Skip to content

30 places to visit, virtually

Travel and travel planning are being disrupted by the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. For the latest updates, read The New York Times’s Covid-19 coverage here.

When we published our list of 52 places to visit in 2020 three months ago, no one could have guessed how much our world would change. And now, given our stay-at-home circumstances, we’d like to invite you on a series of virtual journeys: You can wander into the belly of an Egyptian pyramid, explore the house where Mozart was born, or fly over the rocky peaks of Glacier National Park. Sure, you’ll be looking at a screen, but you’ll see new places, hear new languages and pick up some interesting tidbits about other cultures. Call it a warm-up for that moment when you’ll actually be packing your bags and heading out for your next adventure.

[Sebastian Modak, the 2019 52 Places Traveler contacted friends he met on his journey around the world to see how they were doing during the pandemic.]

Credit…Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The U.S. capital makes for an engaging and varied virtual destination. Without leaving your sofa, you can commemorate the 100-year anniversary of American women winning the right to vote by visiting the Library of Congress’s online exhibition about the suffrage movement, then click through another informative exhibition from the National Archives. To explore the city further, tour the buildings around the Capitol, wander through the National Museum of Natural History, and explore the many online resources offered by the National Air and Space Museumthe National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which was due to run through April 12, has gone completely virtual. Visit the festival’s website to take a video tour of the tidal basin and watch highlights from previous years.Se

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story


Credit…Robert Rausch for The New York Times

Anyone dreaming of white sand beaches might enjoy browsing the views from this collection of webcams scattered around the British Virgin Islands. Admire the shifting light over Scrub Island Marina, or just watch the breeze wafting through the palms in front of Soggy Dollar Bar. You can also sail around the islands with a group of friends who visited last year.

Credit…Federico Rios for The New York Times

The Amazon jungle is about as remote as you can get, but you can get a sense of the place from home by reading the remarkable story of the tourist who spent nine days lost in the region’s dense rainforest (he said that monkeys helped him survive). Or skim around the waterways and look out for birds, turtles, caimans and other wildlife.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Kieran Dodds for The New York Times

Get a bird’s-eye view of Greenland’s stunning frozen scenery in this elegant nine-minute video from the Swiss filmmaker Stefan Forster. Without leaving your sofa, you can also watch the Northern Lights shimmer over the country’s snowy mountains, or even learn a few words of Greenlandic (Aluu!).

Credit…Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

Australia’s wild northwestern corner is another out-of-the-way region that offers a gorgeous natural escape. To visit from afar, start with Tourism Australia’s guide to the Kimberley, then dive into a vivid photo gallery of the otherworldly Bungle Bungle Range, and wrap up with a fun video tour of some of the region’s most popular spots.

“Field of Light at Sensorio” installation is closed, but can be viewed online.
“Field of Light at Sensorio” installation is closed, but can be viewed online.Credit…Beth Coller for The New York Times

Paso Robles is known for its wineries, and good news: You can now visit many of them online, while enjoying a glass of whatever you have on hand at home. The area’s vast and dreamy Field of Light at Sensorio installation is closed to visitors, but this collection of images and videos gives a vivid sense of the place.

Credit…Susan Wright for The New York Times

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Embark on your own Sicilian adventure by exploring this series of panoramic photographs and videos from around the Italian island. (Just click on “Sicilian tour map” to get started.) Gape at the ceiling of the Monreale Cathedral, admire the ruins at the Valley of the Temples, or take in the sweeping coastline at Cefalù. For a loftier perspective, spend a few minutes watching this impressive footage of a recent eruption of Sicily’s Mount Etna.

Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

Get an online taste of Austrian tradition through some entertaining snippets offered up by the Salzburg Puppet Theatre. Start with 10 minutes or so of The Magic Flute — composed by Mozart, Salzburg’s famous native son, then skip over here to take a virtual tour of Mozart’s birthplace.

A view of Tokyo from the Skytree tower.
A view of Tokyo from the Skytree tower.Credit…Andrew Faulk for The New York Times

Tokyo’s MORI Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderlessoffers a range of immersive videos that take you inside the museum’s trippy and wonderful exhibits. Start in the forest of resonating lamps, then move on to the universe of water particles, or the weightless forest of resonating life. Want to get “outside”? Head over here for a virtual rickshaw ride around the city.

Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

The Roman ruins of Caesarea occupy a beautiful stretch of Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Enjoy the landscape, as well as a lofty view of Caesarea’s impressive amphitheater, in these sweeping aerial shots. Then head over to the Jewish Virtual Library to find more detailed images of the ruins and to read about the history of the site.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Marcus Westberg

The world’s remaining giant panda population is set to get a helping hand from China’s proposed new Giant Panda National Park, which will spread over five mountain ranges and more than 10,000 square miles. You can read about the development of the park here and here. Or just get straight to the point and enjoy the highlights of these panda cams, which offer a glimpse into a panda center that lies within the proposed park.

Ploughing fields outside Maloti-Drakensberg Park in Lesotho.
Ploughing fields outside Maloti-Drakensberg Park in Lesotho.Credit…Joao Silva/The New York Times

One of the top sights of this tiny mountain kingdom is Maloti-Drakensberg Park, which straddles part of the country’s border with South Africa. The park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in sub-Saharan Africa. Check out these images from around the park, then enjoy some drone shots of the country’s dramatic landscape.

Credit…Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times

There are a number of ways to get to the top of Pikes Peak, the 14,115-foot mountain that rises above Colorado Springs, without leaving your house. You can ride the cog railway (which — in real life — is scheduled to reopen next year after major renovations). You can hike. You can drive yourself up the Pikes Peak Highway. Or, if you’re maybe a little bit crazy, you can even try to run.

The Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland.
The Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland.Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

This ancient city in southern Poland can be fully explored through an extensive virtual walking tour. Go for a guided stroll through the Old Town, admire the ornate interior of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, or visit the peaceful grounds of the Old Jewish Cemetery. Then head over to the National Museum in Krakow to peruse its collection online.

A clothes presser in the old part of Jodhpur, India.
A clothes presser in the old part of Jodhpur, India.Credit…Poras Chaudhary for The New York Times

The 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, which stands at the top of a cliff above the city of Jodhpur, can be visited online. Wander through the ornate rooms and admire the views down to “the blue city” spread out below, then visit the Mehrangarh Museum Trust to learn about the history and architecture of the site. You can also check out these highlights from the international folk festival that the fort hosts every year.

Credit…James Silverman for The New York Times

Good news, nature lovers: Without leaving home, you can spot a moose in the forest, go for an evening swim, or enjoy the views from the top of a spectacular waterfall. These 360 videos of the Swedish outdoors allow you to choose your own perspective as the scene unfolds. Enjoy.

Credit…Getty Images

Explore some of the great pyramids of Egypt with this panoramic video, or this clickable virtual tour. Then have a look inside the Pyramid of Giza with this 360 video from the BBC. You can also watch this video or read this story about the development of the Grand Egyptian Museum, an enormous complex that is nearing completion.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Beth Coller for The New York Times

La Paz sits on the coast of the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California), which has been described as “the world’s aquarium” because of its extraordinary biodiversity. The region’s islands and protected areas have been recognized by UNESCO, although the site was added to the organization’s “in danger” listlast year because of ongoing threats to the vaquita, an endemic porpoise. Learn more about the region, then check out UNESCO’s gallery of images. You can also get lost in this mesmerizing scuba-diving video.

Credit…Robert Rausch for The New York Times

Get to know this tiny barrier island off the coast of Louisiana with this short video, then read about how environmentalists are working to protect the island’s remaining maritime forest, which serves as a critical habitat for migratory birds. Finally, get a sense of the size of the place with these flyby shots along the coast.

The Chow Kit Market in Kuala Lumpur.
The Chow Kit Market in Kuala Lumpur.Credit…Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times

Kuala Lumpur’s Chow Kit neighborhood is home to one of the most popular markets in the city. Following along with an American family, you can wander among the stalls loaded with pineapples and plantains and plucked chickens. Then take a few minutes to learn some words of Malay, the native tongue of more than 33 million people.

Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, Norway.
Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, Norway.Credit…Laurian Ghinitoiu

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

You can explore the many sculptures of Norway’s futuristic Kistefos Museum and Sculpture Park by clicking your way through this interactive map. You can also watch this video of the museum’s emblematic “Twist” structure taking shape (and get a taste of the Norwegian language at the same time).

Credit…Danita Delmont/Shutterstock.com

So brilliant is the sunshine on display in this panoramic tour of the Bahamas that you might be tempted to put on sunglasses (or at least dim the brightness of your screen). Gaze at the turquoise waters of Pipe Cay, stroll across the boardwalk through Lucayan National Park, then gape at the size of the ships in the cruise terminal in Nassau.

Credit…Poras Chaudhary for The New York Times

Ride along with two young travelers as they explore Cambodia’s riverside city of Kampot and tour a nearby pepper plantation. Or just enjoy some drone shots of the city and nearby Bokor Mountain, which is home to a waterfall, a Buddhist temple and a towering statue of Lok Yeay Mao, whom locals revere as the protector of the mountain and sea.

Credit…Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times

The largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch offers a range of cultural attractions, some of which are available on the web. Start with a tour of the online exhibitions of the Canterbury Museum, including a look at the evolution of New Zealand’s tourism posters. Then head over to the website of the Christchurch Art Gallery, where you can browse the artwork and even create your own gallery.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Emilio Parra Doiztua for The New York Times

The Asturias region in northwestern Spain is home to dramatic mountain scenerysacred sites and even an extensive network of ancient Roman gold mines. Asturian dairy farmers continue to produce the region’s celebrated products, including cheeses and various types of milk, cream and butter. You can browse a photo gallery of local farmers at work, and other lovely images from the region here.

Credit…Ema Peter for The New York Times

Get your first taste of this remote Canadian archipelago with this panoramic video from Parks Canada. You can also take a close-up look at some of the area’s bald eagles with this GoPro footage, or learn about the proud history of the Haida nation.52 Places to Go in 2020We picked destinations to inspire you, delight you and motivate you to explore the world.

The Jester King Brewery in Austin.
The Jester King Brewery in Austin.Credit…Stacy Sodolak for The New York Times

Austin, the capital of American cool, is packed with quirky landmarks, vibrant street art and sparkling green spaces. Dive into all of them thanks to YouVisit, an immersive virtual reality platform whose Austin tour will take you from the elegant grounds of the Texas Capitol to the summit of Mount Bonnell and even to the packed, smoky barbecue pit of Salt Lick BBQ. And for a taste of Austin’s celebrated live music scene, take a look back at last year’s Austin City Limits music festival.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Marcus Westberg

Amid the volcanoes, dense rainforest and fluorescent blue water on this corner of Borneo, Sabah’s Mount Kinabalu, with its distinctive granite peaks, sits like an imposing crown. And now you can hike to its summit from home, thanks to Google Street View, whose trekkers captured sweeping panoramas all the way to the top. Want more thrills? Follow along on the world’s highest via ferrata (a mountain pathway of bridges and cables), which sits on Kinabalu.

Credit…Laurens van Engelen

Wildlife enthusiasts head to Churchill, Manitoba, the Polar Bear capital of the world, for a glimpse of these incredible white mammals. Get to know some special sea bears, then climb into a Tundra Buggy, an all-terrain vehicle that can handle snow drifts, via an on-dash webcam, whose stunning footage can be viewed from home.

Credit…Marcus Westberg

There is perhaps no better spot on earth to see gorillas than Uganda, home to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park, a habitat for half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. And the virtual reality house VR Gorilla will take you right into the dense forest to meet them up close.

Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: