It’s cold outside, the dark nights are closing in and undoubtedly ‘tis the season to be hunkering down and watching endless episodes on Netflix. There are the showings of Friends and Breaking Bad to re-watch, but nothing takes away those winter blues and gets you excited for summer like exotic travel programmes.
They’ll have you reaching for the notepad to scribble down 2017’s list of must-visit places. These are the top picks for travel shows on Netflix.
1. Long Way Round
Think Top Gear on location but swap four wheels for two and add in a certain Scottish actor in place of Jeremy Clarkson. This two-season series sees Ewan McGregor take on the ultimate motorbiking challenge with fellow actor, presenter and travel writer, Charley Boorman.
The pair records the epic trip from London to New York, passing through 12 countries over 115 days on motorbikes, occasionally stopping off at various UNICEF projects; it’s no easy ride. The series has been around for a while, but now it’s on Netflix it’s time to get involved.
2. Human Planet
A BBC One original that’s found a new home on Netflix, Human Planet looks at the ways humans have adapted to living in extreme environments. Think desert life, jungle inhabitants and Antarctic set-ups.
John Hurt narrates the eight episodes. The natural beauty has enough to make any viewer want to jump on a plane, although the harsh conditions have us equally grateful we’re sat on the sofa with a cuppa watching someone else take on the challenge.
It may not fall into the documentary category but you’ll be hard pushed to find another programme that makes you yearn for Central and South America as much as Narcos.
The two seasons so far follow infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar through the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s as law enforcement try to hunt him down. The series takes viewers through Colombia, Peru, Bogota and Mexico. There’s violence and drama throughout but as it’s all in Spanish with subtitles you can count it as a learning experience as well as great entertainment.
4. An Idiot Abroad
We all have that one friend who’s known for having a moan. You definitely wouldn’t choose them as your travel mate, as proved by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who turn the rants and raves of nightmare travel pal, Karl Pilkington, into their own travel entertainment.
They exploit their friend’s grumpy nature and expect Karl to live like a local in each location, which undoubtedly sees him less than amused. To be honest, I find Pilkington really annoying – how dare he not be excited about the locations? But at the same time, I know that’s the entire point of the show. I get it. I’m just jealous.
This 1 hour 45 minute documentary starts off looking like some kind of Wild West movie but it’s a bit of a dark horse; Unbranded ends up taking viewers on a pretty and powerful journey.
The documentary follows four Texan cowboys as they travel from the Mexican border up to Canada on horseback. What initially seems like a ‘lads on tour’ style trip soon unfolds into a touching story about the problem the US has with wild mustang horses living in captivity.
The views of untouched America are incredible and sure to have you at least wanting to sign up for a dude ranch or learning to lasso, even if it only ever goes so far as your dressing gown cord and a cushion.
6. Girl Eats World
One for the foodies, this docu-series follows cool and quirky Kamini Pather, who previously won South Africa’s Masterchef. She travels to ten different locations looking at how food influences a culture and digs deep to discover the local delicacies.
From Dubai to Philly, Milan to Berlin, Kamini gets to know the local bloggers, street food vendors and hidden spots exploring the culinary heart of each location.
Three Canadian dudes, Scott, Justin and Andre, head off for a year of round-the-world travel and take their camera with them. They cover India and Indonesia, Cuba and Cambodia, giving their commentary on the beautiful views and the exotic food as they go.
As best buds you see their friendship grow over the three seasons as they face the usual challenges of intense travel. You’ll see at least some of yourself and your travels in them, guaranteed.