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Travel Inspiration

50 Best Travel Shows and Movies on Netflix (Updated Monthly)

Don’t forget to bookmark this page as I’m updating it monthly with new travel shows, documentaries, and movies I find!

It’s looking more and more like the pandemic is almost over and hopefully, we can start traveling again like we used to!

What we can all probably agree on is that one of the best ways to travel the world without actually traveling is through tv shows, movies, and documentaries. 

I know at least for me, I’ve watched an incredible amount of content on Netflix to satisfy my wanderlust during this pandemic.

Here is my collection of the best travel shows, movies, and documentaries on Netflix that I’ve watched so far with some help from Tom’s brother too who’s a Netflix connoisseur! 

Make sure to bookmark this page as I plan to update it every month with my new favorite shows and movies!

1. My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher is my favorite documentary film that I’ve ever watched. The film tells the story of a deep and unusual friendship that is formed between the filmmaker Craig Foster and a common octopus in a kelp forest at False Bay which is near Cape Town, South Africa. 

The film follows Craig as he discovers the common octopus for the first time and revisits her every day to see what happens. After that first encounter onwards, you could say that both their lives have changed. 

From the octopus’s point of view, she gains something interesting and new to stimulate her complex mind. On the other hand from Craig’s perspective, he’s truly found a friend who is teaching him about how incredible the natural world is. 

Location: South Africa

Why It’s a Must Watch: From a person who knew nothing about octopus before watching this film, it was incredible to see how smart of animals they are. The film proved to me that we humans have much more in common with the animal world than we think.

Type: Documentary Film

2. Our Planet

Our Planet is a nature documentary series narrated by the familiar voice of David Attenborough and was created by the same people who made Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, and the Blue Planet. 

Each episode in the 8 part series is focused on a specific habitat and the animals who call these places home. The journeys you’ll be taken on include joining a family of lowland gorillas as they explore the lush rainforest of the Congo in Africa to a huge pod of panicking dolphins as they are hunted by False killer whales in the high seas.

What’s unique about this nature documentary series is that each episode is categorized by habitat which allows them to focus on the human impact we have in each respective habitat. 

For example, did you know that because more and more natural grasslands are being used for farming, it’s causing wild animals to look for food and shelter closer to humans? This is leading to more conflict between humans and wild animals in these environments.

Location: Over 50 countries included in the show

Why It’s a Must Watch: It’s one of the most beautiful nature documentary series with an even more powerful message.

Seasons: 1

Type: Travel nature documentary series

3. Life in Color – David Attenborough

Life in Color with David Attenborough is a shorter 3 part nature documentary series that dives into how the animal world uses color in their everyday lives. What’s cool about this series is that they utilize new camera technology which allows us to see the world from the animal’s perspective.

For example in one scene from episode 1, David Attenborough takes us to the fiddler crabs who call the mudflats in Western Australia home. What makes these fiddler crabs unique is that they use polarized light to help them see further into the distance than what they normally can. 

By using a special camera that shows the contrast between polarized and unpolarized light, we’re able to see why this would help the fiddler crabs survive.

Location: all over the world

Why It’s a Must Watch: By focusing on color in the animal kingdom it gives you an even greater perspective on how complicated the natural world is. 

Seasons: 1

Type: Travel nature documentary series

4. David Attenborough – A Life on our Planet

David Attenborough – A Life on Our Planet is what David Attenborough calls his “witness statement” about the environment. 

It’s a good documentary film to watch along with Our Planet and Life in Color as it delves into the topic of human impact on the environment which was touched on in the other two documentary series. 

In this documentary, David Attenborough takes you on a journey through his entire 60-year career as a naturalist as he describes the destruction of the environment caused by humans he has seen first hand. 

Some parts of the documentary may seem extreme, but, the overall message is one of hope. 

Location: All around the world

Why It’s a Must Watch: David Attenborough has probably seen more amazing things in the world than any other human. So, his opinion about the current decline of the natural world at the hands of humans is one to trust and learn from. 

Type: Documentary film

5. High on the Hog – How African American Cuisine Changed America

High on the Hog is a documentary series that is based on the book by Jessica B. Harris by the same name. It gives you an incredible and powerful insight into African American food in America and how “Black food is American food”.

What makes this food-centric documentary series stand out from other documentary series is that it’s not afraid to explore the dark history of slavery in the United States and the world.

The series starts with a bang as you follow the host of the show Stephen Satterfield to Benin, a French-speaking country in West Africa. Here, he meets up with Jessica B. Harris who not only shows him the origin of common ingredients used in African American food but also explores the history of the country as a source of enslaved people to the rest of the world.

Location: Benin, USA

Why It’s a Must Watch: This is the first documentary series to dive into the dark history of African American food in the United States and why it’s such an important part of our culture.

Season: 1

Type: Food centric documentary series

6. Chef’s Table

For all of you foodies, Chef’s Table is a must-watch series that gives you an inside look into the lives and kitchens of some of the most famous chefs in the world.

What makes this documentary series noteworthy is its storytelling and cinematography. Each episode is focused on a single chef and you explore the philosophies they work and live by and how they became who they are. 

By the end of each episode, you’ll not only dream of eating at each restaurant featured, but you’ll also gain a deeper appreciation of how hard it is to be a top chef. The cinematography work is beautiful and the kitchen is turned into a work of art.

Location: all over the world

Why It’s a Must Watch: This series is a collection of bucket-list-worthy restaurants that will inspire you to travel the world to try out the food yourself.

Seasons: 6

Type: Food centric documentary series

7. The Dawn Wall

The Dawn Wall is a rock climbing documentary film about Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson’s epic adventure to be the first people to free climb the Dawn Wall route on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. 

As you follow along on their crazy climb, the film does a great job of going beyond just the climb itself to share intimate backstories of Caldwell and Jorgenson’s life and motivations for taking on this challenge.

If you’re a fan of Free Solo, the pulse-pounding, sweaty hand inducing documentary film starring Alex Honnold then you’ll feel right at home with The Dawn Wall. 

Movie Note: For those of you that are not too familiar with rock climbing terminology, a free climb means any style of climbing that does not use climbing aids such as skyhooks or ladders. Climbers who are free climbing still use harnesses and ropes for safety, which is different from free soloing which means to climb without any safety equipment or aids.

Location: Yosemite National Park

Why It’s a Must Watch: What makes this documentary film special is that other than the breathtaking story of the climb itself, the film also digs deeper into Tommy Cadwell’s past (including being taken hostage by militant rebels in the mountains of Kyrgystan). 

Type: Documentary film

8. Dark Tourist

Dark Tourist is a travel documentary all about dark tourism hot spots around the world. 

If you’ve never heard of dark tourism before, it’s to travel to locations that are connected to death or disaster. 

In each episode, journalist David Farrier takes you on a journey to a specific region of the world to take a closer look at popular dark tourism sites in that region. Overall, he is the perfect host for the show and not only tells the story of the people but is respectful of their unique cultural practices.

Throughout the 8 part first season, you’ll be brought to lesser-known dark tourism sites such as the Jeffrey Dahmer tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to more popular sites such as Fukushima in Japan. Overall, there is a diverse range of locations covered and you will learn something new by the end of each episode.

Location: Colombia, Mexico, Japan, USA, Kazakhstan, Europe, Cambodia, South Africa

Why It’s a Must Watch: Most tourists are looking to visit popular tourist attractions, pristine beaches, and relaxing getaways. This makes sense. However, by learning about dark tourism destinations, you’ll get a better understanding of the world you live in, and who knows, you might have an inner dark tourist!

Type: Travel documentary series

9. Rilakkuma and Kaoru

This may look like a kid show at first glance, but give it a chance and you’ll find that this adorable stop motion animation series is filled with mini life lessons that are highly relatable.

It follows the daily life of a young businesswoman and her lazy but cute bear roommate, Rilakkuma, and his two friends Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori. 

It’s such a sweet and wholesome show that visually delights with fine details and introduces a lot of motifs or Japanese culture.

Location: Japan

Why It’s a Must Watch: Firstly, no one can resist the cuteness of a giant toy bear. Secondly, each episode is a highly digestible “slice of life” with wholesome little moments and brings nostalgic feelings with its intricate and detailed stop motion animation. Not to mention a lot of the set is very reminiscent of Kyoto and Osaka if you’ve ever wanted to visit those cities!

Seasons: 1 on Netflix. Season 2 is in the works

Type: Stop motion animated series

10. Somebody Feed Phil

In this food-centric travel documentary, you join Phil Rosenthal (who is most well known as the executive producer of the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond) as he eats his way around the world.

In a single season, you’ll spend time in Singapore learning about what Peranakan food is then jet off to eat barbeque in the Mississippi Delta. One unique aspect of the show is that Phil calls his parents in each episode to share what he has done in a given location. It can be a little cheesy at times, but it’s sweet how he involves his parents in his travels.

Somebody Feed Phil is a more lighthearted and casual travel show, especially when compared to a series like High on the Hog. 

If you’re looking to learn insightful information about different cultures around the world, this isn’t the best show. However, if you just want to relax and veg out to a tour of yummy food from around the world, this is a good series to get into.

Location: Thailand, Vietnam, Israel, Portugal, USA, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Argentina, Denmark, South Africa, Morocco, United Kingdom, Korea, Canada, Brazil, Singapore

Why It’s a Must Watch: A fun casual documentary series that has a diverse selection of foodie cities around the world.

Seasons: 4

Type: Food centric documentary series

11. Seaspiracy

Seaspiracy is a documentary film that explores the huge impact the commercial fishing industry has had on our oceans. It concludes in shocking and eye-opening detail how fishing is the biggest threat to marine life and how the concept of sustainable fishing is not possible. 

Location: worldwide

Why It’s a Must Watch: Most of us buy fish from the grocery store without thinking twice about it. Even though this documentary can be extreme at times, it still teaches us an important lesson about our ocean ecosystem and why we have to care about what we eat.

Type: Documentary film

12. The Crown

The crown is an extraordinarily produced biographical drama that follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II from just before her wedding to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 to the end of 1990 when Margaret Thatcher resigns.

What I like most about this series so far is how much attention to detail is put into every character, their costumes, and the set design. When you watch the show, it feels like you’re transported into the life of royals in England

As a reminder, this isn’t a documentary. Since it’s a fiction drama, the show isn’t able to include all historical events and does deviate from historical fact once in a while for the sake of the story.

With that said, many of the storylines and facts are based on historical events and still makes for a fun way to learn about history 🙂

Location: United Kingdom

Why It’s a Must Watch: Arguably one of the best-produced shows on Netflix that will have you dreaming of a trip to England!

Seasons: 4

Type: Historical drama series

13. Twogether

Twogether is a Korean travel documentary about South Korean star Lee Seung-gi and Taiwanese star Jasper Liu as travel through Asia together for the first time to meet their fans. 

Overall, it’s a fun, cute show that doesn’t get too deep into any subject and is a good series to watch if you’re thinking of traveling to Asia or are already fans of Asian reality shows. 

With that said, if you’ve never watched an Asian reality show before, get ready for some fun cheesy gimmicks or two 🙂

Location: Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal

Why It’s a Must Watch: A fun travel documentary that introduces you to two of the biggest stars in the Asian entertainment industry.

Seasons: 2

Type: Travel documentary series

14. Sky Ladder – The Art of Cai Guo Qiang

Sky Ladder is a mesmerizing documentary about the Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang. 

In the film, you’re introduced to the art that Cai creates, his story, and his most personal work Sky Ladder which is a 1,650-foot tall ladder of fireworks floated into the sky by balloons.

Location: China

Why It’s a Must Watch: Sky Ladder is a heartfelt and inspirational documentary film that introduces you to an artist most westerners have not heard about.

Type: Documentary film

15. The Chef Show

The Chef Show is a unique food-centric documentary series hosted by Jon Favreau and Roy Choi that is inspired by Jon Favreau’s movie Chef. One of the main reasons why I like this food travel show more than others is because of the relationship between Favreau and Roy and the passion they bring to cooking.

In each episode, they feature a special culinary guest and then create recipes inspired by their time with them. The show is fun and casual and it’s inspiring to see how good of a chef Jon Favreau is even though he is known for his movie directing.

Location: United States

Why It’s a Must Watch: This series will inspire you to get in the kitchen to cook up a dish or two and to travel to the foodie locations featured in the show. 

Seasons: 2

Type: Food centric documentary series

16. Street Food

Street Food is brought to us by the creators of Chef’s Table so you know you’re in for a storytelling and cinematography feast. Having studied and lived in Taipei, Taiwan, and eating street food weekly, it was cool to see an episode dedicated to street food in Taiwan!

What makes the Street Food series stand out is that instead of focusing on high-end restaurants and world-renowned chefs, each episode focuses on telling the story of street food vendors and the delicious dishes they create. 

There is one season dedicated to street food in Latin America and one season for street food in Asia.

Location: Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia

Why It’s a Must Watch: Eating street food is one of the best ways to experience a culture. It’s refreshing to see a show dedicated to the stories of street food vendors versus fancy high-end restaurants that aren’t accessible for most people.

Seasons: 2, 1 season is dedicated to Asia, 1 season is dedicated to Latin America

Type: Food centric documentary series

17. Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders is a gritty historical drama about the Shelby crime family and their ambitions of creating an empire set in early 1900s Birmingham, England just after the end of the First World War.

I’m a huge fan of historical dramas and Peaky Blinders does a stunning job of recreating early 1900s England. 

If you’re in the mood to be transported back in time to see what life in England might have been like as a crime lord or if you’re planning to travel there soon, this could be a great series to binge-watch.

Location: United Kingdom

Why It’s a Must Watch: Other than just being plain entertaining and thrilling to watch, the series explores deeper topics such as the psychological and economic tolls war had.

Seasons: 5

Type: Historical drama series

18. Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories

Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories centers around the stories of people who visit a small 12 seat Izakaya which is open from midnight to 7 am daily. 

Each episode is focused on a specific Japanese dish such as omelet rice or Tonteki that is usually also the favorite dish of the person who the episode revolves around. At first, the series appears to be a documentary, but it’s a collection of relatable human stories that are all fiction. 

It’s a slower-paced show that is a great choice if you love Japanese food and culture or plan to visit soon.

Location: Tokyo

Why It’s a Must Watch: A unique hidden gem of a show that connects related human stories in a poetic way to food. A must-watch if you love Japanese food or are visiting soon.

Seasons: 2 on Netflix

Type: Japanese anthology series series

19. The White Tiger

White Tiger is a movie drama adapted from the book of the same name by Indian author Aravind Adiga. 

The movie based in Delhi, India is about the epic journey and story of a poor young driver who climbs his way out of poverty to the top of the social ladder. 

Location: Delhi, India

Why It’s a Must Watch: The movie shows the dark realities of the social class system in India and is a window into the hectic city of Delhi.

Type: Drama film

20. Lupin

Lupin is a French mystery drama tv show that is based on the popular book series Arsène Lupin
A Gentlemen Thief and Master of Disguise. 

The show follows the tribulations of Assane Diop who is on a mission to get revenge on the Pellegrini family as they had framed his dad for stealing a necklace when Assane was a little kid. 

Other than being taken on a thrilling and entertaining journey into the world of Assane, the series also shows off the beauty of Paris. 

Location: Mainly in Paris, France

Why It’s a Must Watch: A thrilling ride through Paris will inspire you to add this romantic city to your bucket list. 

Seasons: 2

Type: French mystery drama series

21. Money Heist

Money Heist is a Spanish crime drama series that follows a group of smart criminals who are brought together and led by a criminal mastermind named the Professor. 

It’s an edgier and sexier version of Oceans 11 and follows a similar story flow. In the first 2 seasons (which many people agree are the best) you join the group as they meticulously plan out and execute the robbery of 2.4 billion euros worth of untraceable notes from the Royal Mint of Spain. 

Location: Mainly Madrid, Spain

Why It’s a Must Watch: A sexy crime thriller that will make you want to visit Madrid to follow in the footsteps of the Professor.

Seasons: 4

Type: Spanish crime drama series

22. Sacred Games

Sacred Games is an Indian crime drama series based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 novel of the same name. 

The series follows Sartaj Singh, a cop who works in Mumbai as he attempts to track down and figure out a threat from the criminal mastermind Ganesh Gaitonde that Mumbai will be attacked in 25 days.

What’s refreshing about Sacred Games is that it’s unlike any western crime drama I’ve watched. 

This might be because it’s an Indian production, but I found my favorite parts to be the flashback scenes between modern-day India and Gaitonde’s stories of his criminal career which shows off India in the past.

The city of Mumbai plays a big part and watching this series has only made me want to visit India more.

Location: Mumbai, India

Why It’s a Must Watch: Not only is the series thrilling, but it will expose you to Indian entertainment and two of India’s biggest stars. To get the best experience, I suggest watching the series in Hindi!

Seasons: 2

Type: Indian crime drama series

23. Kingdom

Kingdom is a South Korean zombie horror-thriller set in 16th century ancient Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. 

What makes this series unique is that it’s equal parts a gory thriller and political drama. Additionally, even though the series was released in January 2019, it ominously predicted how the United States and many other countries in the world would mishandle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Kingdom, you follow Crown Prince Lee Chang as he fights political corruption and a new disease spreading throughout the land that is resurrecting the dead.

Location: South Korea

Why It’s a Must Watch: A very well-written zombie horror series that will not only introduce you to ancient Korea but also tells a story that’s relevant to these post-pandemic times.

Seasons: 2

Type: Korea historical horror thriller drama series

24. Cuba and the Cameraman

Cuba and the Cameraman is a documentary film put together from over 50 years of footage captured by filmmaker Jon Alpert who spent most of his adult life filming the country.

At the heart of the documentary are the stories of ordinary people and their lives under Fidel Castro’s dictatorship as Alpert visits them each time he returns to the country.

Location: Cuba

Why It’s a Must Watch: It’s a heartfelt documentary that tells the story of a country we still know little about.

Type: Documentary film

25. Alice in Borderland

This is a suspense-thriller drama series based on the manga of the same name by Haro Aso.

It takes place in a dystopian abandoned Tokyo where “players” are forced to play dangerous games in order to stay alive. It’s cool to see the city of Tokyo in this setting and how they utilize popular landmarks, such as Shibuya Crossing, where a large portion of the series takes place.

Location: Japan with many scenes in Tokyo

Why It’s a Must Watch: If you liked the book and movie Ready Player One, then this series is very reminiscent of some of the aspects found in Ready Player One with similarities in the games and the blending of reality with the virtual world, but in a more intense way. It’s also been compared to Battle Royale with its use of graphic violence and visuals, so it’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but has been applauded for its visuals, cinematography, and editing.

Seasons: 1. Season 2 announced

Type: Japanese sci-fi suspense drama series

26. The Naked Director

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. This historical biography series is about the porn industry in Japan so if you’re picking a show to watch with your kids, your parents or don’t want to see nudity in the show you’re watching, one of the other shows on this list is probably a better choice.

The Naked Director is a fictionalized biography of Toru Muranishi’s story of how he went from door to door encyclopedia salesman to be known as the Emperor of Porn in Japan.

Location: Japan

Why It’s a Must Watch: Although this show might not be for everyone, it tells the story of a person most people have not heard of before and does a spectacular job of transporting you to 1980s Japan.

Seasons: 2

Type: Japanese historical biography fiction series

27. Rise of Empires: Ottoman

Rise of Empires: Ottoman is a National Geographic style historical documentary drama that illustrates the historical events which led to the fall of Constantinople and the rise of the Ottoman empire.

It’s a mixture between a traditional documentary and historical drama with interviews with historians providing the backstory and historically accurate recreations providing a visual illustration of what the events might have been like.

Overall, this is a fun documentary series to learn more about the history of Istanbul and could be especially relevant if you’re planning a trip there.

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Why It’s a Must Watch: There can’t be a more entertaining way to learn about the important historical events that took place in Turkey!

Seasons: 1

Type: Turkish historical documentary drama

28. Magical Andes

This documentary series brings you on a beautiful journey to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia as you meet travelers from all over the world who have experienced the magic of the Andes Mountains.

Other than showing you the natural beauty you can find in these countries, what makes this documentary series special are the human stories it tells. 

If you have always wanted to visit this part of the world or are just curious about South America, this is a great series to watch!

Location: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia

Why It’s a Must Watch: The natural world is truly something special. This documentary series not only shows off the beauty of the landscapes in these countries but also illustrates the special connection humans have with it.

Seasons: 2

Type: Documentary series

29. Little Things

Little Things is a Netflix romantic comedy-drama that follows the relationship between Dhruv and Kavya, two twenty-somethings living together in Mumbai. 

What I like about the show is how relatable it is. 

Even though Dhruv and Kavya live in Mumbai, I found them talking and arguing about mundane things like what to do for dinner, FOMO, or stress at work that most millennials have probably experienced too. 

The show also digs deeper into more difficult topics too such as aging parents, the stresses of long-distance relationships, and marriage.

Location: Mumbai, India

Why It’s a Must Watch: Although the series doesn’t have epic panoramas of the city or highlight popular tourist attractions, it does a great job of realistically portraying life as a millennial in India. Most importantly, Little Things illustrates that we’re all much more similar than we think.

Seasons: 3

Type: Indian romantic comedy series

30. Fresh, Fried, and Crispy

Fresh, Fried, and Crispy is a food documentary series that is hosted by Daym Drops, the popular YouTube star. In the series, you follow Daym as he travels to all corners of the United States to taste the best-fried food dishes.

The fried food dishes in the show all look mouth-wateringly delicious and I like how it highlights restaurants in cities you normally would not be aware of.

Fresh, Fried, and Crispy is a food documentary series that is hosted by Daym Drops, the popular YouTube star. In the series, you follow Daym as he travels to all corners of the United States to taste the best-fried food dishes.

The fried food dishes in the show all look mouth-wateringly delicious and I like how it highlights restaurants in cities you normally would not be aware of. 

Location: United States

Why It’s a Must Watch: Surprisingly this show got pretty bad reviews across the board. However, I still think it’s worth a watch especially if you’re a fan of fried foods or want some travel inspiration for the United States.

Seasons: 1

Type: Food centric documentary series

31. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

This documentary features Samin Nosrat and is based on her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. In this 4 episode series, you travel with Samin to Italy, Japan, Mexico, and California as she explores how these 4 key elements in cooking are used throughout the world and why they are key to making yummy food. 

During each episode, she also cooks up a unique feast using what she has learned from her travels.

Location: Italy, Japan, Mexico, United States

Why It’s a Must Watch: This series will inspire your inner travel foodie and will teach you why you shouldn’t take common ingredients such as salt for granted.

Seasons: 1

Type: Food centric documentary series

32. Flavorful Origins

Even if you think you know what Chinese food is, you likely don’t. 

China is a huge country and the food culture found in different regions are uniquely distinct from each other. For example, did you know that Gansu Province dishes mainly revolve around beef and mutton versus the more natural and light flavors found in the Chaoshan region (think dim sum)? 

Flavorful Origins is split up into 3 different seasons and each season is dedicated to a different region of China. 

What’s cool about this food series is that every episode is dedicated to a specific ingredient or dish from the region so you get a farm-to-table look into how a unique dish is prepared. 

Being Chinese (my family is originally from Shanghai), I’m still surprised by how many different dishes I’ve yet to try that were featured in this show. 

Location: Gansu, Chaoshan, and Yunnan provinces of China

Why It’s a Must Watch: This show is a great introduction to what Chinese food really is.

Seasons: 3 with each season based in a different province

Type: Food centric documentary series

33. Handsome Siblings

Here’s one for all of you Chinese drama lovers! Even though the name is slightly off-putting at first, Handsome Siblings is definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of Chinese martial arts movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Ip Man.

This epic saga spanning 44 episodes follows the tale of two brothers who are separated at birth and raised by rival martial arts masters. 

They eventually find each other and become friends without the knowledge that they are brothers. However, they will eventually have to fight each other to the death at some point in the future.

Location: China

Why It’s a Must Watch: An epically shot series with crazy characters that introduce you to Chinese culture and exhibits the beautiful landscapes of China

Seasons: 1

Type: Chinese martial arts drama series

34. Home for Christmas

This romantic comedy series from Norway tells a relatable story about society and family pressures as a single woman in their 30s. Home for Christmas tells the story of Johanne, who has lied about being in a relationship to her family because of all the constant questions. 

Now she has to find a date to bring to her family’s Christmas dinner in only 24 days.

Location: Norway

Why It’s a Must Watch: This comedy series is not only funny and relatable, but it’s also one of the only shows about life in Norway.

Seasons: 2

Type: Norwegian romantic comedy series

35. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a clever and funny coming-of-age story about a troubled kid finding himself and becoming friends with a grumpy foster dad hunter in the epic wilderness of New Zealand.

It’s a quirky, offbeat, endearing, and well-acted comedy that will be very familiar to you if you’re a fan of Takia Waititi’s work.

Location: New Zealand

Why It’s a Must Watch: Other than being a surprisingly hilarious film, the movie also features expansive helicopter shots of the New Zealand landscape that will inspire you to travel there and explore yourself.

Type: Comedy-drama film

36. Katla

Katla is an Icelandic sci-fi drama thriller series based in Vik, Iceland that takes inspiration from the rugged landscape of Iceland. 

Having visited Vik before, the stunning shots of the diverse Icelandic landscapes in the series remind me why I still remember my trip to Vik so fondly.

The series is about the mysterious events that happen with the nearby Katla volcano which has been erupting for a whole year. 

Even with the constant eruptions, the people of Vik are still trying to live as normal of a life as possible. However, mysteries soon begin to emerge, and a young woman suddenly appears from the ashes after being missing for an entire year.

Location: Iceland

Why It’s a Must Watch: The story is a unique take on a sci-fi thriller and showcases the beautiful landscapes found in Southern Iceland.

Seasons: 1

Type: Icelandic Drama Thriller

37. Cable Girls

This unique series was the first Spanish original series produced by Netflix and transports you back to 1920s Madrid, Spain. 

Cable Girls tells the story of four young professional women who start to work for an innovative and modern telecommunications company that opens business in 1928. 

What makes this series notable is that it allows you to understand the lives of professional working women in the 1920s and the challenges they faced as society at that time believed women should only be housewives. 

Location: Madrid, Spain

Why It’s a Must Watch: Not only does this series beautifully recreate 1920s Madrid, Spain, but it also dives into important topics such as gender equality, love, workplace discrimination, and domestic abuse.

Seasons: 4 and final season is split into 2 parts

Type: Spanish historical drama series

38. J-Style Trip

In this show, the Taiwanese star Jay Chou takes you on trips around the world with a group of friends. It’s a fun and casual show that unfortunately doesn’t dive too deep about the countries they visit. However, if you’re a fan of Asian TV shows or Jay Chou, this is a series to check out.

Location: France, Singapore, Taiwan, Austria, Australia, China, Japan, Cuba

Why It’s a Must Watch: Jay Chou is one of the biggest celebrities in Asia. This series is a nice introduction to Jay Chou, other Asian celebrities, as well as the pop culture in the region. 

Seasons: 1

Type: Travel documentary series

39. Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father

This travel documentary series follows comedian Jack Whitehall as he takes his father Michael Whitehall on 4 different epic adventures. In each season Jack and his father travel to a new region including Southeast Asia, Europe, United States, and Australia.

What makes this travel show so funny and unique is how different Jack is from his father. 

Jack being a comedian is funny, relaxed, and casual. On the other hand, his father is stuffy and proper. This contrast makes the uncomfortable situations they get into during their travels cringe at times but overall, very funny 🙂

Location: around the world

Why It’s a Must Watch: A relatable show about the relationship with your parents and a good inspiration for different trips around the world.

Seasons: 4

Type: travel documentary series

40. Medici

This historical drama tells the story of the powerful Medici family in 15th century Italy. The 3 season-long series takes place over 20 years of the Medici family’s dynasty and was filmed in over 300 locations in Tuscany.

The show is a balanced mix of history and drama and will have you dreaming of a trip to Italy.

Location: Italy

Why It’s a Must Watch: Although the Medici series is not 100% historically accurate, it’s a beautifully produced show that will transport you to 15th century Italy.

Seasons: 3

Type: Historical drama series

41. Emily in Paris

Emily in Paris is a romantic comedy series that follows Emily as she lands her dream job in Paris and glamorizes what life could be like if you moved to Paris for work.

Although the show can be very cheesy and cliche at times, the city itself plays a living breathing character and will inspire you to take a trip to the City of Lights yourself.

Location: Paris, France

Why It’s a Must Watch: This is a guilty pleasure of a show that doesn’t offer much substance, but it will inspire you to take a trip to Paris!

Seasons: 1

Type: Romantic comedy series

42. Love & Anarchy

Love & Anarchy is a binge-worthy Swedish romantic comedy series set in Stockholm, Sweden. 

The show follows Sofie, a career-driven married woman with two kids who starts a new job at Lund Publishing company. Soon after she starts her new job, she starts up a flirtatious relationship with the IT engineer at the company named Max.

The series doesn’t bring any crazy original ideas to the table. However, it’s a guilty pleasure type of show to end the day with and is an illustration of what life is like in Stockholm.

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Why It’s a Must Watch: A guilty pleasure of a binge-watch that portrays life working in Stockholm, Sweden.

Seasons: 1

Type: Swedish romantic comedy series

43. Love Alarm

Love Alarm is a Korean romantic drama with a unique twist on the online dating scene. The show is based on a dating app called Love Alarm that alerts people in your vicinity if you like them or not.

At first, the premise of the show might be tacky, but it works and if you’re already a fan of K-dramas you’ll be sure to fall in love with Love Alarm. 

Plus, as with many other K-dramas that take place in Seoul, it provides a good introduction to what visiting Seoul might be like.

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Why It’s a Must Watch: Not only does this series give you a unique sci-fi, Black Mirror-esque twist to the online dating scene, but it’s also a great inspiration for why you should travel to Seoul and South Korea.

Seasons: 2

Type: Korean romantic drama series

44. Little Miss Sumo

Little Miss Sumo is a 19-minute short film with a much bigger story and message. 

The film tells the story of  Hiyori as she tries to climb her way up in the mysterious world of sumo wrestling even though women are not allowed to compete professionally in Japan.

You soon find out that in addition to being a talented sumo wrestler, Hiyori is studying gender theory at university and her goal is to use her platform to inspire change in not only the sport of sumo but in society as well.

Location: Japan

Why It’s a Must Watch: It’s an inspiring short film that not only teaches you about the unique tradition of sumo wrestling but also tells an important message. Plus, it’s only 19 minutes long so is easily watched.

Type: Documentary film

45. Barbarians

Barbarians is a gritty historical drama that is based on the events leading up to Batte of the Teutoburg Forest and tells the story of Germanic tribes in 9 CE that fight back against their Roman conquerors. 

It’s not the most obvious “travel” show, but if you’re a fan of other historical dramas like Vikings and Medici, or just want to learn more about an important event in European history, Barbarians is worth a watch.

Location: Germany

Why It’s a Must Watch: It’s a thrilling and bloody series that tells the story of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, which is a key event in world history.

Seasons: 1. Season 2 announced

Type: German historical drama series

46. Lorena: Light Footed Woman

Lorena: Light Footed Woman is another short documentary film with a powerful and inspirational message like Little Miss Sumo. 

In this 28 minute long documentary, you’re introduced to Lorena Ramirez who is from the Tarahumara mountain range region in Chihuahua, Mexico.

What makes Lorena’s story incredible is that she is born for long-distance running as she lives in the high altitude and rugged landscape of the Tarahumara mountains. The people in this region are known to be talented endurance runners and hunt game by running them to death.

Location: Mexico

Why It’s a Must Watch: This is an inspirational and beautifully shot documentary that introduces you to a story and landscape in Mexico you normally would not be aware of. Plus, it’s less than 30 minutes long.

Type: Documentary film

47. The Trader

The Trader is a Sundance-winning documentary short documentary film that follows the story of Gela, a traveling merchant who lives in poverty-stricken rural Georgia. 

Unimaginable for most people, in these parts of rural Georgia, money has no value. Instead, the people who live here rely on barter and trade to survive and potatoes are one of the most tradeable forms of currency.

Similar to Lorena: Light Footed Woman and Little Miss Sumo, this short film is under 30 minutes and is well worth your time!

Location: Republic of Georgia

Why It’s a Must Watch: One of the most important aspects of the film is its ability to allow you to walk in other people’s shoes. The Trader not only shows you the beauty of the rural Georgian landscape but also the harsh reality of the people living there.

Type: Documentary film

48. The Protector

The Protector is a Marvel-esque style show that’s based in the ancient city of Istanbul. The series follows our hero Hakan Demir, a lower-class shopkeeper in the city. 

After his father is tragically murdered, he finds out that his family is part of a secret order and he has to embrace his superpowers to protect the city. It’s very much a rags to riches or underdog type of story.

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Why It’s a Must Watch: Although the plot can be somewhat predictable in its superhero storyline, it’s worth a watch especially if you’re intrigued by the mysterious ancient city of Istanbul.

Seasons: 4

Type: Turkish fantasy-drama series

49. Suburra

Suburra is a modern-day gritty and brutal crime drama series that takes place in Rome, Italy. It’s a thrilling story that revolves around the fight for power by rival organized crime groups, corrupt politicians, and even people within the church.

Although a bloody crime drama might not be everyone’s cup of tea, one thing’s for sure, this show is a portal into the beautiful and alluring city of Rome.

Location: Italy

Why It’s a Must Watch: it’s a gritty, raw, and mesmerizing tale of a crime that shows off the beauty and possible dark underbelly of the city of Rome.

Seasons: 3

Type: Italian crime drama series

50. The Gift

The Gift is a Turkish fantasy-drama series that is made by the same creators that created the Protector. 

This series is also based in the ancient city of Istanbul. However, instead of following a superhero type of protagonist, this series tells the story of the creative Atiye, an artist in Istanbul. 

Her life is suddenly flipped upside down after a symbol she has always drawn and what she is famous for is found in a cave that has been sealed off for thousands of years.

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Why It’s a Must Watch: A strange and mind-bending story that shows off the artistic beauty of Istanbul.

Seasons: 3

Type: Turkish fantasy-drama series

By Melissa Teng

Hi! I’m a Seattle-based travel blogger and creative who is passionate about seeing as much of the world as possible while helping others do the same. Through my travel experiences, I’ve realized the importance of authentic storytelling and believe that everyone has their own story to share.

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