Leave the Passport in the Draw…Take a Virtual Vacation

By Paloma Richards

Normal travel, as we know it may be off the table for the foreseeable future, virtual escapism is open to anyone with Internet access.

Some of the world’s leading galleries, museums and landscapes are at your fingertips. Here is a selection of the best VR travel to help quench your thirst for travel experiences during lockdown.

Le Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Louvre, the world’s largest art and antiques museum, was forced to close its doors as Paris went into lockdown. While you can no longer waltz into its famous glass exterior, you can learn something of the phenomenal collection via a number of virtual tours, charting everything from Egyptian antiquities to the Galerie d’Apollon.


Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Stuffed with masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age, the Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions. It’s closed until 1 June, but has just launched a new interactive experience, Rijksmuseum From Home, that allows you to virtually visit the home of Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid.


Jerusalem, Israel

Israel is promoting a whole series of virtual tours for armchair travellers, including one that takes you around Jerusalem’s most famous sights. Videos have a voiceover tour guide giving more information on the city’s holiest places, while 360-degree functionality makes it feel more like you’re exploring.


Icehotel, Swedish Lapland

Aurora photography company Lights over Lapland has created experiences for those suffering wanderlust to virtually travel to the Icehotel in Swedish Lapland. The 360-degree videos allow viewers to visit the local Arctic wilderness, meet local huskies and reindeer, go dogsledding and reindeer sledding and even join a Northern Lights hunt.


British Museum, London

The UK capital’s famed museum has hooked up with Google Arts & Culture, along with more than 2,000 other leading institutions, to offer an interactive tour. Wander through time and click on different artifacts to see them up close, read up on their history, and hear more information with an audio guide.


Guggenheim, New York

New York City’s iconic gallery has a Google Street View tour where you can “amble” along its winding corridor and view works up close, such as Catherine Opie’s daring Self Portrait/Pervert triptych; Ivan Navarro’s installation Homeless Lamp, the Juice Sucker; and Ovitz’s Library by Jonas Wood. On top of that, you can also simply gaze upon the building’s remarkable architecture.


Italy at its Best

This is the start of a mysterious and fascinating trip: a voyage across more than 20 centuries of creativity through which art and history intertwine, telling the story of what human ingenuity has created through the ages.

Italy on a totally different scale!


Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

You can take a virtual tour of the famous Irish geological landmark, which captures 360-degree views and even has virtual reality headset capability for a fully immersive experience.


Central Park, New York

NYC’s green centerpiece is available to tour online. Not only does it show you the sites, it also comes with a guide who talks you through significant events in Central Park’s history as you “travel” from the West 72nd entrance.


Ibiza, Spain

Ushuaïa Ibiza, an open-air club on the hard-partying Balearic Island, has launched #StayAtHomeSessions – a re-stream of some of 2019’s best DJ sets from Hï Ibiza and Ushuaïa Ibiza, to bring the party atmosphere to the homes of ravers around the world. The first session was launched on 21 March, featuring Solardo, Davide Squillace, Camelphat, Nic Fanciulli and Andrea Oliva. The streaming sessions allow users to invite friends to join them online.


Grand Canyon, Arizona

There are plenty of pictures of the famed canyon online, but get a little deeper with a VR archaeological tour. This allows armchair travellers to explore and learn more about the history behind the canyon’s formation by clicking on different geological features.


Yosemite National Park, California

Experience this natural wonder in real time by clicking through to its webcams. The views include Yosemite Falls, the view of the Half Dome from the floor of Yosemite Valley, and vistas from the High Sierra captured at 8,000 feet.


Virtual Safari Africa

From the Kalahari to Sabi Sand Reserve, here’s your chance to glimpse at the Big Five best Safaris in real-time, in your pajamas.


Stonehenge, UK

Always wanted to go to visit the Neolithic stone circle of dreams? Take an interactive tour of Stonehenge with the English Heritage 360-degree view from inside the monument, or switch to Skyscape to see a live view from within the stones.


Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Germany is the land of fairy tales that gave the world Wilhelm Hauff and The Brothers Grimm, for example. Germany is also home to the most magical castle on the planet, Neuschwanstein Castle, the name of which translates as «The New Swan Cliff». It was built in the second half of the nineteenth century by Ludwig II of Bavaria, or as they called him, «The Fairy-Tale King».