If you’re anything like us, staying at home – though necessary – is taking a toll on your inner wanderer. Trips have been canceled for the foreseeable future, but getting on a plane isn’t the only way to explore cities and cultures. There’s ways to travel that don’t even involve getting off your couch. So if you’re itching for a new experiences but you’re unsure how to have them, you’re in luck: we’ve rounded up the best resources for the phenomenon known as “armchair travel.” Let’s get exploring!
In need of a dose of the great outdoors? The National Park Service is offering 360-degree exploration of National Parks across the country. See the beautiful views and learn about the plants and animals that reside in places like Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon.
For wrecks or species you’ve always wanted to discover around the world, this site allows you to go deep underwater without getting wet or worrying about your air tank. Choose one of the marine sanctuaries and dive in.
The Mona Lisa is right at your fingertips! Let your browser take you to the famous Louvre Museum in Paris, and click through their beautiful galleries to examine art spanning ages and cultures.
Work your way through this Smithsonian museum to see past, current, and permanent exhibits like the Hall of Fossils, to Objects of Wonder, to the timely Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World.
One of New York City (and the world)’s most famous museums, the Met has 26 virtual exhibits for you to explore. Of course, you can’t leave this museum without ogling the fashion-forward looks from the last Met Gala!
Whether you’re already a fan of Van Gogh or you’re looking to learn more about this painter, this Amsterdam museum is the place to go. Go ahead and view over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 personal letters. There’s even exhibits on the books Van Gogh read and on his love life.
Monuments and Heritage Sites
Hiking the Inca Trail is a bucket-list worthy adventure, but you don’t have to fly to Peru to see Machu Picchu anymore. These ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a spectacular backdrop, and a virtual narrator has all the historical information you need to know.
These Greek ruins are a must-see for any history lover. The buildings at the Acropolis of Athens include the world-famous Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike. Head over to examine these monuments and learn about their origins.
You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the iconic Sistine Chapel – and you don’t have to be in Vatican City to see it! The Vatican Museums are offering virtual tours for visitors to see the artwork amassed by the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy. Heads up: this site requires a VR headset to view the images properly.
See this spectacular cultural landmark in India without bumping into other visitors. The mausoleum, another UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered of the most magnificent architectural achievements. You’ll definitely want to see it for yourself.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an island located off Chile and is famous for its enormous statues called moai. Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, so this virtual tour is a great opportunity to see an unbelievable historical attraction that you might otherwise never visit.
Walk the longest structure ever built by humans in just a few minutes, and see it all in perspective. You can’t visit China without seeing the Great Wall, but thanks to technology, you can now see the Great Wall without visiting China.
Out of this World
Harry Potter fans, rejoice. There are 360-degree virtual tours available for some of the filming locations used in the Harry Potter films, specifically Gloucester Cathedral in England and the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Go ahead and immerse yourself in these magical places to pass a little time in the home of your favorite wizards.
How about a trip you can’t take from anywhere else? Mars may not be accessible yet for humans, but NASA’s letting you see what a trip is like through the eyes of the Curiosity Rover. Get ready for blast off!
And so much more…
If you’re still looking for more or need some inspiration on where to “travel” next, check out this comprehensive guide from Condé Nast Traveler. You’re sure to find someplace new to explore! Thinking of somewhere in particular? Try searching for the name of the location + “virtual tour” to see if it exists.