See the World from Your Home: 13 Live Streams from Earth’s Most Iconic Destinations

While flights are grounded and hotel doors are shut, live streams are a lifeline for pent-up travellers. In the final installation of our three-part series, we're spiriting ourselves to Earth's most intriguing corners, getting new perspectives on famed landmarks, spotting the big five and lapping up tranquil shores without stepping foot outside our lockdown locale.

Armchair escapism: how to explore the world from the comfort of home


Manitoba, Canada

This small Canadian town sits under the aurora oval, making it one of the best places in the world to view the aurora borealis (aka the Northern Lights), the phenomenon in which magnetospheric particles interact with solar wind. The feed streams 24/7, but you're best tuning in around 3am GMT to see the spectacle live from your living room. Intrigued? Visit See the Aurora, which curates webcams from the Shetlands to Svalbard and beyond.

Yosemite National Park

California, US

While closed to visitors, the park is beckoning us to virtually admire the Yosemite Falls, goggle at the Half Dome rock formation from the Yosemite Valley or climb the Sierra Nevada mountain range (aching feet, not required) through its real-time webcams. For guided, interactive tours, head to Google Arts & Culture, which takes you to the extremes of the US's national parks, from the Hawaii Volcanoes and Bryce Canyon to Alaska's icy Kenai Fjords and the spectacular Carlsbad Caverns, where calcite formations decorate caves nestled in New Mexico's Guadalupe Mountains. Use your headphones for full effect.


England, UK

It's the time of year when this bohemian seaside resort should be at its very best, with swimmers frolicking on the pebbled shores, the air tinged with vinegar-soaked chips (okay, a little weed too) and the rainbow roar of Pride. Nevertheless, it's always bright in Brighton. Procure a stick of rock and gaze over the pier courtesy of the Queens Hotel webcam. Counting seagulls is a brilliant boredom breaker.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve

South Africa

Spot the big five and rare birds from the Nkorho Bush Lodge, an area of African Bushveld famed for diverse wildlife thanks to its border with the Kruger National Park. What's great about this webcam is its infrared tech, making it ideal for spotting animals that rule the nocturnal roost. Like this? Join wildlife enthusiasts on Africam or spirit yourself to the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where lenses train in on GRACE gorilla sanctuary.

Jigokudani Monkey Park


If a virtual safari isn't your jam, watch snow monkeys taking a dip in hot springs at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan's Nagano Prefecture, say a socially distanced "hi" to rescued cubs at Switzerland's Arosa Bear Sanctuary, tune in to Palma Aquarium's live-streaming sessions or nip down under, where New South Wales' Australian Reptile Park invites you to feeding time with crocodiles, dingoes and koalas. is the world's largest live nature-cam network - head here to croon over kittens in California, watch pandas in China's Wolong Grove Panda Yard or take a dip with orcas in British Columbia.



Italy is among the countries worst hit by the pandemic. With lockdown measures in place, its cities are quieter than ever - and arguably even more beautiful in tranquility. Be transported by I Love You Venice, which has several webcams dotted around La Serenissima, from Rialto Bridge via the Grand Canal to St Mark's Basin. Most feeds are serenaded by classical music. Bellissimo.

Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica

At 7,500 years old, the Arenal Volcano is Costa Rica's youngest and most famous volcano. It's in a dormant phase at the moment, but you can tune in to the observatory's webcam to see spews of gas and water. All fired up? Graduate to the BBC's Volcano Live page where you'll find a selection of the world's best live volcano webcams, that include Popocatépetl in Mexico, White Island/ Whakaari volcano in New Zealand and Sicily's Stromboli.

Loch Ness and the Highlands

Scotland, UK

Kudos if you snag a screenshot of Nessie when swooning over the mirrored waters of Scotland's Loch Ness on this award-winning live cam. While it's online 24/7, the website notes: "During night hours the image is black, but you may see UFO lights as the area is also world-famous for extraterrestrial visits." If, however, it's a glimpse of the wild Highlands you're hankering after, head to the Mountain Weather Information Service, where brooding, real-time images feature Aonach Mor, Ben Nevis and the Cairngorms.

The Great Wall of China


Stretching 6,000km across northern China, the Great Wall ranks among Mexico's Chichen Itza and Petra in Jordan as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The China Guide invites you on a guided, digital romp along the 10km stretch between Jinshanling and Simatai, which crosses the border between Beijing and Hebei.

Times Square

New York, US

The core of the Big Apple is eerily quiet, with its bedazzled billboards advertising shows we can't currently attend. Check it out on EarthCam. Alternatively, take a virtual foray to Tokyo where the Shibuya Crossing - one of the world's busiest intersections, where around 3,000 people cross during peak times - is far from deserted, but shows people socially distancing nonetheless. If it's more of New York City you'd like to explore, we suggest the Statue of Liberty's TorchCam; the general public haven't been permitted here since 1916.

Copacabana Beach


Throw on your swimming costume, whip up a caipirinha, plunge your feet in a washing-up bowl filled with tepid water and get this real-time stream of Rio's famed beach on the big screen for some at-home escapism. Live Beaches also has a comprehensive selection of cams from the US's prettiest shorelines - Key West, Santa Monica, Waikiki Beach - as well as lenses zoomed in on beaches of Europe and the rest of the Americas. We'll be spending the rest of lockdown overlooking the Bay of Naples.

Taj Mahal


Google Arts & Culture is a fantastic resource for exploring not just the world's greatest museums and galleries, but its landmarks too. Okay, these aren't live-streams per se, but through the platform's interactive tours and 360-degree mapping you can see the Taj Mahal from a new perspective along with Kyoto's Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Machu Picchu, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Roman Colosseum. You won't even have to dodge any selfie sticks.

International Space Station

orbiting 400km above Earth

When cabin fever gets too much, get some perspective courtesy of the International Space Station, which offers views of the planet as part of its HD Earth Viewing Experiment, often accompanied by audio conversations between the crew and Mission Control. The ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes, so you'll see a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes. Keep your eyes peeled for bolts of lighting or clusters of city lights too.

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