The Best Travel Shows and Documentaries on Netflix

Travel isn’t really an option right now, assuming you’re American. We know. We hate it, too. We’d much prefer to be hitting the road or getting on a plane to see some new exotic locale. But that’s just not the reality that we live in at present. We can, though, temporarily satisfy our craving for traveling by living vicariously through the best travel shows on Netflix.

After you view stunning panoramic shots of the United States’ National Parks, entrees from far-off places, and feats of human bravery, you might just feel a little bit better about being stuck inside.

Down to Earth with Zac Efron

If you’re looking for a new travel show to binge, Down to Earth is exactly what you need. Zac Efron travels around the world with wellness expert Darin Olien to highlight different sustainable ways of living. By shining a light on solutions to problems rather than the problems themselves, this docuseries has an overall positive message. And Zac’s bro-like presence only makes it more enjoyable.

Total Episodes: 8
IMDb Rating: 8.2

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The Chef Show

This wonderful show all began during the filming of Favreau’s hit movie, Chef. Roy Choi had been brought on as a consultant for the film and the two ended up bonding over the cooking process. Throughout the series, the lighthearted duo travels around the country cooking with celebrities and famous chefs. They also showcase a variety of delicious recipes, taking you step-by-step through the process along the way. The Chef Show is also one of our top picks for the best cooking shows on Netflix right now.

Total Episodes: 25
IMDb Rating: 8.2

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Street Food

This Netflix series from the creators of Chef’s Table will explore a different region each season. We start off on the streets of much of Asia — Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and more — to see the carts, stalls, and markets that folks visit on the go, in the middle of the night, or even every day. Unlike other food shows, Street Food spends each episode highlighting the intense personal connection between the meals and the people who make them. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds, then pretend you can smell all the smells.

Total Episodes: 9
IMDb Rating: 8.0

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Tales by Light

All of the most potent documentary films, in-depth magazine features, and stirring non-fiction works have someone to thank: The person behind the camera. Photographers are often left out of the spotlight because they’re too busy searching for the next perfect shot (and, you know, taking it). Tales By Light, which began as a short series from Canon and evolved into a partnership with National Geographic, introduces you to one amazing photographer in each episode and takes you along his or her next journey to capture elusive wildlife, unique communities, and heartfelt themes. The almost metaphysical look through the lens at another person looking through a lens encourages you to see the subject matter in a slightly different light (no pun on the show name intended).

Total Episodes: 18
IMDb Rating: 8.3

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The Dawn Wall

El Capitan in Yosemite is one of the most famous climbing destinations and the Dawn Wall, so named because it is the first thing in the valley to be illuminated in the morning, had never been free-climbed (the act of using equipment only to protect from falls, not to assist in climbing) until Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgensen took it on. The documentary explains the years of training and each climber’s motivation for attempting the world-record climb.

Total Length: 100 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.1

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Dark Tourist

Cults, rituals, gangs, warzones, crime scenes, and ancient ruins. In this documentary, our host, David Farrier, travels the world in search of the dark, the devious, and the dastardly. Unlike the other features in this list, this series will show a whole new side of tourism, where the darkest sides of humanity are shown all around the world.

Total Episodes: 8
IMDb Rating: 7.5

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National Parks Adventure

The year 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Parks Service, a federal program that has saved such treasures as Yellowstone and Yosemite for public use. National Parks Adventure, an ambitious documentary from filmmaker Greg MacGillivray and narrated by the one-and-only Robert Redford, explores the history and modern landscape of America’s precious natural assets. Artist Rachel Pohl, mountaineer Conrad Anker, and photographer Max Lowe lead the journey on camera from glaciers in Montana to the spectacle of Utah’s natural arches. Warning: This film will trigger severe travel envy, which can only be treated by planning your own trip to a national park.

Total Length: 42 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.2

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Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father

Would you travel through foreign countries with your dad? Comedian Jake Whitehall drags his father, Michael, around on unlikely adventures that force them both out of their comfort zones. Their difference in tastes causes some interesting (and often funny) disagreements. For example: One of them wants to stay in a hostel. The other wants to stay in a five-star hotel. Who do you think wins?

Total Episodes: 13
IMDb Rating: 7.7

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Lorena, Light-Footed Woman

Ultrarunners and marathoners are notoriously gear-obsessed. Who doesn’t want the latest technology in shoes, clothes, and snacks? Lorena Ramírez bucks that trend completely. The Mexican native competes in her indigenous garb: sandals and skirts.

Total length: 28 minutes

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The Kindness Diaries

If you’re in dire need of something wholesome and inspiring right now, The Kindness Diaries is here to deliver that warm fuzzy feeling you crave. This docuseries follows host Leon Logothetis as he travels the world with only an old motorbike and the kindness of strangers.

Total Episodes: 13
IMDb Rating: 8.1

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Pedal the World

What’s more intense than spending an entire year cycling across 22 different countries? Filming yourself while you’re doing it. Felix Starck’s self-produced documentary of his journey will have you itching to try something similar.

Total Length: 84 minutes
IMDb Rating: 5.1

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Don’t Crack Under Pressure

If you consider yourself a thrill-seeker, check out this documentary following a handful of athletes from around the world. Your definition of thrill may be changed as these travelers risk their lives for it by dodging avalanches, free-diving with sharks, and surfing inches above a razor sharp coral reef. Don’t Crack Under Pressure II and Don’t Crack Under Pressure III can also be found on Netflix, where the death-defying never ends.

Total Length: 94 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.5

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If you like all kinds of docs, we’ve got you covered (or maybe you’re just really into crime docs and action flicks). Our brother site, Digital Trends, also has an overall guide on the best Netflix movies and shows.

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