One of my favorite ways to fulfill my wanderlust cravings, next to perusing Pinterest and impulsively buying a plane ticket, is watching travel movies on Netflix. And lets face it, if a movie isn’t streaming on Netflix, I’m probably not watching it. Netflix has such a great selection of travel movies and documentaries. The only problem is, you can spend hours just browsing to find the right one.
After many hours on the couch I’ve narrowed the hundreds of titles available down to the best travel movies streaming on Netflix. And just to clarify, this post has not been sponsored by Netflix, we just love their site!
Best Travel Movies Streaming on Netflix
Amelie is one of those movies you can watch over and over. It’s such a whimsical little French classic that’ll never get old. The story, adorable without being cheesy, is based around a quirky and endearing young waitress who finds purpose in doing random acts of kindness for her friends and neighbors.
Her overactive imagination brings a playful touch of magic-realism to the Parisian landscape. If you weren’t interested in traveling to Paris before, the shots of Parisian rooftops punctuated only by the Eiffel tower will definitely change your mind.
Set in New Zealand in the 1980’s this sweet, and at times heartbreaking, film is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Eleven year old Alamein, known as Boy, lives in a house with his grandma and a gaggle of adorable young siblings and cousins who are just about the cutest kids you’ve ever seen.
Boy daydreams that his absent father is off adventuring the world, but when it turns out he’s been in prison for 7 years and is just returning home, Boy has to deal with the reality of who his dad really is. The acting is superb and during the quieter, more contemplative scenes, the dreamy New Zealand landscape takes center stage.
Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus
A movie in which Michael Cera plays a backpacker hell-bent on taking the infamous Latin American hallucinogen San Pedro, while traveling through Chile. He heads on a road-trip with three Chilean brothers to find the plant, and an uninhibited hippie comes along for the ride. Michael Cera plays his role as the arrogant, pseudo-free spirited backpacker perfectly. Anyone who’s backpacked the gringo trail through Latin America will recognize this type of traveler immediately.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
This documentary follows 85 year old Hiro, one of Japan’s most hailed sushi chefs. Jiro runs an incredibly unique, world-famous sushi restaurant located inside the Tokyo subway. Despite its humble location and small size, the restaurant has been given 3 Michellen stars and is booked out months in advance. This movie is guaranteed to not only give you a serious sushi craving, but inspire a foodie trip to Japan.
Have you been wondering to yourself where Emilio Estavez went? No? Me neither, but I’ll tell you anyway. He’s taken a hand at directing this lovely moving starring his father, Martin Sheen. In the film Estavez attempts to trek the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in the north of Spain, but tragically dies along the way.
His father, an uptight homebody, goes to collect his remains and decides to finish the trek, spreading his son’s ashes along the way. It’s a really moving story and a reminder that travel can be truly life-changing, at any age. The north of Spain is a stunning backdrop and it has cemented for me that the Camino is one of my top goals for Europe.
This confronting documentary examines the lives of sex workers in three developing countries; Thailand, Bangladesh & Mexico. Although not exactly the dreamy wanderlust movie that will have you packing your bags immediately, this non-judgmental, raw film reminds audiences that there’s a darker side to most tourist destinations.
As a traveler it’s important to note the realities of the places you travel to and remember that even if a place feels like a carefree paradise, the locals may be experiencing a very different world.
This movie follows Raul, a young man living in Havana, Cuba, desperate to immigrate to the US. When he is accused of assault his dream of fleeing the country soon becomes an urgent reality. He plans to make the 90-mile journey to Miami with his best friend, but is torn between his close bond with his sister and his only escape. If you’ve had an interest in visiting Cuba, do yourself a favor and see this movie. It does a beautiful job capturing the intensity of life in the capital city.
39 thoughts on “Wanderlust Inducing Travel Movies Streaming On Netflix”
What a neat idea for a post! I haven’t heard any of these films. I can see how Una Noche would appeal to you guys with your soft spot for Cuba 🙂
I love nothing more then a good travel movie. I haven’t seen any of these except The Way, and it was such a lovely movie. I’ll have to check out the others. I feel like Whore’s Glory will reduce me to feminist ranting for awhile though- I hate seeing people exploited.
Love Amelie, love Boy, love Jiro – haven’t seen the others but seeing as I loved those three I’m sure the rest are excellent too! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Oh wow! Totally adding these to our list 🙂 We also put Jiro on ours… food sure does drive the soul.
Marina from MadeinMoments.com
I haven’t seen any of these!
I have to say for me it’s always period and location specific movies. Of course, there also has to be a lot of adventure!
Awesome! I haven’t seen any of these moves. We are always on the look out for great flicks to watch – we shall add these to the list!
Shamely, I have only seen Amelie and it is indeed a great movie but I have never considered it a “travel” movie. Maybe because Paris does not fascinate me as it does to regular people?
Anyway the piece of art that most inspires me to travel is a book: Around the world in 80 days!
Yeah i guess it depends where you want to go. Amelie kind of sums up Paris to a tee, so if you’re heart is set on it you’ll love this movie. For us books are also a major influencer of travel. I read a some Gabriel Garcia Marquez while in the north of Colombia and he is just an absolute poet with his descriptions of the towns. Now whenever i read him it takes me back! I’ve never read Around the World, so i’ll have to look into it.
I love love Amelie! I think I have also seen Whore’s Galore. I will have to see Una Noche as I would love to see Cuba before all this madness with the lifting of sanctions destroys the place.
Yeah Amelie is just great! Whores’ Glory is informative, sad, at times funny, but most of all interesting insight to a different side of travel. We think it’s important to always remember that. Una Noche is awesome, definitely watch that next.
We have only seen Amelie from this list and it is a wonderful movie! One of the others which we loved and really made us think about our lives was “The secret life of Walter Mitty” It is a bit more mainstream but we loved it! We saw interstellar recently too and although that is a bit different it really made us think about time and how we spend it and how short life is.
We also loved “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”! It got some bad reviews so we were skeptical but we saw it anyway and really enjoyed it. Such a great film about how its never too late to make your life an adventure. We’ll have to check out Interstellar! Thanks for the recommendation!
Can’t believe I’ve only seen two from your list! Amelie is such a classic (I love everything Paris) and The Way totally inspired us to start planning our walk of the Camino someday soon.
To add to the list: Tracks was an amazing story of a girl who walked through Australia, you guys should definitely watch it !
Oooh that sounds like a cool movie! We’ll definitely look up Tracks. Especially while we’re in Australia. Amelie is one of my favorites, as well. Definitely check out the others!
great collection! will be adding this to my “must watch” Love watching movies about travel when im stuck not traveling
Watching travel related movies have helped us over the last 12 months! We are so ready to hit the road again. Think we’ll need to watch The Beach again before leaving for Thailand.
Thanks for some great tips! I have seen 2 of them, but I will certainly see the rest as well.
The best thing about this list is that they are all pretty different and unique, so there is something for everyone. Some you’ll need to be in the mood for though. Hope you get to see them all.
Hello! I came across this page while searching for Netflix movies set in Spain. Do you have any more recommendations?
Yeah we’ve got heaps, but depends what sort of stuff you’re into? More travel movies?
Those all look amazing! I just interviewed a Scottish sex worker and she recommended “Whore’s Gory.” A great film and topic!
Yeah it’s really interesting being in Thailand now, especially after watching that movie. We’re trying to organise some interviews when we get to Bangkok. When is your interview being published? I’d be really interested in reading it.
I loved the article. I thought I’ve seeing a lot of movies but after seeing your list I guess I haven’t. The only one on your list that I’ve watched was the sushi documentary. Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I’ll have a Netflix weekend soon.
Cheers John, there are some pretty awesome movies on that list, very unique indeed. Let us know which one is your favorite 🙂
Just to add a few to your list:
WILD (Reese Witherspoon)
Return to Paradise
Into the Wild
Great additions! I’ve read Wild and loved it, I really need to see the movie now. Motorcycle Diaries is an absolute classic, and inspired us to buy a motorcycle in the Philippines 🙂 Into The Wild is another timeless classic! Unsure of the other, we’ll have to check them out. Thanks 🙂
Some great picks here! I think Amelie is the only I’ve seen, too, but now I’ve put most of them on my to-see list. I wrote a post recently with my own favourite movies that inspire you to travel, most of them older. It included picks like The Year of Living Dangerously (Indonesia), Slumdog Millionaire (India) and Manhattan (uh, Manhattan). I could also add Diva (an amazing, lyrical look at Paris) and Y Tu Mama Tambien, for a look at what Roger Ebert called “the two Mexicos”.
Thanks Paul. We were just recently in Indonesia and it made me think of The Year of Living Dangerously. I read the book about 12 years ago, but have never seen the movie. Might have to get onto it. Thanks for the other recommendations.
Got to add Into the Wild on there!
Yeah we contemplated that, but it’s almost too obvious haha. Great film though.
Great list! I haven’t heard of some of these. I like documentary style about destinations so I can really learn more about a place. One I found really interesting was in Bolivia called “The Devil’s Miner” about child labor in the mines. Very interesting!
We love documentaries as well! The Devil’s Miner sounds interesting, sad, but very interesting. Sometimes it’s the best way to learn about what’s really going on in a country though. Will have to check it out.
Easy Rider! Although I’ve never ridden a motorbike
Will have to check it out, i love riding motorcycles and did so all through the Philippines. Nothing like a good motorcycle travel story.
Don’t forget Lost in Translation!
Ohh yes, another great one! Thanks.
Great list! I also love…
Midnight in Paris
Living on a Dollar
Catch Me If You Can
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
“Zindagi na milegi dobara” is a really good travel movie if you’re heading to Spain. Or just want to get positive about life.