In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel plans are cancelled, countries are going into complete lockdown and you're probably stuck self-quarantining and social distancing. During such times, we must resort to creative ways of expanding our boundaries and find something new to stimulate our minds. Lucky for us living in the digital-era, the world wide web is now bringing us closer than ever!
Many institutions and organizations around the world are now jumping on the "virtual tour" bandwagon and giving patrons around the world a chance to visit them without leaving the confines of their walls.
Find a quiet corner, settle in, tune into our social distancing playlist and enjoy the opportunity of (virtually) walking the Louvre, British Museum, The Shedd Aquarium & SeaWorld Orlando - all at once!
While these virtual tours don't beat the actual experience of seeing a seminal piece of art with your naked eyes, we think you'll love zoning out for a bit and letting your cursor escort you through museum halls, aquariums and zoos. We hope you enjoy this armchair travel around the world!
20 Virtual Museum Tours You Can Take From The Comfort Of Your Couch
1. The Vatican Museum | Vatican City
Walking the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica and the various halls of the Vatican Museum on this virtual tour of Vatican, courtesy the Vatican official website. Wander the rest of Vatican City, complete with a tour guide narrating interesting aspects through the journey.
2. The Louvre | Paris
Louvre offers free online virtual tours of some of its most popular exhibits, such as its Egyptian Antiquities and Remains of Louvre's Moat. Take a 360-degree look at the museum, and click around the rare artifacts to get learn more about them.
3. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum | Madrid
A part of Madrid's Golden Triangle, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum houses stellar pieces of art by celebrated artists like Rembrandt and Dali available online. With details on every current exhibition, a virtual museum tour of Thyseen-Bornemisza is an enriching experience.
4. British Museum | London
With a collection that exceeds 8 million objects, London’s British Museum has two kinds of virtual tours! The museum website has an interactive 360 degree virtual museum tour that shows you the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies and other ancient artefacts - along with the story behind it. The British Museum has also teamed up with the Google Cultural Institute to offer a comprehensive museum virtual tour using Google Street View technology.
5. Van Gogh Museum | Amsterdam
Get up close and personal with Van Gogh's impressionist art, thanks to the virtual museum tour by Google Arts & Culture. From "Almond Blossom" to the "Wheatfield with Crows", appreciate art (from a distance).
6. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
While the architecture of the Guggenheim Museum is a work of art in itself, you can wonder and wander the beauty of the famous spiral staircase and the museum's unique art collection - thanks to Google Street View. Discover postmodern, conceptual and installation art by 625 fabled artists on this elaborate virtual tour of the Guggenheim museum.
7. MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art) | New York
Another one of New York's famous museums for contemporary art lovers, view the view 129 artworks from MoMA’s collection - including the famous ones like van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ and Rousseau’s ‘The Sleeping Gypsy’. If you're an ardent art lover, you can even patiently tour the different halls of Contemporary Art, Modern Art, Cubism and many more. Here's a virtual tour of the MoMa.
8. Rijksmuseum | Amsterdam
The grand Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam highlights the golden age of Dutch art, an oasis to the brush strokes of Vermeer and Rembrandt. With over 80 galleries holding a vast collection of art and historical objects, walk the meticulously-decorated halls and discover the beauty of the museum's 19th-century grandeur and glass-roofed atrium. Also, reviews state that the Google Culture tour of the Rijksmuseum is one of the best represented virtual museum tours on the internet.
9. National Museum of Anthropology | Mexico City
Deep dive into the pre-Hispanic heritage at the National Museum of Anthropology, built in 1964. Wander through all 23 exhibit rooms brimming with an array of ancient Mayan artifacts - a chance to widen your history horizons. Take a virtual museum tour of the National Museum of Anthropology today.
10. Uffizi Gallery | Florence
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence houses the art collection of one of Florence's most famous families, the Medicis. Scroll through more than 300,000 works of digital archives and acquaint yourselves to the era of Renaissance art. The online tours at Uffizi are thoughtfully curated around different themes - making the virtual navigation all the more interesting.
11. Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History | Washington D.C
One of the most-visited museums in the world, you can now take a peek at its wonderful treasures without leaving your house! This virtual museum tour entails a comprehensive room-by-room, 360-degree walking tour of all its exceptional exhibits, including the Hall of Mammals, Insect Zoo, and Dinosaurs and Hall of Paleobiology.
12. Musée d’Orsay | Paris
Built in a former railway station, you can virtually walk the Orsay Gallery that seats the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works in the world. From Monet to Cézanne, and Gauguin - click your way through the 278 magnificient works of art and don't forget to enjoy the online exhibition charting the history of the building.
13. Dali Theatre-Museum | Figueres
Located in the quaint town of Figueres in Catalonia, the Dalí Theatre-Museum is entirely dedicated to the artwork of Salvador Dalí (Money Heist reference, anybody?). The museum features many rooms and exhibits surrounding different aspects of Dalí’s life and career and the artist himself is buried here. Take a virtual tour of the exhibits in the museum and relive Dali's days.
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14. Museu de Arte de São Paulo | Brazil
Brazil's first modern museum, which also happens to be a non-profit museum has one of the largest historical collections available via its virtual gallery platform. You'll find paintings suspended in the air around the open-plan space and on glass panels - a visual marvel. The building in itself is a sight to behold - with its glass and red-beam structure, built back in 1968. Take a virtual museum tour and see it for yourself.
15. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art | Seoul
A virtual tour of National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art takes you through 6 floors of an inspiring mix of print, design, sculpture, photography, new media and other large-scale installations from Korea and all over the globe. The museum is made up of several sites - the main gallery in Gwacheon and branches in Deoksugung, Seoul and Cheongju.
16. National Gallery, London | London
Standing tall right behind the four lions on Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is home to 2,300 publicly-owned works of European art from the 13th to the mid-20th century. Saunter through 7 exhibition spaces of terrific art - from portraits to large dramatic altarpieces. Take a virtual museum tour today.
17. The J. Paul Getty Museum | Los Angeles
A virtual trip of the Getty Museum takes you back as far as the 8th century - from neolithic clay figures to Van Gogh’s Irises and Renoir’s La Promenade, discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs. Adding to the beauty of your digital trip is a virtual view of the Getty’s sunny sculpture plaza and garden terrace.
18. Pergamon Museum | Berlin
Pergamon was a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in Aeolis. The Pergamon Museum holds ancient artifacts excavated from the city - including the shtar Gate of Babylon and, naturally, the Pergamon Altar. Though you can't physically visit the museum today, a virtual museum tour of the Pergamon is worth your while.
19. National Palace Museum | Taiwan
Embark on a treasure hunt in Taipei City’s National Palace Museum, home to a massive collection of Chinese arts and crafts from the neolithic to the modern era. You can take guided tours of the many galleries and click on anything that piques your interest - it's a fun virtual journey.
20. Museum of Broken Relationships | Zagreb
Some fun for quarantine couples, the Museum of Broken Relationships takes a nostalgic look at old flames. Each item on display represents the donor’s ex, and the stories behind them range from uplifting to heartbreaking. Who knew a hair dryer could lead to a break up!? Check it out.
More Virtual Fun, Thanks To The Internet
Zoos and Aquariums
Looking for ways to keep your kid "edutained" during their screen time? Checkout the live webcam stream in one of the many zoos around the world and watch a range of animals in their natural habitat. Here are some popular zoo webcam streams: Houston Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, San Diego Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Baltimore National Aquarium.
Theatre & Opera
With live entertainment having come to a stand-still, Broadway, West End and many opera theatres around the world are now looking to rope in theatre patrons online. While it's nothing like watching a live performance, it's a change from Netflix and on Week 2 of qurantine - any change from Netflix is welcome. Watch Broadway shows online (7 day free trial), stream digital archives of the MET Opera online .
Graffitis are such a free expression of art, merely viewing it is guaranteed to make you feel a little less claustrophic about the whole quarantine situation. From Buenos Aires, Argentina to Malmo and Sweden, these virtual walking tours are for those who art but hate the establishment.
The National Parks Service have partnered with Google to virtually represent a handful of America's most stunning and challenging terrains - from the Alaskan Glaciers to Utah's Bryce Canyon. Find a cozy corner and let your eyes feast on clear blue skies, icy glaciers, molten volcanoes and fields of wildflowers. PS: Do NOT skip the introduction.
If you have a VR device, prepare yourself for an extraordinary virtual diving experience, barring the really-hard-to-put-on wet suit. From the Olympic Coast to the Monterey Bay and Florida Keys - dive underwater and stay as long as you'd like. A VR headset is highly recommended for this experience.