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Travel without fear: Virtual reality tours to go on during the lockdown

Don’t fret the travel ban that we’re all facing during this pandemic. Explore the world through these virtual reality tours, which not only offer city tours but also known cultural offerings from around the globe. Let us guide you through travel during coronavirus.

Virtual City Tours

Philadelphia Virtual Tour

travel during coronavirus

Started as a resource for class trip preparation, the virtual reality tour is a great way to spend quarantined days. With more than twenty locations including Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Race Street Pier, and Elfreth’s Alley among others, the tour is a wholesome experience. It can even help you build an itinerary for when you actually plan to visit. 

New York

travel during coronavirus

New York has risen to challenging times and is providing virtual access to its famous museums, parks, performing arts centres, and even libraries. These virtual experiences offer many ways to stay entertained and connected to the city’s ample cultural offerings.

Washington, DC

travel during coronavirus

Transport yourself to Washington, DC on dozens of immersive, first-person adventures. Experience what it’s like to step foot inside the majestic Lincoln Memorial, walk through bustling Union Market, among many others. Hop from neighbourhood hot-spots to world-famous museums and landmarks, to help start planning your next trip after this pandemic is put to rest.

San Francisco

travel during coronavirus

The latest app from San Francisco based Ascape VR, features a hosted virtual reality tour titled “You Are Here: San Francisco”. As part of the first entry of the company’s “You Are Here” travel series, the 4K 360 VR cinematic experience takes the viewer on a guided tour of one of America’s most iconic cities. The host throughout the guided tour is Stuart Schuffman, 2015 San Francisco mayoral candidate, and host of IFC’s 2011 travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful. The experience is available on Google Play store.

Citywide walking tours

travel during coronavirus

Walking tours are also a way to stay fit and visit a new place each time. Many cities like Paris, Tokyo, Rome, Manhattan, Chicago are putting up full-fledged walking tours with sound guides for a wholesome experience.

Virtual tours of world-famous attractions


travel during coronavirus

The world’s most visited museum of 2019 was the subject of lamentations over overcrowding and unwelcoming guest behaviour. Due to its closure, people who wish to visit the Louvre can check out virtual tours of the antiquities collection, remains of the Louvre’s moat, and the Galerie d’Apollon without having to brush anyone’s shoulders.

The Sistine Chapel

The national lockdown in Italy has forced the country to a standstill, putting a halt to public events, soccer stadiums, and even the Vatican. Now visitors from all over the world can tour the interior artworks of the Sistine Chapel, including its renowned ceiling and ‘The Last Judgment’ by Michelangelo.

Yosemite National Park

While parts of the park are still open for the season, those who are in lockdown and can’t make it to California can still tour the entire park with sound and visit some of Yosemite’s iconic landmarks, including the famous Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the top of the Half Dome and the eponymous Yosemite Falls.

San Diego Zoo

One of the most visited zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo is known for its cage-less natural habitats. Children and animal lovers can now learn more about all the inhabitants of the zoo via regular live streams and feel like they’re embarking on travel during coronavirus.

Van Gogh Museum

Housing the largest Van Gogh collection in the world including 600 artworks and 700 letters, this Amsterdam museum can be viewed through a virtual guided tour. Walk into the museum along with insights into the Dutch post-impressionist artist’s life through paintings including the world-famous ‘Sunflowers’ and ‘The Yellow House’ from the comforts of your home.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The museum is offering virtual reality tours that let visitors take a room-by-room, self-guided trip through the museum’s wide array of exhibits. The current exhibits include the Butterfly Pavilion and the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils, and visitors can even journey through older exhibits, on topics including the last American dinosaurs, the universe, and even DNA and genomics.

Machu Picchu, Peru

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Machu Picchu is a must-see visual marvel. The virtual tour is comprehensive and filled with amazing insights. The 360-degree views every popular vantage point. Learn more about the history of the famous site thanks to a helpful voice narrator.

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium has more than 50 species ranging from sea lions to underwater puffins, with many available to view via webcam. The daily live streams are also aimed at piquing children’s interest in animals, and a great at-home educational tool if you want to entertain the little ones during these stay-at-home days.

The Palace of Versailles

Travel back to the 17th century with a virtual reality-powered visit to the Palace of Versailles. “Experience Versailles” is the perfect way to keep your kids busy at home while providing them with an educational and worldly experience. The virtual visit talks about the history of the palace grounds, the Hall of Mirrors, and the King’s Apartments.

Chauvet Cave

Google recently launched a new Virtual reality exhibit of Chauvet Cave, a cave in southern France that exhibits some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. This experience is designed to help the public experience the site, which contains some of humanity’s earliest recorded drawings.

Theme park rides

If your family vacation to a major theme park has been dashed by the global pandemic, do the next best thing and bring the theme park to you with these amazing virtual theme park rides. 

All images: Courtesy Getty

Fiona Thomas

Thomas is a student at NIFT, Bengaluru, a professionally trained Bharatanatyam dancer and bathroom singer. When not dreaming of travelling the world, she can be found petting a dog or stocking up on all the curly hair products money can buy.