I love inspirational movies and documentaries. The type of movies and documentaries where you feel great after or that cause a great wanderlust into me. Below you will find the best 40 travel documentaries ever! These documentaries will definitely open your eyes to secrets, adventure, new ways of live and a lot of wanderlust!
40 Travel documentaries that open your eyes to secrets, adventure, new ways of live and a lot of wanderlust!
Warning: these documentaries will trigger serious wanderlust and severe travel envy, which can only be treated by planning a new trip.
The only son (2014)
This documentary is very special to me, because the main character, Pema, is a very good friend of mine. We met during our study in the Netherlands. Within the documentary, you learn about life and habitats of Nepal. Pema is supposed to marry a girl from a Nepali Himalayan village at an altitude of 13,000 feet. Pema grew up in a Kathmandu orphanage as poverty and illness forced his parents to give most of their 6 children away. Today, the unusual family is scattered around the globe. It would be the only son’s duty to tend to the family home in the mountains. But Pema wants to study abroad, and live a modern life.
180 Degree South (2010 – Netflix)
180 Degree South is an assimilation of the memorable journey of Jeff. In the documentary you see him surfing, sailing, climbing, and going through exciting adventures.
Further (2012 – Netflix)
In this documentary Jones and his team explore and ride some of the wildest backcountry in the world. They climb mountains, hike forests, all so that they can boom down the mountains on a snowboard.
Residente (2017 – Netflix)
Within this documentary the amazing story of the Puerto Rican rap icon ‘Residente’ is told by revealing his African, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Native American ancestry. He travels together with his band through 10 countries. Within the documentary you see parts of Russia, Ghana, Niger, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Armenia, France, Spain, UK, Antigua, and more.
Dark Tourist (2018 – Netflix)
This is more a series than documentary, but really worth time to watch! Within the episodes, you get introduced to the world of dark tourism.
Pedal the World (2015)
This documentary reveals the story of German-born Felix Starck and his 18,000-kilometer bicycle journey across 22 countries. Truly inspiring documentary!
Expedition Happiness (2017 – Netflix)
Two young Germans buy an American school bus, refurbish it, and travel together with their dog across North America. This epic road trip shows an amazing story with beautiful nature and all the advantages and disadvantages of traveling.
Hit the road: India (2013)
Hit The Road: India is a travel adventure documentary about two friends participating in a 12-day rickshaw rally across India, from Mumbai to Chennai.
In India, you can find the great summit Meru. In this documentary, you will follow the attempt of several climbers to tackle the namesake mountain and deal with the trials of summiting a mounting along the way.
The Edge of Never (2009)
This travel documentary is about a group of skiers challenging the biggest and extreme mountains in the world. Full of adventure, thrill, and surreal landscapes, this documentary is for extreme travellers.
Austin to Boston (2014 – Netflix)
This documentary narrates an exciting tale of a group of bands on the move from Austin to Boston. Within 2 weeks they cover 3000 miles while they make amazing music on the road.
The Endless Summer (1966 – Netflix)
Within this documentary two surfers are searching for the perfect wave. It is a really inspirational documentary that encourages surfers to see the world with their boards in tow.
Valley Uprising (2014 – Netflix)
Valley Uprising follows the birth of the American rock climbing culture in Yosemite National Park. Really worth a view!
National Parks adventure (2016)
National Parks Adventure is an ambitious documentary that shows the history and modern landscapes of America’s natural assets. You will see the glaciers in Montana to the spectacle natural arches of Utah.
Baraka, also known as the best travel documentary ever, is a documentary that shows the phenomena of nature and how it forms the core of various cultures.
Jiro dreams of sushi (2011 – Netflix)
This great documentary is about Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old world-renowned sushi master with a tiny restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station, who is one day awarded three Michelin stars. Throughout the documentary, you will see the pursuit of perfection of sushi and get a great glimpse into Japanese culture.
Antartica: a year on ice (2013)
This documentary shows you how it is like living on the coldest place on earth. You get the chance to learn about the harsh climatic conditions and how people can live in isolation on this continent. If you are a nature lover, you will definitely appreciate this documentary.
A map for saturday (2007)
Every day is like a Saturday when you are on a long travel around the world. The story brings out the chronicles of trekkers on four different continents.
K2: Siren of the Himalayas (2014)
K2: Siren of the Himalayas is a multilingual travel documentary that shows you the dangerous world of high altitude mountaineering and follow a group of mountaineering experts as they venture on an epic journey. You get introduced to deathly cliffs, braving hideous climates and beautiful snow-covered mountains.
India’s Frontier Railways (2014)
This documentary introduces you to trains crossing borders in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, reconnecting families, cultures, and history.
The Trader Sovdagari (2018- Netflix)
This documentary provides a fascinating view on rural life in post-Soviet Georgia. The camera follows a traveling trader as he sells secondhand goods in exchange for potatoes.
Encounters at the end of the world (2007)
In the documentary, you can explore the hidden riches and beauty of Antarctica.
Tales by light (2015)
Tales By Light is a documentary series that introduces you to one amazing photographer in each episode and takes you along his or her journey to capture elusive wildlife, unique communities, and amazing landscaped.
Holy land: startup nations (2017)
This documentary provides a very interesting view of the Middle East and start up culture.
Sacred planet (2004)
This documentary shows you the beauty of the most fascinating places, people and wildlife on the planet. You will see the ancient ruins of Thailand, canyons of Arizona, deserted lands of Namibia, underwater mysteries of Borneo, white sand beaches of New Zealand and many more exceptional places.
First Time In Africa: Ep 1 – Backpacking in South Africa & Namibia (2017)
YouTuber and world traveler, Karl Watson created this insightful travel documentary, depicting his adventures in South Africa and Namibia. The documentary gives you a personal tour around the southern region of Africa and really highlights Africa’s natural beauty.
Given (2016 – Netflix)
A surfing adventure across 15 countries, told by a young boy from Kauai, gives the viewers an opportunity to widen horizons and gain a deeper understanding of life. The documentary shows amazing landscapes of Iceland, Peru, Thailand, Morocco and many other coast destinations.
Under an artic sky (2017 – Netflix)
As a few surfers attempt to surf one of the most inhospitable breaks in the world off the northern coast of Iceland, you will see amazing shots of wild nature, northern lights, and amazing snow landscapes.
The Maidentrip (2013)
One of the best travel documentaries ever, The Maidentrip is a remarkable journey of a 14-year-old who sets to sail around the world. Laura Dekker sails in this documentary to St. Martins, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Australia, and the Cape of Good Hope before getting back to St. Martins. She is the youngest person ever to sail around the world and a true inspiration for all the aspiring travelers.
Hit the Road: India (2013)
This documentary is a story of two friends participating in rickshaw rally from Chennai to Mumbai spanning for 12 days covering over 2000 km.
Life in a Day (2011)
This travel documentary shows the lives of as many people on July 24th, 2010. The submitted videos containing beautiful and personal moments that people lead every day gives an insight into amazing things happening around us.
Frozen planet (2011)
Frozen planet is another documentary that shows the amazing live and environment in the Arctic and Antarctica. The documentary highlights how the climatic change is affecting the earth and its inhabitants.
Living on one dollar (2013)
This documentary shows how four friends battle illness, parasites and hunger in rural Guatemala as they experiment with living on just $1 a day for eight weeks.
Throw down your heart (2008)
Béla Fleck is a musician who embarks on a journey to Africa to learn about the origins of his beloved instrument. The documentary shows amazing shots of Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Mali.
Samsara is a documentary filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shows amazing views of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
Into the cold: a journey of soul (2010)
Two men trek on foot to the North Pole to commemorate Adm. Robert Peary’s journey in 1909.
Riding solo to the top of the world (2006)
Riding solo to the top of the world is a documentary on the Chang pas of Ladakh, in India, about a journey of self-discovery.
Italy love it or leave it (2011)
Lucan and Gustav drive through Italy in an old Fiat 500 to decide if they should stay or move away. The documentary shows the amazing landscapes of Italy.
Long way round (2004)
This documentary series follows two friends on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends will travel through such places as Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska, before finally ending the journey in New York.
Great world hotels (2011 – Netflix)
The documentary ‘Great world hotels’ exists of different episodes in where you can embark on a journey and explore some of the most luxurious hotels around the world.
I can watch these documentaries over and over again, and never get sick of them. Do you know another good travel documentary? Please feel free to share it with us in the comment box below. On our blog you can also find 60 amazing travel movies.
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