Armchair traveling – a mental, educational break

Greetings armchair travelers – it’s been a very long couple of weeks for all of us. I have been juggling helping clients and non-clients postpone travel plans and navigate supplier policies as well as assisting an elderly family member with pulmonary issues.  I know you all have been dealing with similar work/family challenges and keeping up with the news while not over-dosing on it.  It’s an unprecedented balancing act. 

As we practice social distancing to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 infections, it’s not easy to keep everyone entertained.  Schools are closed in many communities, and if you’re a parent you’re likely wondering how you will continue your children’s education at home.  I came across a fantastic link that will not only allow you to travel virtually but be educational as well; it’s called Google Arts & Culture.  The website is rich with content that will inspire your future in-person travels and satisfy your family’s wanderlust until we are all on the road again! 

I was particularly intrigued by the virtual tours of major museums around the world

Let’s take a look at a few of them….

Palace of Versailles, France

Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy – home of Michelangelo’s David and more

I have to mention Italy first – our hearts are all going out to the Italian citizens and pray they will see a leveling off soon.  The Uffizi Gallery is a creation of the ancient, infamous Medici family.  When tourists think of the Uffizi, they most often picture the statue of David by Michelangelo. In my opinion, you really have to see David in person to get the full effect of his iconic statue.  So, if you haven’t been there, add it to your Wanderlist.  In the meantime, the Uffizi Gallery is a powerhouse museum with 45 halls, including Renaissance masterpieces, early works of Leonardo Davinci and the incredible works of Botticelli.  Well worth a virtual tour. 

Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece – ancient history and views

I was scheduled to tour the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece in just a few weeks but of course, my trip is postponed.  I’m still super sad about it.  Located at the foot of the Acropolis site, the contemporary Acropolis Museum is a concrete and glass structure that was completed in 2007 and is considered an architectural gem.  The museum’s top-level sits askew to mirror the orientation of the Parthenon.  The lower level of the museum showcases archeological ruins.  A must-see (virtually too).

Palace of Versailles in France – enjoy the virtual tour but plan in advance for in-person

Virtually follow in the footsteps of King Louis XIV and the royal court from 1682 to the French revolution with a virtual palace and garden tour of the Palace of Versailles.  You’ll be motivated to get there yourself one day but note that it’s tricky to tour Versailles without joining an organized tour due to the crowds.  It’s worth the investment to book a high-quality tour that will include skip-the-line tickets.  Bonus – tours with a historian will greatly enhance the experience!

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands – awesome for kids

Get the kids in front of the computer for a virtual tour of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam! Some of the museum’s most inspiring artworks and objects include ancient elk antlers, magic lantern slideshows, giant model ships and planes, and beautifully detailed dollhouses.  Idea – after the virtual tour ask the kiddos to pick a piece of art and recreate it with their own twist.  When you visit in person, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has some fantastic children’s programs, including learning to draw like Rembrandt and participating in a digital challenge where kids solve mysteries around the museum.

Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg Russia – a true bucket-list museum

Majestic is the word that comes to mind when I recall my visit to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The city is considered the ‘Venice of the North’ – gorgeous.  A virtual tour will provide insight into the rise and fall of the Russian Royal family, the Romanovs.  If you haven’t watched the Amazon Prime anthology series with the same name, I recommend it!  Classical art by the masters is on display including Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. 

National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, USA – a hidden gem

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC is my personal favorite museum in DC, and if you haven’t been it’s because it gets overshadowed by the other Smithsonian museums.  The presidential portrait gallery is the most well-known area, but the entire museum is fascinating.  Your virtual tour is a lesson in art and American History! 

If you and/or your kids have time, the virtual tours of these museums are truly worth it.  If you agree and want to share your comments OR have other amazing virtual resources to share, post on my social channels or email me at and I will share it with everyone in our traveling community in the next newsletter. 

Hidden Gem Tip:  Don’t stop dreaming of your next vacation – it’s a good mental vacation from the stress and social distancing and a way to let your kids know that eventually, things will get back to normal. 

Wishing you and your family the best,


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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