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The Best TV Series To Watch If You Love European Travel

May 20, 2021
tv shows europe

Europe TV Series That Will Inspire Wanderlust

We have all had a little more time to watch TV this last year and a little less time to book that trip to explore Europe. And while that might have not been what we had all anticipated for ourselves, I personally coped by watching a ridiculous amount of tv shows about Europe. And the good news is that there are a lot of fantastic European tv series out there. But, if you are anything like me and really made your way through that Netflix queue, you might be struggling to find that next winner. That is why I made this comprehensive list of the best television shows set in Europe. There is sure to be one that you haven’t yet heard of that intrigues you!

The list of Europe tv shows is broken down by country which will hopefully make it easier for you to narrow down the choices. You’ll also find where to stream the series on and how many seasons there are because sometimes we just want something that we can get through in a couple of nights and other times we really want to have a long lasting relationship with our favorite characters. Shows do go on and off streaming sites relatively frequently, so if you see that something has changed, let us know and we will update!

You didn’t ask, but if you want to hear my top 5 Europe tv series (granted I haven’t seen everything on this list), my absolute must watches are: Durrell’s in Corfu, The Crown, Downton Abbey, Anthony Bourdain, and Poldark.

Best Europe TV Shows

GREECE

Durrell’s in Corfu: Lousia Durrell, a widow and mother to four children, moves her family from England to Corfu, Greece to start fresh. The series spans the mid to late 1930s and is based on the novels written by the youngest Durell, Gerald or Gerry. It’s a phenomenal series and should be at the top of your list have you not yet watched.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime Video

Seasons: 4

UNITED KINGDOM

ENGLAND

The Crown: The historical drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century to modern times. We are privy to political rivalries, romance, and a greater understanding of not only what it means to be a monarch, but also the head of the Church of England.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: There will be six total. Four have aired. 

Killing Eve: Sandra Oh plays Eve Polastri, a British intelligence investigator, who is given the task of hunting down a psychopathic assassin named Villanelle (Jodi Comer). Follow the cat and mouse game as these two character’s lives become more and more intertwined. Proceed with caution: I binged two full seasons in one weekend.

Stream it on: Hulu

Seasons: Three have aired, but there will be four in total. 

Bodyguard: David Budd (Richard Madden) is a police sergeant with the Metropolitan Police Service in London, in the Royalty and Specialist Protection branch. The war veteran, whose experiences left him with PTSD, is assigned to protect Julia Montague, the controversial Home Secretary. Torn between his duty to protect and his own beliefs – he loathes Julia’s politics – David must reconcile where exactly his loyalties lie.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 1

Poldark: Based on a series of classic British novels, Poldark is the story of a wealthy and dashing Cornish  gentleman who returns home after fighting in the Revolutionary War only to find his country estate in bad disrepair and the love of his life married to his sworn enemy. The beautifully filmed series depicts life in a small mining town in Cornwall for both the landed gentry and the underprivileged miners who work for them.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 5

Call the Midwife: This charming series follows a group of nurse midwives in an impoverished London neighborhood in the 1950s and 60s who are based at a Catholic religious order called Nonatus House. Although it is a historical drama, the show deals with many societal issues that we still face today such as abortion, domestic violence, racial injustice and birth control.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: Nine have aired.

Broadchurch: Set in the quaint seaside village of Broadchurch, this British crime drama spends three seasons focusing on a single murder case and its aftermath, not only for the victim’s family but for an entire community. The detectives on the case are none other than Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) and Doctor Who (David Tennant) who do a bangup job investigating many twists and turns in their effort to find the killer.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 3

Land Girls: The series is a World War II drama about the Women’s Land Army, a real-life volunteer group of young women from all over England who moved to the countryside to grow food for the war effort. This fictionalized account tells the story of their struggles and adjustments to country living and to each other.

Steam it on: Netflix

Seasons: 3

Downton Abbey: This critically acclaimed historical drama allows us a look inside the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants throughout the early twentieth century. The series shows the effect that important historical events from 1912 to 1926 like the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, and the Spanish Flu have on all of their lives. It’s a must watch if you have not yet seen the show or the feature film adaptation that followed. 

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 6

The Night Manager: The show follows Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), a hotel night manager who is asked by a well-connected guest and intelligence operative (Olivia Coleman) to help spy on international businessman, Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). Pine’s assistance with this request thrusts him into Roper’s shady world as he attempts to infiltrate Roper’s inner circle and investigate illegal arms sales. 

 Stream it on: Amazon Prime

 Seasons: 1; the show has been renewed for a second.

Grantchester: Set in the 1950s in a village just outside of Cambridge, a clergyman and a veteran police officer join forces and start an investigation into the suspicious death of the priest’s parishioners. These unlikely partners form a real friendship as they work together to discover why there is such darkness and crime in this small little corner of Cambridgeshire.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 5

Victoria: The historical drama series chronicles the early life of Queen Victoria, her ascension to the throne, and her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. As the seasons continue, we see how Queen Victoria navigates various historical events like the famine in Ireland and relations with France.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: Three have aired and a fourth may be in the works. 

The Last Kingdom: After watching his father be killed by Danish invaders, Uhtred, an Anglo-Saxon, is raised by viking warlord Earl Ragnar and taught the ways to become a brave warrior. Uhtred is later put in a position where he must decide his loyalties between his country and the nation that raised him. 

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: Four have aired and a fifth will arrive to Netflix in Fall 2021.

Lark Rise to Candleford: The series, which has been adapted from Flora Thompson’s childhood memoir, is told through the eyes of a young girl, Laura Timmins. Set toward the end of the 19th century, Laura leaves the small Oxfordshire hamlet, Lark Rise, to start a new job with the aide of her mother’s cousin, Dorcas Lane, in the wealthier neighboring town, Candleford. The series chronicles the ups and downs of daily life for these two characters as well as the friends, farmworkers, and neighbors living in these communities.

Stream it on: Hulu

Seasons: 4

Last Tango in Halifax: This romantic comedy follows the story of two widowed childhood sweethearts in their 70s who fall for each other all over again after their respective grandsons create profiles for them on a popular social networking site. The two fall for each other all over again, but still have obstacles to overcome with their families.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 4

Bridgerton: Shonda Rhimes has done it again, no surprise here, with this American period drama set during the Regency era in England (1813). The eight children of widow Violet, the matriarch of the powerful Bridgerton family, attempt to find love in London high society; and, as with anything Rhimes writes, scandal ensues. Bridgerton also happens to be the most-watched series on Netflix.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: One has aired, but seasons two, three, and four have been confirmed.

Vikings: The show follows Ragnar Lothbrok, a farmer and family man, who is tired of the ways set forth by his local chieftain, and strives to explore westward across the ocean to find new civilizations. The action causes issues within his clan and especially with his clean leader, Earl Haraldson, creating two separate factions.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 6

The TripThis 2010 British sitcom stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves. Coogan invites Brydon on a restaurant tour of Northern England after Coogan’s girlfriend breaks up with him and moves back to America. The antics that these two get up to are enjoyable to watch. Three seasons followed (The Trip to Italy, The Trip to Spain, and the Trip to Greece), and all four were each edited into their own feature film.

Stream it on: You can watch the feature films, which are the episodes of each season edited down into a movie, on Hulu.

Seasons: 4

IRELAND

Normal People: The series is adapted from the novel, Normal People by Sally Rooney, a millennial author who has won critical acclaim for both this book and her debut novel Conversations With Friends. The series follows Marianne and Connell over several years as they navigate adulthood as well as their complex, on-again, off-again romance. Rooney’s novels examine the human condition and the complexities of relationships. The plot feels incidental. But, I have read both and can tell you that Sally is such a good writer that once you turn the first page, you won’t put the book down until you make it to the last.

Stream it on: Hulu

Seasons: 1

The Fall: Maggie Anderson plays Stella Gibson, a London detective called up to Belfast in Northern Ireland to lend her investigatory expertise and catch serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). This psychological thriller is a cat and mouse chase between two hunters, and Gibson will stop at nothing to catch Spector before he moves on to the next victim.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 1

Derry Girls: The sitcom centers around five Catholic schoolgirls in the Northern Ireland city of Derry during the 1990s. The Troubles – a bloody period of Irish history that spanned three decades – were nearing their end. And despite the ongoing political turmoil between Irish nationalists and Unionists, we watch as the girls try to navigate their seemingly tumultuous teenage years just as the rest of the world’s teenagers do.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: Two have aired, but a third season is confirmed.

SCOTLAND

Outlander:  A medley of romance, science fiction, history and stunning cinematography have generated a global cult following for Outlander. Viewers are mesmerized by this epic love story of a nurse from 1945 who travels back in time to fall in love with a Scottish Highlander from the 1700s.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 5 have aired.

Monarch of the Glen: Just as Archie MacDonald plans to open up his very own fish restaurant in London, he learns that he is the recipient of an unexpected inheritance. Archie must return back to the Scottish Highlands to run his decaying family estate. He will need to adapt to the newfound responsibilities that being the owner of such a large property requires.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime (you may need a VPN if you are streaming from the USA)

Seasons: 7

Reign: It’s an American historical drama – the show originally aired on the CW – telling the story of the rise to power for Mary Queen of Scots. The monarch moves to France to formalize her arranged engagement to Prince Francis. She must spend her time in France readying herself to rule and dealing with complicated matters of the heart, which is all but complicated by the treacherous French court.

Stream it On: Netflix

Seasons: 4

Shetland: Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez returns to his native Shetland Islands, but doesn’t have much down time with the eight murder cases he needs to solve. Even in the beautiful Shetland Islands, not everything is as it seems. Perez and his team have a lot of work to do as they try to track down the culprits.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: Five seasons have aired, and season six and seven are confirmed.

WALES

Hinterland: This police procedural is set in the town of Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales. Tom Mathias, the Chief Inspector of Police, leaves London for Wales but uncovers that the place has dark secrets just like he does.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 3

Hidden: Police officers investigate after finding a young woman’s body on the banks of a river; and, she might not have been the only woman to have gone missing from that same area.

Stream it on: Acorn TV

Seasons: Two seasons have aired and a third has been confirmed.

SPAIN

Cable Girls: Set in the 1920s, the series follows the stories of four young women who get jobs at the first national telephone company as they manage relationships, romance, and equality.  I absolutely adored the first four seasons of this show. Season 5 time jumps to the Spanish civil war, and while I appreciated learning more about the political atmosphere of the time, I wish I had stopped after season 4 and not watched the final one. This is just something to consider should you choose to watch this phenomenal show. 

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 5

La Casa de Papel (Money Heist): A criminal mastermind known as “The Professor” offers a group of eight thieves the opportunity to rob the Royal Mint of Spain by printing billions of euros. A showdown ensues between the police and the robbers as they attempt to carry out their shrewd plan. 

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 4

Gran Hotel: It is 1905 in the fictional Spanish coastal town of Cantaloa, and Julio arrives at the Gran Hotel only to uncover that his sister, a chambermaid at the hotel, has disappeared. Julio is determined to find her so he starts investigating everyone at the hotel. Julio’s investigation does lead him somewhere – right into the arms of Alicia, the married hotel heiress.  The series was adapted for American television in 2019 with the show Grand Hotel, but it was cancelled after one season.

Stream it on: The show was taken off of Netflix in January 2021, so it will be difficult to find somewhere to watch. 

Seasons: 3

ITALY

My Brilliant Friend: The series is based on the four books, also known as the Neapolitan Quartet, by Italian novelist Elena Ferrante. After the sudden disappearance of  Lila Cerullo, an old friend of now 60-year Elena Greco, Elena reflects on the early days of the girls lives in 1950s Naples and Ischia, Italy. Each season is adapted from the accompanying novel, season 1 is based on book 1, season 2 is based on book 2, etc.

Stream it on: HBO Max

Seasons: Two have aired, but there will be four in total.

Medici: Set in 15-century Renaissance Florence,  the banking dynasty, House of Medici, rises to power and wields great influence over the arts and politics of medieval Italy.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 3

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy – The name really says it all. Stanley Tucci travels across Italy to share the highlights of the country’s regional cuisines. Tucci offers us insight into a world that is so much more than pasta and pizza – although we get our fair share of that as well – by showing us how Italy’s history and culture has affected the diversity of Italian cooking.

Stream it on: CNNgo, but you can watch on YouTube TVwith or a Hulu premium subscription.

Seasons: One has aired, but the show has been confirmed for a second.

FRANCE

Emily in Paris: Emily Cooper (Lilly Collins) moves to Paris after a company transfer at her marketing agency. We watch as Emily struggles to succeed in the workplace, searches for love, and adjusts to life in Paris. I’m a huge Darren Star fan, but the show just didn’t cut it for me. The characters weren’t well developed and the writing was very cliché. With that said, a lot of people loved that they could escape to Paris through the show and thought it was a fun watch, so it’s included on this list.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 1, but has been renewed for a second season

Versailles: The year is 1667. Louis XIV is in complete control of France and commissioning the Palace of Versailles, the world’s most opulent palace. Eager to share in its grandeur and displaced from their usual surroundings, the nobles do not realize that this palace is actually meant to control and imprison them.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 3

Call My Agent!: Talent agents at a top firm in Paris work tirelessly to make their clients happy and maintain their businesses in show business, a world filled with backstabbing and scheming.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 4

The Bureau: The series, which is based on true accounts, follows the lives of agents of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security) which is France’s equivalent to the CIA. Officer Malotru has spent the past six years under cover in Damascus, Syria, but has been mysteriously recalled back to Paris. Malotru must re-learn how to connect with his family and move past his time as an undercover agent in Syria. If you’ve finished Homeland and are looking for something in a similar vein, then check out The Bureau.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime, YouTubeTV, Sundance Now

Seasons: 5

GERMANY

Charité at War: This drama takes place at a prominent Berlin hospital during World War II and the tells the story of physicians and nurses working to save lives and practice ethical medical care during the Nazi regime. While only six episodes, Charité at War manages to delve fairly deeply into its characters and offers up a tale of romance, action, interesting medical dilemmas.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 1

NORWAY

Occupied: It’s a political thriller series based in the fictional near future. The Norwegian government stops all oil and gas production in the North Sea, due to overwhelming environmental concerns, so Russia intervenes on behalf of the European Union and invades the country. The goal? To take control of Norway’s oil supplies and stop the Europe-wide energy crisis.

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 3

NETHERLANDS

Baptiste: Detective Julian Baptiste is staying in Amsterdam when he runs into an old girlfriend, Amsterdam’s chief of police. She asks Baptiste to help search for Natalie, a missing sex worker and the investigation draws him into the dark underworld of the red light district. The series is a spin off from The Missing where Tchéky Karyo also plays the role of Detective Baptiste.

Stream it on: Apple TV

Seasons: 1

SWEDEN

The Restaurant: It’s 1945, World War II is over, and Sweden is celebrating. But, the war has enormously impacted Europe. Nina Lowander and her family run a traditional restaurant in Sweden, but the limited number of patrons is worrying. What lengths are the family members willing to go to keep their family-run business afloat?

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 4

Broen/Bron/The Bridge: The series was a joint production for Swedish and Danish entertainment. The show opens with the discovery of a dead body on the center of the Oresund Bridge, which exactly marks the Denmark-Sweden border. A joint investigation ensues as a Swedish police detective and her Danish counterpart work together to find the killer.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 4

General Europe Travel TV Shows

Rick Steves’ Europe: The ultimate authority on all things Europe, Rick Steves’ travel show is public television’s most-watched, and longest-running travel series. The show is an educational and entertaining way to learn about the continent and acquaint yourself with the customs and the culture of Europe’s most interesting places.

Stream it on: Amazon Prime

Seasons: 11

Somebody Feed Phil: Philip Rosenthal, the creator of the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, travels the globe while taking us on a tour of the cuisine in each episode’s featured city. You’ll fall in love with Phil and his engaging personality in this travel documentary and while I recommend that you watch all of the episodes as he travels around the world, the Europe episodes are as follows: Season 1, Episode 4 (Lisbon); Season 2, Episode 1 (Venice); Season 2, Episode 2 (Dublin); Season 2, Episode 4 (Copenhagen); Season 3, Episode 3 (London).

Stream it on: Netflix

Seasons: 4

Anthony Bourdain: It’s hard not to know the legend, best selling author, and Emmy award winner Anthony Bourdain. He was a world traveler, food lover and a master of words who traveled around the globe to find the ultimate dining experience. Bourdain provided his outlook on the daily life and customs of the locales he visited and broke bread with these residents who graciously shared their culture and cuisine. Bourdain has two series, Parts Unknown and No Reservations, and while he travels the whole world in these shows, there are plenty of episodes filmed in Europe. 

Stream it on: Parts Unknown on HBO Max and No Reservations on Hulu

Seasons: 12; 9

While this list is extensive, I know I’ve missed some incredible tv series set in Europe. Leave your favorites in the comments below! And don’t forget to read these other posts on WOAW:

Best Travel Guides for Europe: Top European Guidebooks for 2020

Travel Face Mask: Best Travel-Inspired Cloth Masks w/ Filters

Best Travel Accessories for Europe: The List of Essentials

Best Travel Coffee Table Books to Inspire You Right Now

10 of the Most Walkable Cities in Europe

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