The past weeks at home under partial lockdown in the Netherlands, while trying to stay clear of a Corona infection, have been a challenge, but also a blessing in disguise. Staying home for more than a month during this voluntary home quarantine hasn’t been easy, and created quite a travel detox for me, as I used to travel at least once or twice a month.
Since I came back from the Dominican Republic I literally stayed at home and within our garden for more than 30 days, saw already 3 trips being cancelled, and am anticipating more.
Even though I am sad about this and afraid that we cannot travel, or at least fly, for the next few months, I do hope this will be possible again, even with restrictions, this fall, so I can hopefully reschedule most trips.
I am however very happy that I’m still safe and healthy, as are my loved ones, which is the most important thing right now! And am trying to use these weeks at home in a productive and beneficial way, now that I have more time for self-development and am freed of daily traffic jams, transfers and meetings.
I'm confident that I can also sit out the next 3 weeks of our lockdown, or more if needed..and found a way to feed my travel addiction in the meantime, without having to leave the house!
There are many videos, websites and apps available for virtual travel on your phone or laptop, in 3D, 360 and even street view.
Once I started to look for it I found so many options, that it was almost overwhelming and hard to choose!
That’s why I made a list with 20 favourites which I would love to share with you, so we can all keep dreaming now, to hopefully travel again later:
Arts & Culture by Google Street View
Tour famous sites and landmarks, explore iconic monuments from every angle and step inside must-see museums around the world through Google street view. You can choose your favourite subjects here: Google Arts & Culture project streetview
This project assembles virtual street tours of many interesting subjects. If you’ve been following my travels, you know I really like Unesco and heritage sites, so that's why I loved this one!
In this specific project you can tour several iconic heritage sites, like Rapa Nui, in real life through Google street view, while learning how people around the world are protecting these cultural sites against climate change: Arts & Culture project-Heritage on the edge
But you can also explore several National Parks around the world, like the volcanoes of Hawaii, which are high on my bucketlist: Arts & Culture project-National Parks Hawaii volcanoes tour
Explore the 7 new Wonders of the World
The Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal in India, Petra in Jordan, the Colosseum in Rome, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Chichén Itzá in Mexico and Machu Picchu have all been been named new Wonders of the World in 2007.
Experience these majestic sites during moments of solitude through 360 video, via this website: Travel the new 7 wonders of the world
Tour Central Park New York
One of the most beautiful city parks I’ve visited so far! Unfortunately we were there in winter time, which made it too cold to walk around the whole park or go for a boat ride.
But through this link I was able to revisit, while being guided past all the best spots: YouVisit-Central Park
The Great Wall of China
This national symbol of China was built during a period of 2,000 years and actually consists of several walls that overlap. Combined it is said to have a length of 10,000-20,000 kilometers, built across mountain passes and ridges. I haven’t had the pleasure to go there yet myself, but it will make a challenging walk for sure😊
No need to exhaust yourself though, because you can also visit the best sections from your home through this link: The China Guide-Great Wall of China
Helicopter view of the Taj Mahal & other sites
One of the most stunning buildings in the world and a must visit in India is this unique monument which took around 20,000 workers and 16 years to build. It's always a challenge to get a good view of the Taj Mahal from the ground, with the huge crowds visiting this site every day.
But you can get a beautiful unspoiled view from the sky through this website, which features 360 videos of the Taj, and several other favourite sites as well: Air Pano-Taj Mahal India
360 views of Yosemite NP - USA
Unfortunately most National Parks in the US are closed right now, even though they would offer plenty of space and tranquility. I haven't visited much in the US yet, and would love to visit some of the National Parks, like Yosemite!
I was able to get a small taste already through this link: Virtual Yosemite
All the best spots of Paris
One of my favourite cities in Europe certainly is Paris! I’ve been there more than 10 times already and keep discovering new and beautiful spots. I was hoping to go there again this month to see the blossom trees in the abundant parks, and stroll around the city, past the Seine and its many bridges.
Now we can do this virtually through this site, taking you past all the best spots in just 1,5 minutes, after which you can explore the rest at your own pace: YouVisit-Paris
Virtual visit of the Louvre in Paris
And for a bit of art and culture make sure to visit some exhibition rooms and galleries inside one of the most famous museums of Paris, let alone the world: Virtual Louvre visit
Themed visits on Google Earth
Through Google Earth you can visit almost any place around the globe. But I found out that they also have several themed lists to choose from.
A list with some of the most colorful places around the world, for example, including Colmar, which I visited last December. You can find this colorful list here:
Luckily we have our own cherry blossom tree fully blooming in the garden, but this time of year the blossoms are beautiful in many places like Japan, London, Paris, Washington and several others all around the world.
Find all these cherry blossom hotspots through this list: Cherry Blossom-Google Earth
Keukenhof - Tulip heaven of the Netherlands
The best places to visit in my homeland this time of year are the tulip fields near Lisse, and Keukenhof! Even though the last one is a bit more commercial, it's also a gorgeous display of all the unique flowers and beautiful nature my country has to offer, as you can see in this picture of my visit 2 years ago:
Unfortunately Keukenhof has to remain closed this year, but the flowers are in full bloom now and can be seen clearly online through this YouTube page, unspoiled by other visitors getting in your way:
Fave YouTube destination & nature clips:
Many 360 videos can be found on YouTube as well, showcasing the beauty our planet has to offer in an engaging way. Here are some of my favourites, most still on my bucketlist!
Swim with the dolphins
Dream away to the Maldives
Hang with the lions
Fly over Norway & chill
Great Barrier Reef - Australia
The world’s most beautiful coral reef is something I have visited already, and which you must experience at least once in your life!
Get a preview through this video hosted by David Attenborough, who will show and tell you all about the Reef’s unique features in less than 2 minutes:
Can't skip hope Portugal
My friends of the Portuguese tourism board made the most amazing video about our current stay at home situation, with captivating footage of one of my favourite countries in the world!
Witness some of the beauty Portugal has to offer and see why I've been there 7 times already in this 2 minute video:
I hope these videos and links brightened up your day, will help you dream away and keep our love for travel alive in this crisis, in which we are all together.
Of course there are many more beautiful videos and drone shots to be found, and I could have made a much longer list. But I based these 20 on my own preferences, past experiences, and personal bucket list, which I hope to start crossing off again in the future.
For now I'm just very grateful for all the travels I have already been able to make. And the many unique experiences I had during the first 3 months of this year on my trips to the Annecy Mountains, Tuscany and the Dominican Republic, about which you can read more in these blogs:
Until further notice we still have to stay home now and endure, so for more fun and productive stay at home tips you are welcome to also check out this blog:
Stay safe, healthy and strong, together we can flatten the curve! And after that we can hopefully start making a careful way back to a new normal, and look forward to traveling in real life again in the near future!