During this period of confinement, we can still travel virtually. Virtual travel isn’t about only watching videos of famous travel shows. Nowadays, specific websites provide detailed insights. For example, many museums offer online tours and comprehensive explanations of artwork. Additionally, one can take virtual tours of several archaeological, historical and natural sites.
Virtual travel has never been so simple, and it offers countless options. Below are only a few ideas to inspire you into your own digital exploration and discoveries. Enjoy!
Google Arts and Culture is a fantastic resource: Google has helped museums all over the world to post their collections online. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, several museums have expanded their selection with images of their special exhibitions as well.
For example, for its Vermeer exhibit, the Metropolitan Museum of Art chose a dynamic approach, helping visitors to navigate the rooms and zoom in and out of the pictures. The same museum offers another outlook for its fashion exhibit. Outfits by Dior, Chanel, Schiaparelli and others are presented individually, each with its explanatory notice. It’s easy to examine details by zooming in.
In addition to sharing its collection online, the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg has a fascinating 360º visit. Clicking on a room number takes visitors to that room, where they can examine works of art.
The Louvre doesn’t offer such a feature, unfortunately. Nevertheless, its unique collections are accessible virtually, according to their department. Searching for a specific artwork, or a category and time period in each section of the museum is straightforward. The objects are presented with a photo and an explanatory notice.
Zoos and aquariums have closed their doors to the public, but several are streaming footage of specific animals.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, for example, features Beluga whales, California sea lions and jellies. Half-way across the world, but only a click away, Edinburgh zoo presents pandas and tigers, among other animals. These are good ways to stay connected with nature and also fun links to share and discuss with the children in your life.
Virtual travel connects visitors directly to monuments and landmarks. With a little imagination, the experience is almost complete.
Google Arts and Culture is also a great help to visit specific sites thanks to its street view feature. The website covers several landmarks, including the Melbourne cricket stadium, Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Japan, Mesa Verde National Park and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt. For some sites, it presents only a 360º photo. For others, it is possible to “walk” around to better observe the site. For example, the visit of the Taj Mahal takes visitors to the top of a nearby tower, an amazing vantage point from which to admire the monument. One can also decide to walk the Hall of Fame in Hollywood or follow the footsteps of artists around the world.
Several landmarks offer their own virtual visit. One of the most magical is Pompeii’s. After selecting a neighborhood, you can walk in the streets of the old Roman city and enter some of the houses. A notice describes each location by its situation and its uses during Antiquity. You can transport yourself anywhere through photos, videos, webcams and virtual reconstructions. Take a trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park, the Palace of Versailles, Ancient Persepolis, the Great Wall of China or Hawai’i Volcanoes.
Many major opera houses and symphony halls offer free streaming of past performances. Broadway shows have 7-day free trials, for which you will need to register. The Metropolitan Opera allows its fans to watch different shows every day. Each show is available for 24 hours. The website gives clear instructions on how to view the shows through on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV.
The Paris Opera rotates ballet and opera performances every evening, at 7:30 (CET).
While no virtual experience can compare to attending in person, viewing a show online is an excellent opportunity to see the best singers and get close-ups on their facial expressions and the details of the costumes. The camera can focus on a musician’s fingering, a conductor’s baton or a dancer’s footwork, something that would be impossible to see in a concert hall. And now, enjoy the show!
Geoguesser is an online game where players have to recognize their environment using a randomized photo. Players have to guess where the photo has been taken by examining the clues on the photo and then drop a pin on the map. The game then calculates how close or far your guess is.
Playing the world map is extremely difficult since the game can drop you almost anywhere on Earth. Playing countries and cities can be a little less challenging, depending on how well you know a place. Each map is rated according to its difficulty.
You will get lost and find your way (or not) from your couch, with virtual travel. This game can be especially fun if you have recently gone on a trip. It will challenge your recollection of the place, and you can check whether or not you know the area as well as you think!
Despite being confined in our homes, we can still discover new places and revisit the ones we already know, thanks to virtual travel. Whether already planning our future trips, or simply enjoying the beautiful collections and sites from our couch, there are many options to view the world’s treasures.
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