The Best Travel Shows and Documentaries on Netflix

You may not be able to travel (or even leave the neighborhood right now), but that doesn’t mean you can’t live vicariously through other people or start planning your next journey.

Get inspired by the best travel shows and adventure documentaries streaming on Netflix right now. After you view stunning panoramic shots of the United States’ National Parks, entrees from far-off countries, and feats of human bravery, you might just feel a little bit better about being inside.

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: 20
Total Seasons: 3
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 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 highlight 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
Total Seasons: 1
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
Total Seasons: 3
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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Mountain

Speaking of climbing — why do people even commit themselves to this sport? Isn’t a bit odd that we consider scaling mountains a recreational activity? Humanity’s urge to explore the highest reaches of Earth is discussed in the aptly named Mountain. Director Jennifer Peedam and photographer/mountaineer Renan Ozturk showcase the most astonishing peaks and valleys to the soundtrack that is Willem Dafoe reading from Mountains of the Mind by Robert Macfarlane. The documentary is more experiential than educational, but inspirational nonetheless.

Total Length: 73 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.2

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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
Total Seasons: 3
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
Total Seasons: 1
IMDb Rating: 8.1

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Footprints: The Path of Your Life

Speaking of long distances — the Camino de Santiago is a famous hiking and backpacking route in Spain. This documentary follows several folks who answer the call to take the trip together.

Total Length: 89 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.2

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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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The Free Man

When you’re bored of the thrills of freestyle skiing, I guess it’s natural to move on to hovering on a rope hundreds of feet in the air. The Free Man follows Jossi Wells, an Olympic freestyle skier, as he learns everything he can about a new extreme sports obsession: highlining, aka slacklining, which is essentially tightrope-walking at steep heights.

Total Length: 84 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.1

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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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