[Updated December 2016]
Since Google Street View first came onto the scene in 2007, millions of panoramic images have been taken. In fact, the team taking those shots have traveled more than seven million miles across 66 countries — and they’re not done yet. More and more destinations can be virtually accessed thanks to the technology, which has made it possible to see far-flung places or old favorites with the click of a mouse or the flick of a finger.
From the Grand Canyon to Mount Everest, here are 12 places to explore on Google Street View.
1. A Google Street View Trekker recently ascended to the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Obtaining access to multiple floors, (not to mention being suspended precariously from a window-washing basket), the photographer was able to capture the stunning views from the 2,717 foot-tall building.
2. Number one on most travelers’ bucket lists is Arizona’s Grand Canyon. But for those of us not willing to deal with climbing around the canyon itself, Google has beautifully documented multiple sites throughout the national park, including the Bright Angel Trail, the South Kaibab Trail, the Colorado River-spanning Black Bridge, and Phantom Ranch.
3. If it’s extreme weather conditions you’re after, Google’s shots of Ross Island in the South Pole are a treat. The images, depicting the 12 flags of the original Antarctic Treaty nations, among other things, are so crisp, you’ll be reaching for your parka in no time!
4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer fans are sure to get a kick out of this: though the Mark Twain House & Museum is located in Hartford, Connecticut (hardly a tourist magnet), Google allows literature buffs to peek inside the very rooms where Twain and his family lived in the late 1800s.
5. High schoolers can now get a head start on touring prospective universities – thanks to a “University Campuses” category, 12 universities, ranging from Cornell to Stanford, are now fully mapped out on the site.
6. We don’t doubt that Google’s employees are a hard-working bunch, but we certainly don’t pity the Google Street Trekker who took a recent trip to Venice to map out the city’s famous canals, piazzas, footbridges, and alleyways – all on foot. Debuting in roughly two weeks, the images will offer travelers a first-hand taste of what life is like in the lagoon city.
7. No magic spells are needed to tour the real-life Harry Potter set at Warner Bros. Studio in London. Earlier this month, Google’s Street View managed to get inside the studio to capture pristine, up-close images of Diagon Alley’s various wizardry shops – from Mr. Mulpepper’s Apothecary to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.
8. This past spring, Kala Patthar, a stop along the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek was one of several new destinations added to the site’s “World’s Highest Peaks” category. Though many of us will never make it to Nepal, let alone an 18,192-foot base camp, these images of weather-beaten Tibetan prayer flags flapping in the wind make us wonder if maybe one day we should try.
9. We’ve already given you suggestions on what to do for your next trip to Singapore, but if you need more convincing, simply head over to Google Maps’ comprehensive photo tour of the island. Covering everything from the Singapore Zoo to the Marina Bay promenade, you’ll be an expert faster than you can say ‘Changi Airport.’
10. Looking for some off-the-beaten-path locales to visit in Michigan? The state just became the first in the Midwest — and one of just three states in the U.S. — to partner with Google Trekker technology. The new partnership allows users to see attractions that previously could not be seen on Google Street View. So before you hit Mackinac Island or Bond Falls, pop on over to Pure Michigan’s Google Trekker page for 360 degree views of those and other destinations.
11. Tauck River Cruising and Google Maps worked together to capture views of The Danube in Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania while onboard the Treasures riverboat. You can also take a peek at some views of the riverboat itself, including its dining room, sun deck, lounge, and more.
12. Planning on flying with SAS anytime soon? You can now take a virtual reality tour of the airlines’ new long-haul cabin configuration in all its glory (including the restroom!). There are also some videos from the SAS YouTube channel and links in case you’re inspired to book your next flight.
13. Now you can scope out the beaches and state parks of Bermuda even before you get there. The latest addition to Google Street View lets users get an up-close look at nearly three dozen sites, like the stunning Warwick Long Bay, the Bermuda Botanical Gardens, and the historic Scaur Hill Fort.
14. Can’t get enough of the tropics? Google Street View is letting armchair travelers get a virtual view of the Maldives’ Club Med Finolhu Villas, which opened in early 2015. Users can get a taste of what it’s like to stay in one of the property’s 52 villas, see the view from the spa’s relaxation room, “wander” the Motu Restaurant, or explore common areas like the arrival jet and pool area, among others.
15. Google Street View is adding more than 30 historical sites in Jordan to its roster, including Petra. Behold wonders like the Tomb of the Roman Soldier, the Treasury, the Siq, and the Great Temple, just to name a few.
16. Get a feel of what it’s like to traverse South Africa’s Kruger National Park while on a virtual safari. Along the way, you’ll spot elephants, giraffes, leopards, rhinos, and buffalos, among other beautiful creatures. As part of the addition of South Africa to Google Street View, you can also view the Cape of Good Hope, Sandy Beach, and West Coast National Park.
Bonus: One of the coolest traditions of the holiday season in New York City is checking out the festive department store window displays, which are known to draw huge crowds. Beat the throngs of revellers by taking a look at Google’s Window Wonderland, which uses virtual reality technology to showcase the window decorations of more than a dozen retailers — including Macy’s, American Girl, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman.