15 Surprising Places Anthony Bourdain Never Visited
…Okay maybe he did visit these places, but they weren’t destinations he featured on any of his shows.
Many people are surprised to learn that no, Anthony Bourdain didn’t go everywhere. There are some places Anthony Bourdain never visited. He did visit a lot of places around the world – and shared them with us through his incredible writing and love of food and, but even someone as worldly as Tony couldn’t see it all.
Additionally, Bourdain did have his own travel style and preferences – and those informed the places he went. Like all of us, there were some regions, continents, countries, cities, and cuisines he preferred, and those tend to feature more prominently in his body of work than others that didn’t pique his interest or weren’t politically stable enough to visit during his career.
Based on the searches I receive here on Eat Like Bourdain, I’ve been collecting a list of places people will probably be surprised to learn that Bourdain never visited. For this reason, you won’t find dedicated posts to them here on my site, but I wanted to share them so that people searching would understand why they’re not seeing any results. Here’s the list so far – if you’re curious about other places and whether Bourdain ever visited them, feel free to post them in the comments.
This post was originally published in January 2022, and was updated in February 2022.
1. Arles, France
While Anthony Bourdain visited – and loved – many parts of France, including Brittany, Lyon, Marseilles, Provence, and Paris, he never made it to Arles. Not far from Marseilles, Arles is located on the French Med, and is known for inspiring Van Gogh’s paintings. Once a provincial capital of ancient Rome, Arles is now a great spot for arts and culture, and is known for its plays and concerts.
2. Athens, Greece
Tony filmed in Greece twice for his various shows – but only ever spent time on different Greek Islands like Naxos, Crete, and Zakynthos, not in the capital city of Athens. This is a classic example of how he regularly went off the beaten tourist track to seek experiences, as he also never made it to overrun destinations like Santorini or Mykonos – at least not on screen.
3. Bogotá, Colombia
While Bourdain does visit Colombia once during his shows (Parts Unknown, Season 1, Episode 3), his journey there never takes him to the largest city of Bogotá. Instead, he visits other cities like Cartagena (known for its history and culture) and Medellín (known for its food).
4. Bratislava, Slovakia
The capital and largest city of European country Slovakia, Anthony Bourdain never set foot in Bratislava on screen – despite the country’s huge rise in popularity among tourists during the years he was working. Instead, while Tony spent time exploring other parts of Central and Eastern Europe like Prague (Czech Republic) and Tbilisi (Georgia).
Another one of those destinations that we never saw on screen, Bourdain actually did visit Cyprus – as part of his evacuation from Beirut, Lebanon during the renowned episode they filmed there (No Reservations, Season 2, Episode 14). According to news sources from the time, the Travel Channel was so eager to get Tony and the crew back to the U.S. that they probably didn’t spend much time in Cyprus anyway, and as far as we know, Tony never went back.
6. Krakow, Poland
In fact, not only did Anthony Bourdain never visit Krakow, he never visited Poland at all – at least not on camera. While people are often curious about this, Bourdain filmed in other Central European countries like the Czech Republic, but never in Poland.
7. Munich, Germany
I’ll admit: this is one of those places that Bourdain never visited that surprised me. Yes, Munich is a big, boisterous city and that wasn’t generally where he spent a lot of time – but Munich has such a particular culture and flavor as the beating heart of Bavaria that I thought he might be drawn to explore the area… even if he was adamantly avoiding Oktoberfest. Maybe he did visit on his own private time – Oktoberfest is one of those experiences I believe everyone should have at least once!
I’ll admit, I was bummed to learn that Bourdain never visited Norway; it seems like the kind of place he’d enjoy and it’s somewhere I want to visit (and would love to have his restaurant recommendations as a guide). However, he did visit other Scandinavian countries, like Sweden, Denmark (Copenhagen), and Finland. Those episodes will have to do whenever you’re enjoying a bit of hygge with an episode of one of Bourdain’s shows.
9. San Antonio, Texas, USA
Tony explored a lot of the U.S., but apparently never made it to San Antonio (at least not for one of his shows). Within Texas, he visited both Houston and West Texas, but must have flown between the two since he didn’t stop in San Antonio – or Austin or Dallas either! He also spent time on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border in one episode.
To be fair, though, Texas is a big place – and Bourdain had a lot of the world to explore.
10. Seville, Spain
Like with Arles, a lot of people are surprised to learn that Anthony Bourdain never visited Seville, Spain. After all, he explored plenty of other Spanish destinations including Asturias, Grenada, Madrid, and San Sebastián (twice!). However, he never made it to the Andalusian capital of Seville to sample Tapas there.
Some destinations Anthony Bourdain never visited make sense, due to ongoing social or political unrest in those places. Somalia is one such place, as it experienced a Civil War from 1991-2006, followed by a series of transitional periods, the Al Shabaab insurgency, and finally a semi-stable democracy only within the past few years. Those kinds of conditions aren’t conducive for filming a travel TV show, and I have no doubt that Tony and the crew weren’t eager to find themselves in another Beirut-like situation – even if it did win them an Emmy the first time.
Sudan is another African country that Anthony Bourdain never visited – despite his love for the diverse and delicious destinations he did experience across the continent. However, I can’t skip over the fact that Sudan went through several chapters of political unrest during Tony’s TV career, so it’s another place he (or perhaps his network/insurance company) didn’t feel comfortable planning an episode.
Switzerland sounds like a perfect place for Bourdain, right? Delicious food and wine, friendly folks, beautiful scenery… turns out that the landlocked European country actually terrified Tony for all of those things that draw most people there: “Even like Alpine vistas, like snow-capped peaks, with, like Lake Geneva, or cuckoo clocks or those hats with the feathers,” Bourdain he told Conan O’Brien during an interview. “Even the cheese.” He also wasn’t a fan of yodeling, which he described as “horrifying.” (Sounds great to me, further proof that each person has their own travel style!)
I personally love Britain’s “Land of Castles”, and was bummed to learn that Anthony Bourdain never visited Wales. Given his enjoyment of other parts of the United Kingdom like London, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Glasgow, I like to think he would have enjoyed working there, and perhaps it was on the “someday” list when he died.
Finally, Yemen is another country Anthony Bourdain never visited. While he hoped to visit at one point (source), he and his crew never made it to this small Middle Eastern country. From what I’ve heard from friends in the travel industry who visit regularly, there are certainly social and political concerns in the country – but nothing you can’t handle with the right planning and team on the ground.
Are there other places you’re curious whether Anthony Bourdain visited? Let me know in the comments.
Colombia NOT Columbia.
🤦🏻♀️ Right you are, Vanessa. Fixed it!