Best travel TV programmes 2020
I’m going virtual travelling again! I can confirm that I have never watched as much TV as I have since we’ve been on lockdown. I’m really getting my money’s worth out of my (well, my brother’s!) Netflix subscription. In this post I’m going to share with you the very best travel TV programmes (almost) guaranteed to quench that wanderlust.
Down to Earth
Zac Efron explores healthy, sustainable ways to live in different places around the world. Zac and co host Darin Olien who is a wellness expert travel to Iceland, Costa Rico, Lima, and more, and immerse themselves in the various cultures.
From food to landscapes and sustainable practices, this series has it all. Oh, and did I mention that Zac Efron’s in it?
Ok, so Us isn’t really a travel programme per se, it’s more of a comedy/drama. Connie decides that she wants to leave Douglas as their son is leaving to go to university. However, they already had a big trip across Europe planned and they decide to go on it anyway.
There are plenty of japes, laughs and heart warming moments in this BBC mini series and I found the last episode absolutely heart breaking – I cried actual tears!
The best bit about the programme is the locations – Paris, Amsterdam, Venice and Barcelona all feature and it was great to point out places we’d been and reminisce. I got a bit teary watching the Venice scenes and remembering what a good time we’d had there in 2019. Clearly I’m just an emotional wreck at the moment!
If you haven’t been to Venice yet, you won’t be disappointed. It looks exactly like it does on the telly.
Us is available on BBC iPlayer.
Devon & Cornwall
A new addition to Channel 4 and available on catch up, Devon & Cornwall follows the lives of people living in the south west. I love Cornwall for a UK staycation and so this is getting me all excited for when we can travel in the UK again. It’s also really great learning the stories of local people, traditions and nature in the area – all to the stunning backdrop of the coast.
Race Across the World
If you haven’t seen this one then where have you been?! The season finale of the second season was on TV this weekend. Teams of two compete to reach Ushuaia in Argentina – the southern most city in the world, budgeting and having adventures along the way. You get to see lots of South America’s amazing landscapes and sights and some destinations that I’d never considered before. The island of Ilha Grande in Brazil has jumped right onto my travel bucket list. There’s also heartwarming human stories about the relationships between the pairs and bags of personal growth to boot.
Series 1 and 2 are available to download on BBC iPlayer now. I missed the first series so I’ve downloaded all episodes to have a good old binge.
Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury
The Greek Islands are one of my favourite destinations and Julia explores different islands in each episode, exploring Greek traditions and lesser known sides of popular islands like Corfu, Santorini and Crete. I really enjoyed the Skopelos episode as I visited the island on a holiday to Skiathos a few years ago. There’s also a really emotional moment where Julia takes her mum to her grandparents’ old house.
I don’t think this is available on ITV Hub anymore, but you should be able to watch it on YouTube.
Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip
Gordon Ramsey, Gino D’Acampo and Fred from First Dates take a road trip around Mexico and America. There’s a bit of cooking, lots of sightseeing and plenty of high jinks. If you’re looking for something funny to take the edge off a bit, this is the one – Gino in particular is very cheeky.
All four episodes from this series are available on ITV Hub.
New Zealand’s answer to Louis Theroux, David Farrier, takes us along on some of the darkest trips in the world. From the world’s scariest haunted house McKamey Manor to a mock Mexican border crossing tour, this programme is seriously bingeworth – and you might even add some of these places to your bucket list! There’s only one season of this, released back in 2018 so I hope another series is made once we’re able to travel again.
All eight episodes of Dark Tourist are available to watch on Netflix.
Win the Wilderness: Alaska
In this adventure series, six British couples compete to win an amazing prize – a remote home deep in the Alaskan wilderness. This is a real tear jerker as there are lots of moments of reflection, personal development and relationship building and I loved every second of it. The backdrop of Alaska makes for some incredible scenery and it really made me wonder whether I could live somewhere so isolated.
All episodes are available now on BBC iPlayer.
Martin Clunes: Islands of America
Actor Martin Clunes heads off on an epic journey around the coast of America, discovering what life is like for the people living on its surrounding islands. Some of my favourite bits of the series were the wild ponies swimming in Virginia and the sharks at Martha’s Vineyard, where Jaws was filmed.
This is available to watch on YouTube and on Amazon Prime.
The Americas with Simon Reeve
Intrepid traveller Simon Reeve travels the entire length of the Americas discovering vast and varied landscapes and the stories of people that live there. Highlights for me include a trip on the Rocky Mountain Railway, a glass dome train with first class service, and meeting volunteer paramedics in El Salvador, a country overrun with gang violence. It’s also secured Costa Rica’s place on my bucket list for the amazing jungle scenery and the wildlife.
All episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.
Cornwall with Simon Reeve
The second on my list from Simon Reeve, this time he’s exploring a little bit closer to home in Cornwall. This programme explores how the lack of tourism in Cornwall thanks to lockdown has effected the businesses and communities who call it home. And all with the stunning backdrop of the Cornwall coast.
All episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.
A Place in the Sun
Satisfy your dream of packing up and moving abroad by watching other people do it! This is an absolute fave in my family – we often watch it together. People look around several villas usually wanting a sea view, three bedrooms, in the town yet isolated, and a pool for a tiny budget then usually decide not to buy anything. It’s great to see places you’ve been and reminisce about your memories there as well as discover new places.
This is on every day on one of Channel 4’s channels so will definitely keep you busy during this time.
What are your favourite travel TV programmes? Let me know in the comments.
The perfect outfit for watching TV? Why loungewear of course! I was gifted the loungewear set in my first picture from Femme Luxe for inclusion in this post.