While global social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have temporarily placed our ability to travel on hold, the internet (thankfully) allows the opportunity to explore destinations beyond our homes. During quarantine, you can enjoy virtual museum tours, wildlife webcams, and even livestreams from popular international destinations such as Venice, as well as from U.S. national parks.
During a time when the online universe is host to constant coronavirus-related updates, it’s particularly important to balance out the overwhelming news on your social media feed(s) with some simple, soothing content. Here are some destinations to follow on Instagram to bring you moments of calm when you need them.
For ancient landscapes and native wildlife: @Australia
We’ve been leaning particularly hard on adorable animal content to lift our spirits right now, and Tourism Australia’s official Instagram has no shortage of the likes. From images of dolphins jumping out of the ocean among surfers at Sydney’s Bronte Beach, to videos of kangaroos frolicking on the white sands of Berrara Beach (about two hours south of Sydney by car), these purely Australian Instagram posts will help cheer you up when other news on your feed is getting you down. Add the spectacular images from locations such as the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland (the world’s oldest tropical rain forest), South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region, or the UNESCO-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory—and this Instagram account might even inspire you to visit the Land Down Under once travel is permitted again.
For sweeping fjords and alpine villages: @FjordNorway
Norway’s serene fjord landscapes offer much of the natural scenery you might be craving during quarantine, such as deep blue inlets, flowing waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains (to name a few). The UNESCO-listed region, known as “Fjord Norway,” is home to dramatic fjords such as Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, as well as more than half of Norway’s Scenic Routes, which designate 18 spectacular tourist drives around the country. Follow the official Instagram for the western region’s tourism board to pretend you’re on a road trip along the coastal Atlantic Road, known as one of the world’s most beautiful drives, or aboard a train on the Flam railway, which winds through deep ravines and quaint alpine villages in southwestern Norway.
For medieval castles and meandering cattle: @VisitScotland
Castles, cows, and craggy coasts are aplenty in the United Kingdom’s most northerly country—and they make frequent appearances on Visit Scotland’s Instagram, too. Follow the Scottish organization’s Instagram feed for images of desolate white sand beaches in the Outer Hebrides, medieval fortresses in quiet countrysides, and “fabulous wee towns” with cobblestoned homes where Scottish monarchs once lived. The account even dedicates its Tuesday posts to what it calls #CoosDay, sharing images of Scotland’s shaggy, long-horned Highland cows, which are known as Heilan coos.
For a high dose of mountain scenery: @VisitColorado
As a hub for outdoor adventurists and the first U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, Colorado is known as a place that promotes a laid-back state of mind. On Instagram, its tourism board offers a bevy of peaceful images and videos that feature Rocky Mountain scenery ranging from trickling streams and aspen groves to remote hot springs and epic mountain backdrops. Appropriately, the account dubs these posts as “daily doses of #ColoradoCalm.”