5 mins

5 amazing virtual tours and experiences we love right now

From livestreams of Mount Etna erupting to joining a top guide skating Amsterdam's canals, armchair travel has never been better with an explosion in virtual experiences to watch...

Mount Etna, produced fountains and explosions of lava (Shutterstock)

Peep Show

For live views of cities, towns and heritage sites, check out Skyline’s live webcams of everywhere from Venice’s Piazza San Marco to the Treasury at Petra. If you wondered what Rome’s Colosseum is like without the tourist hordes, here’s your chance to see.

Not that it’s all urban attractions. We have been watching and listening to the recent eruptions on Mount Etna, with several cams strategically placed around the lively volcano. Incredible. Or try dropping in on the fishing villages of Norway’s Lofoten Islands at night and you may be lucky enough to catch the aurora borealis putting on a display.

SkylineWebcams.com

 

Through the window

You’ll feel even more of a peeping Tom – in the best possible way – with WindowSwap.

Ask anyone right now what they are missing about travel and they are likely to tell you that they are fed up with being trapped in the same four walls and are longing for a different view from the window. Well, help is at hand. With WindowSwap you get to see the view from a stranger’s window. You could be transported to San Juan, Puerto Rico, or Nashville, Ohio. It could be a busy street at rushhour, a view across rooftops, a quiet urban street or someone’s back garden. The views are often very ordinary but that’s the fascination as it again taps into our interest in everyday life in other corners of the world.

WindowSwap.com

 

An African elephant drinking water. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya. (Shutterstock)

An African elephant drinking water. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya. (Shutterstock)

African sofa safaris

There are some great options out there for African wildlife viewing whether via live webcams at waterholes or actually joining a safari.

One of our favourites throughout the pandemic has been the broadcasts from Ol Pejeta in Kenya. A beacon of light in the world of conservation, Ol Pejeta is famously the home of the world’s two last northern white rhinos as well being the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. It is also where Channel 4's terrific Secret Safari (transmitting now) was filmed. While they have cut back on the daily broadcasts they were initially doing it is still worth following them for the insights and dramas of life on a reserve.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy on Facebook

 

VirtualTrips - Amsterdam (Lyn Hughes)

VirtualTrips - Amsterdam (Lyn Hughes)

Take a Virtual Trip

Want to take a guided walk in Madrid, Cusco, Kyoto or even a traditional village in Senegal? VirtualTrips offers dozens of options each day of 45-minute live-streamed tours led by local guides. You can interact with the guide through the chat function and ask away about daily life. Not surprisingly, in these strange times, viewers are particularly fascinated by the differences in how the pandemic is impacting local society, whether they are in lockdown or not, and whether people are wearing masks or not.

With 636 tours in 122 different locations (and growing) on offer, you’ll find yourself signing up for trip after trip. Indeed, the site should come with a government health warning as it is truly addictive!.

Tours are free but you are asked to leave a tip, the majority of which goes to the guide.

VirtualTrips.io

 

London life

London is so rich in history and little-known sights that taking a guided walk is an experience that Wanderlust always recommends. With the pandemic having made this near impossible, Footprints of London has been successfully running virtual tours that combine a live video call with presentations and historical materials.

The company is owned and operated by accredited guides and the diverse options include Subterranean London, Art Deco Theatreland, Tracing the Tudors and Adventures in Shakespeare's Bankside: Bears, Bards and Bawds. Virtual tours are £6pp (£12 for two or more people watching from the same device)

FootprintsOfLondon.com

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