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 January 23, 2021. Many are also available in other countries. Watch them while you can, because content disappears as licensing agreements expire.
Also, don’t miss my bonus list of travel documentaries on Amazon Prime.
Netflix Travel Documentaries
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.
Experiencing street food culture is one of the joys of travel. This mouth-watering docuseries travels to Latin America to meet the local stars of street food.
Countries: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia
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
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
Over the course of one memorable and adventure-filled year, German-born Felix Starck documents his 18,000-kilometer bicycle journey across 22 countries.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
This Oscar-winning documentary short takes us to rural India, where local women fight the stigma surrounding menstruation by manufacturing low-cost sanitary pads.
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
Note: No English subtitles available for YouTube trailer; click to watch subtitled trailer on Netflix
Warning: Don’t watch if you’re hungry. Explore the deeply complex histories of the world’s most beloved tacos in this love letter to the iconic handheld food.
Travel Documentaries on Amazon Prime
See below for some of the best travel documentaries on Amazon Prime Video. I’ve indicated whether each is free to Prime members or available for rental.
Note that these films may also be found at your local library.
Not a Prime member yet? Click here to start your free 30-day trial.
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.
Available for rental on Amazon Prime.
This inspiring documentary follows the record-breaking round-the-world voyage of Dutch teen Laura Dekker, youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.
Available for free to Prime members on Amazon Prime.
This beautifully filmed 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.
Available for rental on Amazon Prime.
Countries: Mexico, Chile
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