By Katheryn Rivas
One of the wonders of the Internet is that it can bring the world to you instead of your needing to find the time and money to explore the traditional way. The following virtual tours bring opportunities to explore cities, famous landmarks and buildings, museums, college campuses, and even outer space. You can learn how things are made, explore the human body or that of a life-sized whale, and visit ball parks and theme parks. There is even a section of incredible virtual tours that Google Earth has compiled that shares the world in a whole new way.
From historic cities hundreds of years old to newer cities, these tours take you all around the world.
- Pompeii, Italy. Explore the ruins of this famous Italian city.
- Ancient Rome in 3D on Google Earth. Find out here how you can take a look at ancient Rome.
- Virtual Tour of the Forbidden City. Download the software that will allow you to take a 3D tour of the imperial palace in China in the 15th century.
- Historic Centre of Prague. Use Google Maps to take a 360-degree panoramic tour of the historic center of Prague.
- Historic Centre of San Gimignano. Go to Italy and explore this city that was once an important connection for travelers making a pilgrimage to Rome.
- Historic Centre of Siena. Explore this ancient Italian city that still embodies the spirit of a medieval city.
- Historic Centre of Urbino. Once a huge draw for artists of the 15th and 16th centuries, this city in Italy still retains the Renaissance feel it had then.
- Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov. Visit this town in the Czech Republic for an example of a medieval town of central Europe.
- Historic City of Toledo. This Spanish city was once home to citizens of three major religions and reflects that culture today.
- Historic Walled Town of Cuenca. Take a look at this outstanding example of a fortified city from the medieval times.
- Old City of Salamanca. Explore one of the oldest universities in Europe when you take this tour.
- Old Town of Avila with its Extra-Muros Churches. View the amazing stone fortifications and the Gothic cathedral in this Spanish town.
- Old Town of Caceres. The architecture here reflects the battles between the Christians and the Moors that took place here.
- Old Town of Segovia and its Aquaduct. Featuring a well-preserved Roman aquaduct built around AD 50, this city offers plenty of amazing sites.
- Santiago de Compostela (Old Town). Take a look at these ancient buildings of the city that were built in the 11th century.
- Ephesus. Tour this ancient Turkish town that reflects ancient Roman times.
- Colonial Williamsburg. Get a street overview of colonial Williamsburg, then click on certain features to learn more about each of them.
- Oslo. Go to Oslo where you can explore the Nobel Peace Center, the Viking Ship Museum, and several landmarks of the city.
- Berlin. Visit some of the magnificent churches in Berlin, but don’t forget to see the Berlin Wall, too.
- Tour San Francisco. This site provides a combination of photos and 360-degree panoramas of the major highlights throughout the city.
Famous Landmarks and Buildings
Take these tours to visit the Taj Mahal and the Palace of Versailles in the same day.
- Explore the Taj Mahal. Take a virtual look around the grounds and inside the Taj Mahal.
- Stonehenge. Google Maps presents this virtual tour of Stonehenge.
- Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc. Visit this stunning monument in the Czech Republic.
- Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout. The famous windmills of the Netherlands are just one element in the entire network of water handling–all of which can be seen here.
- Paris, Banks of the Seine. No need to travel to Paris to see the romantic banks of the Seine that cut through the city. Take this virtual tour instead.
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Explore the grounds of this famous site just outside of London.
- New 7Wonders. This site is taking votes right now to determine the new seven wonders of the world. They have many virtual tours posted in order to help voters decide. Examples include Machu Picchu, Easter Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the pyramids of Giza.
- Mount St. Helens. Get a 360-degree view of this famous volcano, including a comparison of 2003 and 2006.
- Supreme Court Tour. Select a room, including select justices’ chambers, and get a 360 view of each.
- US Capitol Virtual Tour. Tour the United States Capitol building here to learn about homeland security and legal studies.
- The Little Mermaid. Go to Copenhagen and see the famous statue sculpted by Edvard Erichsen that commemorates the story written by Hans Christian Andersen.
- Vatican. Take a tour of the grounds and the cathedral at the Vatican, which can broaden your knowledge of Christian studies.
- Pisa. Look from the top as well as take a peek inside this famous leaning tower.
- Palace of Versailles Go to France with Google Maps to take a tour of this famous French palace.
- Mount Vernon Virtual Mansion Tour. View the estates and gardens of George Washington on this tour.
Take a peek inside these museums to learn about history, read ancient books, or view some of the most revered works of art available.
- Louvre. Visit this famous museum virtually, including both the buildings and collections.
- Musee d’Orsay. Often overshadowed by the Louvre, this outstanding museum in Paris also deserves a visit.
- Van Gogh Museum. Head to Amsterdam to explore the works of Van Gogh. It’s possible that his art can improve your own visual communication skills.
- The American Museum of Photography. Click on these links to go to each exhibit, where you can view photographs from the museum.
- Visit the Prada Art Collection with Google Earth. Let Google take you to Madrid to view the Prada art collection.
- The Rothko Panoramic Tour: A New Way to See Art. Take a look at this Mark Rothko exhibition that was at the Tate Modern.
- Frissiras Museum. This museum in Athens provides an artist listing, and when you select each, you can view three works from that artist.
- The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Tour the galleries here that showcase art and architecture of the ancient Near East. You may learn a little about interior art and design as well.
- Rare Book Room. Take a look at and even read some of the most rare books in existence on this tour.
- The Virtual Museum of Japanese Arts. Learn about the culture of Japan by studying their arts at this virtual museum.
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Go room-by-room through the entire museum when you take this virtual tour.
- UAE Interact Virtual Museum. Explore this virtual museum from the United Arab Emirates that includes a look at ancient tools, toys, fossils, coins, and more.
- The Virtual Museum of Iraq. Examine eight different eras of Iraq’s history from ancient times to the 16th century.
Whether you are looking for a future school or just appreciate the beauty of the grounds surrounding institutes of higher learning, take these tours to do both. You can also take a closer look at online schools in your state on our website.
- Harvard Virtual Tour. Explore the grounds of this landmark campus and even go behind doors normally closed to visitors.
- University of Denver. Take a look around the campus and hear from students as they describe snowball fights during the winter and quality classes all year.
- University of Miami. Look at a campus map, hear from students, and take a look at the individual colleges for specific courses of study.
- Middle Tennessee State University. Find out what’s going on at the public university in Middle Tennessee.
- Berklee College of Music. Learn why students come from all around the world to study at this school.
- Suffolk University. Study arts and sciences, business, or law at one of the many campuses located in Boston, MA; Madrid, Spain; and Dakar, Senegal.
- Philadelphia University. Find out about this unique campus that provides an interdisciplinary approach to education.
- College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. This unique environment includes two schools–one all girls school and one all boys school–that share a campus and the history of the Catholic church.
- Winthrop University. This historic school includes virtual tours of the buildings, research complex, public art, and landmarks.
These virtual tours offer a glimpse at a world far beyond the everyday existence.
- Touring Mars with Google Earth. See what it’s like on Mars with this virtual tour.
- Arounder Moon. Take a virtual tour of the Earth’s moon here.
- A Virtual Journey into the Universe. Click through the planets in the solar system to learn about each. Note that this tour is a bit dated and still considers Pluto a planet.
How Things are Made
Learn how cars, chocolate, guitars, and more are made with these tours.
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky. Take a virtual tour of this automobile plant to see how these cars come into being.
- Discover Hershey: Making Chocolate. This video tour takes you virtually through the chocolate-making process at one of the most famous chocolatiers in America.
- How People Make Things. From Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, these six videos take you into the factories where these items are made, including crayons, fortune cookies, and guitars.
- Ocean Spray’s Live Bog Cam. While not technically a tour, this link takes you to a live camera showing an actual cranberry bog.
Humans and Animals
Find out about cardiovascular disease or take a look at the body of a life-sized whale here.
- Vital Signs: Understanding Cardiovascular Disease. Take part in this virtual exhibit courtesy of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that explores cardiovascular disease.
- Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society Virtual Whale. Examine a life-sized whale on this virtual tour under the sea.
Visit a few of the baseball fields where some of the top teams play.
- Wrigley Field. Tour the new Wrigley Field in Chicago.
- Great American Ball Park. Go to Cincinnati to see where the Reds play their games.
- Target Field. This ball park is soon to open. Get a sneak preview here.
- Progressive Field. Get 12 different 360-degree views of several aspects of the home of the Cleveland Indians.
- Nationals Park. Check out this field that opened in 2008.
Explore Disney World, Disney parks in other locations, Legoland, and more with these theme park tours.
- Disney World Virtual Tour. Learn how you can explore Disney World in 3D.
- Harry Potter Theme Park. Get a preview of the soon-to-be-open Harry Potter theme park here.
- Disneyland Paris Virtual Tour. Visit Disneyland Paris with this tour.
- Disney’s California Adventure Virtual Tour. Save your feet and explore the park from your computer.
- Disneyland Virtual Tour. Go to Disneyland with this virtual tour.
- Fantasy Island Amusement Park. Take a tour of this amusement park in New Jersey.
- Legoland California. Take this tour using Google street view to explore the Lego theme park in California.
Google Earth Virtual Tours
Google Earth has an outstanding collection of virtual tours that are not to be missed. Take a look at this list for a sampling of what’s available.
- Cathedrals 3D Tour. View famous cathedrals all over the world.
- Castles and Palaces 3D Tour. Take a look at the stunning beauty of castles and palaces around the world.
- Major League Baseball Stadiums. Baseball fans will love this tour of the baseball stadiums. This is a good complementary tour to the baseball field tours above.
- Art Museums 3D Tour. Take a look at famous museums around the world.
- Beijing Tour. Go to China to learn about Beijing.
- National Registry of History Places. Take a look at the historic places included on the National Registry.
- AIA 150 3D Tour. Visit the 150 favorite structures in America that have been selecting in conjunction with the American Institute of Architects 150th anniversary celebration.
- United States Capitol Buildings. How else could you tour all the capitol buildings in one day?
- Universities. Explore the campuses of some of the most popular and beautiful universities.
- Libraries. While everyone knows the inside of libraries contain a wealth of information, don’t forget that the outside often has plenty to share too.
- Skyscrapers Tour. These gigantic buildings have only been around for the past 100 years or so, but inspire awe to those who see them.
- Rail Stations Tour. Visit rail stations around the world with this educational tour.
- Bridge 3D Tour. Bridges represent the melding of art and function in a special way. View some of the most astounding bridges in 3D.
- Great Green Buildings. Take a look at some of the buildings in the US that have received the highest level of certification from the Energy Department in an effort to save the environment.
- Geosights of Utah. Utah is home to some of the most amazing geological formations. Take this tour to see them as well as other sights of Utah up close.
- Google Earth Sky. This selection from Google Earth includes several opportunities for exploration of the universe beyond Earth.
- Google Earth Ocean. Explore above and beneath the earth’s oceans to learn about coral reefs, rising sea levels, sea life, ship wrecks, lighthouses, and much more.
- Rome Colosseum. If Rome is too far off your travel map, visit virtually to see the famed Colosseum.
- Trevi Fountain. While in Rome, take a detour to this magical fountain.
- Sydney Opera House. View this beautiful structure from all angles without leaving your computer.
- Arc de Triomphe. Visit this famous landmark in Paris without having to dodge traffic.
- Shurakuen Buddha. Tour the site of this magnificent Buddha in Tokai, Japan.