Sightsee in safety using virtual tours - here's where you can go!
The Coronavirus completely shook the travel industry this year, and even now with some borders opening up and flights resuming, the industry is still very much struggling. If you feel safe enough and are willing to quarantine in line with your visiting country and your countries travel laws, then you can hop on a plane and get sight-seeing, but for others, it's not as simple. If a two-week quarantine isn't an option, or you're still worried about contracting the virus, there are still ways you can 'visit' other countries without actually boarding a plane or setting sail. In this age of digital and technological advancements, you can still roam the halls of the Louvre or take a stroll through Central Park - virtually, of course! The travel industry is helping everyone who can't currently travel at the moment by offering free and paid virtual travel and tours. We'll be talking you through what virtual travel actually is and showing you some of the places you can explore, all from the comfort of your own home!
What is virtual travel?
The latest trend to take the travel industry by storm is VR travel, which means virtual reality travel. It uses interactive images and videos to show you tourist destinations and sights in 360 degrees. Just like you can play videogames using VR, you can use it to explore and travel the world, too. Some museums and sightseeing destinations offer virtual tours on their websites, and you can also find some great virtual travel experiences on the Google Arts and Culture app. Most virtual tours are visual only, however, there are a few out there that offer an audio tour guide!
What virtual tours can I see?
The Louvre, Paris
One of the many tourist hotspots within Paris is the Louvre Museum. Fortunately for us, the Louvre has some great virtual tours available on its website. You can see the latest exhibition in the Petite Galerie, the Advent of the Artist, which has works from Delacroix, Rembrandt and Tintoretto. If you prefer, you can head over to the Galerie d'Apollon to marvel at the famously painted high ceilings. Although the virtual tours aren't quite the same as being up close and personal to these works of art, it's an easy and crowd-free way of seeing what the Louvre has to offer - and did we mention it's completely free?
Everyone dreams of one day going to Lapland, whether it's to meet Santa, watch the Northern Lights or ride in a dog-sledge. Thanks to Lights Over Lapland, now you can! Using virtual tours and videos you can sit back and watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your sofa, or take your kids on a magical dog-sledging experience. These immersive VR videos are great to watch with a VR headset or on a phone! Instead of freezing in the Swedish snow, you can have the same experience, minus the minus degrees weather!
If you're looking for something more historical and educational, Samsung VR has a great virtual tour of Jerusalem with an audio tour guide! The VR tour takes you round Jersusalem's city centre, honing in on all the major historical and tourist hotspots. The video offers 360-degree viewing of the streets and sights, with plenty of locals and tourists to help you feel as if you're actually there. The audio tour guide adds an extra touch to the tour, as you really get to experience and understand each and every sight! Make sure you've got a good set of HD earbuds to listen along!
Central Park, New York
Another tour with an audio guide is You Visit's Central Park virtual tour. This tour is especially good for those who are missing being able to sit out in the sun and stroll through the local parks. Central Park is over 3.41 km² and usually takes around 2 hours to walk through. What some people don't know, is that Central Park has more to it than its scenic views and fresh smells - it's home to history, too. In the Park, you can see visit Strawberry Fields, a whole memorial dedicated to the late John Lenon, along with the Central Park Zoo and other fun sights.
There's so much to see in the Vatican City, and thanks to virtual tours you can check out the holy land and its museums in the safety of your own home! The Vatican Museum website has seven virtual tours for you to look at, including Raphael's Room, Chiaramonti Museum and more. You can get up close and personal to all the artistry, statues, and religious works the City has to offer. If the ability to wander the Vatican City's museums for free wasn't enough, you can even take a tour through the Pope's home - the famous Sistine Chapel! How's that for a travel experience?