The Best Travel Shows to Stream Right Now

Enjoy the thrill of the chase in Paris, a Stanley Tucci tour of Italy, and a puppet’s-eye view of global cuisine with these streaming TV shows.

The Best Travel Shows to Stream Right Now

In “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” the actor lives the dream by exploring the best of Italy’s food and wine.

Courtesy of CNN

While we wait for borders to open, these fuel-your-wanderlust shows will take you off the couch to Italy, England, Norway, France, and Peru (by magic shopping cart). Can you tell we’re excited about Michelle Obama’s fantastical new global food show, Waffles and Mochi? It debuts next week on Netflix. Until then, explore the world from home by streaming any of these 26 travel shows and TV shows set in foreign countries.

Waffles and Mochi

Watch it: Netflix

A Sesame Street–style kids’ TV show for the budding chef, Waffles and Mochi follows the eponymous puppets—one a sweet little monster with waffles for ears, the other a sentient pink rice ball—around the world as they seek out fresh global ingredients and learn about healthy eating and cooking.

This show will appeal to adults as much as to toddlers. To start: Michelle Obama costars (this is part of the Obamas’ production deal with Netflix) as a grocery store owner who teaches Waffles and Mochi about the wide world beyond the Land of Frozen Food. Off on fabulous journeys they go—to Japan, Peru, Italy, where they have friendly encounters with famous chefs like Samin Nosrat and José Andrés, as well as special guests Rashida Jones, Queer Eye’s Tan France, Zach Galifianakis, Sia, Common, and more (technically, Mandy Moore). Start streaming it on Netflix March 16. —Laura Dannen Redman

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

Watch it: CNN

Actor Stanley Tucci kept spirits afloat with his cocktail and cooking demos on Instagram during lockdown. When travel restrictions lifted in Europe last year, Tucci traveled to Italy—where he has deep roots—to film this six-episode series exploring food and culture through Italy’s people, cities, and regions: Sicily, Tuscany, Milan, Bologna, Rome, and Naples and the Amalfi Coast.

For those desperately missing Italy, Tucci is the perfect knowledgeable yet curious tour guide, introducing his friends—winemakers, chefs, and authors—who he pokes a little fun at, and taking you on tours, such as around Florence’s Renaissance-era wine windows, aka “little doors of paradise.”

If the show leaves you craving more, buy his two Italian cookbooks—The Tucci Table: Cooking with Family and Friends and The Tucci Cookbook— and preorder his memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food. The series has been renewed for season two. —Annie Fitzsimmons


Watch it: Netflix

Who is Lupin? He’s a gentleman thief, a master of disguise, a sort of French superhero at the heart of Maurice Leblanc’s short stories, “Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar.” These early 20th-century Sherlockian tales inspire the new Netflix show, Lupin, starring Omar Sy (The Intouchables) as a Senegalese immigrant in today’s Paris who follows Arsène’s escapades as a road map for revenge.

In the pilot episode Sy’s Arsène struts through the Louvre disguised as a janitor, plotting a jewelry heist like a cohort of Danny Ocean. Lupin is also full of lust-worthy shots of the city: a room with a view of Sacré-Cœur; the Eiffel Tower from every angle; the Jardin du Luxembourg in the rain; a bustling café. A heist thriller is only as good as its setting, and Lupin—and Paris—deliver. —L.D.R.

“Outlander” stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish take you on a spirited journey through Scotland.

“Outlander” stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish take you on a spirited journey through Scotland.

Courtesy of Starz

Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham

Watch it: Starz

If the popular period drama Outlander didn’t already have you craving a trip to Scotland, this travel show starring Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser in Outlander) and Graham McTavish (Outlander’s Dougal Mackenzie) will seal the deal. Even if you’re not an Outlander devotee, this Scottish duo, who are constantly making jabs at each other and themselves, are ideal guides for this literal campervan road trip through Scotland. Their banter is on point (you can tell they’re good pals IRL), and they transport viewers into the heart and soul of the country without taking themselves too seriously.

Each episode focuses on a different aspect of Scottish culture and history. For the food and drink episode, Heughan and McTavish visit one of Scotland’s oldest whisky distilleries and introduce viewers to Scottish seafood. For the sports episode, they try their hand at archaic Highland Games (aka throwing a massive hammer) and playing golf on Scotland’s most hallowed turf. And for the song and dance episode, viewers learn more about bagpipes and traditional Scottish dancing—Heughan and McTavish are game guinea pigs while also offering insights and knowledge into the theme at hand.

I’m not always big on traditional “travel shows,” but I absolutely love this one and am ready to book my first trip to Scotland ASAP after watching. —Michelle Baran

Ted Lasso

Watch it: Apple TV

West London’s Richmond upon Thames, with its distinctly British cobblestone shopping alleys, parks, and lively pubs, is the backdrop to the story of very American Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis.

Lasso is an American football coach hired to reboot a Premier League British football team, AFC Richmond. An eternal optimist, Ted is someone you wish you knew—warm and funny, with leadership skills that win over nearly everyone he meets in this fish-out-of-water story.

The Apple TV show isn’t really about sports, though there are plenty of soaring, heart-pumping soccer—football!—scenes. There are love triangles and mishaps, a delightful cast of characters, and the realization that you can do the impossible if you just “Believe,” Ted’s motto. The show has already been renewed for two more seasons. —A.F.


Watch it: Netflix

The head of government rides her bike to work: two clues this series isn’t set in the United States. In Copenhagen, everyone rides a bike. Maybe “Danish political drama” doesn’t sound compelling but this is, with a standout cast of well-developed characters. It follows the path of politician Birgitte Nyborg and how demands of her rise to power clash with her family life. Concerns about media news coverage are among the issues making this drama universal. The show, with an 8.5 IMDb rating, originally aired 2010–2013; Netflix plans a fourth season for 2022. —Pat Tompkins


Watch it: Netflix

If you’re one of the few who haven’t seen Bridgerton yet (apparently, it’s Netflix’s most successful series ever), and you miss the U.K., it’s time to settle into Shonda Rhimes’s soapy, steamy Regency-era drama that reimagines the time as one when equality reigns: Black and white people coexist as equals, and the Queen is Black.

It centers on the romance between debutante Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, reluctant Duke of Hastings. Scenic British locations include the Bridgerton family home, Ranger’s House in Greenwich, London; promenades in Bath’s green parks and Royal Crescent; and parties at Wilton House in Salisbury as the Duke’s country mansion. —A.F.

“Killing Eve” sets the codependent cop-and-killer chase in glamorous sites around Europe.

“Killing Eve” sets the codependent cop-and-killer chase in glamorous sites around Europe.

Courtesy of BBC

Killing Eve

Watch it: YouTube TV

When Eve, a British intelligence investigator, becomes obsessed by an assassin-for-hire, Villanelle, their cat-and-mouse chase leads the characters through Tuscany, Paris, London, and Romania. The glamorous destinations make this a bingeable spy thriller for travel lovers who crave dark humor, cliffhangers, and dreamy settings. —Ciera Velarde

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Watch it: Hulu

This 10-episode series from Mindy Kaling is nothing like the movie it takes its name from, except that there are four weddings and one funeral. London has never looked more magical as friends in their thirties fall in love, break up, and get married across rooftop parties in Trafalgar Square, conversations at the National Gallery and inside dreamy Notting Hill houses, and walks in Kew Gardens.

Like its cast, but unlike so many romantic comedies, it also showcases the diversity of the city through Indian family culture in Hounslow and the multicultural Southall Market. It’s completely addictive, and you might replay the final 10 minutes of the series (a wedding, of course!) over and over again. —A.F.

Un Village Francais/A French Village

Watch it: Amazon Prime

Over seven seasons, this series captures what German occupation of a fictional village, Villeneuve, meant for its inhabitants from 1940 to 1945. Instead of battles, we get the war’s impact on civilian life, an impact that affects everyone. It could have been a soap opera, but it’s not, thanks to complex characters and intriguing stories.

Among those in the first episode are Spanish refugees, a Jewish family, and the town doctor, all coping with the sudden upheaval of life in Occupied France. Travel to a different place and time in these 80+ episodes. —P.T.

Home for Christmas

Watch it: Netflix

The first Norwegian series from Netflix, Home for Christmas was filmed in Oslo and the small mining town of Røros, known for its colorful wooden buildings from the 1700s. We see the town and countryside dressed for the holidays, with snow, twinkle lights, and cider at Christmas markets aplenty.

But the festive season is just a vehicle for showcasing the complicated bonds of family. The show follows the up-and-down love life and quirky characters surrounding Johanne, a nurse in her thirties who feels pressure from her large, boisterous family to settle down. But what relationship can compete with her friendships? —A.F.

Call My Agent

Watch it: Netflix

Calling all francophiles. For those missing not just France but the language and people as well, this French-language Netflix show is génial. Call My Agent is a witty comedy about a Paris-based talent agency. The central cast of characters brings viewers along as they manage the many moods and demands of their high-maintenance actor clients. (They do everything from intervene when clients refuse to get intimate on a film set to help a client learn to drive for a movie role, plus attend ridiculous soirées to appease these high-strung celebs.)

As the series continues, deeper emotional themes around family, friendship, and love develop. I found myself tearing up (in a good way) by the end of the first season, something I wasn’t expecting at all at the start. The comic relief serves as a wonderful escape and there’s something oddly satisfying about seeing behind the scenes of France’s acting and filming world even if it is a fictional look. —M.B.

Indian Matchmaking

Watch it: Netflix

This is a reality show, with all its tropes and gimmicks, inviting us to be voyeurs of the Indian dating world. But Indian Matchmaking is also a fascinating glimpse into the culture of matchmaking and quasi-arranged marriages, for both the singles and families. It follows Mumbai-based matchmaker Sima Taparia as she tries to pair clients both in the U.S. and India; the scenes in India are most vibrant and really make the show worth a watch even if you’re skeptical about the premise.

You feel like you’re sitting right next to the characters in that Mumbai restaurant or Delhi bar as they chat with friends or go out on that first (slightly awkward) date with their match. —M.B.


Watch it: HBO Now, Hulu, YouTube TV

If your family is driving you up the wall, imagine self-quarantining with Succession’s Roy family. This addictive dramedy centers on who will take over a global media and hospitality empire as the family patriarch faces health issues. Because this dysfunctional family is crazy rich, the series transports us to the most exclusive corners of New York City, a sprawling ranch in New Mexico, and even a castle in England. The juicy Season 2 finale takes place on a private yacht in Croatia, so pour yourself some prosecco and lose yourself in someone else’s family drama.—C.V.

Olivia Colman dazzles as Queen Elizabeth in the third season of “The Crown.”

Olivia Colman dazzles as Queen Elizabeth in the third season of “The Crown.”

Courtesy of Netflix

The Crown

Watch it: Netflix

Pour yourself a cuppa and don your finest sweatpants, because we’re headed to Buckingham Palace, folks. Well, no filming was actually done in Buckingham Palace, but Lancaster House, Wilton House, and Waddesdon Manor serve as lavish, convincing stand-ins. Get ready to follow the trials and tribulations of the Windsors and get peeks at country-home castles, private train cars, African tree houses, and passels of corgis romping on the moors.—C.V.


Watch it: Hulu, HBO Now

Every time a local musician appears onscreen during this series (and they appear a lot), hearing the soulful jazz they play will transport you to New Orleans. Shot entirely on location in the city, Treme’s storyline begins three months after Hurricane Katrina and follows its characters—musicians, bartenders, families—as they try to rebuild their lives. —C.V.

Sam Heughan stars in “Outlander,” a drama heavy on time travel and rolling Scottish countryside.

Sam Heughan stars in “Outlander,” a drama heavy on time travel and rolling Scottish countryside.

Courtesy of Netflix


Watch it: Starz, Netflix, YouTube TV

After just one episode of Outlander, you’ll be eager to traverse the peaks of Scotland’s evergreen Highlands and drink a wee dram of whisky. This time-travel series, shot on location in Scotland, creates a fantasy world that feels rooted in a real place.—C.V.


Watch it: Amazon

South England’s Jurassic Coast is the real-life setting for this moody crime drama set in a fictional seaside town. Millions of years of coastal erosion have formed striking rock formations along the craggy cliffs and beaches of the region—the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage–recognized area even serves as an important plot device. —C.V.

Ugly Delicious

Watch it: Netflix

In each episode of this docuseries, the James Beard Foundation award–winning chef David Chang focuses on a specific food (one episode is about fried rice, another about barbecue) and then bounces from country to country to taste local iterations of the same dish. After the first episode (which involves pizza: lots and lots of pizza), you’ll learn not to watch on an empty stomach. —C.V.

Top of the Lake

Watch it: Hulu

Viewers will be instantly hooked by Elisabeth Moss’s performance as a detective investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl. The show was filmed on the South Island of New Zealand, and the titular lake provides an eerie and dramatic background for the emotionally heavy show. —C.V.

The action of “The Night Manager” starts in Egypt, but the scenes were actually shot in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The action of “The Night Manager” starts in Egypt, but the scenes were actually shot in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Courtesy of Amazon

The Night Manager

Watch it: Amazon Prime Video

Great writing, fast-paced action, and an all-star cast (Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman, Hugh Laurie) make this drama unmissable. The story follows a hotel night manager recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of a corrupt businessman. The show is rumored to be the most expensive miniseries ever made by the BBC, and travel-hungry viewers will enjoy the gorgeous locations, like Majorca, Spain; Zermatt, Switzerland; and Marrakesh, Morocco.

Salt Fat Acid Heat

Watch it: Netflix

Chef Samin Nosrat visits culinary colleagues in Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Berkeley, California, to explain how—you guessed it—salt, fat, acid, and heat are the essential elements to master when cooking any meal. Samin’s passion for food radiates through the screen, and you’ll be left hungry and inspired to test out some of her cooking tips—with her cookbook by the same name—yourself. —C.V.


Watch it: Amazon Prime Video

If you want to lean into the current news, Fortitude is one way to go. Set in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard (but filmed in Eastern Iceland), this drama is about a deadly virus that turns infected people into murderers. Winter-travel lovers: Get ready for sweeping icy landscapes, snow-capped mountains, and frigid, rocky beaches. —C.V.

“My Brilliant Friend” is a realistic portrayal of the gritty yet beautiful city of Naples.

“My Brilliant Friend” is a realistic portrayal of the gritty yet beautiful city of Naples.

Photo by Eduardo Castaldo/HBO

My Brilliant Friend

Watch it: HBO Now, Hulu, YouTube TV

Although this show follows two childhood friends as they grow into women in postwar Italy, the true star is Naples, with its crowded sidewalks, lively piazzas, and ancient architecture. (In the sixth episode, viewers get to travel to the volcanic island of Ischia, to summer with the characters on beaches lapped by turquoise waters).—C.V.

Our Planet

Watch it: Netflix

The makers of Our Planet leave no corner of Earth untouched. This breathtaking nature docuseries allows you to swim with whales, swing from tree to tree with orangutans, and explore the Serengeti, all from your couch. The camerawork is remarkable: You’ll ask yourself “how did they even film that?!” at least four times per episode. —C.V.

Big Little Lies

Watch it: HBO Now, Hulu, YouTube TV

Oh, what we’d give to be social distancing in one of the spacious seaside mansions on this show. The frothy mix of petty neighborhood squabbles, a mysterious death, and the sweeping shots of the Pacific Ocean makes watching Big Little Lies roughly 10 times better than watching the news. And if you’re inspired to plan a trip to Monterey after watching the show (and, of course, after virus concerns are lifted), we’ve got you covered. —C.V.

>>Next: Around the World in International Films

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