Next time you’re bored but not up for packing your bags, take a trip around the world via webcam. You’ll open windows into faraway lands and be visiting in real time. My favorite webcam site is pointed at the snow monkeys in Japan (see below), but I also enjoy watching—and hearing—the people outside a pub in Dublin. Which one will become your favorite?
Note that some webcam sites have ads you must watch before the webcam becomes available, sometimes you must activate a specific feature so that the webcam can work on your computer and do take into account different time zones. But all this is the small priceofgetting such a fascinating view.
Jigokudani Monkey Park: Nagano Prefecture, Japan
This park’s snow monkeys, which are actually Japanese macaques, love to soak in hot springs. A few times I have seen park janitors here cleaning things up, and a few other times I’ve seen tourists trying to get photos of the red-faced creatures.
Sydney Harbour: Sydney, Australia
Focused on Sydney Harbour, this webcam spotlights the iconic Sydney Opera House and traffic moving across picturesque Sydney Harbour Bridge—the tallest steel arch bridge in the world.
Waikiki Beach: Oahu, HI
Focused on the lei-laden statue of surfer king Duke Kahanamoku, this webcam also captures countless tourists getting their picture taken in front. And you can enjoy it all while listening to provided Hawaiian music and watching the mellow Waikiki Beach waves in the background.
Abbey Road: London, England
Famous because the Beatles put it on the cover of their “Abbey Road” album, the Abbey Road intersection is now quite busy and it is no longer easy to capture a picture of someone crossing it.
Bourbon Street: New Orleans, LA
It’s always fun to watch the live action on vibrant Bourbon Street. This cam also provides live sound. Don’tforget to come backon February 28 in 2017 for Mardi Gras!
Temple Bar: Dublin, Ireland
Located on a medieval cobblestone street, the Temple Bar pub in the Temple Bar district of town seems always to be busy. This webcam provides sound so you can sometimes also capture a bit of lively conversation.
Marienplatz: Munich, Germany
Pointed at the Marienplatz, in the pedestrian-only zone of the city’s historic heart, this still cam is refreshed periodically to reveal scenes throughout the day. Mobs gather at 11 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. to view the free glockenspiel show.
European roundabout: Purmerend, the Netherlands
I am crazy about European roundabouts. But be careful when viewing this simple traffic circle, because you can make yourself positively dizzy watching the cars whizzing in and out and around.
Table Mountain: Cape Town, South Africa
Looking out at Table Mountain, you’ll see Lion’s Head and Signal Hill peaks on the right and Devil’s Peak on the left. The “City Bowl” is just below and in front of the famous mountain.
Wailing Wall: Jerusalem, Israel
For centuries people have gathered at the Wailing Wall to place their prayer papers between the bricks in the Western Wall. Day and night it is a busy place, and this cam lets you hear sound.
Castaway Island: Fiji
I adore Fiji, and Castaway Island, a 174-acre private island that offers Fijian-style bure cottages with rustic thatched roofs, is one of my favorite spots. This webcam focused on the sand and beach helps ease the pain of not being there in person.
Gengda Wolong Nature Reserve: Szechwan Province, China
At the Gengda Wolong Nature Reserve in China’s Gengda Xingfu Valley, these giant pandas are fun to watch as they go about their daily activities–which quite often is all about eating bamboo.