There are so many great European Netflix shows to discover, and I’ve been doing just that for now while I can’t travel there. Watching a show, especially those in a different language, is such a great escape if you’re missing travel like I am! I’ve been enjoying seeing new and familiar European cities on my laptop screen while I’m entertained by the trials and tribulations of people whose languages might be foreign to me, but the lives and problems they deal with are shockingly similar.
This is one of my favorite shows on Netflix in general, probably because it takes place in Rome, Italy, where I used to live. The show is actually based on a real life scandal that happened involving minors and a prostitution ring, but the show glamorizes it while also dealing with the everyday struggles of teenagers from an affluent suburb of Rome. You will come to sympathize with the characters and root for them to survive the crazy mess they’ve made. I watched this show to help me with my Italian, but even if you aren’t learning the language you will fall in love with it (with subtitles of course).
2. Emily in Paris
This show has gotten SO much buzz. The fashion, the French accents, the Paris views…it’s a beautiful show to watch if you’re missing the City of Lights. But if you’ve actually lived abroad like me, the show might have you cringing more often than laughing. Emily’s inability to conform to French ways might set her apart, but in some cases it just makes her look like an arrogant American. Nevertheless, I binged this show so fast, and thoroughly enjoyed momentarily escaping to Paris thanks to this European Netflix show.
3. Home for Christmas
I have recommended this show to all of my friends at this point! Especially those who are, like me, single for the holidays. It has that classic storyline of a girl who promises to bring home a boyfriend for Christmas, but doesn’t have one yet. The difference is that this story is actually real, and follows Johanne through Oslo as she tries to date and often fails horribly (through no fault of her own). It is relatable, funny, and touching, and now I cannot wait to visit snowy Oslo one winter in the future!
4. Derry Girls
I have never laughed as hard as I did watching Derry Girls. Even the second time through I find myself cracking up at the girls and all the trouble they get into. This show takes place in Derry, which is a part of Northern Ireland, in the late 1990’s. The 90’s fashion is one thing, but most of the time the characters are dressed in their Catholic school uniforms, where their shenanigans involves strict nuns and a priest with questionable conviction. It is probably the funniest show I’ve seen recently, with Irish accents to boot (you might need subtitles). Trade your problems for the Derry girls’ problems for a night.
5. Love and Anarchy
This is one of the few European Netflix shows I’ve seen that takes place in Sweden. Therefore I’d say it is great for anyone who longs to be in Sweden, and doesn’t mind a crazy storyline to go with the show. It’s all about a married woman and mother in Stockholm, who makes bets with a guy at work to fulfill her rebellious desires. The two of them dare each other to do weird things, like walk backwards all day or mess up an important work meeting, and often what they do wreaks havoc on their workplace, an established publishing house that’s struggling to make it in the digital age. The show borders on the crazy side, but the story lines and characters are relatable, and I loved the glimpse into Swedish life and language.
Reign is for anyone who wants to escape from the present day, back in time to an era when kings and queens held court. It follows the story of Queen Mary of Scots, which if you’re into history, would know has a tragic ending. But the show follows Queen Mary’s early years, when she is living at French Court and marries the future King of France. It is one of my favorite shows, and I love seeing the beautiful landscapes of Scotland and France, not to mention the decadent castles and costumes.
7. The Crown
I’d be remiss not to mention The Crown when talking about European Netflix shows. This is one of the highest budget shows Netflix has to offer, and it obviously doesn’t disappoint. The Crown has created a bit of a cult, and there has been a lot of buzz about the fourth season, when Diana finally makes her appearance. This show is perfect for anyone obsessed or even slightly interested in the royals and all that goes on behind the scenes of the British Monarchy (though I’ve heard they’re working to have Netflix label it as fiction).
If you are a Florence lover, then the Medici series has to be on your list of European Netflix shows. Chances are if you’ve traveled to Florence, then you know that the Medici were once the leading family of the city, and their mark has been left all over Florence. This show follows several generations of the Medici family, and I love how watching it is like learning a history lesson, but in the best way possible. You will meet characters like the famous painter Botticelli, and the preacher Savonarola who ended up burning at the stake. The show is truly like being transported back to an early time, a beautiful time: the Renaissance.
9. The Trial
Or Il Processo, in Italian. Anyone who loves law and order type shows should watch this European Netflix offering. I was so intrigued by this show, and I don’t normally go for anything as intense as this. The story was intriguing and beautiful, as the characters were riddled with either pain or guilt surrounding the murder of a teenage girl in the city of Mantua. The cast is full of well-known Italian actors and I really enjoyed watching it, with its twists and turns. I was on the edge of my seat!
10. The Great British Baking Show
If you need something light and sweet to keep you entertained, and enjoy a British accent, then this is the best choice for your European Netflix shows binge. This is another show that seems to have a cult following. I think a lot of people are finding joy in it during quarantine because they are trying their own baking ventures, and it’s fun to watch other people bake! There’s also camaraderie among the contestants that is hard to find in American food shows.
What other European Netflix shows have you watched? Leave them in the comments below for us!
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Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.