Virtual Travel for Architecture Lovers

The world’s best and most famous architectural gems are open to anyone who wants to see them from anywhere, thanks to virtual tours.

When you can’t travel in real life, you can still spend hours (and hours…) travelling virtually.

If you’re into architecture and interior design like me, you’ll find that exploring beautiful buildings from home is a real joy.

It’s no substitute for the real thing, obviously, but it will quench your thirst for aesthetics for the time being.

While you’re at it, you’ll discover more places to add to your bucket list for future travels. I’ve added Villa Savoye to mine.

It’s also a way to see places I probably won’t ever visit in real life, like the splendid Golestan Palace in Iran…

Architectural Gems You Can Visit Virtually

Here’s a curated selection of modern, contemporary and classical masterpieces you can visit online.

Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, Spain

Virtual tour  Casa Batllo Gaudi Barcelona
Gaudí’s brilliant Casa Batlló

Casa Batllo is one of those weird and wonderful houses that even people who are not into architecture at all would have to admit is something special.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a modernist building designed by Gaudí and one of Barcelona’s famous attractions.

It has an impressive virtual tour on its official website.

Follow the arrows to go inside and climb up the steps and stroll through the gorgeous rooms.

You can also pick which part of the building you want to visit using the floorplan on the screen.

When you visit Barcelona in real life, you can enter the building with an augmented reality guide.

Villa Tugendhat by Mies van der Rohe in Brno, Czech Republic

Villa Tugendhat architecture
Brno’s stylish Villa Tugendhat

This villa is the most popular tourist attraction in Brno, the second city in the Czech republic.

It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of those places people have to book tickets for months in advance.

You can take a virtual tour of the villa on its official website. Click the plus signs to go in and move around to see all parts of the house.

I was lucky enough to visit the villa in real life. If you want to learn more about the house and its fascinating history, read my full review of Villa Tugendhat here.

Venaria Palace in Venaria, Italy

Venaria Palace - The Great Gallery
The great gallery at Venaria Palace. Get a print >>

This gorgeous palace just outside Turin in the north of Italy is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a true Baroque gem.

This was the elegant palace of the Savoy family and its most impressive highlight is The Great Gallery.

You can take a virtual tour of some parts of Venaria Palace on Google Arts & Culture.

If you’d like to dig deeper, read my full review of Venaria Palace here.

Golestan Palace in Tehran, Iran

Golestan Palace in Tehran, Iran - virtual tour
Photo by: Armin Abbasi / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

This ridiculously spectacular palace in Iran’s capital city is a joy to visit online.

It is a glorious display of Persian art, crafts and architecture, mixed with European influences, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This magnificent complex can be visited virtually with 360cities or with stockholm360.

The Opera House in Sydney, Australia

One of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, the building next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an architectural gem, which UNESCO has called “a great urban sculpture”.

Even if you haven’t been to Sydney, you must have seen its famous roof in photos. The architect, Jorn Utzon, has said that the roof’s unique design was influenced by peeling an orange.

You can visit the Sydney Opera House online. Take a 360° tour on YouTube with an operatic soundtrack and see what it looks like inside.

The Cube Houses in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Rotterdam’s Cube Houses

The super creative and experimental Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen in Dutch) are in fact residential houses.

Their unique angled shape was designed so that they could be built on top of a bridge.

Architect Piet Blom has said that the houses are meant to resemble an abstract forest.

If you visit Rotterdam, you can enter the Show Cube Museum to see a cube house from the inside, or even stay in a hostel inside a cube house.

For a virtual tour, check out this 360cities panorama and click the arrows to see different parts of the buildings.

Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, Spain

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

The famous Guggenheim in Bilbao, designed by architect Frank Ghery, is a contemporary architecture masterpiece.

Its iconic, playful design is so imposing that some critics have commented it overshadows the art inside the museum.

There are three virtual tours you can take on Google Arts & Culture with 360˚ Street View: Two of the exterior and one of the interior.

Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier in Poissy, France

This modernist villa just outside of Paris is a 20th century architectural classic, designed by Le Corbusier.

The Savoye family commissioned it as a weekend holiday home

Its sleek design is a joy for lovers of minimalism.

It’s been declared a national monument in France and has made it to UNESCO’s World Heritage List (alongside quite a few other buildings by the same architect).

You can take a virtual tour of Villa Savoye via Google Street View.

Something Extra: Architectural Beauty

While researching this article, I found this wonderful gallery on Google Arts & Culture called Architectural Beauty. It’s full of old paintings of buildings and cities.

Know more architectural gems that offer virtual tours? Tell us about them in the comments below 🙂

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10 Comments

I have taken 360 tour to sydney opera house.This iconic symbol of Sydney is a place one must go to in real life not only online. It’s not only a beautiful building from the outside, it’s equally amazing on the inside. The design of having a separate concert hall and opera venue is a brilliant one as it ensures that neither is compromised by the other.The inside of walls design are looks like done by hand made.Especially the architecture is iconic and beautiful.

This is such a timely post. In these days of Lockdown, we are looking for avenues to soar out on the wings of imagination to exotic destinations. This concept of virtual travel to these architectural masterpieces is a great initiative. I will be exploring them starting today. Thanks for the links.

As an Aussie I love that the Sydney opera house made this list! I think it’s so great that so many places worldwide are offering virtual tours right now! It’s really a way to keep wanderlust alive!

While I am an architecture lover and can appreciate modern architecture, nothing can beat the older design like the European buildings. It is the main reason that I wanted to go to Spain this year. Maybe next year 🙁

What a lovely post! If what we have left, in these crazy days, is a virtual tourist in the world – then I prefer to tour through this blog. As an architecture lover, I find these images adorable. Virtual sightseeing can also enrich your soul. Thanks!

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