7 Benefits of Virtual Tourism (& 50+ Free Virtual Tours)
7 Benefits of Virtual Tourism (& 50+ Free Virtual Tours)
Let’s go somewhere…virtually!
Stuck at home? Virtual tours might be a great option for you! Virtual tours allow you to travel all over the world with just a simple click. Keep reading to:
- Discover the seven main benefits of virtual traveling
- Explore 50+ amazing experiences in 19 different countries
- Get inspired for your next (physical) trip booked through Yugen Earthside
What is “Virtual Tourism”?
Virtual tourism enables people to visit places remotely. The idea has been around for several years, as a natural offshoot of the possibilities inspired by virtual reality (VR); but Covid-19 has accelerated the buzz around this concept.
Virtual tourism leverages audio-visual components, and sometimes VR, to bring tours, galleries, museums, exhibits, zoos, aquariums, parks, and more to life through your screen.
Traveling virtually lends itself especially well to educational tourism activities, where you might want to read every single sign, or cultural and artistic tourist experiences, where you might want to look at each unique detail of a painting or tapestry up close. It can ignite that sense of wonder and excitement you feel when you visit a new place, from the comfort of your home.
7 Benefits of Virtual Tourism
Naturally, some of the tactile senses that animate an in-person tourism experience will elude you, but, traveling virtually has myriad benefits:
- You’ll always be first in line - there's never a queue!
- You can visit multiple destinations in a day
- There is no need to plan in advance – explore in a spontaneous, stress-free way!
- It’s easily accessible to adventurers with mobility issues
- Many virtual tours are free or cheaper than visiting in person
- It’s a carbon-friendly way to travel
- There are lessened health and safety risks as you won't be in crowded places with strangers
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of virtual tours that’ll take you on a trip around the world. Buckle up!
Ecuador Virtual Tours
- Take a guided 360-degree virtual tour of cities such as Quito and Cuenca.
- Explore the mesmerizing Cloud Forests of Ecuador on this guided tour of the Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest!
These virtual tours are just a taste of what Ecuador has to offer! To see these beautiful spots up close, be sure to check out our Soul of Ecuador's Cloud Forest Tour to immerse yourself in the local culture and nature. Or perhaps take a deeper dive into the culture and history of Quito in our Ecuador Nature and Culture Tour.
France Virtual Tours
- Surround yourself in purple in the beautiful lavender fields in the Valensole Plateau.
- Wander the gardens of the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa & Gardens in the French Riviera.
- Explore the iconic monuments in Paris. While you're at it, why not tour the Louvre's impressive collection from the comfort of your home? Then, head underneath the Paris streets to discover the Catacombs. End your virtual tour by enjoying the panoramic views from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
If venturing outside of Paris and discovering other regions in France sounds like your kind of trip, we have several hiking trips that might be exactly what you're looking for. Discover off-the-beaten-path trails of Provence as you Hike the Wine Trails. Or, venture further south and Hike from the Hilltop villages to the French Riviera.
Galapagos Islands Virtual Tours
- Nemo Galapagos Tours offers virtual tours of two different itineraries exploring both the north and south of the islands.
- Witness amazing wildlife on the Galapagos Islands in 360 degrees thanks to the BBC Planet Earth series.
You can discover the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands up close on our scuba diving or land-based trips. Have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of living on a small yacht and scuba diving alongside marine biologists for either 8 days or 15 days. If dry land is more to your taste, embark on our ecotourism trip and experience some of the most enchanting wildlife and amazing natural wonders on Earth on our Land-Based Tour.
India Virtual Tours
- Stroll along the gardens of one of the Wonders of the World; the Taj Mahal.
- Learn about the history of the Red Fort in Delhi, the Mughal Imperial Citadel.
- Take a virtual walk through the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. While you're visiting, discover more about the traditional jewelry making skills in Jaipur.
You can learn more about Indian culture and history on our Golden Triangle Cultural Tour or our Rajasthan Cultural Tour. Both tours are vegetarian-friendly and allow opportunities to visit craftsmen and participate in hands-on experiences. If you want a mix of culture and wildlife experiences, our North India Wildlife Tour is perfect for you. You can visit animal rescue centers, go on a safari, and see one of the Wonders of the World, all on the same trip!
Kenya Virtual Tours
- Check out this virtual ecotour by vEcotourism titled “Salt-mining Elephants of Mount Elgon”.
- Explore Kenya’s diverse communities at the Nairobi National Museum as well as its various national parks presented by the National Museums of Kenya.
If being out in nature, savoring unique landscapes, and partaking in local activities sounds like what you’re looking for, our Mida Creek Village Experience might be just the trip for you. Bookable for up to six people, this 3-day experience would be perfect to add to the beginning or end of a longer trip to Kenya. With a bit more time available to explore, our Kenyan Coast & Safari is the ideal way to have a more impactful and transformative experience in this beautiful country!
Nepal Virtual Tours
- Roam through the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.
- Venture to the Himalayas to explore its various villages and monasteries and try to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
If you enjoyed these virtual tourism experiences, check out our classic Annapurna Panorama Trek or a less-trafficked hike along the Khopra Ridge, visiting local communities along the way. With these privately guided tours, you choose the start date that works best for your group, meaning you can book it well in advance for a season that suits you. These treks are perfect for active and adventurous partners, families (with teenage or young adult children), or a close group of friends. Come enjoy the fresh mountain air and the vibrancy and warmth of the Nepali people!
Find some do's and don'ts when traveling sustainably in our Sustainable Travel Guide: Nepal.
Papua New Guinea Virtual Tours
- Get inspired by the authentic culture and beautiful landscapes of Papua New Guinea on this Virtual Reality Journey.
- Explore the beauty of the Port Moresby Nature Park on this detailed virtual walking tour.
Alternatively, we offer two trips to explore the historic Kokoda Track on foot. Our 6-day trek (4 days of walking) focuses on the cultural connections along the trail as visitors will learn more about village life. Our full 11-day trek (nine days of walking) focuses on the history behind this trek and its importance as a supply route during World War II.
Portugal Virtual Tours
- Take a guided tour through the capital city of Lisbon. Then, virtually transport to Sintra for a visit to Pena National Palace.
- Learn about the famous Portuguese Azulejo ceramic tilework from this online exhibit presented by the National Azulejo Museum on Google Arts & Culture.
- Enjoy the remarkable collection of the National Museum of Ancient Art.
After virtually exploring Portugal’s well-known sites, consider our popular trip through the Heart and Soul of Douro Valley, or our more off-the-beaten-path walking trip on the Other Side of Douro. These self-guided walking trips through northern Portugal's famous wine region are bookable for 2+ people. Come with your partner, family, or a close group of friends for a refreshing, low-carbon-impact, outdoor vacation.
You can visit our Sustainable Travel Guide: Portugal to learn more on how to visit Portugal sustainably!
Romania Virtual Tours
- Tour the National Museum of Art of Romania to admire the works of the great sculptor Constantin Brâncuși.
- Discover the iconic inspirational Bran Castle. Wander the halls and admire the views that inspired the well-known story Dracula.
We offer several sustainable trip options if visiting the Carpathian Mountains is something you'd like to accomplish on your trip to Romania. You can Discover Transylvania's Heritage by Bike, Hike several trails, and visit Dracula's castle, or get a closer glimpse at local life on our Carpathian Mountains, Villages & Castles Trip. If rural tourism is more your speed and checking out local villages is your main area of focus, we also have a trip dedicated to the Villages of Bucovina & Maramures.
For more information on how to visit Romania sustainably, check our Sustainable Travel Guide: Romania!
South Africa Virtual Tours
- Admire the natural beauty of Cape Town from above on this panoramic 360-degree experience.
- Learn more about some of South Africa's National Parks including Table Mountain National Park, Garden Route National Park, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg, and Kruger National Park on South Africa 360.
Check out some of the incredible sustainable trips in South Africa we offer at Yugen Earthside. You can slow travel through South Africa and pamper yourself on our Wellness, Wine & Safari in South Africa Trip. Visitors can enjoy spa treatments, nature walks, and local foods and wine on this amazing two-week trip! Or perhaps fill yourself on our South African Gastronomy Tour where we try local foods, participate in cooking classes, and enjoy homemade meals! Or get lost in the wine region, surrounded by art and culture on our Cape Winelands & South African Art Trip. The gastronomy and art tours are Small-Group tours with limited departures each year and capped to a maximum of 12 travelers, so secure your spot early!
Spain Virtual Tours
- Be in awe as you witness the architectural wonder of Gaudi's Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
- Enjoy a quick tour of the Alhambra Museum as you learn more about the Hispano-Muslim culture and art in Granada.
- Visit the City of Arts and Sciences room by room to understand more why this building is considered to be one of the 12 treasures of Spain.
- Wander the rooms of the beautiful Alcazar de Segovia.
See some of these stunning architectural gems up close on one of our trips! You can explore Barcelona & its Surrounding Areas or venture further into the country and sustainably explore the Highlights of Spain. We even have a Family-Friendly option taking you to two of Spain's most iconic cities and a chance to observe local wildlife. Or for adventure travelers, explore the Camino de Santiago from Porto, Portugal, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain on our Camino: Cycling the Portuguese Coastal Way Trip.
Tanzania Virtual Tours
- Fall in love with the turquoise blue waters of Zanzibar on this Virtual Drone Tour and this 360 tour.
- Explore some of Tanzania's many national parks including the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park on these virtual safaris and tours.
If experiencing a safari is on your bucket list, you'll be happy to learn that we offer ethical safari options. Come see Africa's Big 5 game animals on our Serengeti & Ngorongoro Safari. If you love the taste of adventure and love to get your steps in while on vacation, trekking Kilimanjaro is a wonderful option for active travelers. Our local partners can guide trekkers on less visited routes for more serene and less strenuous Kili trips. We also offer women-only treks!
Learn more about sustainable travel in Tanzania in our Sustainable Travel Guide: Tanzania!
Türkiye Virtual Tours
- Discover archeological artifacts from the Palaeolithic age at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
- Learn more about the Roman ruins at the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, at the Ephesus Museum.
- Take a tour of Istanbul and all of its history before learning more about iconic, world-renowned Turkish cuisine.
To uncover more about the iconic history and culture of Türkiye, consider taking one of our unique trips. Whether you want to see the Gems of Türkiye and set sail in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia or if you want to sustainably visit Türkiye's turquoise coast by hiking along it or sailing beside it, we have a trip for you! Or alternatively, why not give slow travel a try? Yugen Earthside offers a Food and Wine Tour along the western coast of Türkiye, where guests can partake in cooking classes, olive oil tastings, wine tastings, market visits, and food tours.
Visiting Türkiye but want to leave a low-carbon impact? Learn how on our Sustainable Travel Guide: Türkiye.
More Virtual Tours
Here are several more virtual tourism experiences in off-the-beaten-path destinations to whet your appetite!
Armenia Virtual Tours
- Explore Armenia with virtual tours to Noravank Monastery, Shaki Waterfall, and Republic Square with Armenia | 360 Stories.
Georgia Virtual Tours
- Admire Georgian architecture, art, and culture through this historical tour of the Art Palace of Georgia.
- Visit Georgia’s various cities and landscapes in this Virtual Reality Georgia Tour by Pandorama 360.
Ghana Virtual Tours
- Visit the Nubuke Foundation in Accra to learn how they’re “Championing Ghanaian Contemporary Art”.
Jordan Virtual Tours
- Educate yourself on the “Handwoven History of Palestine and Jordan” with this historical presentation on Google Arts & Culture.
- Visit in detail the “Rose City” of Petra; one of the 7 Wonders of the World. If you’re interested in historical monuments, Shoubak Castle may also be right up your alley.
- For a mini beach getaway visit the port city of Aqaba known for its marine blue water.
Kyrgyzstan Virtual Tours
- If nature is more your calling, explore the serene regions of Sary-Chelek and Naryn via Air Pano’s 360° aerial experience.
Uzbekistan Virtual Tours
- Skip the line and enter the House Museum of Aybek, an exhibit dedicated to the famous Uzbek writer Aybek Musa Tashmukhamedov.
- View the city of Bukhara from the Kalyan Minaret, also known as the “Tower of Death” in the Po-i-Kalyan mosque complex.
- Take a virtual reality tour of Uzbekistan’s capital city Tashkent.
Where to next?
Hopefully, at least one of these tours piqued your interest. Maybe it even got the travel gears turning in your head and gave you inspiration for your next adventure. Which of these virtual tours do you find most intriguing? Do you think virtual tourism will become a travel trend of the future?
Please experiment with traveling virtually using this post as inspiration, and contact Yugen Earthside if you're interested in converting your virtual experience into a sustainable adventure in person!
This post was originally published on Dec. 17, 2020, and updated in November 2023.