17 Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix (2020)

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 July 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)

Dark Tourist | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

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.

Countries: Various

2. Street Food: Latin America (2020)

Street Food: Latin America | Official Trailer | Netflix

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

3. Street Food: Asia (2019)

Street Food | Official Trailer | Netflix

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

The Kindness Diaries Season 2 - Now Airing on BYUTV & Streaming on Netflix

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)

Pedal The World / An Adventure Around The World On A Bike

Over the course of one memorable and adventure-filled year, German-born Felix Starck documents his 18,000-kilometer bicycle journey across 22 countries.

Countries: Various

6. Virunga (2014)

Virunga Official Trailer 1 (2014) - Netflix Documentary HD

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.

Country: Congo

7. Chef’s Table (2017)

Chef's Table | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

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.

Countries: Various

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. Tokyo Idols (2017)

TOKYO IDOLS Trailer- Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Fascinating and sometimes creepy look at the bizarre world of teen idols in Japan and their fanatical middle-aged devotees.

Reveals how otaku (pop culture geeks) choose the escapist fantasy provided by these budding starlets, some as young as 10, over relationships with real women.

Country: Japan

10. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (2019)

Travel the World With David Chang | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Trailer | Netflix

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

11. The Trader (Sovdagari) (2018)

The Trader (Sovdagari) | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

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.

Country: Georgia

12. Ugly Delicious (2018)

Ugly Delicious | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

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.

Countries: Various

13. Christiane Amanpour: Sex & Love Around the World (2018)

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour shines a light on what sex and love look like in Tokyo, Delhi, Beirut, Berlin, Accra, and Shanghai, with a focus on women and marginalized communities.

Countries: Japan, India, Lebanon, Germany, Ghana, China

14. Conan Without Borders (2018)

"Conan Without Borders: Made In Mexico" Cold Open

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.

Countries: Various

15. Period. End of Sentence. (2018)

Period. End of Sentence Official Trailer 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.

Country: India

16. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (2018)

Salt Fat Acid Heat | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

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

17. Taco Chronicles (2019)

Las Crónicas del Taco | Tráiler Oficial | Netflix

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.

Country: Mexico

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)

A MAP FOR SATURDAY trailer

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.

Countries: Various

Maidentrip (2013)

Maidentrip (2014) Official Trailer - Laura Dekker - Dir. Jillian Schlesinger

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!

Countries: Various

180° South (2010)

180 South - Official Movie Trailer 2010 [HD]

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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