Virtual tours of Europe's grand opera houses, such as the Teatro Massimo of Palermo, are available.
Travel Destinations

Here’s how to take a grand tour of Italy, or visit Anne Frank’s home from the comforts of your room

We know that you’re itching to explore the world once more. To tide you over until we can all cross borders again, here are a few immersive tours available online.
ANCX | May 21 2020

Even as some countries begin to ease travel restrictions, the Department of Tourism is looking to temper Filipinos’ expectations as limitations are likely to remain for the rest of the year. Thanks to technology, however, you can still explore the globe without leaving home.

Online access to museums and galleries, for example, is emerging these days so people can cope with the quarantine at home. Knowing this, Google Arts & Culture found a way to enhance these digital travel experiences via virtual and augmented realities, walking tours, and 360°views of some of the world’s beautiful destinations and interesting cultures.

The digital platform offers immersive virtual reality tours that take viewers inside exhibits around the world. Those with a penchant for space can go inside a space shuttle and experience space travel with a 360° video tour. Interested in style icons and fashion classics? Users can also take a closer look inside Manolo Blahnik’s design studio, learn about the story behind Coco Chanel’s Black Dress and The Japanese Kimono.

 

Cultural immersion

The Wonders of Indonesia exhibit includes a tour of Borobudur, the world's biggest Buddhist temple.

Brimming with rich cultural treasures, religious history, contemporary art, and ancient monuments, Indonesia is a must-visit country for every traveler. While everyone’s waiting for the perfect time to fly again, one can get to know Indonesia virtually with Wonders of Indonesia online exhibit. It features a special 360 tour of the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, Borobudur, and a close look at local handicraft in Galeri Batik.

A street view along the waters of the Grand Canal is included in the Grand Tour of Italy.

Google Arts & Culture has also curated stories and exhibits about Europe’s gems such as Italy and France. Take a grand tour of Italy and discover how much it has changed over time, enjoying 360° VR video of the Roman Amphiteather and a Street View tour along the waters of The Grand Canal. See more of France’s natural and cultural wonders, getting an up-close view of the Eiffel Tower and enjoying the view at the snowy peak of Mont Blanc.

A tour of Anne Frank's family home is also available.

Keeping the spirit of World Museum Day alive, learn about the events that transpired during one of the dark days in history with a tour of Anne Frank’s Family Home. It features a 360-degree tour of the young girl’s house where she and her family lived and wrote anecdotes about her childhood. Literary fans can also know more about the life of famous authors, Virginia Woolf and the Brontë Sisters, as Google Arts & Culture has prepared online exhibits that take them into their childhood and bring them to the places that inspired their famous works.

Musical and orchestra fans can enjoy a good time on Google Arts & Culture as some opera houses are available on the website for virtual tours. From the Australia’s renowned performing arts theatre The Sydney Opera House, to New York’s finest concert venue Carnegie Hall and Italy’s largest opera house Teatro Massimo of Palermo, viewers can closely see the theatre houses on their screen and even get treated to a special performance from an orchestra group.

 

Travelers’ picks

Google isn’t the only way to experience other cultures online. Travel platform Agoda, for example, put together a handy guide to experience the world virtually based on their travelers’ favorite destinations last year. They correlated this with the results of a usage and attitude (U&A) survey they recently commissioned. They identified the main reasons why people travel, and recommended a virtual tour that might satisfy that longing.

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The U&A survey found that culture–artefacts, dance, the arts–is one of the main reasons people travel globally. A tour of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is sought-after experience. The Met 360 project invites people to virtually visit the Met’s art and architecture in a fresh, immersive way. Experience the wide expanse of its six halls, which includes The Great Hall, The Cloisters, The Temple of Dendur, The Met Breuer, The Charles Engelhard Court and Arms and Armor Galleries.

Through its Met 360 project, the Metropolitan Museum of Art allows visitors from all over the world with just on click. Photo by Alex Simpson

Korean pop culture is widely influential these days, but Korea has a long, proud, and exciting history worth exploring further. Take your pick of eras to explore via Gyeonggi Art and History with virtual sightseeing of some of South Korea’s world heritage UNESCO sites including the Namhanhangseoung World Heritage Center, Jeongak Pre-history Museum and Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art.

One other reason for people to travel is to see cultural landmarks, such as The Eiffel Tower. Thankfully, a digital sightseeing trip is available.

The Eiffel Tower has a digital sightseeing trip. Photo by Jungxon Park

Another spot you can virtually tour is The Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City, which is visited by millions of people every year. Likewise, take a chance to explore the Sistine Chapel or Raphael’s Rooms at your own leisure via the Vatican Museums’ 360-degree tours and videos.

Beaches and islands are the second favorite global reason to travel. While you might need to wait a while until you can feel the sand between your toes again, you don’t need to miss the magic of the ocean completely.

A sea turtle at the Buck Island Reef National Park. Photo by Jakob Owens

Dating back 10,000 years, the Buck Island Reef National Park off the US Virgin Islands houses many unique corals and sea life. Take National Geographic’s guided dive with marine life photographer Brian Skerry and drift around to view the spectacular details of this unique and protected barrier reef, and watch sea turtle hatchlings make their way into the ocean at night. You can also take a virtual island-hopping tour of Caramoan in Camarines Sur with 360° views of its pristine beaches and interesting shoreline rock formations.

The number one motivation to travel for explorers across the world is nature and scenery. So while we’re all waiting for when it’s finally okay to go out and take that much-awaited holiday away from home, check out this collection of videos showcasing natural wonders across several destinations. ­

A video of the Northern Lights is streamed every night. Photo by Emily Hon

Renowned for its great outdoors, Canada offers so much beauty to explore. Gaze into the magical night skies for glimpses of the Northern Lights streamed live every night or check out Banff National Park, with its variety of videos available so you can “trek” across the country’s oldest national park, Johnston Canyon.

Indonesia’s beautiful island of Bali is often referred to as paradise on earth, known for its volcanic mountains, rice paddy fields, and most of all its bone white beaches. Get away virtually to the many beaches of Bali, while staying safe at home.

Japan is also popular among travelers, and taking a closer look at JNTO’s tourism promotion campaign video, “Visit Japan,” you’ll see why. The video highlights 16 of Japan’s most unique attractions such as Tokyo Tower, Kyoto’s Sagano Bamboo Forest, and the torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine.