With the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is no longer possible to travel the world, or even visit most nearby attractions. If you need a change of scenery, you’ll be happy to know that some of the world’s most famous landmarks—from parks to museums to zoos—offer free virtual tours. Here are 20.
Sydney Harbour, Australia
Sydney Harbour is a sight to be seen, with both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in view. In fact, the city of Sydney receives over 4 million international visitors annually. While you can’t visit in person, it’s possible to keep an eye on the Harbour thanks to a live webcam that broadcasts 24/7.
The Louvre, France
The Louvre is one of the world’s largest art museums (with over 10 million annual visitors) and one of Paris’s most iconic monuments. It offers free virtual tours for a glimpse into the museum and its famous artwork, even while it remains closed.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, and no less than 7 to 8 million people flock to see it in person each year. You can enjoy a visit of the building (inside and out) thanks to moving, 360-degree photos. Quite impressive!
Smithsonian, D.C., USA
The Smithsonian, Washington D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History, offers a fabulous virtual tour of its current exhibits and 360-degree photos of some of its past exhibits. Take a walk through the FossiLab, the Hall of Mammals or the Hall of Fossils, day or night.
Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Australia
Hosier Lane is definitely one of Melbourne’s most famous attractions. Since it’s impossible to travel right now and everyone is urged to stay inside, take a 15-minute virtual walk to admire the eclectic street art and the Lane’s famous Culture Kings shop.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, California, USA
There’s something oddly relaxing about watching jellyfish swimming around. Watch them, plus nine other habitats of California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium, thanks to their live webcams.
San Diego Zoo, California, USA
If you are one of the 4 million people who visit the San Diego Zoo yearly, you will love the live cams that allow you to peek into the habitats of different animals including penguins, giraffes, butterflies and koalas.
The Guggenheim, New York, USA
Thanks to Google’s Arts and Culture website, you can take a tour of the Guggenheim Museum. When you stop in front of a painting or installation you like, you’ll be able to click on its name to get a full, detailed description of the artwork.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or MET, is home to some of the world’s most famous artists. There are currently two ways to visit virtually. The first one is The Met 360 Project, which offers, as its name states, 360-degree views of different areas of the museum—inside and out. You can also pretend to be one of the museum’s over 7 million visitors (2018) by taking a virtual walking tour thanks to Google Arts and Culture.
Space Center Houston, Texas, USA
Houston’s Space Center has a fun app that provides virtual tours and augmented reality experiences. Even if you are stuck at home, you will be able to view video and hear audio to dream of outer space, and to learn, too.
The Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums annually receive over 6 million visitors, who marvel at the classical art and sculptures, including Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel ceiling. It is one of the museums’ seven rooms that can be visited virtually online.
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
It’s possible to visit some of the United States’ National Parks, including Yosemite, virtually thanks to live webcams. There are eight webcams in different areas of the park, so you get to see what the park’s 4 million annual visitors usually get to enjoy when it’s open for business.
Niagara Falls, Canada/USA
If you find falls and water relaxing, turn on EarthCam’s live view of Niagara Falls and enjoy a beautiful view of Horseshoe Falls from above.
Times Square, New York, USA
Each year, approximately 50 million people pass through Times Square, in New York. This has all changed in recent weeks. Take a peek at this world-famous landmark in real time thanks to EarthCam’s many live webcams.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Virtual Angkor is a collaboration between virtual history specialists, archeologists and historians, in order to bring the famous landmark of Angkor Wat to life. Divided by themes, the website gives access to 360-degree videos and photos to see the metropolis now and then.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
Grand Canyon National Park receives almost 6 million visitors annually, but since it is impossible to visit at the moment, you can take advantage of their webcams to take in the sights. There are seven different cameras broadcasting different areas of the park so you can truly feel like you are there.
Western Wall, Jerusalem
The Western Wall is an important religious landmark located in Jerusalem. If you find comfort in prayer, you can view a live feed of the area, thanks to EarthCam, to feel as if you are there.
Georgia Aquarium, USA
Because there can never be too many aquarium videos, the Georgia Aquarium allows you to admire 11 of its tanks on its webcams. Look for puffins underwater, admire piranhas or gawk at cute sea otters, amongst others.
Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower is, of course, an icon of Paris, and even all of France. This landmark alone receives over 7 million visitors annually. The good news is that you can visit from your couch thanks to Google Maps and an EarthCam live feed.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Even before the current situation, Machu Picchu officials had started limiting the number of people who could visit the site, in order to protect it. Thanks to the YouVisit website, you’ll be able to take a virtual guided tour through the site, to feel like you are there.