In a time where travel is obsolete, take a flight over to your nearest television and enter the mystical land of Netflix. With easy accessibility to streaming services, visiting places in real life isn't the only way to see the world. Here are my 8 favorite series that have inspired to me book the trip.
Watching this series makes me regret only having spent three days in Florence - With a focus on history, art, and the architecture of the city, I can’t wait to take a trip back to greater appreciate the art of Bocelli, Michael Angelo, and Donetello, to once again stand in the Duomo as Cosimo De Medici once had, and overlook the vastness of the Tuscan countryside.
I’m not saying I flew all the way to Scotland just because of Outlander, but there’s definitely an 85% chance that was the exact reason. If you’re looking to be inspired by rolling green hills, ancient glens, and fairy tale-like castles, this is your show. With beautiful aerial shots of the Scottish highlands, along with a unique view of Scotland’s Culloden history and a particularly gorgeous red-headed Scot, you’ll be dreaming of taking the first flight out to Inverness. Season two also showcases eighteen century Paris and the decadence of the Court of Versailles during Pre-French Revolutionary France - hey, who says you can’t make this a multi-city trip?
With a focus on the court of Henry VIII and the stories of his six wives over the course of his lifetime, this historical, yet racy, series showcases the remarkable architecture and history of palaces across England. With locations including Hampton Court Palace, The Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Hever Castle, and many more which still stand today, this is the perfect series to inspire a castle-hopping tour of Great Britain - but make sure not to watch with your parents around. Trust me.
Restaurants On The Edge
While not a fictional series, this documentary-style food show travels to some of the most beautiful places on earth to revamp failing restaurants. With shooting locations ranging from St. Lucia to Hong Kong, the series dives into each cities’ culture, history, and cuisine in order to fully understand how the restaurants should be redesigned. This series is the perfect show to fuel your fernweh and discover new unique places you may not have imagined traveling to previously.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations & Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain and travel go together like COVID-19 and quarantining, so it’s a no-brainer to turn on No Reservations or Parts Unknown when you’re experiencing lack-of-travel blues. Discover hidden restaurants in Colombia, learn about modern street food in Vietnam, or educate yourself on ancient customs in the Swedish Lapland. There’s never a dull moment when watching one of the world’s most beloved chefs and travel documentarians.
I was in Paris when Anthony Bourdain ended his life outside of Strasbourg in 2018. Despite it being early June, there was a cold in the air that washed over France that day; a unique, deep-rooted sadness that was visible on strangers as I passed them on the cobblestone streets - Anthony had inspired so many of us to open ourselves up to the gift of travel and taught us so much about what it meant to be profoundly human. It was if the whole earth could feel his absence.
Okay, I’ll stop talking about food shows after this, I promise. Yet, it seems that the relationship between travel and food is nearly synonymous, which is what the famed Momofuka chef and founder, David Chang, expresses through this series. Whether it be dissecting Chinese culture over fried rice in Beijing, China or debating the best pizza making technique in Naples, Italy, Chang introduces a progressive and refreshing take on how food has shaped how we understand different cultures and the people that are a part of them. I binged this entire series in a day and then moved on to Chang’s sister-series, Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. I highly recommend spending a rainy day watching both of these shows - or a sunny day, where do you have to go?
You mean this isn’t just something you watch when you’re too high to understand The Office? Watching Our Planet is actually one of the best ways to discover parts of the Earth rarely traveled. Between the frozen tundra of Antarctica to the vastness of some of the world's hottest deserts, this is the perfect way to virtually travel. While this series lacks a fictional story-line, I love to keep it on while I’m working from home as background
Gossip Girl probably isn't a show you initially imagine when you think of travel, however the episodes in themselves are in a sense mini travel guides for New York City. With featured restaurants, hotels, and sites that actually exist (you can even stay at the Empire Hotel where Chuck Bass lived), watching Gossip Girl is the perfect way to gain inspiration for a post-quarantine adventure to the Big Apple.
Want to visit the restaurants featured in the show? Check out this article by Sydney te Wildt.
I actually moved to New York City after high school largely in part to having been inspired by this show. you never know where a series can take you.
What shows inspire your travel? Let us know in the comments below.