Just because you may be stuck at home during self-isolation doesn’t mean you can’t transport yourself to another time or place. See this list of the BEST TV shows to inspire travel!
Put a TV series in front of me that includes stunning filming locations, outstanding costumes, and a story that takes place in another time and I’m hooked. Jake always laughs when he sees the historical fiction and travel tv shows I’ve been watching on Netflix or Amazon Prime as they all tend to have a similar theme…a combination that includes travel, history, royalty, or Europe.
I’m not one to watch typical sitcoms or reality TV. I like to watch something that takes me to another world or inspires a future trip to see the filming locations myself. Shows that give an inside look to how people from different regions live are fascinating to me. A lot of popular historical fiction and travel TV shows today are based on real people and real events, royals of the past, and major events. Why not be entertained while actually learning a thing or two?
See these posts for some travel inspiration:
With most of the population being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, those of us that are used to traveling or at least having a future trip to look forward to are a bit out of luck. Just because we are in self-isolation doesn’t mean there aren’t little things we can do to inspire travel for a later date or to learn about different destinations and the histories that go with them!
COVID-19 Resources: 11 WAYS TO STAY PRODUCTIVE & POSITIVE DURING SELF-ISOLATION
To help those of us with chronic wanderlust that are stuck at home during this period of self-isolation, I’ve created a list of my absolute favorite TV shows that inspire travel and will transport you to another world or time. Some of these series actually inspired trips that Jake and I went on. After seeing the first season of Outlander, I was determined to visit Scotland to see the beautiful scenery myself…and that ended up being one of our favorite trips!
Checkout this list of TV series to watch to cure your wanderlust during self-isolation…or to just expand your streaming library. I’m sure a few of these TV shows will end up being a new favorite!
CONTINUE READING INSPIRE TRAVEL DURING SELF ISOLATION | TV SHOWS & BOOKS OR SAVE IT FOR LATER!
1. Game of Thrones
Inspire TRAVEL TO: Southern Spain, Girona, Ireland, Morocco, and Croatia
Game of Thrones is an obvious choice that pretty much everyone has heard of. After watching the series Jake and I visited several places after seeing them featured on Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik, Seville, Girona…these cities were well worth the visit and I’m glad GOT inspired us to travel there.
The story line is based on several different families fighting for the throne. There is a bit of Sci-Fi going on with dragons and the zombie White Walkers. Phenomenal acting, over the top costumes, breathtaking scenery, and a riveting storyline make this show a must!
Stream on: HBO NOW, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime
Book series: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I personally did not love these books and thought the show was better.
INSPIRE TRAVEL TO: Scotland
It didn’t take long for Outlander to obtain a serious fan base…bordering on obsession. I may or may not be included in that group. The first season is by far the strongest. The setting in Scotland is majestic, the Scottish music takes you to another world, the costumes are extremely accurate to the time, and the main actors, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, nailed their characters. Season two is still great with a change in scenery to glamourous Paris. Season three and beyond are good but don’t hold a candle to season 1, in my opinion.
Steamy romance, a strong female lead, war, and the mysteries of time travel make this a captivating series. You’ll probably like the first series so much you’ll watch it two or three times. It’s no surprise Outlander has won Critics Choice Award titles like most bingeworthy show, most exciting new series, and best television series.
Stream on: Netflix (season 1-3 only), Starz, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube
Book series: adapted for TV from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Like the show, I highly recommend book one through three. I wasn’t as enthralled with the rest of the books (four through eight). I will warn you that the books are LONG. 800 to 1,000 pages each. I only finished the series because I hate not finishing things. Books one through three are good enough to read again. I won’t be rereading the rest.
3. The White Queen
INSPIRE TRAVEL TO: England
The White Queen is a great option if you don’t want to make a big commitment since there are only 10 episodes…and boy do they go by fast! The story is based on the battle for the crown between the House of York and the House of Lancaster in the 1400s. To make matters more complicated, Edward (heir to the throne), falls in love with a commoner, Elizabeth Woodville. The White Queen is a binge worthy mix of romance, action, history, and manipulation
After watching the series you will definitely want to visit England, tour the Tower, and contemplate what actually happened to the sons of Edward and Elizabeth.
Stream on: Starz, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime
Book series: The White Queen is based on the Philippa Gregory historical novels covering what is called “The Cousins’ War”. The series is fantastic and an easy read. I highly recommend both reading The White Queen (or all the books in the series) and watching the show.
*Starz continued with the Philippa Gregory theme and produced The White Princess and The Spanish Princess. If you are a diehard Philippa Gregory fan, then these series are worth your time. Otherwise, skip them. The White Queen trumps The White Princess and The Spanish Princess in acting, story line, and overall quality.
INSPIRE TRAVEL TO: Scandinavia (primarily Denmark, Norway, Sweden) and England
There is something beyond fascinating about the Vikings. How they lived, the devotion they held to gods like Thor and Odin, their strength (women included) as warriors, and how they overtook much of England and other regions of Europe. The show is still running and is on season 6.
The series follows Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, the raids he lead, his path to becoming a Scandinavian King, and the lives of his closest family members. If you like war scenes, strategy, and fierce characters, this show is for you. It also has a very strong female lead and shows how Vikings viewed their women as strong warriors and leaders, which was unheard of during that time period.
Stream on: Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes
5. Peaky Blinders
INSPIRE TRAVEL TO: England
Follow the scandalous lives of the notorious gangster family, the Peaky Blinders. Set in 19th century Birmingham, England there is no lack of thrills and nail-biting scenes in this series. If you like to watch a cunning mind at work and the nitty gritty reality of post WWI life in England, this show is sure to get you hooked. Gangster and crime loving audiences will stay up past their bedtime to continue to the next episode. Beware, the Peaky Blinders is absolutely addictive.
I recommend putting the subtitles on. The accents can be heavy at times and you really need to follow what’s going on to fully understand the plot.
Stream on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
6. The Tudors
INSPIRE TRAVEL TO: ENGLAND
An oldie but a goodie. The Tudors is a historical fiction series set in 16th century England (mostly filmed in Ireland though), following the life of one of England’s most infamous Kings, Henry the VIII. The series premiered on Showtime in 2007. The drama never ends in this series as you follow along the relationships of King Henry the VIII…he did have 6 wives.
The saying goes divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived when discussing the fate of his wives. If that isn’t a story waiting to be told, I don’t know what is. Though the show is extremely riveting, don’t expect it to be entirely accurate…check your facts if you’re wanting a history lesson.
The Tudors brings the extravagance, fear, betrayal, and conspiracies of royalty to life. A trip to England is a must after watching this series. You’ll want to see the palaces where everything took place for yourself including Hampton Court Palace and the Tower. Gazing at the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded is extremely sobering after watching her character come to life in the Tudors.
Stream on: Showtime, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime
Book series: technically the show isn’t based on the Philippa Gregory Tudor series, but if you’re interested in these characters and time period, the book series makes for a great read!
Cure your wanderlust and travel to: England (primarily Cornwall)
Poldark is a PBS Masterpiece production that has a similar feel to Downton Abbey (also a PBS production). The series shines in character development. Like Downton Abbey, this is not a show with non-stop action or gory battle scenes. Instead, Poldark draws you deep into the lives of the main characters in which you find yourself surprisingly attached to.
Follow alongside Ross Poldark as he returns from war and piece together his life in Cornwall. Set in the 1700’s, Poldark will show viewers the hardship of day to day life, twisted politics, battles of the wealthy versus the poor, and the love and relationships that make life worth fighting for.
Stream on: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Book series: basked of the Poldark novels by Winston Graham. I have not read these yet but do intend to.
8. The Last Kingdom
CURE YOUR WANDERLUST AND TRAVEL TO: Scandinavia (primarily Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) and England.
Similar to Vikings, The Last Kingdom is a story set in the 9th century when England was constantly invaded by Viking Danes. The main character, Uhtred, was born Saxon but was enslaved and adopted by Vikings. Throughout the series Uhtred is divided on his goals and allegiance. Does he support his adopted Viking family or the country of his father and ancestors?
You may just find yourself booking a trip to Scandinavia to see where these fierce Vikings grew up and came from. This show will also make a trip to former Viking villages in England, like York, extra interesting since you got an inside look to what the people of England went through as they were constantly attacked by Vikings.
Stream on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu
Book series: The Last Kingdom is based on The Saxon Stories historical novels by Bernard Cornwell. Another series I have on my list of books to read.
9. Black Sails
INSPIRE TRAVEL TO: THE BAHAMAS
The ultimate pirate show without being cheesy. The show is primarily based in the West Indies in 1715. Real pirates are brought to life through a fictional story line. Unsurprisingly, treasure hunts, the pirates code, and battles against the British Empire are a main focus in the show. The acting, costumes, and setting are all superb and make this show a win
Stream on: Starz, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes
Book series: this show isn’t necessarily based on a book, but it does act as a prequel to Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
10. DaVinci’s Demons
Travel back in time to Florence, Italy during the Renaissance. DaVinci’s Demons is a fictional story diving deep into the life and mind of Leonardo DaVinci. Famous historical families like the Medici Family are woven into the storyline that bring bits of history to life. A combination of love and political schemes rule the show all the while following the most famous artist in history. See what life was like for a man that was leaps and bounds ahead of his time.
Stream on: Starz, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube
I hope this list of my 10 favorite shows to inspire travel and learn a bit of history along the way gives you some ideas for your streaming library. Let me know what your favorite history or travel TV shows in the comments below!
See these travel tips to help with trip planning:
Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I earn a small commission. This will never cost you extra and the income goes to keeping this site updated and free for everyone!