The world is vast and beautiful, but not everyone can afford to explore it.
Luckily, Google Maps is dedicated to bringing its users to every corner of the earth. What started in 2007 as a van taking pictures of streets in five cities has evolved into a huge endeavour that spans all seven continents, over 65 countries, and more than 7 million miles.
Using everything from cars to snowmobiles, bikes, dogsleds, and even a
40-pound, 15-lens camera attached to a backpack, Google continues to map our planet. And during that quest, it’s captured some truly unbelievable sights.
We scoured the Google Street View website to see some of the most beautiful places that have ever been captured.
Keep scrolling to see the 23 most beautiful pictures you can find on Google Street View.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is easily the most breathtaking mosque in the world. The ornate building is huge and can hold 40,000 worshippers.
A Google camera captured Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. You can see how low visibility is in Loch Ness because of its high peat concentration.
Wilson Island is one of the most gorgeous places in the Great Barrier Reef. This Google shot of the island's sunset is spectacular.
Ilulissat Saavat in Greenland has some incredible icebergs off its coast. To get this shot, the Google Street View camera went on a small barge.
The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in France is unforgettable, but why go to Paris when you can see it on Google Street View?
If you do a Google Street View of Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, you might happen upon this extreme climber.
The Strada Provinciale in Italy wraps around the beautiful Lago di Vernago, which is a deep azure blue. The alpacas grazing on the side of the road are also adorable.
Sagrada Familia is perhaps Barcelona's most famous church. The foundation stone was laid 100 years ago, its Spanish architect and designer Antoni Gaudi died 90 years ago, and yet there remains decades left of construction. Still, the inside of the church is otherworldly.
Found in the Meemu Atoll, the Muli Kandu in the Maldives is filled with fish and is a breeding ground for turtles. The water is very clear, making it perfect for divers.
Jasovská Cave is in the Slovak Karst in Slovakia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Google Street View lets you walk around the whole cave.
Off the Shirakawa Highway in Japan is the historic village of Shirakawa-go. The picturesque scenery and the Gassho-style houses make this location a must-see.
The Cape Royds in Antarctica are specially protected because of the Adélie Penguin Rookery. While you might not get to visit them in person, you can see the penguins up close on Google Street View.
The so-called Maple Corridor in Japan's Minamitsuru District transforms into every autumn lover's dream in the fall. It's right on Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji is photogenically in the background.
At the bottom of Mount Everest is the 'Yak Parking Lot' near the Mount Everest documentation center. It's just one of the many locations that Google Street View shot of the communities surrounding the mountain.
Stonehenge in the United Kingdom is one of our modern society's greatest mysteries. If you can't make it over to England, you can explore the entire prehistoric monument on Google Street View.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was founded in the 14th Century and is located outside of Moscow.
The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is the United States's 15th oldest national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you don't feel like hiking down into the mountain, Google did it for you.
The German cargo ship SS Antilla sank off the coast of Aruba in 1940, but you can still visit its shipwreck. It's a popular attraction for scuba divers as well as marine wildlife.
Google Street View lets you explore Italy's Venice Canals in boats that go up and down the river. Here it's about to pass under the Rialto Bridge, one of the oldest bridges spanning the canal.
One Trekker saw the Northern Lights from Pitkäjärvi lake in Finland. It's a long lake with almost no dwellings, making it seem entirely reclusive.
Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The archaeological spot is actually the remains of two different capital cities of the Khmer Empire from the 9th and 15 centuries.
The colourful Pena National Palace in Portugal was built in the 19th Century. The palace is situated on a high rock and has amazing views of the surrounding park land.
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