5 of the Best Free Virtual Museum Tours

A woman in a leather jacket standing in front of a Dutch painting at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Credit: Christian Fregnan/Unsplash

Are you inspired by art and fascinated by museums that are rich with culture? If so, then having to stay indoors for an extended period of time may seem to present a bit of a challenge when it comes to exploring what’s out there. Fortunately, there are countless free virtual museum tours across the web. This means that it’s never been easier to immerse yourself in some of the most famous museums in the world, right from the comfort of your home. Let’s look at five that are particularly worth getting lost in.


Stairs in a courtyard at the Getty Museum with statues and plants.
Credit: Lydia Koh/Unsplash

The Getty

High atop a hill in Los Angeles is one of the most important museums in North America, the J. Paul Getty Museum (often known as “The Getty”). From clay figurines dating back over 8,000 years to masterpieces of contemporary art, the variety of culture on display here is stunning. Even the museum itself is a sight to behold, a gorgeous work of architecture with views of the city below. Free virtual tours are available on Xplorit and Google Arts & Culture.


A view of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, with the canal beside it.
Credit: Jorge Fernández Salas/Unsplash

Guggenheim Bilbao

Remember when we recommended Bilbao, Spain as an on-trend travel destination? It may not be the best time to travel at the moment, but you can still visit Bilbao’s famous Guggenheim location through a free virtual tour. This museum features the unmistakable architecture of Frank Gehry and a diverse collection specializing in large contemporary installations. Like the Getty, this one is available from Google Arts & Culture.


An elephant statue in the main rotunda of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Credit: mana5280/Unsplash

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

If the majesty of nature is what gets you inspired, then you’re in for a treat. Located in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History boasts the largest natural history collection in the world, with everything from plant and animal specimens to human cultural artifacts. Its free virtual museum tour offers a remarkably extensive exploration of the museum. You can even look at past exhibits that are no longer on display.


A painted ceiling in a main hallway of the Vatican Museums.
Credit: Cristina Gottardi/Unsplash

The Vatican Museums

Anyone who has been to the Vatican and its museums will tell you that their beauty is difficult to express in words. Similarly, technology may not be able to fully convey the feeling of being there, but you can’t deny just how captivating the Vatican’s free virtual museum tours are. From the Greek and Roman sculptures of the Pio-Clementino Museum to the world-famous Sistine Chapel, thousands of years of incredible art and architecture are ready to be viewed from home.


A crowd of people viewing Rembrandt's painting Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Credit: Václav Pluhař/Unsplash


Over two hundred years old and with at least 8,000 items on display, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is the largest art museum in the Netherlands. If you’re fond of the Dutch masters like Van Gogh and Rembrandt, you’ll be pleased to know that the Rijksmuseum houses many of their greatest works. Google’s Arts & Culture platform delivers once again with a free virtual tour and high-definition archive covering a vast portion of the collection.

Which free virtual museum tours are you most inspired by? Let us know in the comments, and explore more in Google Arts & Culture’s own top ten list!

Written by David Harris

Whether professionally or for fun, David spends most of his time reading, writing, and working on music. You'll also occasionally catch him watching campy movies, playing video games, or indulging in Montreal's many delicious cuisines. An American in Canada, he sometimes misses the sandy shores of his native California, but he's come to love our snowy winters and festive summers. After several years of making new friends, studying music at Concordia, and immersing himself into Montreal's vibrant and creative culture, he's now more than content to call this city his home away from home.

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