We all love to travel. Some of us travel to gather new experiences, some to learn new things, some to try new adventures, and some just to relax and unwind. But, the fact is we can’t travel as much as we want to because of work, family, and other obligations.
What do we do then?
Well, we look for sources of travel inspiration.
We search for inspiring travel quotes, we read travel books, or we watch travel movies, or we watch travel shows…anything that inspires our wanderlust.
That’s how we escape to far off places from the comfort of our homes. We, vicariously live out our travel dreams. Thanks to the digital world we Iive in today.
The real game-changer in the travel TV genre has to be Netflix. It’s home to some amazing travel shows. With hundreds of travel shows to choose from on Netflix, you can see the different parts of the world without ever leaving your couch or bed.
However, with so many diverse options, it can be quite overwhelming to pick the perfect travel show or documentary. We’re here to help.
Best Travel Shows on Netflix
Here’s an ultimate list of best travel shows on Netflix recommended by travel experts for you all travelers out there to binge on. So, what are you waiting for? Pick the travel show you want to see, pack your bags…ummm…grab a bag of popcorn, settle on your couch, and hit the on-button of the remote.
#1 Travels with My Father
3 seasons, 13 episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
Sean from LivingOutLau says, “My favorite travel series on Netflix has to be Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father.“
A travel documentary comedy that follows the journey of a twenty-something-year-old son and a close to 80-year-old father, Travels With My Father is both culturally enriching and hilarious. The son, Jack Whitehall, takes his posh father, Michael Whitehall, on a popular backpacking gap-year route across Southeast Asia, where their contrasting personalities create a fun dynamic for the audience.
If you ever wanted to see the results of a high-class elder man from the UK staying in a hostel, then you must not miss the show. The father’s disconnect on many of the latest travel news and trends creates some of the hilarious moments in the show, such as when he chats up with a very nice lady that turned out to be “ladyboy” in Thailand.
Currently, there is a total of 3 seasons of Travels With My Father on Netflix. Season 1 features travel adventures in Southeast Asia, season 2 in Eastern Europe, and season 3 in the United States.
Whichever season you pick, just be ready to laugh until your stomach hurts!
#2 Moving Art
3 seasons, 19 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Tanayesh from Shoestring Travel asserts that Moving Art has to be one of the most relaxing shows on Netflix. I watch it to unwind with a glass of wine at the end of the day.
Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg is a documentary exclusively on nature like deserts, forests, oceans, wildlife, and many more with soothing music playing over top.
The movie provides a pensive tour witnessing the world and as it is without narration, you can actually feel the sounds of nature at large. The amazing shots which are tactfully edited with the cinematography are just breathtaking! Once you sit to watch the movie, you will absolutely be glued in it and would definitely love to watch it often.
Moving Art is my all-time favorite – whether I can travel or I can’t I satisfy my desire to travel by watching this exotic nature movie. For me, it’s a spiritual experience as I watch nature’s beauty sitting at home experiencing her beauty in different ways. Not to forget this movie also heals my mind and body and gives me the utmost pleasure.
This gorgeous series answered an unspoken desire to have a nature film without the spoken word. The desire is so strong that I have to watch it daily. And not it one film but four! These films are meant to be enjoyed and in the end, you will have a relaxed body, peaceful mind and you will embrace positivity and forget all negativity.
There is not an iota of mediocrity in these works. And I will be able to view them over and over. Thank you, Louis Schwartzberg. By following your bliss, you have given it to others. Lovely contribution to the planet.
#3 Our Planet
1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 9.3/10
Cassie from Cassie the Hag believes that Our Planet, a documentary series on Netflix, is a travel show hoping to help us connect better with our home.
Narrated by Britain’s favorite national treasure David Attenborough, the show focuses on the conservation issues we – and our planet – now face due to the dire human impact on the environment.
Viewers are invited to enjoy stunning nature shots of frozen worlds to deserts, jungles to the high seas, and close-ups of animals in their natural habitats…while being gently reminded of our responsibility as global citizens. It is this perspective that makes me believe Our Planet is a must-see.
Travel lovers will be inspired by the beautiful landscapes of Russia, Chile, South Georgia, Madagascar, and many more. Although I’ve already enjoyed an amazing holiday in Indonesia, it definitely made me long to go back to see the orangutans of Sumatra and coral reefs of Raja Ampat – known as one of the best diving regions in the world.
The beauty of Earth’s natural ecosystem shines while the focus shifts to the rich but fragile biodiversity. We are reminded that South Georgia may look stunning – and the penguins are totally cute – but the melting ice caps could change Earth dramatically and doom the animals who live there.
Our Planet is not all doom and gloom, mind. In the Serengeti, Tanzania, we see messages of sadness and hope – both hippos crammed into small areas of the Great Ruaha River due to the human water industry – but also witness shots of wild dogs who have back from local extinction.
You’ll start watching Our Planet for the outdoors inspiration but leave it wanting to take better care of our home.
#4 Dark Tourist
1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 7.6/10
Dave from davechant.com recommends his favorite travel show on Netflix – Dark Tourist.
Dark tourism is loosely defined as travel to areas where death, disaster, or atrocity are an integral part of the experience. People have for many years been visiting Chernobyl or Auschwitz but there’s a growing desire for the macabre and sinister that coined this travel term in the early twenty-first century.
In 2018 comes the Netflix documentary Dark Tourist, starring the journalist David Farrier. He’s been described as the poor man’s Louis Theroux, but there’s something amiable and naïve about his bumbling narrative and efforts to understand dark tourism that makes him watchable in a slightly Karl Pilkington way.
To date, there has been 1 season with 8 episodes broadcast. Highlights include David heading to Mexico City and witnessing both an exorcism and learning about a community who worship the “death saint” and visiting the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster site in Japan (Episode 1 and 2 respectively.)
In Episode 6 he has a dilemma involving a bazooka and a cow in Cambodia and goes to a mummified corpse ritual in Indonesia. The most bizarre section has to come in the last episode where he visits a haunted house attraction in Tennessee lasting 8 hours where people are literally tortured physically and psychologically.
Suffice to say no-one has made it completely through the 8 hours without issuing their safe word. Sometimes Dark Tourist is a little hit and miss – naturally, you’ll gravitate to certain “experiences” over others. However, easy watching at times this is not, and you may not love it, but you’ll find yourself mesmerized as to what’s going to happen next.
#5 Street Food
1 season, 9 episodes | IMDb: 8.0/10
Emily from Wander-Lush says, “If you’re a fan of the popular TV show Chef’s Table, you’ll be pleased to know the Netflix travel series Street Food is created by the same team.”
This time around, they’re not chronicling Michelin-starred celebrity chefs – instead, they’re paying tribute to the often overlooked and unsung heroes of the street food world.
Season one takes a deep dive into 9 cities in Asia, including Seoul, Delhi, and Saigon. Food is, of course, the star, but each episode also paints a picture of the location. One thing I love about this show is how succinct it is. Each 30-minute episode follows three or four individual protagonists, humanizing the food from the very beginning.
From the daily rituals of a Yogyakarta dessert vendor, as she wakes up at dawn to lovingly prepare her sweet treats, to the trials and tribulations of a busy Bangkok street chef, each episode is a window onto someone’s world and is totally immersive. Beyond the food they cook, the show explores each person’s backstory, narrated by them in their native language through interviews.
The women and men who star in Street Food are champions of their communities. At times, the show zooms out to illustrate how critical street food culture is to the fabric of society in their respective countries. Each episode is packed with practical tips for foodie travelers, too.
I started watching it when I was planning a trip to Vietnam and ended up pinning all the locations on Google Maps so I could visit them myself!
There’s currently only one season of Street Food available on Netflix, but a second one is in the pipeline.
#6 Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyan
2 seasons, 35 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
Even though it is a culinary show, but it travels across India showcasing the history, tradition related to the cuisine. It is said that the place, its weather, food that grows there has a very important influence in developing the cuisine of that region. The series name literally means ‘King, Kitchens and their stories’ and delves into each state’s history.
Visiting the royal palaces and their royal kitchens, roaming the streets to understand where and how it originated keeps you engrossed. There are some interesting stories about how some ingredients originally from different countries traveled across continents and now are an integral part of Indian cuisine.
India has a history that dates back centuries and it’s evident in food as well. In one of the episodes, they even shared the scripts of recipes written on leaves by the chef of a king.
A culinary trip to India would be incomplete without visiting the places where it originated. Travel is an experience not only about visiting a place but a lot with knowing the culture, history, and food of the area. And this series for sure will fulfill it completely. The bold voice that weaves stories through beautiful locations and aromatic cuisines is another highlight of the series.
We started watching as a family and our kids even joined us and took an equal interest.
The first season had 11 episodes of 1 hour that traversed food of some major states of India like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Kashmir, Kerala, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh.
Season 2 had 24 episodes but the duration was 30 minutes.
#7 Ugly Delicious
2 seasons, 12 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
Daisy from Oman Travel Guides thinks, for those that love to travel, one of the best (and only) things to do during this period of self-isolation is to travel vicariously through others. One such way to do so is by learning different cultures and customs through a good Netflix series. And what better series is there than a cooking show produced by award-winning chef David Chang? (Hint: Almost none.)
Ugly Delicious is a Netflix show that follows David and a few of his colleagues around the world in a quest to better understand various dishes and meals. It explores the local history and culture through dish-specific travels. It is both informative and humorous, which is great for those that are looking for something more light-hearted but educational.
Each episode dives into the specifics of a dish and explores its variations in different countries, as well as how it evolved with the cultural-specificities of the region. Be it the concept of fried chicken, pizza, or tacos, David Chang is able to capture the intricacy and complexity that is often overlooked by others. He and his team have traveled to Japan, Naples, and more to further research the numerous factors that contribute to a dish that is similar in concept, but different in taste.
Ugly Delicious is an excellent show in that it not only looks at the food but also brings to light critical sociocultural issues that are found within each dish. It does a beautiful job of connecting the dots between different cuisines and people and makes us think more carefully about the various elements behind the things we consume each day.
#8 Somebody Feed Phil
2 seasons, 12 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Veronika from Travel Geekery says, “When it comes to traveling at home, or rather just inducing that travel feeling, travel food shows are a great option, even though you cannot eat what the people on your TV screen do. I’ve enjoyed watching both seasons of Somebody Feed Phil and am looking forward to season 3 coming out at the end of May 2020.”
Philip Rosenthal, the “Phil” in the show, is a well-known name in the US Entertainment Industry. He produced the popular sitcom ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ in the ’90s. It went on for 9 seasons!
So nowadays in his current show, which he produces and stars at, Phil travels the world in search of the delicious. And man, does he like food! From New Orleans to Bangkok, Phil seeks out local foodie spots from both expats and locals and stuffs himself till full.
The most unique feature of the show is how funny, or rather goofy, Phil is. He is a comical character, makes amusing or embarrassing jokes, dances, sings… He really puts himself out there. He also hasn’t hesitated to bring the whole family into the TV Show.
He skypes his parents in every episode, updating them on his whereabouts and the local food. His brother is the cameraman and sometimes interacts with Phil. His wife and kids once joined him for a big part of an episode on Copenhagen.
The lighthearted travel/food documentary serves as a great inspiration for future trips. We knew what delicious things to expect in Ho Chi Minh City after watching Phil’s show. We even rewatched it once there to make sure we don’t miss out on any of the local specialties.
#9 Tales by Light
3 seasons, 15 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Jeff from Life Of Y recalls, “when I was growing up, I dreamed of becoming a travel photographer. What could be better than traveling the world and doing what you love the most? Sometimes we forget why we fell in love with a particular passion or hobby. Maybe jobs, bills, and other things get in the way. Then, one day, something comes along from the professionals you had admired as a child…”
Tales By Light is a visually stunning documentary series created by National Geographic and Canon Australia. The show follows professional photographers as they explore various lands, pushing the limits of their abilities, in an attempt to show us our world in ways we’ve never seen before.
Each episode is a visual journey as the photographers tell us their vision of the perfect image and what the project means to them. From marine photography in Papua New Guinea to photographing religious festivals in the Himalayas, we experience every joy and every challenging moment through their eyes!
Nearly everybody thinks they can be a photographer, or an Instagrammer, these days but this show will make you think long and hard about what it really takes to be in the profession. It will also make you want to take your photography, and even your traveling and adventuring, to a whole new level.
The great thing about Tales By Light is that it’s not aimed at just photographers. Anyone with an interest in travel, nature, culture, or even just life, in general, will enjoy this. I highly recommend this show, not just for the spectacular cinematography, but as a great source of inspiration as well.
#10 The Kindness Diaries
2 seasons, 26 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Lara from Both Feet On The Road feels, The Kindness Diaries is an incredibly inspiring documentary travel show on Netflix. I absolutely love this series and I recommend every travel lover to watch it.
But what makes this travel show so inspiring?
The series follows a man named Leon Logothetis (former broker) who travels the world with no money. In season one he travels with a vintage motorcycle and completely depends on the kindness of strangers for fuel, a place to sleep, and eat!
In season two he starts in Alaska with a vintage Beetle and drives all the way to the tip of Argentina, still solely relying on people’s kindness. Unfortunately, season 1 is no longer available on Netflix, but season 2 still is.
In return for people’s kindness, Leon helps them realize their dreams. For example, by paying for education and a home for a homeless man, paying for healthcare, helping stray dogs, or building schools. Each time a stranger offers him a place to sleep or eat, he offers them something in return.
Before you watch, I have to give you a heads up. The first time I watched the show I thought it was scripted and perhaps a bit over the top. But I urge you to keep watching, it’s not fake and the more you watch it, the better it gets. Even if it’s partly scripted, the kindness of strangers is real and from the heart.
It’s heartwarming to see how far he gets and how helpful humankind can be. If you have ever lost all trust in our kind, you should watch this show! Leon’s goal is to show the world the power of human connection and that’s exactly the power of this show.
And of course, the fact that you get to travel around the world virtually.
#11 Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
1 season, 4 episodes | IMDb: 6.7/10
Lee from The Travel Scribes elucidates, If you like Ugly Delicious, you’ll love David Chang’s later foray into food and travel: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. This four-part limited series is a frothy, definitely, funny take on celebrity interviews as each episode sees Chang hang out with one of his famous buddies in different cities around the world, literally eating his way through the three square meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The series is interesting in that you don’t only explore the gastronomic culture and best eats of the city in question, but you get under the skin of these famous personalities while taking in the sights and sounds of the country. Almost a fusion of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Anthony Bourdain-Esque shows, it’s a must-watch for anyone who loves food and famous people, in that order.
Take, for example, the first episode. Actor and funnyman Seth Rogen takes Chang through his paces in Vancouver, Canada. It’s Rogen’s hometown so he easily showcases the best it has to offer: everything from Chinese-inspired dim sum to sugary doughnuts as they laugh the day away.
Episode two changes pace as model and Twitter royalty, Chrissy Teigen, leads him through the maze-like warren of Marrakesh as they feast on lamb tagines, while the third installment has Chang in Los Angeles as Lena Waithe from Master of None plies him with potatoes, crayfish and even the food of a retro bowling alley.
Topped off by episode four, featuring comedian Kate McKinnon in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where the two explore the city together as first-time visitors.
As diverse as it is dynamic, Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner is an exploration of different cultures and destinations through the universal language of food. Undoubtedly binge-watching (and eating) fodder to whet your travel appetite!
#12 Conan Without Borders
1 season, 6 episodes
Based on the adventures of Conan O’Brien, a late-night talk show, Conan Without Borders is a fresh take on travel, cultures, and people.
For this show, Conan traveled to a myriad of locations including Cuba, Israel, Haiti, Korea, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and Germany. The stuff he does in one country has nothing to do with another country, which keeps the content in mint condition.
For instance, while in Japan, Conan decided to rent a fake family once he heard about Japan’s crisis of loneliness, and the service to rent families. In Germany, he visited the nude beaches and met up with a dominatrix. In Cuba, he did a rum tour. In South Korea, he joined The Wonder Girls, Korean pop star J.Y. Park, and TWICE for a K-POP music video.
For Ghana, Conan joined comedian Sam Richardson and met the locals to observe the Year of Return, a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the transatlantic slave trade, and learned the local customs and language.
In Haiti, he made fun of the president Trump with locals. What I love the most about Conan Without Borders is the way he brings in his far-flung humor to make a fool of himself. In all these countries where he doesn’t speak their language, he still manages to make people laugh and keep it fun.
But once you start looking beyond the humor, you also see his sensitive side when he is talking to people about turmoil, genocides, and economic issues- without ever making a joke.
Deb from The Visa Project has been following the show since it started and she recommends it to anyone. It’s different from most travel shows you have ever seen.
6 seasons, 68 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
Outlander combines drama, romance, and a sense of wanderlust all in one. From the opening theme song to the stunning images of Scotland, viewers are transported to another land (and other time).
The show is based on a multi-part book series by American author Diana Gabaldon, and incredibly, the story-telling and visuals do the novels justice. While the start of the show lands viewers after the end of World War II, much of the action throughout the series takes place in the late 1700s Scotland and, in later seasons, France and the Americas.
Outlander has a great mix of adventure and anticipation for what happens next coupled with actual historical events. I learned a ton about Scottish history while watching the show, as I was checking facts about events and people while I watched.
The emotion brought forth by the telling of these events brings to life historically significant periods of time, including the Battle of Culloden. Not only this, but the sense of longing, loss, love, anger, and any emotion you can imagine is also portrayed beautifully by its main actors.
Outlander even inspired Christa from Expedition Wildlife to travel to the Scottish Highlands to visit some of the featured sites!
Incredibly, Scottish family names from the show can be seen on memorial stones placed in the Culloden Battlefield Memorial site, and the hills of Glencoe featured in many scenes can be explored. Now, whenever I hear that opening song, I think of Scotland and its magical lands.
#14 Carmen Sandiego
2 seasons, 19 episodes | IMDb: 7.9/10
Tiffany from Mommy And Me Travels loves finding travel shows to inspire children to get excited about traveling. She says, our family’s absolute favorite on Netflix is Carman Sandiego. The show uses a catchphrase of ‘Where in the World is Carman Sandiego?’.
My kids love trying to guess where Carman will end up before it is revealed in each episode. This show is about a strong female lead, Carman, and how she uses her expert acquired skills of theft to steal back items from her rivals before the items can be used against the world.
Carman is not alone in her adventures. An expert team joins her along the way and in her ear is her sidekick ‘Player.’ The player guides Carman though all of the obstacles that she will encounter as she makes her way through cities. Make discovering the world with Carman a weekly activity for you and your family.
#15 Master of None
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Megan from Peter Pan Traveler says, “One of my favorite travel shows on Netflix is Master of None season 2. Not only is it a great travel show by making you want to pack your bag and move to Italy, but it can also help to mend a broken heart.”
The main character is faced with an unfortunate break-up. Rather than being sad and depressed about his situation, he decides to fulfill a life long dream of learning how to make fresh pasta in Italy. This show is not only great for travelers, foodies, or anyone going through a break-up, but it is also a great encouragement to get out there and follow your dreams.
It will make you want to book a one-way ticket to Italy and eat your heart out. It is a great travel show to watch while you plan your next trip. Also great for anyone learning or wanting to learn Italian, as a part of the show is filmed in Italian.
Out of all the great travel shows Netflix has to offer this is by far one of my favorites. There is something just so unique and funny about it that makes you want to watch it over and over again.
#16 Roman Empire
3 seasons, 15 episodes | IMDb: 6.9/10
Matt of It’s All in Italy has watched an amazing 3 part documentary series on Netflix called the ‘Roman Empire’ which he absolutely loved it.
Roman Empire is a historical drama about events in Ancient Rome. The 3 part series centers not just about Rome but takes you to various parts of the Roman Republic, which later became the Roman Empire, including places like Gaul (modern-day France), Greece, and Egypt.
Each of the 3 documentary series focuses on an important figure in Ancient Roman History including Emperor Commodus, Julius Caesar, and Emperor Caligula, and offers a fascinating insight into their character and the challenges they faced up to and during their rule as Emperor.
It’s an intriguing series for not just history buffs, but for anyone who has traveled to or is planning on traveling to Italy as it puts the city of Rome and the country of Italy in the entire new light. It will inspire you to visit historical sites in Rome and perhaps further afield to the Island of Capri, which was the home of Emperor Tiberius prior to being succeeded by Emperor Caligula.
You’re sure to experience a range of emotions as you watch the series as you’re exposed to the savagery and opulence of the life and times of leaders and Emperors in Ancient Rome. It’s 5-stars from me 🙂
So, how many of these travel shows on Netflix have you watched? Which one would you want to add to your Netflix queue? Is your favorite travel show included in the list? If not, tell us about it in the comments section.
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