explore the world without leaving your home

While it’s not quite the same as seeing, say, the Mona Lisa or Christ the Redeemer in person, some of the world’s most popular and remote destinations have created libraries of online images and video, as well as 360 degree virtual tours that let you stroll remotely through galleries and even national parks.

Here a just a few of the digital tours that let you wander the world from wherever you may be social distancing.

A woma nin a pink technical fabric top and matching pants and a black cap with a brim walks past the orange buildings and clay roofs of the Choijin Lama Museum in Ulan Bator with a green camera sphere from Google Street View strapped to her back
Google has used its Street View technology not just to map roads, but also destinations like the Choijin Lama Museum in Ulan Bator, Mongolia ©

See the seven wonders of the world

If there’s anything capable of whetting your appetite for world travel, it is the new seven wonders of the world: the Great Wall of China, the ancient city of Petra, the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum, Machu Picchu, Christ the Redeemer, and Chichen Itza. Thankfully there are impressive virtual tours of each from The New York Times, AirPano, Google, and Panoramas.

With modern technology, you can even see the last standing wonder of the ancient world—The Pyramids of Giza. There are a few other wonders that might not make it into to the top seven but are still worth a digital peek, like the Alhambra, Seville’s La Giralda, and even Easter Island.

The Egyptian Antiquities room in the Lovure Museum is empty except for several statues of various sizes from Tanis, Karnak, and Thebes
Imagine having the Louvre all to yourself – almost an impossibility unless you go on a virtual museum tour © DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Contributor / Getty Images

Spend a day at the museum

In recent years, Google has partnered with over 2,5000 art museums to upload high-resolution versions of millions of pieces of art. Highlights include New York’s MoMA, DC’s National Gallery of Art, Chicago’s Art Institute, the Casa Battló, and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum to name a few.

In addition, The Louvre offers a virtual tour, as do The Vatican Museums, many of the Smithsonian Museums, the Russian Museum, the top-rated British Museum, the Minneapolis Museum of Russian Art, and the Palace Museum in Beijing.

You may not be able to kiss the Blarney Stone right now, but you can tour the Blarney Castle from afar. You can also visit the Museum of Flight, the Museum of Science, the Museum of Natural History, the National Women’s History Museum and Boston’s History of Science Museum.

While museums are often an inherently visual experience, there’s a lot to be learned from archives of past lectures and tours like the ones preserved online by Nashville’s Frist Museum, the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Frick, and others.

Turquoise Pool in Yellowstone National Park surrounded by a contrasting blanket of fresh white snow
One of the advantages to virtual tours of national parks is not needing to worry about the weather © Meghan O’Dea / Lonely Planet

Explore national parks

While travel to National Parks is best avoided for the time being, you don’t need to miss out on the scenery. Virtual Yosemite is absolutely stunning and one of the best, replete with audio. Both Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore offer virtual tours as well. 

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