The world may have temporarily shut up shop for now, but don’t let a minor obstacle like a global pandemic stop you experiencing (sort of) some of the planet’s most amazing places! Many top attractions can be toured virtually, from cultural icons, like the Louvre, Machu Picchu and Petra, to natural ones, like the Galapagos Islands, Grand Canyon and Uluru.
Clicking around a screen is hardly the same as the real thing, but it CAN give a little taste, and maybe inspire you to plan some bucket list trips for when the world is back to normal. No one knows exactly when that will happen, only that it will, and when it does, we’ll be right here to help you travel again.
One of the most incredible archaeological sites in the world, the ruins of the once lost city of Angkor cover a vast area, with the highlight being Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.
The Louvre, France
The Louvre in Paris is one of the world’s most famous museums – certainly the most famous in Europe – and houses the world’s most celebrated painting (Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa), and plenty more treasures from all times and places.
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
Only surveyed for the first time in 2010, Son Doong Cave is the largest in the world, hidden deep in the mountains of Vietnam. Unlike most places on this list, the cave isn’t (yet) accessible to tourists even in normal times, so a virtual tour is your best option either way!
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Easily Australia’s most iconic building, Sydney Opera House is a beautiful venue, situated on the edge of Sydney Harbour. Many only ever see the structure from the outside, but you can explore virtually on a guided digital tour.
One of the UK’s top attractions, this prehistoric stone circle has been standing for 5000 (ish) years – about the same time as the Great Pyramid of Giza – and its construction has been baffling historians for centuries.
Venice is an attraction in its own right and considered by many to be the most beautiful city ever built. Spread across 100+ islands in a shallow lagoon in Northern Italy, the city has no roads, just canals, and over 400 bridges traversing them. Top highlights include St Mark’s Square, Rialto Bridge and Doge’s Palace.
Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu
This highly active volcano, located in the Vanuatu archipelago, is off-limits to tourists, but some daring explorers had a look around its crater and filmed what they saw. Which was lava, mainly, and lots of it.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for 1400 glorious miles up the north east coast of Australia, is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, and you can have a virtual snorkel around its colourful coral while the legendary David Attenborough talks you through it.
Buckingham Palace, UK
Buckingham Palace is the central London residence of the UK monarchy and is a stupendously grand building, inside and out. Use this official virtual tour to see the Grand Staircase, White Drawing Room, Throne Room, and more.
Amazon Jungle, South America
Colossal in size and diversity, the Amazon Jungle covers over 2 million sq mi of land in South America and contains the largest amount of known animal and plant species on the planet. Take a peek under (and above) its lush canopy, and meet some of its residents.
The Acropolis of Athens was the beating heart of Ancient Greece and its atmospheric ruins, which include the Parthenon and the Old Temple of Athena, are now one of Europe’s most fascinating historical attractions.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Untouched by humans for virtually all of history, the Galapagos Islands are located several hundred miles off the west coast of mainland Ecuador, and contain remarkable wildlife that has no natural fear of humans, meaning you can get up close.
Palace of Versailles, France
The unspeakably opulent Palace of Versailles was the main royal residence of France until the French Revolution in 1789, and while its inhabitants did not survive, the building did.
NASA Langley Research Center, USA
Anyone even remotely interested in the exploration of Space will be interested in NASA’s Langley Research Center, which is the oldest of its kind. You can have a look round various parts of it on screen.
Guilin Mountains, China
The otherworldly karst mountains of this region are spectacularly scenic, and made for a perfect location to film the sci-fi blockbuster Avatar. The formations are one of the most popular attractions in China, so add them to your list for when you can visit again!
Grand Canyon, USA
One of the great natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon twists and turns for almost 300 miles through the Arizona desert, and plunges to depths of over a mile in parts. Nothing can substitute seeing this thing for real, but in the meantime you can get a little glimpse on a virtual tour.
The British Museum, UK
Home to several of the world’s most important treasures, including the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and Ancient Egyptian artefacts, the British Museum is one of the UK’s top attractions, and fortunately most of it has been digitised, meaning you can have a virtual mosey.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Located amidst stunning mountain scenery in the heart of the Andes, the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is the reward that awaits those who trek Peru’s Inca Trail, a true bucket list undertaking. Get a glimpse of what all the fuss is about on this virtual tour.
Sagrada Familia, Spain
The final (and still unfinished) masterpiece of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s top attraction. The entry fee is thought by some to be a little on the steep side, so now’s the perfect opportunity to skip the fee (and the queue) and see it virtually.
Japan’s capital is a place of buzzing energy in normal times, full of must-see attractions, from the enormous Skytree observation deck to the wonderfully quirky Harajuku neighbourhood. Take a whistlestop virtual tour with this 360 degree video.
Carved into the rose pink walls of a canyon in southern Jordan, the ancient city of Petra is an extraordinary sight. The Treasury is the most iconic building, but surrounding it is an entire complex of man made caves and other ruins.
One of the most loved national parks in America, Yosemite is a place of spectacular beauty, characterised by sheer granite cliffs, stunning lakes, impressive waterfalls and incredible biodiversity.
Giant’s Causeway, UK
Made up of tens of thousands of basalt columns and located on the north coast of Northern Ireland, Giant’s Causeway is one of the UK’s best natural wonders, and was one of several places in the country to feature in Game of Thrones.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA
Housing masterpieces from artists including Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Picasso, Renoir and Monet, the Met, as it’s known to its New York locals, is one of the world’s greatest museums.
Great Wall of China, China
Snaking its way for thousands of miles over mountain ridges through northern China, the Great Wall of China is one of the most impressive things built, and much of it is still standing centuries later.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The dizzying skyscrapers of Dubai look like something straight out of the future, and you can have a virtual fly around their huge heights on this 360 virtual tour.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
Otherwise known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is an enormous monolith in the centre of Australia, and one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. Nearby is another equally impressive (though less famous) rock formation called Kata Tjuta (or the Olgas).
When the world has returned to normal, remember we’ll be able to get you to all these places, and anywhere else you want to go, with our student flights and tours. Until then, keep yourself safe, and we’ll see you back in the big wide world soon.