine at home, that seems to be our new reality. Smack in the middle of summer (a hot one), and you can’t go places. The pandemic came like a wrecking ball and smashed 2020 pretty good.

All is not lost, though. The world wide web (that blessed thing) has plenty of stories, television shows, movies, and cat videos to fill a lifetime. With the proliferation of cheap drones, fancy cameras, and virtual reality tools, everyone from your local tour guide to world-renowned museums has something to help you recapture your wanderlust online.

The whole purpose of a museum or national park is to go out there and experience first hand. Nothing, not even a virtual tour, can replace that. However, when confined at home for the foreseeable future, it behooves us to find creative ways of exploring the world, expand our perspective, and give our eyes something healthy and stimulating to binge on.

These are some most incredible museums, galleries, cities, and live shows that you can experience online while maintaining social distancing protocols.

Virtual museum tours

The internet offers one of the most comprehensive collections of resources for art fans, history buffs, and the merely bored. Google Arts & Culture, for example, features limited access to over 2,500 museums with in-depth tours of popular destinations like the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and London’s Tate Modern.

Other world-class museums you can step into virtually include:

The Louvre (Paris, France)

Musee de Louvre, Paris France

The Louvre is by far the most famous museum in the world. You’ll find masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, the Virgin of the Rocks, The Coronation of Napoleon, among others. The Louvre’s virtual tour takes you through Egyptian history and antiquities, the Galerie d’Apollon, the remains of the Louvre’s Moat, etc.

British Museum (London, UK)

Located in the heart of London, the British Museum is a treasure trove of history. Their virtual tour takes you to see Egyptian mummies, a trip of the Great Court, and thousands of other ancient artifacts on display at the museum.

Guggenheim Museum (NYC, NY, USA)

The Guggenheim virtual tour takes you on a discovery

journey for incredible artworks from the impressionist, post-impressionist, modern and contemporary eras. You can also have an outside look at the museum building, an architectural marvel.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (Washington DC, USA)

The Smithsonian virtual tour takes you back in time to see fossilized dinosaurs, learn about marine life, learn about human history, and step through other current and past museum exhibits.

Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

The Van Gogh Museum offers the most comprehensive collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork, including over 200 paintings, drawings, and personal letters. Take a virtual tour of the Van Gogh museum here.

The J. Paul Getty Museum (LA, California, USA)

The Getty museum in LA features artworks dating back to the 8th century. Take a Street View tour to discover its stunning architecture and generous collection of drawings, paintings, photographs, among others.

Some of the other famous world-class museums you can explore virtually are:

National parks and nature walk virtual tours

Nature is always beckoning. Many parks in the US offer amazing virtual tours and hikes for those who prefer being surrounded by nature (but can’t right now). Here are the most popular and mind-blowing:

Yellowstone National Park (USA)

Take a virtual tour of the main attractions at these iconic national parks and learn roe about geological formations.

Yosemite National park (CA, USA)

The Yosemite National Park virtual tour lets you explore the stunning waterfalls, incredible scenery, and the imposing cliffs. The journey takes you to natural features like Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome.

Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska, USA)

Kenai’s virtual tour takes you on a kayak experience through stunning icebergs, glaciers, and icy crevasses.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii, USA)

If you thought virtual ground tours are mind-blowing, wait till you experience Hawaii volcanoes park fly-over virtual tour. Enjoy the fantastic views from the volcanic coastal cliffs and also the rich biodiversity of the island.

Major tourist attractions & landmarks

Summer is always a big travel season. However, this year is completely different with a more subdued vibe, and postponed trips.

Still, you can sample or relive past adventures by taking virtual tours of some of the world’s major tourist attractions.

The gates of Buckingham Palace

Some of these incredible destinations include:

  • The Holy Land virtual tour takes you on a visit to some of the most important religious sites in Jerusalem, including the Church of Flagellation, the Tomb of the Virgin, the Resurrection Tomb of Jesus, the Wailing Wall, the Sea of Galilee among others.
The Roman Coliseum in Rome, Italy.

You may be stuck at home, having canceled your summer travel plans. It sucks. However, that shouldn’t stop you from having fun or learning something new. Recapture your wanderlust online by exploring some of these virtual tours. If nothing else, they might just give you an idea of where to tour next.

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