The 10 Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix
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 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 (or two) experiencing new sights and sounds.
What is life’s purpose ? To be happy, sure, 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, and to turn an old school bus into happiness.
2. Street Food
Combining travel with food, this documentary series from the creators of Chef’s table will probably leave you hungry after a few episodes. The first season concentrates on Asia, visiting Bangkok, Osaka, and Seoul, among other destinations.
The theme tying all of these locales together is, as you probably guessed from the name, the street food you can find there. While the focus is often on the food itself, the show also focuses on the local heroes who create it.
This is hands down the most fun you’ll have 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. After watching this 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 of the best travel documentaries have 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 US National Parks Service is more than 100 years old. That’s more than a century of protecting natural wildernesses 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.
Some titles are artistic, hinting at a deeper meaning. Others are starkly literal. Pedal the World belongs in the second group. Why? This is a documentary following one man’s trip around the world by bicycle.
That man is Felix Starck, who also happens to be the director of Expedition Happiness. If you enjoyed that documentary, you’ll likely enjoy this one as well. Keep in mind that this is an earlier effort, so it may be a little rough around the edges compared to the newer movie.
This is a must watch for bicycle enthusiasts and anyone obsessed with world travel.
Father-son bonding is a different experience for everyone. When comedian Jack Whitehall was young, he and his father Michael never really bonded.
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 (see 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.
For most people, where you travel is the important part. For others, it’s how you get there that matters. Car enthusiasts definitely fall into the latter group. If you count yourself among them, Paul Hollywood’s Big Continental Road Trip should be next up in your Netflix queue.
This documentary follows the actor, baker, and part-time racing driver across a large swathe of Europe. The series sees Hollywood visit Italy, Germany, and France. In each hour-long episode, he chronicles the cars and culture of a given country.
If you’re a fan of cars as well as the Great British Baking Show, don’t miss this one.
Feeling contemplative? Are you looking for a documentary that features breathtaking locations but takes a slower, more meditative approach? Mountain could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Directed and produced by Jennifer Peedom, Mountain explores peaks around the world. Willem Dafoe narrates the film, occasionally reading passages from Robert Macfarlane’s Mountains of the Mind.
Much like that book, the film examines the human fascination with mountains. Even if you never visit a mountain in your life, this film will give you a greater appreciation of them.
10. Night on Earth
Whether you’re a night owl or you’re afraid of the dark, night can a fascinating time. Night on Earth is a documentary in the style of Planet Earth that focuses on what happens at night across the world. Thanks to new camera technology, this is the best look at night you’ve probably ever seen.
Each episode has its own focus. The first episode follows predators and their prey, while other episodes touch on nighttime in the ocean or even cities. One episode even takes you behind the scenes to see how the crew captures such amazing footage.
Keep Going With Food Documentaries on Netflix
Travel and food often go hand in hand. But what if you’re more of a foodie than a traveler? Now that you know about the best travel documentaries to watch on Netflix why not check out the best documentaries about food .