Many of the world’s most iconic locations now offer virtual tours, meaning you can visit museums, world heritage sites and other attractions from the comfort of your couch. You don’t need a VR headset, either, although some attractions do support virtual reality for a more immersive experience.
So if you’re looking for things to do at home, and in need of a change of scenery, simply grab your laptop, tablet or phone, and join us on a world tour filled with history, nature and – of course – technology.
1. Machu Picchu, Andes Mountains, Peru
A simply stunning UNESCO World Heritage site, Machu Picchu is a visual wonder that just has to be seen. You no longer need to fly all the way to Peru to see it in all its glory, however, as the virtual tour is comprehensive, immersive, and filled with fascinating insights.
With 360-degree views of the ruins of Inca settlements and lush green landscapes, you can visit every popular vantage point and learn more about the history of the famous site thanks to a helpful voice narrator. OK, you can’t feel the warm breeze around you, but if you turn on the heat and have a handy desk fan set to low, it’s almost as good as the real thing. Almost.
Behold the marvel: Machu Picchu
2. The Louvre Museum, Paris
An attraction visited by millions of tourists in person every year, the Louvre Museum has also created a selection of virtual tours based on its permanent collections. Explore Egyptian antiquities, the Remains of the Louvre’s Moat, and the decorative arts of the Galerie d’Apollon.
The tour is easy to navigate, with an expandable minimap that lets you highlight exhibits to view with just a couple of clicks. You can also find out more about each room in The Louvre, with detailed descriptions that will probably make the room you’re actually sitting in feel frightfully dull in comparison.
Take a trip: Louvre Museum
3. The National Museum of Computing, Milton Keynes, UK
The National Museum of Computing contains the world’s largest collection of working historic computers. That means one of them probably runs Microsoft Vista and is still working…
The museum features a fantastic, intuitive, virtual 3D tour. You can zoom in on each exhibit’s details, and find out more about every aspect of computing history, such as the world’s oldest working digital computer. Impressive stuff.
Discover a digital treasure trove: The National Museum of Computing
4. Georgia Aquarium, Georgia, USA
Nothing beats the beauty of nature, so it’s good to know you can still get your daily dose of “aww” from the safety of your sofa. The Georgia Aquarium has over 50 species ranging from sea lions to underwater puffins, with many available to view via webcam. There’s also a daily and weekly livestream that’s aimed at piquing children’s interest in animals, and a great at-home educational tool if you want to entertain the little ones.
Ever wondered what a Beluga Whale gets up to in its spare time? Just click on the link below and find out. Water-way to have a good time.
Sea more: Georgia Aquarium
5. A 3-Minute Tour, Tokyo
What if we told you that you could ride in a Tuk Tuk, walk across the famous Shibuya crossing, win a Pikachu from a claw machine, and make friends with a robot… all in under three minutes. That might be physically impossible, but with VR it’s a breeze.
If you’ve ever wanted to take a whistle-stop tour of Japan, the Japan National Tourism Organization has created a 360-degree virtual reality video that lets you do all of the above, and lots more.
Simply put on a VR headset to experience a surreal thrill ride, where you’ll go from feeding a deer to facing off against a sumo wrestler in a matter of seconds. The video is also viewable in 2D, and well worth a look.
Check it out below.
6. The British Museum, London
Home to a remarkable collection that spans over two million years of human history and culture, The British Museum has nearly 50 online exhibits to view. From Bonaparte and the Battle of Waterloo to exploring the history of LGBTQ, there’s plenty of informative content to delve into.
For a more interactive experience, check out the Museum of the World tour. You can browse through a large selection of exhibits that are dated by century, continent and category – such as trade and conflict or art and design. Each exhibit offers a detailed description as well as accompanying audio, which helps provide a fascinating backstory to each piece.
Browse the exhibits: The British Museum
7. The Vatican, Rome
Filled with spectacular architecture and historic monuments, The Vatican is within your virtual reach, with a host of museums providing online tours. Step into the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms, which are adorned with simply sensational artwork.
The tour is compatible with WebVR, so you can pop on a VR headset to get an even closer look at some of mankind’s most memorable creations. It’s truly breathtaking, even when viewed through a screen.
When in Rome, visit: The Vatican
8. Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Located in the center of Paris, this historic museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station. It was originally built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, and displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914.
Take a leisurely virtual stroll through the opulent hallways and witness works from dozens of famous French artists, including Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh. With no other visitors to contend with, you can soak up all the culture on display to your heart’s content – and there’s a lot to soak up.
Take the tour: Musée d’Orsay
9. Athens Acropolis, Athens
A must-visit destination for history buffs, the Athens Acropolis includes the world-famous Parthenon, and is a cultural hotspot for tourists. Choose between popular sites such as the Theatre of Dionysus and enjoy in-depth videos that provide a fascinating and educational insight into ancient Greece.
There are plenty of photographs to view and engrossing facts to learn, so don’t be surprised if you become an armchair expert in no time. Now, where’d you put that amphora of wine?
Get to the Greek: Athens Acropolis
10. The Royal Academy of Arts, London
If you’re amazed by architecture, the Royal Academy of Arts has a virtual tour that will make you go “ooo” and “ahh” for hours. The Sensing Spaces exhibition uses high-quality 360-degree photography to give visitors a taste of its structures and remarkable exhibitions – it really does feel as if you’re actually there.
Each exhibition is complemented by further information for users to read through, but you’re encouraged to come to your own conclusions, and think about what each space means to you.
Visit the exhibition: Sensing Spaces