Maybe you’ve caught the travel bug. Maybe you have returned home from a big trip abroad and are wondering where to go next. Or maybe you’re an aspirational traveler who partakes in wanderlust, but from the comfort of your own sofa.
No matter what your motivations are, Netflix has you covered. In this article we list the best travel documentaries you can watch on Netflix right now. All of which are guaranteed to make you long for a week experiencing new sights and sounds.
What is life’s purpose? To be happy? But how? In Expedition Happiness, a couple tries to find out. What is happiness after all? Is happiness a wedding? A loft overlooking a great view of the city’s chaos? A monotonous routine just to maintain a healthy bank balance?
After all, what is the point of living if you do not break the routine. Sit back and stream the Alaskan mountains to the Mexican beaches with the “Loft on Wheels” created by Mogli and Felix with their dog Rudi. Let your soul travel as these three try to figure out what happiness is.
Get to know the ups and downs of executing a moving residence, to make happiness out of an old school bus.
From genre-defining sketch comedy to drama, Stephen Fry has done it all (including providing the narration for some of the best audiobooks to listen to). In this documentary he packed himself into his trademark London black cab for a drive through America.
Along with the signature sense of humor, you also get to see a new side of Stephen Fry. The genuine curiosity that oozes out of every encounter Stephen has in the United States.
The main question on his mind? How is every American state united and how are they all different from one another? Hop into the black cab and let Stephen explain it all.
This is hands down the most fun I’ve had watching a food and travel documentary. The way that Phil approaches new food, new places, and new people is a breath of fresh air.
He’ll take you to places you never thought of. Places you’ll end up adding to your bucket list. Here’s a glimpse into what I ended up adding to my list: coffee in Vietnam, vegetarian food in Israel, dragon fruit in Thailand, and hot dogs in Copenhagen, to name a few.
As Phil says, “If you like a dish, go to the source.” Get delighted, get amused, get amazed and definitely get hungry while somebody feeds Phil.
4. Dark Tourist
Not all travel has to be about the beautiful and the serene. If you’re in the market for a slightly twisted travel story, Dark Tourist is for you. David Farrier, a New Zealand based filmmaker and journalist travels around the world looking for unusual and often morbid tourist spots across the world.
This documentary explores a new phenomenon called Dark Tourism. This is where tourists intentionally travel to places associated with death and destruction. A war-torn country? Sure. A dangerous border crossing? Why not. A quick trip around radioactive environments? Don’t mind if I do.
The U.S. National Parks Service is more than a 100 years old. That’s more than a century of protecting natural wilderness in the United States.
This breathtaking documentary by filmmaker Greg MacGillivray will make you want to go visit a national park right away. Between the beautiful montages is a story of three artists as they revisit Roosevelt and Muir’s camping trip, where the Parks Service began.
6. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown [No Longer Available]
Anthony Bourdain revolutionized the food and travel documentary genre. And Parts Unknown is his magnum opus. Living life on the edge can be dangerous and one is not always willing to take that risk, yet some risks are worth taking in the name of food.
Ever had a food bucket list to fulfill? Then get into this ride along with Anthony Bourdain who takes you to the parts unknown just to eat. And maybe fall in love. With the food, the people, or life itself.
Eat hungrily and happily with Bourdain with a seemingly innumerable amount of delicacies that the world has to offer. Experience meal after meal from various countries as well as their political issues, while Bourdain feasts on food of all kinds.
Father-son bonding is a different experience for everyone. When comedian Jack Whitehall was young, he and his father Michael never really had that.
Now, Whitehall wants to bring that spark back by taking a gap year and traveling with his father. Watch as this comedian trades the stand-up stage (the best stand-up comedy specials on Netflix) for a tuk-tuk in Thailand.
What better way to spend time with your parent than by going on a trip. But what happens when you have a slightly grumpy father and you are the overly energetic one? Quite a blast, actually, Watch as this father-son team gets into accidents, goes to odd places, and attempts to open up to one another.
8. The Moaning of Life [No Longer Available]
In this poignant series, Karl Pilkington takes on the herculean task of figuring out life itself and if he’s cut out for it, now that he’s turning 40.
Experience the reality of life itself with Karl as he tries to contemplate things he has never really given a second thought. Like the need for love, the secret of happiness, and, at the end, death itself.
There are questions about life itself, like why to get married, why to have children, or why do we need to travel? All with a dash of that infamous British humor.
Who’s really in charge? Nature or humans? The answer may lay under an arctic sky.
Everyone takes meticulously planned trips, but have you ever felt adventurous enough to venture out into the storm and travel on? In this monumental documentary, photographer Chris Bukard and filmmaker Ben Weiland beautifully capture the wrath and serenity of nature.
With freezing temperatures, brutal storms, and three hours of daylight, Iceland is far from being the perfect surf trip. Set out with a brave crew to explore the unknown islands of the north in the midst of the worst storm the country has experience in the past 25 years.
10. Planet Earth II
Planet Earth II in 4K is a breathtaking look at the world we live in.
Experience our own planet all over again with the epic camerawork and cinematography. Live that experience in high definition, as we encounter the wildlife, flora, and fauna with which we coexist.
This documentary series reveals a different perspective of Earth, not only through marvelous cinematography but also with the understanding of nature.
Keep Going With Food Documentaries on Netflix
Travel and food go hand in hand. But what if you’re more of a foodie than a traveler? Now that you know what travel documentaries you should be watching on Netflix why not check out the best documentaries about food. The stories covered come from a pastry chef in New York and a Sushi chef in Japan, amongst others.