Bitten by the travel bug? These Netflix documentaries about travel will pacify your wanderlust between trips as you explore the world from the comfort of your couch.
Here are some of the best travel documentaries on Netflix streaming in the US as of November 2, 2020. Many are also available in other countries. Watch them while you can, because content disappears as licensing agreements expire.
Netflix Travel Documentaries
1. Dark Tourist (2018)
Netflix meets Vice in this travelogue by New Zealand filmmaker David Farrier, who sets his sights on the world of dark tourism.
From a nuclear lake to a haunted forest, he visits macabre — and sometimes dangerous — tourist destinations around the world.
3. Street Food: Asia (2019)
This inspiring series from the makers of Chef’s Table is as much about the compelling survival stories of these talented street chefs as it is about their signature dishes.
The first season takes the viewer to nine Asian destinations.
Countries: Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Vietnam
4. The Kindness Diaries
In this touching docuseries, Englishman Leon Logothetis travels from Alaska to Argentina in a vintage Volkswagen Beetle convertible. He relies only on the kindness of strangers for food, shelter, and gas, surprising unsuspecting good Samaritans with life-changing gifts.
Countries: Various in North and South America
5. Pedal the World (2015)
Over the course of one memorable and adventure-filled year, German-born Felix Starck documents his 18,000-kilometer bicycle journey across 22 countries.
6. Virunga (2014)
The Oscar-nominated heart-rending true story of the rangers risking their lives to save Africa’s most precious national park and its endangered gorillas.
7. Chef’s Table (2017)
Each episode of this Emmy-nominated docuseries visits a different international location for an in-depth interview with one of the world’s most renowned chefs.
Creator David Gelb also directed the critically acclaimed Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and the two productions share a similar emotional and artistic sensibility hallmarked by compelling narratives and mesmerizingly beautiful cinematography.
8. Magical Andes (2019)
No English subtitles available for trailer – but you don’t need them to admire the stunning photography
From Argentina to Colombia, this inspiring documentary follows five characters who share their deep connection to South America’s majestic mountains.
Countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia
9. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (2019)
Chef David Chang brings his trademark irreverent humor and curiosity to Vancouver, Marrakech, Los Angeles, and Phnom Penh as he explores the culture and food accompanied by various celebrity guests.
Countries: Canada, Morocco, US, Cambodia
10. The Trader (Sovdagari) (2018)
At only 23 minutes, this award-winning documentary short provides a fascinating and poignant window into impoverished rural life in post-Soviet Georgia. The camera follows a traveling trader as he sells secondhand goods in exchange for potatoes. Beautiful cinematography that captures the stark Georgian landscape.
11. Ugly Delicious (2018)
Smart-ass chef David Chang leads his buddies on a mouthwatering, cross-cultural hunt for the world’s most satisfying grub.
Each episode of this highly original show tackles a topic like tacos, pizza, or dumplings, examining its cultural and culinary history and visiting different countries to compare how it’s made.
Warning: Chang can be obnoxious, and racial and political commentary is liberally sprinkled throughout the show, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
12. Conan Without Borders (2018)
Late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien hits the road in this series that brings him and his sense of humor to far-flung destinations.
13. Period. End of Sentence. (2018)
This Oscar-winning documentary short takes us to rural India, where local women fight the stigma surrounding menstruation by manufacturing low-cost sanitary pads.
14. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (2018)
Based on Samin Nosrat’s best-selling book, this visually stunning series travels to the home kitchens of Italy, the southern islands of Japan, the heat of the Yucatán, and to Berkeley’s Chez Panisse.
Samin’s contagious laugh and genuine passion for cooking inspire as she explores the central principles of what makes food delicious.
Countries: Italy, Japan, Mexico, United States
Travel Documentaries on Netflix DVD and Amazon Prime
Subscribers to Netflix’s DVD service may be dwindling, but for movie buffs it remains a great way to access a large catalog of mostly older content. If you have a DVD subscription, don’t miss these documentaries on travel. They are also available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
Note that these films may also be found at your local library!
I hope you love my travel documentary recommendations! Just so you know, I may get a small commission from any purchases made using Amazon links on this page at no extra cost to you.
A Map for Saturday (2007)
Classic travel documentary that follows a variety of solo budget travelers — from teens to seniors — through 26 countries on four continents.
Young filmmaker Brook Silva-Braga trains his inquisitive lens on backpackers lending a hand to tsunami victims, trekkers forming brief but intense relationships, and fascinating moments of self-discovery and adventure.
Also available for rental on Amazon Prime Video.
This documentary follows the record-breaking round-the-world voyage of Dutch teen Laura Dekker, youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.
Now available for free to Prime members on Amazon Prime Video!
180° South (2010)
This docu follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey to Patagonia of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, legendary founders of The North Face and Patagonia sportswear and pioneering conservationists.
Along the way Johnson gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life, and attempts to climb a Patagonian peak.
Also available for rental on Amazon Prime Video.
Countries: Mexico, Chile
Have feedback on these or more Netflix travel documentary recommendations? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
All images © Netflix
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