Many of the most inspiring travellers these days, are characters from the big screen. Both real and fictional intrepid explorers alike, will set off your wanderlust. We select the best travel films, documentaries and shows available, covering Asia, The Americas, Europe and Africa.
BBC Human Planet
The multi-award winning series from John Hurt explores a rich variety of the people from planet earth. In finding those people who live in a manner most connected and in tune with the planet, there is a huge amount to learn from this travel show. Set on a backdrop of epic music and sharp visual, this is one of the greatest travel documentaries ever made.
Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay & Great Big Adventure
Traditional travel shows don’t really do it for me. There needs to be something more than good scenery and far away destinations. Irish comedians Dara O’Briain and Ed Byrne add great conversation and an amusing point of view to their two travel documentaries, exploring Central America and South East Asia. Comedy aside, they are two great friends, sharing a trip of a lifetime and the comradery is just as entertaining as the culture.
As a second generation immigrant to the UK, Comedian Romesh Ranganathan attempts to get to know his Sri Lankan heritage to please his mother in this hilarious travel documentary. Along the way she sets him up in many a humiliating situation with hilarious outcomes. Comedy and travel at its best.
Watch ex-army explorer Bruce Parry intergrate with the most vastly different cultures available on the earth, as he lives with remote tribes and learns about their way of life. The way Parry is able to build rapport, respect and even effection from the tribal people is incredible. These are must watch travel films.
An emotional portrait of Tokyo and Japan from a westerns perspective. A great film with a brilliant soundtrack. Directed by Sophie Coppola, this film stars the great Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson.
Ex-army man and British long-distance walker, Levison Wood attempt to find the river Nile’s source and walk it’s whole 7000km length to the sea, through 40 plus degree heat. This is a powerful and personal endurance expedition, excellently filmed and with some incredibly poignant moments.
A Classic and the greatest travel film of a generation, as Leo DiCaprio’s character goes off to backpack Asia and happens across the perhaps finest beach in the world.
Dry, witty and ridiculous. This travel show explores weekend breaks throughout Europe to begin with before breaching out to further afield in later shows. Hilarious guests accompany Ayoade as he grumpily travels the globe.
A man, getting drunk and eating in various places. He strikes us as a highly functioning alcoholic with a flippant demeanour but Bourdain is an entertaining and knowledgeable presenter. His knack for getting under the skin of a destination in these documentaries makes great TV, even if he is a little rough round the edges. Bourdain is the king of rock & roll travel shows.
A film based on a true story of one mans personal pilgrimage from the USA, northbound to Alaska. A story of a man learning what is important to him, as he sheds his possessions and travels in the most hardcore of ways possible.
Take a journey through the forests of Borneo, via the banks of the Ganges river and into the highlands of Scotland. This powerful and exceptional documentary film from seasoned champion of indigenous cultures, Bruce Parry, is an eye-opening experience.
In his most recent travel documentary series, Lev Wood cuts back on the chronicling of his personal journey and delves deeper into the culture of the places he visits. It is his finest work yet.
The pilots of Susi Air risk life and lib on a daily basis. As air travel is the only efficient method of connecting the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia, Susi Air provide a vital service. With the toughest flying conditions of anywhere in the world and the most primitive of runway and airport services, this is no walk in the park for wannabe pilots.
Back in the 70’s, an Australian woman walked across the outback from Alice Springs to the west coast of Australia. Her journey – along with three camels and a dog – is an inspiring look at the reasons that motivated her trip and the respectful way in which she carried it out.
Enjoy the films. These are the best travel documentaries around.