Travel documentaries

All aboard! Join a star-studded cast of travel guides as they take you to some of the most remote and fascinating corners of the globe. BBC Select is the home for travel shows that explore amazing places around the world and introduce you to the people, places, culture and history that makes them so special.

Griff's Great Australian Rail Trip

Griff's Great Australian Rail Trip

Australia is a land of wondrous wildlife, incredible landscapes, and warm, wonderful people. Comedian and actor Griff Rhys Jones takes a trip across the entire country by train in his glorious travel documentary, trying to find the true essence of Australia and its inhabitants. From the dusty, barren outback to lush rainforests, surfing beaches and busy cities, join Griff for an epic adventure.

Ep 1: Perth to Kalgoorlie
Griff Rhys Jones kicks off his epic trip across Australia with sandgropers on his mind. What is a sandgroper? This rather unusual question is perplexing comedian Griff Rhys Jones on the first leg of his epic adventure across Australia. In this eye-opening travel documentary, he’s taking the regal Indian Pacific train from Perth to Kalgoorlie, discovering Western Australia’s riches. Along the way he meets very cute quokkas and possibly lost Highland dancers.

Ep 2: Rawalinna to Sydney
Trying to find the true Australian character, Griff Rhys Jones meets a lot of sheep. What makes an Australian? Comedian Griff Rhys Jones continues his epic journey across Australia, pondering this deep, philoso phical question. As this glorious travel documentary continues, he ventures from Adelaide to Broken Hill and finally the city of Sydney. En-route, he meets a lot of sheep at a massive sheep station, discovers an engineering marvel and has lunch with fellow comic Ross Noble.

Ep 3: Brisbane to Cairns
Griff Rhys Jones is in Queensland where all manner of things are trying to kill him. After many miles on the noble Indian Pacific train, the Spirit of Queensland railway is comedian Griff Rhys Jones’s new home. As his epic travel documentary continues, he’s venturing from Brisbane to Cairns where he comes across all manner of things that seem determined to kill him, from jellyfish to dingoes to whitewater rapids and more. Griff ponders how Aussies cope with such dangers.

Ep 4: Gold Coast to the Outback
Griff Rhys Jones is seeking out ‘the good life’ on Australia’s glitzy Gold Coast. How do you define ‘the good life’? Comedian, actor and travel enthusiast Griff Rhys Jones is determined to find out as he continues his journey Down Under. On the Spirit of the Outback train, travelling through Queensland, Griff discovers the glitz and glamor of the Gold Coast, before reveling in the dreams of the Australian Outback, revered by bush poets and pioneers across history.

Ep 5: Darwin to Alice Springs
Griff Rhys Jones takes to the air, then the rails and finally a camel in north Australia. Griff Rhys Jones has traded in his regular train for a spot of air travel. But will he regret the decision? The comedian heads to Darwin in a vintage Tiger Moth biplane as his epic travel documentary continues. Once safely on land, he’s riding the rails again, only to discover a mysterious baseball game in Alice Springs. But why does he suddenly find himself on a camel?

Ep 6 Uluru to Adelaide
Griff Rhys Jones comes face to face with snake catchers and noodlers around
Adelaide. What makes Australia extraordinary? Griff Rhys Jones will have plenty of time to ponder this question as he plummets to earth during his first tandem parachute jump. As this endlessly entertaining travel documentary concludes, Griff heads south to Adelaide on the oldest passenger train in the country. Along the way he meets snake catchers, extraordinary bakers and expert ‘noodlers’.

John Bishop's Australia

John Bishop's Australia

Cycling from Sydney to Cairns, comedian John Bishop is on an epic adventure. In this delightful travel documentary, he meets a range of extraordinary characters and experiences true natural wonders. Combining Australia’s diverse beauty and fascinating history with John’s up-lifting humor, the story of a dynamic country with an ancient and sometimes controversial past is explored.

EP 1: Roos and Koalas

John abseils in the Blue Mountains and meets the most dangerous snakes on the planet. Bicycling across Australia doesn’t make it into most travel brochures. But comedian John Bishop has decided that’s how he wants to see the country, in this quirky travel documentary. He tests his nerve by abseiling the stunning Blue Mountains, gets hands-on with dangerous snakes and finds out about the surprising bedtime habits of the most Australian animal of all: the koala.

EP 2: Crocs and Cattle

John attempts to surf in beautiful Byron Bay but struggles to keep up with the locals. In the beautiful beach town of Byron Bay, comedian John Bishop has a go at surfing. But soon gets shown up by some super-fit Aussie kids. As his bicycling journey across Australia continues in this engaging travel documentary, he heads further north towards Queensland. He encounters gigantic saltwater crocs, stunning desert islands and experiences an Australia that tourists
don’t normally see.

EP 3: Bikers and Bananas

John picks bananas and tests his fitness before heading to the Great Barrier Reef. As if cycling across Australia wasn’t grueling enough, comedian John Bishop decides to take a thorough military fitness test. As this epic travel documentary concludes, he rides motorbikes with Vietnam veterans and gets caked in mud on a banana farm. He then takes in the breathtaking natural beauty of both the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. But his journey has one final twist.

The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan

The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan

Beloved British comedian Romesh Ranganathan, everyman, comedian, and self-confessed coward is heading to some of the world’s least likely tourist destinations in this quirky travel documentary. He’s getting an insider’s guide to find out if they’re as bad as their reputations, or actually the next hot tourist hot spot. There’s only one problem: Romesh can barely read a map.

Series 1

Romesh finds out if there is more to Haiti than the sensational headlines on the news. Is there is more to the Haiti than sensational news stories? Comedian Romesh Ranganathan gets an insider’s guide to find out if h is preconceptions about the Caribbean island are right, in this unique travel documentary. Everything Romesh has ever heard about Haiti has been negative. But he soon discovers there’s far more to Haiti than he could ever have realized.

Romesh travels to Ethiopia. Will he find a place of unique natural beauty there? For years most of the news about Ethiopia has concerned poverty, famine, and drought. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan is heading to East Africa to discover if this reputation is justified, in this engaging travel documentary. Is Ethiopia really a food-starved dust bowl? Or will Romesh find a warm welcome, fascinating history, and place of unique natural beauty?

Why aren’t we all taking vacations in beautiful Albania? Romesh tries to find out. Why has Albania remained a stubbornly unfashionable vacation destination, while many other former communist nations have leapt ahead? Comedian Romesh Ranganathan is on a mission to find out, in this quirky travel documentary. It seems as if Albania has everything from beautiful beaches to stunning mountains. Romesh takes a whistle-stop tour to discover the character of this mysterious nation.

The Arctic
Romesh thinks the Arctic is just ice, snow, more snow, and polar bears. Could he be wrong? Cold, far away and hard to spell. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan is traveling the furthest outside of his cosy comfort zone as he heads to one of the coldest and most hostile environments on earth: the Canadian Arctic. His preconceptions revolve around freezing to death or being eaten by a polar bear. But, as this charming travel documentary continues, has Romesh got it wrong about the Arctic?

Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow

operation grand canyon

In 1869, the pioneering explorer John Wesley Powell took a 280-mile journey down the perilous Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. In this thrilling geography documentary, British historian Dan Snow recreates Powell’s legendary expedition. Accompanied by a team of experts and using antique wooden boats, he’ll rediscover one of the wild west’s great adventures of discovery.

Ep 1: Into the Rapids
Dan Snow tries to take on the rapids of the Colorado River in an antique wooden boat. British historian Dan Snow is attempting a massive historical challenge. The first exploration of
the mighty Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. In this exciting geography documentary, he joins a team of historians and geologists to recreate John Wesley Powell’s 1869 journey through this natural wonder. The crew take on the area’s rapids as they learn about the region’s Native American past.

Ep 2: Wild River Ride
Will Dan Snow and his team survive their perilous journey down the Colorado River? As British historian Dan Snow discovers, attempting to traverse the mighty Colorado River is no easy
business. As this gripping geography documentary concludes, his team are faced with the river’s surging, perilous rapids, hard to navigate in any craft, but almost impossible in antique wooden boats. Can Dan and the team safely complete their dangerous enterprise?

Bettany Hughes' Grand Tour: From Paris to Rome

Bettany Hughes: From Paris to Rome

In the 18th century, those seeking culture and an artistic education would take a ‘grand tour’, exploring Europe’s rich heritage and cuisine. In this delightful travel documentary series historian Bettany Hughes follows in their footsteps, visiting such wonders as the museums of Paris and Rome, the canals of Venice, the cuisine of Florence and Milan and the glorious vistas of the Amalfi coast.

During the 18th century, well-to-do Brits seeking culture, culinary delights and an artistic education would take a ‘
grand tour’. Heading to continental Europe, they would travel through France, Italy and beyond to discover the finest galleries, dine at exquisite restaurants and take in the stunning landscape, hoping to broaden their horizons. Not do be outdone, intrepid historian Bettany Hughes is follow ing in their footsteps in this delightful travel documentary series.

She wants us all to enhance out traveling experiences by immersing ourselves in art and culture. She starts her travels in Paris, where she’s allowed privileged access to the world-famous Louvre Museum and gets up close and personal with the stunning Venus de Milo. She also stays at a luxury hotel that has housed Oscar Wilde and Mick Jagger then visits the workshops of legendary shoe designer Christian Louboutin.

Next it’s off to Italy, where her first stop is the stunning city of Venice. After relaxing on St. Mark’s Square, she explores the magnificent Doge’s Palace, before discovering the pioneering art collection of Peggy Guggenheim. In Bologna, Bettany focuses on the culinary, delving into the city’s rich food culture, home of the renowned pasta Bolognese, before making a pilgrimage to the former residence of her favorite romantic poet Byron in picturesque Porto Venere.

In the beautiful city of Florence, Bettany discovers another artistic gem, Botticelli’s masterpiece The Birth of Venus, before indulging in that classic chocolatey treat the Florentine. Then it’s onto the glorious and gloriously expensive Lake Como, where celebrities from Napoleon to Miley Cyrus and George Clooney have relaxed in decadent luxury. Then she heads to Italy’s style capital Milan to try and find the fashionable heart of the city. Bettany then ventures south to the astonishing vistas of the Amalfi coast that have inspired poets and painters for centuries. There she eats fruit straight from the tree and dives into the clear-blue waters, searching for ancient treasures. Then it’s on to the Isle of Capri, renowned for its old-school glamor and mouth-watering culinary experiences.

Finally, Bettany reaches historic, majestic Rome where she’s allowed exclusive access to the Pantheon, one of the city’s most iconic monuments. Get ready for a whistle-stop tour of cultural and culinary delights through some of Europe’s most beautiful places.