Before-and-after photos show how the coronavirus has left the world’s biggest tourist attractions looking like ghost towns

Times Square in New York City.

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Times Square in New York City.
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Anadolu Agency/Getty
  • In the past few weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has quickly turned into a pandemic.
  • Whether they’re under a full lockdown or simply asked to self-isolate, people around the world are staying inside, leaving once bustling attractions eerily empty.
  • From the Louvre Museum in Paris to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, tourist attractions around the world have closed their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Billions of people are under lockdown, borders across the world are closing, nonessential businesses are shuttering, strict controls on public life are being enacted, and flights are being canceled left and right – the world has come to a temporary standstill.

As a result, tourism has been devastated, and once crowded attractions the world over are left eerily empty.

Keep scrolling to see before-and-after pictures of how some of the most visited tourist attractions have been left abandoned in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


BEFORE: The “Happiest Place on Earth” attracted crowds right up until its closing on March 15.

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Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
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Courtesy of BlogMickey.com

AFTER: March 16 became the first time all six Disney parks across the globe shut down, according to Vox.

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Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
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Gregg Newton/Reuters

Source: Vox


BEFORE: Rain or shine, hordes of tourists congregate to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London.

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Buckingham Palace.
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Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty

AFTER: Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a stay-at-home order on March 23. According to CNN, Britain hasn’t seen restrictions like this since the end of World War II.

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Dan Kitwood/Getty

Source: CNN


BEFORE: St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, is a tourist hot spot that sees 26 million to 30 million visitors annually.

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Manuel Silvestri/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


AFTER: The lockdown has rendered it a ghost town.

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Andrea Pattaro/Getty

BEFORE: The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s No. 1 attraction. The geothermal spa sees about 1.3 million visitors a year, per the BBC, even though Iceland has a population of only about 330,000.

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Roberto La Rosa/Shutterstock

Source: BBC


AFTER: The Blue Lagoon was open until March 23.

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Chloe Pantazi/Insider

BEFORE: The Eiffel Tower is normally bustling, with both locals lounging around it and tourists climbing up to its top. According to Tour Eiffel, it sees about 7 million visitors annually.

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Charles Platiau/Reuters

Source: Tour Eiffel


AFTER: The Eiffel Tower has closed indefinitely.

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Thomas Samson/Getty

BEFORE: The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy attracts throngs of tourists pretending to hold it up.

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Shutterstock

AFTER: The only people around the Leaning Tower during Italy’s lockdown are workers spraying disinfectant solutions around public spaces.

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Laura Lezza/Getty

BEFORE: Red Square in Moscow attracts tourists and visitors alike with its colorful Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

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NurPhoto/Getty

AFTER: According to Reuters, Moscow put special safety measures in place at tourist attractions and hotels as early as January 28.

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Gavriil Grigorov/Getty

Source: Reuters


BEFORE: Las Vegas sees about 42 million visitors a year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

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Shutterstock

Source: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority


AFTER: On March 17, the governor of Nevada ordered nonessential businesses to close for 30 days, leaving the Las Vegas Strip looking like a ghost town.


BEFORE: People love taking photos at the Spanish Steps in Rome.

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Kamira/Shutterstock

AFTER: Sixty million Italians are on lockdown in an effort to curb the coronavirus, leaving the UNESCO World Heritage Site unusually desolate.


BEFORE: Locals may avoid it, but New York City’s Times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions. It sees nearly 380,000 pedestrians every day, according to Times Square Monthly Pedestrian Count Reports.

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Getty/Alexander Spatari

Source: Times Square Monthly Pedestrian Count Reports


AFTER: New York City was on lockdown as of March 22.

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Anadolu Agency/Getty

BEFORE: The Forbidden City, a palace complex in Beijing, is one of China’s most visited attractions.

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Miles Astray/iStock

AFTER: It, along with many other Chinese attractions, closed to the public on January 25.

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testing/ Shutterstock

BEFORE: With about 750,000 daily visitors, Grand Central Terminal is usually one of the busiest spots in New York City.

Source: Grand Central Terminal


AFTER: As people self-isolate and work from home, few are using public transportation; ridership on commuter railways plummeted nearly 90%, per The New York Times.

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NurPhoto/Getty

Source: The New York Times


BEFORE: The Piazza del Duomo in Milan is one of the city’s top attractions.

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Getty/Oscar Gonzalez

AFTER: With Italy on lockdown, few venture outside. The Duomo closed its doors to visitors on February 25.

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Getty/Miguel Medina

BEFORE: San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the city’s busiest tourist areas.

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AsianDream/Getty

AFTER: But now few people leave the house after a three-week shelter-in-place order was imposed.


BEFORE: The Colosseum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sees about 7.4 million visitors a year, according to a local magazine.

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Alessandro Bianchi/ REUTERS

Source: Italiani


AFTER: Post-lockdown, it’s practically barren.


BEFORE: The Louvre Museum in Paris, home to the “Mona Lisa,” is the world’s most visited museum, according to Museums EU.

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Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock

Source: Museums EU


AFTER: The museum is closed until further notice.

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Ludovic Marin/Getty

BEFORE: When in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must-visit.

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Tupungato/Shutterstock

AFTER: Once Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order on March 19, the streets were left deserted.

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Rich Fury/Getty

BEFORE: Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

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Franco Origlia / Stringer

Source: CNN


AFTER: With Italy on lockdown, the Vatican remains empty.

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Reuters

BEFORE: For most visitors (and many locals) no trip to New York is complete without catching a Broadway show.

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Atlantide Phototravel/Getty

AFTER: To curb the coronavirus, theaters closed their doors, suspending all plays and musicals, on March 12.

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Cindy Ord/Getty