Sure, some places are open to travelers, but COVID-19 is still limiting how far we can travel and what we can do when we get to our destinations. In the face this, many prefer to stay at home and enjoy some serious armchair trekking. Fortunately, modern tech makes immersive travel experiences easier than ever. Cases in point: the following 8 virtual travel experiences that take you inside mammoth landmarks and natural phenomena from all over the world. Ready for a digital tour? Grab your coffee and dive in…
1: Yosemite National Park (California, U.S.)
While national parks seem like some of the safest places to explore in the coronavirus era, we know that everyone can’t make the journey to the big ones. No worries; you can explore popular stops like Yosemite from the comfort of your couch. With this virtual travel experience, enjoy multiple perspectives within the park, including a view of lakes and mountains from the Swinging Bridge, the rush of Nevada Falls from a path nearby, and the “Diving Board” – a peak from which you can spy countless landmarks within the park. Click on major sites to get more information, or just enjoy the view – without worrying about bug bites.
2: The British Museum (London)
Feeling like more of a culturally-oriented virtual travel adventure? Dig into this online museum tour. The British Museum, featuring an impressive 8 million objects, is a towering fixture of the art, history, and cultural worlds. For those who can’t make it there in person, they offer several virtual online exhibits – including the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery, Medieval Europe, an Enlightenment exhibit, and a showcase of Mexican history. Each virtual tour allows you to look at individual exhibit objects with descriptions/explanations, or tour the exhibit rooms as if you were actually there.
This iconic landmark is a virtual travel must-visit, really. Construction began on its ramparts in the 3rd century BCE, and was added to over the next 2,000 years. Today, the Great Wall of China stretches some 1,300 miles with walls almost 50 feet high in some places. Not only that, but it rolls through some of the most visually stunning parts of China, showcasing hills, mountains, forests, and the vast expanse of Asia, stretching for miles.
5: Machu Picchu (Peru)
A series of towering monoliths, Machu Picchu isn’t quite as old as the Great Wall but is nonetheless impressive. Situated on the top of the Andes near the Peruvian city of Cusco, Machu Picchu was constructed in the 15th century by Incan Emperor Pachacuti. The layout is designed to make the most of the strident sunlight, which figured prominently in Incan religion. In this virtual tour, you can hear narration that gives you backstory as you “wander” the ruins of Pachacuti’s medieval Incan city.
6: The Vatican (Rome, Italy)
This breathtaking virtual tour of Vatican City’s crown jewel is almost as good as being there in person. You’ll get to see the elaborate frescoes on the ceilings of Saint Peter’s Basilica, wander through halls used by the College of Cardinals as they prepare to elect a new Pope, and take in the various artifacts of countless centuries. With a history that dates back to early CE, this destination is worth relishing, room by room.
7: Northern Lights (Sweden)
If the wonders of Mother Nature are more your speed, nothing beats the northern lights. And sure, a front-row seat somewhere in Scandinavia is probably better than a virtual tour, but this nonetheless gives you a sense of the northern light majesty. Even better, the virtual tours offered above include additional “activities” – like sledding beneath the Aurora Borealis and touring a Swedish ice hotel. Take your pick and get all the background info you need to fully enjoy each one via quick-hit, informative descriptions.
8: Pyramids at Giza (Egypt)
For us, this is probably one of the coolest virtual travel experiences out there. Not only does it include plenty of background information about Ancient Egypt and the pyramids’ construction, but a first-person walk to the base of the pyramids is offered – free of charge. Get a sense of the vastness of the desert and the sheer size of each pyramid as you approach, but be sure to read the descriptions and historical tidbits as you go; they really do enrich the experience.