As the pandemic rages on and the lockdowns keep extending, we understand the cabin fever that is spreading amongst travellers – not tending to the wanderlust that had served as a way of life for so long is resulting in withdrawal symptoms among many. In our digitally savvy world, however, is anything really impossible?
In simple words, your vacation in Europe doesn’t have to wait. Save yourself from further pandemic blues and set out on adventures in new cities with live, interactive Online Experiences– short virtual tours accompanied by highly qualified and interactive guides overflowing with knowledge and insights about the destinations of your choice!
You will find yourself happy to saving all that airfare and still being able to experience the magic of travelling (yes, we also miss the island breeze and thrill of going to the airport as much as the next person, but the perks of this new way are that you can travel to the coldest of destinations in your shorts and enter the strictest of museums with a glass of lemonade in your hand). Hold on to your excitement, and leave the planning to our carefully curated list of the best European destinations to grace with virtual visits in 2021!
- Assisi, Italy
Surrounded by the gentle hills of Umbria, Assisi is a fascinating destination to experience this summer. As the birthplace and final resting spot of Saint Francis—the founder of the Franciscan Order—the city brims with a rich religious heritage and is the perfect destination for a virtual tour.
Take a virtual walk around this UNESCO World Heritage Site with your expert local tourHQ guide Monia, exploring in real-time major landmarks such as the Basilica of San Francesco; a uniquely beautiful two-level church whose walls are decorated with frescoes by Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti! Also get to marvel at the Basilica di Santa Chiara, a simple pink and white stone structure that honours the humble lifestyle of Saint Claire, who lay here in eternal rest.
Make your way along the lanes and alleys of this quaint town through your screen while listening to interesting lore and legends passionately narrated by your guide. Having been born and brought up in the area Monia offers the most intricate understanding of the culture and traditions of Assisi, and will ensure that your virtual trip is every bit as exciting and fulfilling as the real deal!
- Barcelona, Spain
The first thought that comes to people’s minds when they hear of Barcelona is the historic legacy of its infamous football club, while the second usually takes people to the beautiful beaches of this Spanish city. However, some of the most stunning works of architecture in the world also reside in the heart of this city. This summer, you can ditch another bout of watching football on TV to discover the exciting contours of Antonio Gaudi’s Barcelona on a live-streamed guided tour with local guides Carlos and Gloria!
The pride of the city is La Sagrada Familia, one of the many accomplishments of the famous Catalan architect and an amalgamation of gothic and art nouveau styles. A captivating fact about this giant church is that its construction started in 1882 and is still continuing to this day!
Learn about the inner workings, stories, and significances of this church on your virtual tour as you journey with your local tour guides through the lovely avenues of Barcelona and become familiar with the secrets buried in the city. Marvel at the two other architectural pieces by Gaudi—the La Pedrera House and Batllo House—both consisting of breath-taking designs from the 20th Century. Skip the queues and get straight to the fun!
- Düsseldorf, Germany
People flock to Germany to witness the remnants of the Second World War and marvel at its history. For a change of scenery and a bunch of exciting stories to bring back home, traverse virtually through the vibrant city of Dusseldorf with our friendly local guide, Anne Hahn.
Full of life and glamour, Dusseldorf Altstadt is known as the “longest bar in the world” and is home to numerous pubs – not to mention a wealth of over 400 breweries and many, many local beer variants! Listen to Anne narrate thrilling stories revolving around the processing of this popular beverage and uncover the tale of how this once-small fishing village has grown to be the cosmopolitan centre it is today.
While in Dusseldorf, can a Parisian experience be far behind? Make the best of your experience as you walk along a line of the world’s tip fashion brands in the glittering shopping boulevard of Königsallee, and don’t forget to relish the stunning view of the canal running along its centre!
Get a touch of history with a visit to the German poet Heinrich Hein’s birthplace, explore the many local castles, take a sojourn down Napoleon’s favourite street, and hear tales of rulers on horseback. End your tour and say goodbye to Anne as you enjoy the view of the Düssel River across the pretty promenade – this tour will give you a taste of it all!
- Rouen, France
Nestled in the folds of Normandy, a sight of the city of Rouen is like taking a walk down the past. With its half-timbered houses and quaint old streets, it is the ultimate source for you to quench your thirst for French history and culture.
Journey online to this lovely town with your local guide Nathalie Maillard, and you will have not a trace of sore feet at the end of the day! Marvel at the authentic gothic architecture of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, which is known to have inspired the famous impressionist painter Claude Monet himself – he is reputed to have painted the church during different times of the day in order to capture the various ways in which the light fell on its façade! Get a chance to admire the awe-inspiring stained-glass windows that escaped the damage of the Second World War as you take a look at the grand structure from within.
Walk along the medieval alleys and cobblestone streets of Old Town as you make your way to the Big Clock, the reigning symbol of Rouen. Retrace the story of Joan of Arc as walk along the Old Market Square where she was martyred, and set your sights on the grand Palace of Justice to quell the excitement in your heart.
Throughout the journey, Nathalie will connect with you and make you feel as if you are right beside her, exploring the streets and secrets of Rouen while recounting fun anecdotes and interacting with friendly locals of this medieval city.
- Venice, Italy
Even though it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Venice can never become “overrated”. With its canals and a host of gorgeous architecture dating back to the 13th and 18th centuries, tourists are welcome to stand in awe of the same views that Napoleon and Casanova admired all those years back! This summer, you, too, can take a virtual tour with Emanuele Ginocchi, a bona fide venetian and skilled tour guide, and experience the most romantic city in the world through the eyes of a local.
Learn what Napoleon meant when he called the city the “beautiful drawing room of Europe” as you walk around the lovely Piazza San Marco. Immerse yourself in classical history as you visit the stunning Saint Mark’s Basilica, one of the most intricately designed cathedrals in the world and the best-known example of Italo-Byzantine architecture. As you stop by the Bridge of Sighs, learn about the interesting significance of its name: used to shuttle prisoners from the Doge’s Palace to the New Prison, the bridge would afford them their last glimpses of the city and inevitably elicit sights of despair!
After touring these popular tourist attractions, follow Emanuele to the unexplored corners of the city, such as Campo Santa Maria Formosa and Campo San Giovanni e Paolo. Finish with a flourish as you relish in the magnificent view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge.
What are you waiting for, now that you have the best of Europe waiting for you in your living room?
Picture Credit : First Image – fausto manasse from Pixabay