Take Free Virtual Tours of the World’s Most Visited Tourist Attractions

published Apr 13, 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has, for obvious reasons, put a damper on most people’s travel plans. Instead of eating gelato in Italy, soaking up the sun on the coast of Spain, or roaming the markets of Marrakech, the most exotic place is the other side of the couch.

But even with social distancing in place, you can still experience some of the sights of an exotic foreign holiday, albeit digitally. Sure, touring world-famous attractions via a computer screen is not the same thing as seeing them in real life. However, a virtual visit can still be a great learning experience. So, grab your sunglasses and check out the virtual version of some of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.

Only about one-third remains of what was once the largest amphitheater in the world — but that doesn’t stop millions of tourists from flocking to see it every year. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can walk around and inside the Colosseum without having to fight your way through the crowds. 

Admire the Pyramids of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, from afar and venture closer at your leisure with this virtual tour. You can also view the massive pharaoh tombs from up above

It’s a long and dangerous trek to Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. But you can get to the top of Mount Corcovado, which is where this 30-meter high art deco statue (the largest in the world) is located, without so much as breaking a sweat with Google Arts & Culture virtual tour

Looking for a more unusual way to spend the afternoon? Visit the Catacombs of Paris, a labyrinth of underground tunnels (former quarries) that house the remains of several million people transferred here from Paris’ overflowing cemeteries in the late 18th century. 

While there’s no shortage of bizarre hypotheses as to why or how Stonehenge was built, some of the more plausible theories claim that it was either a holy site or a scientific observatory. Learn more about the mysterious prehistoric site with English Heritage’s interactive 360-degree virtual tour (pro tip: don’t forget to look up!)

You can’t go to China right now, but you can still take a virtual hike on the Great Wall. The virtual tour lets you trek from Jinshanling to Simatai, a six-and-a-half-mile stretch that boasts some of the most photogenic sections of the wall. 

See the heart of the Lost City of the Incas, admire the panoramic view of the valley from the highest point of the trail, and pet the friendly alpacas that wander free atop the summit with YouVisit’s virtual tour. The tour also includes a voiceover guide that explains Machu Picchu’s history and architecture.

Meander through the many rooms at the Palace of Versailles—including the famous Hall of Mirrors that contains 357 mirrors—with this Google Arts & Culture tour. Then, learn more about life at the royal residence (like food eaten at the royal table and royal fashion) via one of the many online exhibitions. 

At the height of the summer tourist season, some 20,000 people visit the Sistine Chapel a day. But you can have it all to yourself by clicking here. Don’t forget to look up to see The Last Judgement by Michelangelo. The well-known fresco took four years to complete! 

This virtual tour by You Go Culture will transport you to the top of a rocky hill above the city of Athens. From there, you can explore the Acropolis, home to several ancient buildings, including the famous Parthenon, a former temple dedicated to Athena, the famous Greek goddess and patron of the city.

Get lost in the sprawling Buddhist temple complex of Angkor Wat, which stretches well over 150 square miles. This tour lets you explore some of the most magical temples, including Angkor Wat and also Angor Thom, the last capital city of the Angkor Empire, and Ta Prohm, a temple movie buffs might recognize from the 2001 film “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.”

Hopeless romantics will love the Taj Mahal. Built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, this beautiful mausoleum proves that true love isn’t dead. For a bird’s eye view of the palace, check out AirPano’s tour.