Visiting and walking through the most interesting, exciting cities in the world has been difficult for us all lately. But, some helpful YouTube channels have been offering stunning walking tours that allow viewers to walk vicariously through the cameras of locals. If you’d like to experience some virtual travel, for whatever reason, finding the best YouTube virtual walking tours might be your best bet. We’ve done some research for you and have some great suggestions.
Traveling can expand your sense of the world and your place in it. If you’re a traveler, or even if you like to pretend that you’re a traveler, these YouTube channels can be an amazing way to get at least a taste of what it’s like to be in another country, city, or small town. But, all virtual walking tour channels are not created alike.
So, until all of us cable cutters can get out there around the world, maybe even with our favorite streaming services for traveling, let’s take a look at some great travel content that you can stream with your favorite streaming device.
Our top three virtual walking tour channels for amazing cities and climates:
- Sanpo Stroll
- Watched Walker
- Urban Walking Experience
Each channel is different, so read more about each one to see why we love them so much, and why you should check them out. There’s a virtual walking tour for almost everyone.
Click here to jump straight to the list. Or, keep reading to find out what we think goes into the best content for creating a virtual walking tour.
What makes a good YouTube virtual walking tour?
As I mentioned, not all virtual walking tours are created equal. Some content creators really know how to do it well, some don’t really understand the concept very well it seems.
A really great virtual tour is something a bit personal to each virtual traveler. Some people will want small bits of information throughout the tour, and others will want the walking tour to be as transparent as possible so they feel like they are the ones walking. There are lots of factors like this that you’ll start looking for once you find out what you love in a virtual tour.
However, there are several things that every virtual walking tour should have and should do well.
High-quality, smooth camera action
It probably goes without saying that a high-quality picture is essential for a good virtual tour. With the availability of excellent cameras today, this is an absolute must. You can easily find 4K virtual walking tours all over the world on YouTube.
Also, if the person holding the camera, or most likely the phone, doesn’t move and pan very slowly and smoothly the experience won’t be all that great. You may even end up feeling a little queasy.
A smooth camera is critical to a good virtual experience when it comes to walking through a city, on a beach, or anywhere else. This is possibly the most important aspect of a good virtual tour.
You may be a speedy walker, but when it comes to a virtual walking tour, you really don’t want to end up on a virtual jog.
The walking speed is important because you want to be able to see things that you’re not familiar with. The walker may have been through that area time and time again, but you haven’t. Keep in mind that the speed of the walk also relates directly to the smoothness of the camera as I mentioned above.
Talking throughout the virtual walking tour
This one will be a bit more personal to each viewer, but it’s something to think about as you search and make some decisions.
We like zero talking in the walking tours we choose. We like this because it’s one of the most important parts of creating that transparent feeling that allows us to pretend we’re actually there on the walk ourselves.
If you like narrated tours, however, there are plenty for you to choose from. Narrated tours can offer some great information about the location you’re walking through without the need for reading comments. Just realize that it can be hard to find someone with the right personality to allow you to enjoy the walk the way you want to.
Virtual walking tours to set a mood
We often will use a virtual tour as background to whatever we’re doing, whether that’s writing, weaving, or just chatting. There are many different types of virtual tours that can set almost any type of mood.
Walking in the rain
We live in the tropics, so we actually miss the cold and the rain at times. Rainy London walks are some of our favorites, and they work as background for us almost always.
If you’re looking for a rainy city walk, make sure that the lighting is good and the walker doesn’t move too fast. You should still be able to enjoy a stroll in wet weather.
Rainy city walks are highly recommended for a chill evening, or even a nice romantic date night indoors.
Walking in the winter snow
Just a quick note about winter virtual walking tours as well.
They can set a mood similar to a rainy city walk, but even more so. With a good virtual winter walk in the snow, you should be able to feel the cold on your fingers and your nose. The noise should be muted and subtle.
Nighttime winter walks are also very highly recommended as the lights in the streets make the snow come alive and create a very special environment.
There are some amazing beach walks as well. These work particularly well for people who are stuck in a long winter and need something warm to watch.
We’ve actually seen some great virtual walking tours through some of the beaches of Hawaii near us. Find a 4K Hawaiian beach walk that moves nice and slowly and gives you a good panoramic view of the people, the ocean, and the sky.
Location of virtual walking tours
Some travelers won’t care at all where they go. They’ll just be happy to load up a virtual walk and go. This can be a lot of fun, and you can see things that you might not expect. But, some explorers want something a bit more specific.
Many of the virtual walking tour channels feature specific cities and locations that they regularly walk through. A quick search on YouTube with a specific city or location will turn up results for almost anywhere you can think of.
For instance, if you’re really looking for a chilly European walk, those are pretty easy to find. You can also find the complete opposite by searching a specific beach or summer walk.
Over time, you’ll find the channels that fit your style and offer the locations that you really gravitate towards.
Our list of favorite virtual walking tours on YouTube
These are the channels we go back to time and time again. Understand that we, at least right now, are very consumed with European walks, especially London.
I’ll give some more details about our top three, and then an overview of the others.
Take a look at these channels, and then do some searching on your own to find the ones that you love the most.
#1 – Sanpo Stroll
This is probably the most watched virtual walking tour channel in our house. This one ticks pretty much every box we have for content like this. Here’s why we love it…
London area – We’re all about virtual walks through London right now. We’re pretending to plan our next trip there, so it fits in well with our preferences.
No talking – We like the transparency of the quiet walker. It helps us pretend we’re the ones doing the tour.
Date, time, temp – It’s nice knowing the date, the time of day, and even the temperature of the walk we’re going on. Those bits of information do really help put you in the place.
Great camera work – This channel features slow, smooth walking, including turns and panning. This is absolutely essential to a good virtual tour.
A map of the walking path – Each tour starts by showing a map of where you’ll be walking. It provides a good grounding and let’s you know what to expect. Not completely essential, but nice nonetheless.
Info in the comments / closed captions – Extra info about the walk is available in the comments and closed captioning. Some channels will provide more details like this, which allows you to decide how much you want that info to affect the walking experience.
Most of the walking tours on Sanpo Stroll are during the daytime. So, if you’re looking for evening walks, other channels might be better. They give a nice little friendly greeting at the beginning of the walk, and there’s a bit of window shopping as well.
Another nice little note is that they show highlights of buildings in the area and markers for prominent things during the tour. Definitely check out this channel.
#2 – Watched Walker
This is another channel that features lots of walks around the London area and surrounding UK spots. You’ll also find the random walk through Barcelona, Nice, and other cities.
No talking – You just get the sounds of the city as you walk. You’ll hear people talking, cars driving by, and other ambient city noises. It’s an excellent background for working, studying, or just relaxing.
Slow pace – No jerky movements to make you queasy, and no fast panning so you get a good look at buildings and other monuments.
Both day and night walks – Watched Walker provides virtual tours during both day and night, and through pretty much every season that we can tell. Lots of options for moods here.
Features popular spots – You’ll be able to see the most popular spots in the cities and towns that they walk through. The focus isn’t really on quiet side streets, but you’ll see the sights that tourists travel for.
Another note is that Watched Walker does a good job of avoiding awkward situations with other people as they walk. Some walkers will awkwardly “stalk” people, unintentionally we assume, but it makes my wife extremely uncomfortable. (Which I find a bit funny.)
#3 – Urban Walking Experience
Smooth camera experience – This is another channel with great camera work. Essential for a good virtual experience.
Focuses on important info – The walks on this channel do a really good job of highlighting labels and plaques on buildings and along paths. It’s nice to see this info without the interference of talking.
Walking speed is good – While they focus on that important info, they also do a great job of slowing down to see it better. Rather than rushing through to see more or finish quicker, you’ll have a much more relaxing experience.
Views of the whole street – The walkers try hard to get entire views of the street rather than just one side as they walk. It really does feel like you’re walking down the street yourself.
Also, multiple walkers provide different virtual tour experiences across this channel. Some feature no talking or music at all, while others do feature talking, narration, or music. It feels like several unique channels in one. And, as the name suggests, this channel has a distinctly urban feel.
#4 – Prowalk Tours
Fourth on our list is a channel that features tours from all over the world, but heavily features cities throughout Italy. Here’s what we like…
Offers a map of the walking path before starting off on the tour.
Displays the date, time, and temperature to help put you in the place.
Features more historical facts and descriptions in the closed captions.
Some scenes are also shot using drones, so you’ll get a bird’s eye view.
One nice, sort of unique thing about this channel is that they tend to go into stalls and shops during the window shopping parts of the tour more often than some others. It’s nice to see things up close.
#5 – Mostly Walking
Mostly Walking is a smaller, newer channel that features walks around London. They feature intros with highlights of the upcoming walk along with the date as well.
The virtual walks here also feature slow, smooth movements for a good walking experience. It’s also another good one for window shopping.
#6 – The Sounds of Life
For some really nice walks through Berlin, give The Sounds of Life a try.
They provide a map to show where you are going, and they give the date, time, and temperature before heading off.
The virtual walks in this channel, as usual, feature slow moving and panning with the camera, and no talking.
Best Virtual Walking Tours in 2021 – Wrap-up
We will definitely be updating this list, especially as we branch out into other parts of the world. It’s just been hard to move away from London for some reason.
These virtual tours offer a great way to see the world, even while we’re still cooped up inside. I can see these working really well for those with limited mobility for whatever reason.
Virtual walking tours of popular cities can also be a great way to plan your next trip, I know we are!
Leave us a comment if you have any questions or suggestions on other channels to include here.