Ah, internet – we knew we loved you, but we just didn’t know quite how much until we were stuck inside. With much of the planet staying indoors, working from home, self-isolating or under lockdown thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, travel has ground to a halt for the time being. But we can still expand our horizons and discover somewhere new from our phone screens, thanks to the miracle that is Google Street View.
We’ve dug around for the very best panoramas available on the platform, captured from some of the world’s most stunning observation points and decks. Check out these incredible 360-degree views of some of the world’s greatest cities, available for free online – and then start planning your trip IRL, for as soon as we’re allowed to travel again.
The best city skyline views on Google Street View
Lion Rock, so called because from certain angles it looks like a crouched big cat, looms over Hong Kong. The panorama from the top is impressive, but it’s a famously difficult hike to tackle – so save your legs and check it out online instead.
A raised square on the south side of the Arno River, Piazzale Michelangelo provides dreamy views of Florence’s skyline, which has hardly changed in centuries. Make sure to zoom in on the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio.
There’s no shortage of skyscraper views in NYC, but the double aspect at Top of the Rock – looking downtown towards the Empire State and uptown towards Central Park – makes it feel properly in the centre of things.
The view from the top of this hundred-storey skyscraper (formerly known as the John Hancock Center) is one of the best in Chicago. From the observation deck you get sweeping views of the skyline as well as Lake Michigan.
The OCBC Skyway lets you get up close to the iconic supertree structures at Singapore’s Gardens By The Bay, as well as giving you a good look at the city’s lush greenery and impressive architecture. Spot the Marina Bay Sands hotel, with its three towers topped by an infinity pool and restaurant complex.
The jagged, heavily fortified bulk of Castel Sant’Elmo dominates Naples’s skyline. It’s a trek to climb, but the reward is possibly the finest view of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius – and it’s yours for free online.
Rising almost 400 metres above the harbour below, this famous peak is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a two-leg cablecar journey to the top, with incredible views of Rio de Janeiro below on both parts of the journey.