10 Places Around The World You Can Visit Without Leaving Your Couch
President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed the entire country on lockdown. As a result the only kind of travel allowed is that required to access essential goods and services. But while we’re all playing our part to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your travel plans.
You may not be able to travel further than your living room, but you can go on a virtual tour. While some places offer a 24/7 livestream of a certain area, others are offering virtual tours, which you can access when you want to as long as you have internet access. It’s a good way to see the world, while you’re stuck on your couch.
Beyond that, these tours make for great escapes when you need to get out of your own head.
1. The Northern Lights
If you need to be filled with a sense of wonder at something other than your ability to eat every five minutes, the display of dancing colourful nights that can be seen in countries in the Northern Hemisphere could satisfy that need. While thousands of people around the world go in search of this incredible phenomenon, also known as an aurora borealis, it’s a trip that cost thousands of rands and you still might not witness it.
While the lights aren’t always on display, you have a good chance of witnessing them, despite being stuck at home. A couple in Finland is livestreaming it from their house every evening to give more people an opportunity to see it. You can also up chances of seeing the phenomenon by watching this livestream from Canada, too.
If it’s nature you’re after, SANParks has you covered. They’ve set up cameras around watering holes at some of their parks. Here you can marvel at the sight of the majestic wildlife from the comfort of your couch. To ensure you’re more likely to spot a few animals, visit the site early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the weather is cooler.
3. The Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta
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Prefer under water animals? Check out the Georgia Aquarium’s live feed. You can witness some of their over 50 species ranging from sea lions to underwater puffins swim by. Aside from providing you with a view of nature, there’s also something really soothing about watching the fish swim. It could help your anxious thoughts during this time. Go with the flow here.
A big fan of places with rich cultural history? These places are probably on your bucket list, if you haven’t been before. Now you can explore these monuments without crowds and at your own pace.
4. The Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal remains one of the world’s most admired structures. It was commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to honour the memory of his favourite wife. Built between 1631 and 1649, the mausoleum was made from white marble. In 1983 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site and remains an iconic representation of India’s history.
You can take a virtual tour of both the inside and outside of the structure here.
5. Machu Picchu, Peru
Since American archaeologist Hiram Bingham encountered Machu Picchu in 1911 and published his findings on it, thousands of others have followed in his footsteps to discover the mystery of the ruins. Nestled in the midst of a tropical mountain forest, Historians believe Machu Picchu was built in the 15th and 15th century at the height of the Inca Empire.
The ruins consist of over 3000 stone steps making it a great destination for active travellers. While you won’t burn the same amount of calories from this virtual tour, you can still discover the history behind the ruins and explore what the archaeological beauty is made of.
6. Stonehenge, Britain
If you feel like your mind is going in circles, why not walk through the inner circle of Stonehenge. The virtual tour of Britain’s most iconic landmark comes with notes about the history and archaeological remnants that surround the stones.
The best part about the virtual tour is that it allows you to get close to every single part of the construction. Normal walking tours now restrict the movement of visitors as parts of site have eroded, so you actually to see more by just sitting on your couch. Check it out here.
7. The Great Wall of China
No trip to China is complete without a visit to it’s most famous landmark. The Great Wall spans over 4500km and offers breathtaking views along the way. You might not get your daily steps in as you move through the Wall’s virtual tour, but it’s a good way to escape the confines of your house for a few minutes as you traverse the distance of the wall.
Click here to view the 2000 year old ancient structure in all it’s glory, as well as learn about it’s popular spots.
If you want to visit a museum:
8. The Vatican, Vatican City
The Vatican City might be on lockdown, but you can still visit several of it’s attractions online. To provide everyone with the opportunity to view their collection of art and fine architecture, the Vatican City created virtual tours for it’s popular attractions.
Now you can visit Saint Peter’s Basilica, The Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Room, The Pio Clementino Museum and many more of it’s sites here. The virtual tour includes biographical notes so you can brush on your history while taking a looking around. The tours are all VR enabled.
9. The Louvre Museum, Paris
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What was once a royal palace is now the world’s largest museum of art (and the backdrop to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s iconic music video for their song ‘Apeshit‘). The historic monument in Paris is home to a number of famous works including the Mona Lisa and the Venus of Milo.
The Louvre has curated a series of virtual tours for some of their permanent exhibits. Explore the magnificent art in the four collections here.
10. The Museum of Modern Art, New York
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Our Sculpture Garden has been an oasis in New York City since 1939, but it’s not the only quiet hideaway at the Museum. Whether you wait to collect your thoughts before visiting the galleries or want a place to sit and contemplate what you’ve seen afterwards, we’ve put together our official guide to the best places to sit, recharge, and soak in art at MoMA. Head to #MoMAMagazine at link in bio for our top 5 spots to unwind. — [A view of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. Shown: Aristide Maillol. “The River.” Begun 1938-39; completed 1943 (cast 1948). Lead. © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Noah Kalina]
For more contemporary works of art, visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York (well for now, take a virtual visit). Founded in 1929, the Manhattan museum was the first of it’s kind to showcase modern works. Since then the collection has grown to include over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects.
It also holds films, books and periodicals. Thanks to the Google Arts and Culture app you view 129 pieces from the Museums collection here.
Bonus: Need more viewing pleasures? Download the Google Arts and Culture App (either from the Play Store or App Store). Google teamed up to bring you over 2500 virtual tours of museums around the world as well as online exhibits.