Virtual Tours Of Virtually Everything | See The World From Your Sofa
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Virtual Tours Of Virtually Everything

Virtual Tours Of Virtually Everything | See the world from your sofa

The world is an amazing, vast place.

Unfortunately, it currently has a huge cosmic bouncer standing outside of it making it almost impossible to explore…

…were it not for the miracle of modern technology, which allows us to take a whirlwind tour of basically every interesting place on earth, from the best galleries, to the most fascinating museums, the iconic landmarks, and the most extraordinary national parks, right from the comfort of our own sofas.

ART GALLERIES:

The Vatican Museums | Rome

The Vatican Museums don’t just represent a city, but a sovereign nation… and indeed an entire religion. It’s impossible to emphasise the sheer grandeur of the place, but you can get a fairly good sense of it on their virtual tour, which will take you through everything from Saint Peter’s Basilica to a little place called the Sistine Chapel. And there’s a virtual guide too.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

The Guggenheim | Bilbao

The Guggenheim is one of those iconic buildings that’s a work of art unto itself. And inside the elegantly curving steel shell, you’ll find a whole bunch of post modern American & European paintings and sculptures. Rothko, Koons, Serra, the works. Knock yourself out, and take an online gander.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

The sister museum in New York, this building is a Frank Llyod Wright masterpiece. And inside it is a similarly impressive hoard of Kandinsky, Mondrian, Chagall, Modigliani, Picasso, and all of their postmodern buddies.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

The National Gallery | London

The National Gallery, according to The National Gallery, tells “the story of European art, masterpiece by masterpiece”. And it’s no lie: they’ve got 2,300 European paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900 (which is where modern art apparently begins).

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE

J Paul Getty Museum | Los Angeles

John Paul Getty was the richest man in the world, slightly eccentric, and he liked art. Hence the fact that in LA you can now find a museum in the form of a complete recreation of the Classical Greek Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. When Getty died, it got $1.2 billion in his will, and the money has been spent acquiring masterpieces from almost every culture in almost every era – you’ll see everything from neolithic clay figures to Rembrandt.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

Uffizi Gallery | Florence

Remember the Renaissance? Well, the Uffizi gallery is where it’s being stored. Pretty much all of it. After inheriting the collection of the Medici family (patrons of a couple of chancers called Leonardo da Vinci & Michelangelo) they built up their collection by a couple of hundred thousand more, including roomfuls of Canaletto, Botticelli, and Titian.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE

Rijksmuseum | Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum has – if you can believe it – 80 galleries within it. That’s a lot to take in on a virtual tour, let alone a bipedal one. But it’s no surprise when you consider that it’s essentially the national museum of the Netherlands, and it’s easily the country’s biggest & most visited. You’ll find the whole of Dutch art history here, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, and, oh, a teensy bit more.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art | Seoul

This museum is dedicated to preserving Korea’s modern art scene (that is, anything created since the seemingly arbitrary date of 1910)… but it’s got a fair scattering of works from Western artists too, including Koons, Warhol, and Jasper Johns. There’s even a little Picasso in the mix too. And if you’re into it, you can check out the outdoor sculpture park too. Whatever the weather.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

MASP | São Paulo

This amazing Brazilian museum displays its beautiful works in a beautiful way – instead of against the, ugh, walls each painting hangs, as if suspended in the air from its impressively high ceiling, while pinned to a concrete block beneath. The works on display span several centuries of modern & classical art, and the building itself is quite gorgeous too.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

The Louvre | Paris

The Louvre doesn’t exactly need a lot of introduction. It’s the Louvre. It’s literally the world’s largest art museum, and literally the world’s most visited museum full stop. Yes, you can see the Mona Lisa on the virtual tour. But you’re better off checking out the other 37,999 objects on permanent display across its various galleries.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

Musée d’Orsay | Paris

Paris’s other great museum, the Musée d’Orsay is where you’ll find the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist works in the world. Suck on that, Louvre.

TAKE A TOUR INSIDE | TAKE A TOUR OUTSIDE

 

MUSEUMS:

Smithsonian National Museum Of Natural History | Washington D.C.

It’s basically the Natural History Museum, only in America. You’ll find all manner of pre-historic & historic natural goodness, including dinos, ancient humans, sea life, an insect zoo, gems & minerals, and even some ‘Objects of Wonder’. The tour is pretty well put together, too – it lets you see current & past exhibits, and even includes its own mini map.

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Natural History Museum | London

Natural History Museum - best museums in London

Natural History Museum is one of London’s undisputed cultural gems – and not just because it contains actual gems. It’s also home to the largest animal that’s ever existed on Earth; one of the best fossil collections in the world, moon rocks, dog-sized horses, Palaeolithic art, and a lightning strike frozen in sand. And you can see it all on their virtual tour.

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The British Museum | London

British Museum

Ah, the British Museum – a globe-crossing, epoch-spanning collection of over 8 million fascinating cultural, scientific, and architectural artefacts – some up to 12,000 thousand years old – all housed within a beautiful complex seamlessly merging contemporary design with a grandiose, 19th century building. Yours to view from the front room.

TAKE A TOUR

US Air Force National Museum | Ohio

Being the largest military aircraft museum in the world, the USAFNM has some standout flyers: among them is the Apollo 15 Command Module Endeavour (which orbited the Moon 74 times in 1971), the famous Memphis Belle Flying Fortress B-17 bomber, and several Air Force Ones. And you won’t need to take a plane to get there.

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The Benaki Museum | Athens

The Benaki is dedicated to showcasing Greek works of art from the prehistorical to the modern times. In fact, it’s the only museum in Greece that brings you through all ages of Greek culture and history. And on top of that, it’s also unique in that it does not focus on nationalism, but rather recognises and celebrates the foreign influences on Greek culture. It’s even got satellite museums dedicated to things like Islamic art. And yes, you can virtual-tour them, too.

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The National Palace Museum | Taipei City

The story of the The National Palace Museum’s collection begins a couple of thousand years ago, with the first emperors who started to collect Chinese art. As the centuries progressed, the collections grew, until they were all housed in the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City. When the last of the emperors was expelled during the upheaval of the ’30s, the entire collection was moved to Taipei for safekeeping. Now, you can see all 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts and artworks, without even getting up.

TAKE A TOUR

 

LANDMARKS:

Machu Picchu

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Can we interest you in an awe-inspiring Incan citadel built 8,000ft up on a mountainside, completely unknown to the outside world for centuries (outside of myth), and which is so huge that it’s estimated we’ve only uncovered about a third of it? Because you can go there with one mouse click.

TAKE A TOUR

Angkor Wat

By Dennis Jarvis – Flickr

Angkor Wat literally means ‘capital of temples’, and ordinarily it would seem a bit punchy to go ahead and give yourself that title – but given that this Buddhist temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world, it’s legit. It’s in Cambodia, and it’s got a perfectly square moat that’s 3 miles long.

TAKE A TOUR

Stonehenge

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

Okay look, honestly, compared to some of the other stuff on this list Stonehenge doesn’t seem that impressive. But then, it was started around 5,000 years ago by a neolithic civilisation using 25-tonne stones from a quarry in Wales that all formed a gigantic prehistoric calendar. And the tour gives you alllll the info you could want.

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The Palace of Versailles

Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons

Louis XIV wasn’t known for his casual, understated approach to palace-building. No. He leaned towards the staggeringly, mindblowingly opulent, and you can get the benefit of that mindblowing opulence at your leisure.

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The Houses of Parliament

There are a few ways to get a gawp at the grand, neo-gothic interiors of the Palace of Westminster. The most effortful involves a lot of door-to-door campaigning, policy making and Question Time appearances. The least involves a click of your mouse.

TAKE A TOUR

Great Pyramid of Giza

Nina / Wikimedia Commons

Yes, it’s basically like a big square. To a point. But when you consider that it was the tallest structure in the world for more than 3,800 years (until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD)… it’s slightly more awe-inspiring. Also, way to go Lincoln.

TAKE A TOUR

Petra

Photo by Brian Kairuz on Unsplash

Wander (virtually) through the narrow, winding ochre sandstone cliffs, and you’ll find them opening up into the ancient city of Petra, carved directly into the rockface. It’s pretty stunning, even virtually.

TAKE A TOUR

The Acropolis

Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

The Acropolis is the highest point in Athens. And on top of it, a guy named Pericles (whose contributions to Greek civilisation qualify him as one of the most influential Westerners ever) built the Parthenon, the temple of Athena, and literally dozens of other cool things. And you can see ’em all.

TAKE A TOUR

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Xavier Quetzalcoatl Contreras Castillo – Wikimedia Commons

Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes has been called the “Cathedral of Art in Mexico”. And it’s a name that stands up. The building is a mix of architectural styles, that have been built-on over the centuries, and resulted in a truly magnificent structure. One worth checking out.

TAKE A TOUR

The Taj Mahal

Photo by Jovyn Chamb on Unsplash

When something takes 22 years to build, by 20,000 employees, and 1000 elephants, it had better be either an unfinished bridge over the Thames, or a new wonder of the world. And the Taj Mahal is not an unfinished bridge over the Thames.

TAKE A TOUR

Great Wall of China

Photo by Gigi on Unsplash

The Great Wall of China is longer than half the circumference of the earth. Seriously. Great Wall: 13,170 miles. Earth: 24,901 miles. So, basically, the virtual tour will take a minute to complete. But you can at least get a few yards down, and take in just a little of the splendour.

TAKE A TOUR

THE GREAT OUTDOORS:

Aurora Borealis | Canada

Aurora Borealis livestream

Håkon Sataøen/Unsplash

Yep, you can now livestream one of the world’s most impressive natural phenomena right into your house. And the sidebar chat is almost as interesting, where the moderators say things like “​the energy of the Auroral Oval has intensified.”

TAKE A LOOK

The Royal Parks | London

You can’t reeeeally go to the parks right now (unless you want to use up your one daily jog on them. But you can at least see them in an ever-sunny state online.

TAKE A TOUR

US National Parks | Across America

Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash

Okay, this isn’t really one tour. It’s like five tours. In fact, it’s like a whole sub-continent’s-worth of tours. You can take in the icy Kenai fjords of Alaska, the fiery lava tubes of Hawaii, the stunning stalactites of the Carlsbad Caverns, the gorgeous hues of Bryce Canyon, and the tropical blue ocean of the Dry Tortugas.

TAKE A TOUR

 


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