The ultimate in virtual vactions

Written by
Ilse Van Steen

Global travel bans have seen us temporarily put our passports away and our plans to explore far flung destinations have been placed on hold while we all hunker down at home. However, thanks to a myriad of virtual tours, there is still a beautiful world out there to discover, all from the comfort of our armchair.

These are the ultimate ways to take a virtual vacation from home.

Heritage sites a click away

Earlier in 2020, Google launched Heritage on the Edge, an online experience that makes clever use of 3D maps to guide us through a selection of UNESCO World Heritage sites dealing with the impact of climate change. Aimed at digitally preserving the legacy of these great places of national, cultural and spiritual significance, discover zoomed-in views of the ancient mosques of Bagerat in Bangladesh; the mudbrick city of Chan Chan in Peru; Edinburgh’s imposing castle; the intriguing stone statues of Rapa Nui on Easter Island and the city of Kilwa Kisiwani in Tanzania, a former seat of the Sultans on the Swahili coast


All the world's a stage

Virtually step inside some of the world’s most beautiful theatres and opera houses and discover the grandeur of these iconic buildings. There are eleven theatres to choose from but we would recommend taking a behind the scenes tour of the costume department at the world renowned Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow; seeing the stage on which a 13-year old Mozart made his debut at the opening night of the Teatra Bibiena in Mantau, Italy or marvelling at the painted ceiling which includes early work by Gustav Klimt at the Burgtheatre in Vienna, Austria. 

Bolshoi Theatre a historic theatre of ballet and opera in Moscow, Russia,the interior auditorium by architect Alberto Cavos in 1895

Counteract cabin fever with culture

With no less than 1,178 museums collections at your fingertips, Google Arts & Culture has keeping boredom at bay all wrapped up. Discover iconic works by Vincent Van Gogh with virtual tours of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam; head to Mexico City and step inside La Casa Azul (The Blue House) where Frida Kahlo – Latin America’s most renowned artist – was born, lived and died; take a virtual elevator ride up to the 53th floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Tokyo and explore temporary exhibitions by contemporary Asian artists or venture into the British Museum in London to browse its remarkable collection spanning over two million years of human history and culture. 

Museo Frida Kahol, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Track the Big Five from your sofa

Immerse yourself into the sights and sounds of the African bush with a virtual safari courtesy of the team at Singita. Via their Instagram and Facebook feed, intrepid explorers will be able to access updates and sightings from the bush in real life. Join the expert guides on their daily game drives and from your front row seat take in the herd of elephants strolling past in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park in South Africa or observe the giraffes across the plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

Soothing sounds of nature

While the actual rainforest may not be accessible at present, sitting back, closing your eyes and taking in the sounds of the Amazon jungle may just do the trick for anyone in need of a unique background soundtrack. Provided by the team at Delfin Amazon Cruises in Peru, this is a symphony unlike any you have ever heard before bringing together wind, water, weather and a vast array of animals, during the day and at nighttime. Over at Awasi Iguazu in Misiones, Argentina, discover the intricate sounds that coexist in the rain forest and recorded by Juan Pablo Culasso who was born blind and who has dedicated his life to searching and recording nature. 

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