Popular Travel Reality Shows: 18 Exciting and Exotic Locations to Explore
Updated On: November 09, 2023
Someone once said, “Move, you’re not a tree.” And it couldn’t resonate more. Travelling is medicine for the soul, and surprisingly, you never realise what you’re missing until you’ve travelled, lived new experiences and witnessed some of the world’s abundant wonders. We look for travel inspiration everywhere and find these popular travel reality shows that offer new and exciting destinations.
So, gear up with a favourite drink, a pen and paper and get ready to plan your next trip to any of these wondrous destinations.
Popular Travel Reality Shows: The Long Way Trilogy
The Long Way Trilogy consists of three series: the Long Way Round, the Long Way Down and the Long Way Up. The travel reality show takes us around the world to more than 40 marvellous countries. Ewan McGregor’s and Charley Boorman’s main travel means were their motorbikes. The vehicles allowed them to fully immerse themselves in the culture and atmosphere of each country.
Long Way Round
In the first series, Long Way Round, Ewan and Charley took us to twelve countries, starting from London and ending in New York City. The duo, with the entire crew in this travel reality show, headed eastward through Europe and Eastern Europe until they ended up in Alaska before heading to NYC. Charley is a trained biker, and Ewan practised relentlessly before the trip to hone his skills. Some places and landmarks they visited include:
Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
Otherwise known as the Church of Bones, nothing radiates solemnity as Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech capital, Prague. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was decorated with the skeletons of about 40,000 to 70,000 people. These skeletons were intricately arranged to form a chandelier of bones and garlands made from human skulls. The unorthodox use of human bones was due to the overflowing count of dead people due to the Black Death in the mid-14th century. When you hear the name of the ossuary, you feel it’s horrendous. However, when you see it for yourself, you realise that beauty, though unusual, can be found in everything, literally!
The current Mongolian capital was first established in the mid-17th century and continued moving from one location to another until it settled in its current one in the last quarter of the 18th century. The world’s coldest capital city has an astonishing history that dates back 300,000 years, as evidenced by the remains of mammoth and woolly rhinoceros found around the city. Even though the cast of Long Way Round went through a difficult time passing through Mongolia’s terrain, the country, namely its capital, offers great landmarks that are worth visiting. Some of these include the city’s main square, Sükhbaatar Square, and the Buddhist temple of Choijin Lama Temple.
Mount Rushmore, USA
You will mostly have seen Mount Rushmore in a number of films, where you see the faces of four people carved in granite in South Dakota state. The incredible carvings took fourteen years to complete in the first half of the 20th century. The four faces carved on the mountain are those of American presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. All four presidents were regarded as beacons of democracy and reformation in the country. The memorial, with the surrounding natural park, offers visitors a unique experience, where they can gaze upon the carvings’ magnificence and enjoy some time in the wilderness.
Long Way Down
In the second series, Long Way Down, the two friends and adventurers changed routes and decided to ride through Africa. The travel reality show set off from John O’Groats in Scotland and ended with the southernmost tip of Cape Town in South Africa. The bikers rode through eighteen countries in the two continents despite some logistic difficulties along the way.
Sidi Driss Hotel, Matmata, Tunisia
This specific location in Tunisia was special to Ewan, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars franchise. The hotel still bears the logo of Star Wars Episode IV, which was filmed there in 1977 and served as the Lars family home. The small town in the south has one of the most interesting tourist features: the cave-like dwellings where some of the locals live. In Matmata, you can visit the ancient ruins of Casas Trogloditas de Matmata or even take a look at the local museum, Musée Berbère de Tamezret, which retells the story of Matmata and its handmade fabrics.
The Pyramids, Egypt
They remain a mystery to this day, one that gives us a clue of the greatness of its builders every decade or century without fully disclosing its secrets. The Great Pyramids of Giza remain a wondrous landmark even before archaeologists were able to open their chambers. You can see the magnificent three larger pyramids, the Great Pyramid, Khafre’s Pyramid and Menkaure’s Pyramid, the mighty Sphinx and the three smaller pyramids behind them. To this day, further excavations are still underway to unearth more historical buildings in this area.
Long Way Up
The last travel reality show of the trilogy takes us from South to North America. The riding buddies started from Ushuaia in Argentina and rode through thirteen countries. They drove through Southern Patagonia, The Andes mountains, the sweltering Atacama Desert, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador until they finished from Oaxaca to Los Angeles.
Imagine a firey red and orange sun setting over a snow-laden city with chilling weather. Ushuaia is a marvellous city that combines all the activities you can dream of during vacation. The city was inhabited 10,000 years ago, but Ushuaia as it is today was allegedly founded by British missionaries. Ushuaia’s architectural style steeps in local architecture and carvings. You can visit the local Thematic Gallery, watch wildlife such as sea lions lying on the rocks in the sea or even venture on a trekking route.
Visiting a desert plateau on vacation sounds outrageous. However, the Atacama Desert in South America isn’t all bare and scorching heat. The full length of the desert is rich in monuments from ancient South American civilisations such as the Chinchorro culture, the Incans and even Spanish troops after the invasion. Moreover, the coast of the Atacama Desert is home to various flora, plants and herbs that can adapt to high temperatures, such as thyme and saltgrass. When the desert gets enough rain, you can see blooming purple flowers.
Popular Travel Reality Shows: Men in Kilts: A Road Trip with Sam and Graham
Travel through Scotland and other parts of the world with Outlander superstars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. The popular travel reality show has two seasons; in the first one, the duo takes us to explore the heart of Scotland, its heritage, culture and rich history. The second season ties off with Scotland and sets to discover the wonders of New Zealand and its ties with the Scottish land. Here are some of the wondrous Scottish locations Sam and Graham visited with their camper van.
This beautiful Scottish gem has bewitched travellers old and new, with its rich calling out to visitors from each corner to lure them in. Edinburgh radiates a unique vibe that combines the obscurity of Gotham and the charm of Hogwarts. Alan Rickman once shared that whenever he went back to Edinburgh, he felt he was returning home. It’s unattainable to sum up everything to do in Edinburgh, which is why our ultimate Edinburgh travel guide will take you through the best things you can do in this enchanting city. We even share a few recommendations for having the best fish and chips in the city.
This small village in Perthshire borders the Highlands and has its fair share of mountainous terrain. Once believed to have held the thinnest barrier between earth and heaven, Balquhidder’s Glen was blessed by St Angus, who was also buried at the town’s Hill of Fire. This hill was the location where locals conducted their annual Samhain and Beltane rituals, especially burning hearth. Balquhidder is the final resting place of Scottish hero and outlaw Rob Roy, portrayed on the screen by Liam Neeson, and you can visit his grave near the ruins of the town’s church.
Doune village, or burgh in Perthshire, shows evidence of human habitation from the 14th century. Doune Castle, a majestic medieval castle that dates back to around 1,400, still stands intact today; the castle’s keeper’s house is near the stone structure. Scotland’s Highlands, the rich region we thoroughly enjoyed during the filming of Outlander, lies a few kilometres to the northwest. The historical pistol manufacturing village has exhibitions in numerous museums around the world, such as in Edinburgh’s Museum of Scotland. There’s the Deanston Distillery in Doune, and there’s an entertaining farm, Brairlands, where you can ride cars for fun.
Culloden Battlefield, Inverness
The beautiful heart of The Scottish Highlands, Inverness, has a rich history that dates back more than 6500 years ago. Moreover, archaeological finds indicate the area was a thriving trading centre with Yorkshire and the Roman Empire. Inverness’ charm brings together the hustle of the city and solemnity of the Highlands. Sam and Graham visited one of the two locations of historical battles in Inverness, the Culloden Battlefield. The nearly empty battlefield today once witnessed the end of the Jacobite army at the hands of Prince William Agustus.
Today, you can see marked spots for the clans’ mass graves, an information centre and market footpaths to take you around the field. The Old Leanach on the field dates to the mid-18th century. While the site’s memorial cairn, a stack of rocks that humans stack, commemorates the battle’s dead. If you’re ever in Inverness, you must visit Inverness Castle, the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, the city’s cathedral, Inverness Cathedral and the Ness Islands.
The Isle of Islay, Argyll
Bordering on the Scottish Inner Hebrides and the Northern Irish coast, the Isle of Islay is the fifth-largest of Scotland‘s islands. Historical evidence shows that humans inhabited the island from the 1st year AD. The island thrived under the leadership of the Clan Donald, and up to the mid-19th century, the island witnessed agricultural and transportation evolution. With its mild weather and plethora of numerous rare birds, Isle of Islay is a popular tourist destination.
When you visit the Isle of Islay, you can head to the mid-18th century Round Church or Kilarrow Parish, a church in the capital, Bowmorw. Since a quarter of the island’s population speaks Scottish Gaelic, Bowmorw hosts the Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle Centre, which’s main interest is the promotion and revival of the local language. Bowmore’s distillery specialises in producing single malt scotch whiskey.
Imagine a magical sunrise over extended fields of green and purple, with a scent of hope filling the air. Braemar village in Scotland is a fairytale village; its highland nature carries ancient castles, both intact and in ruins, majestic houses and a Highland gaming centre. A vital crossing path in ancient history, it wasn’t until the 11th century that the two banks of the ancient Culnie Water. Braemar’s unique landmarks include Braemar Castle, Balmoral Castle, the ruinous Kindrochit Castle, the Mar Lodge Estate and the village’s Highland Games Center.
Loch Ness, Glencoe
Last August, the largest local and worldwide searching group for the Loch Ness monster spent two days at the loch, Scottish for the lake, to record any possible sightings of the mysterious creature, first spotted 90 years ago. Loch Ness is a breathtaking lake despite its murky water. It’s connected to several other lochs and the River Ness, from which the loch takes its name. Nine villages surround the loch, and one of the most exciting landmarks overlooking the loch is Urquhart Castle, a ruinous 13th-century castle that testifies to the bravery of Scots during their fight for independence. The nearby village of Drumnadrochit acts as a tourist centre for the villages surrounding the loch.
Popular Travel Reality Shows: Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
You normally hear him shouting in the kitchen, with profanity here or there, in any of his cooking shows, such as Hell’s Kitchen or MasterChef. Gordon is a top-tier chef, a successful restauranteur and has restaurants all over the world. In this popular travel reality show, he travels to incredible locations around the globe, both culinary and cultural-wise. The successful show aired for three seasons thus far, with a total of 23 episodes.
Although the Istria Peninsula lies in three countries, the largest portion of it is in Croatia. We learned about the history of Istria, or Histri, as the Romans called it, from the Roman’s accords of conquering the peninsula in 177 BC. The peninsula saw numerous invaders after that, including the Goths and the Lombards. There are several cities on the peninsula worth visiting, such as Croatia’s gateway to Europe, Umag with its magnificent beaches and majestic landmarks, Savudrija with its rich history of war and love and Novigrad with its beautiful coast and rustic feel.
Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru
Beholding one of the world’s most visited landmarks in Peru, the Sacred Valley is home to the famous Machu Pichu citadel. The Urubamba River watered the valley since its habitation and the construction of its sacred buildings between 1000 and 1400. The Incans weren’t the valley’s first inhabitants, instead, it was the Chanapata civilisation, followed by the Qotacalla civilization and the Killke civilization, which preceded the Incans, who inhabited the lush valley from 1420 till the Spanish invasion.
Ever wondered if a true snow fairytale exists on Earth? Lapland is the embodiment of a snowy wonderland. The northernmost Finnish region is famous around the world for its relation with Christmas but the area developed its tourism strategy to welcome tourists all year round. Rovaniemi is the region’s capital centre and economically relies on tourism, trade, construction and manufacturing. If you visit Lapland during the holiday, it would be perfect to visit Santa Claus Village and the Lapland Hotels Snow Village, or you can head to the Arktikum science museum for interesting scientific knowledge.
Travel enhances all your senses; you live new experiences and perhaps will need to figure out certain situations you’re facing for the first time. We loved travelling with these interesting, popular travel reality shows, and we hope you did too.