There are myriad ways to incorporate gastronomy into any travel experience, from a luxury dinner out to snacking on delectable street food at an open-air market. But traveling as a vegan or vegetarian can come with limitations, especially in destinations where a meat-free diet is relatively rare. Fear not, there’s a whole range of travel solutions out there for you to discover.
Visit one of Southeast Asia’s best-kept secrets with VegVoyage’s vegetarian tour of Laos. Uncover jungles, mountains, waterfalls and the Mekong River as you explore this landlocked country, stopping by temples, caves and local villages. Alongside hiking and swimming activities, savor exotic Laotian vegan banquets and even learn how to prepare this vibrant vegetarian cuisine. Tours run for 16 days and start at $2795.
PHOTO AND SUGGESTIONS COURTESY OF RAUSHAN JAISWAL VIA TREKROUTE.
Not only is hiking to Everest Base Camp one of the most sought-after bucket list activities for adventurers, but trekking the remote Everest area is also a distinctly vegetarian experience. Everest Base Camp treks take place in the UNESCO-protected Sagarmatha National Park, where the killing of animals is prohibited. The unhygienic and labor-intensive practice of bringing meat into the park in backpacks means most trekkers and locals favor a high-protein vegan diet. Local teahouses and suppliers offer vegan options ranging from Dal Bhat, rice and lentil soup, corn roti and veggie dumplings: sublime. There are several Everest Base Camp trek options, such as Himalayan Eco Trek’s tour, which lasts 18 days and starts at $1690; click here to find out more.
Enjoy Vegetarian Italian Gastronomy In Umbria, Italy
Italian cuisine may evoke images of prosciutto and salami, but vegetarian Italian food is just as flavorsome, varied and hearty as its meatier fare. Rich, filling and delectable vegan cuisine reigns supreme at the Montali Vegetarian Country House in Umbria, Italy. Perched on a beautiful olive-treed hill in the Italian countryside, Montali is no ordinary getaway. With no TV or GPS, and barely any technology of any kind, Montali encourages you to relax and live the slow life. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will revel in Montali’s relaxing hotel environs and world-class vegetarian Italian cuisine. Accommodation starts at 240 euros per night.
In the tropical surrounds of Costa Rican nature, bordered by forest, waterfalls and clear streams, lies Waterfall Villas, a retreat dedicated to vegetarian, vegan and raw dining. Waterfall Villas offers all manner of tailored retreats for vegetarians, ranging from wedding receptions and honeymoons, to gourmet vegan, healing, gluten-free and raw food packages, to rejuvenating yoga programs replete with a vegetarian diet. Plus, there are plenty of activities available in the surrounding areas, from ocean swimming to nature hikes to art workshops. Rates start at $140 per night.
In the idyllic surrounds of rural Wales and England, join Bicyle Beanos for a cycling tour of landscapes rich in greenery, castles, lakes, villages and wilderness. With small-group tours based out of local, tucked-away accommodations, Bicycle Beanos encourages you to explore local areas through leisurely bike riding in the day, and to fill up on hearty, delicious vegan food at night. Even their meat-eating clients rave about the veggie fare, and even after a full day of exercise! Tours start at around 500 pounds per person.
One of the finest national cuisines for vegans and vegetarians would have to be Thai, with its aromatic curries, fragrant sauces and creative meat substitutes, from tofu to bamboo. Savor the best Thai vegan cooking has to offer at the luxury pool villa and resort, Paresa. Nestled in tropical forest, on the cliffs of Kamala in Phuket, Paresa not only offers vegetarian dining, but a Thai cooking school with vegetarian courses such as “Cook Like a Vegan”. The classes use locally-grown ingredients and even feature a classroom with a 270 degree view of the ocean; what better place to learn about the glories of Thai vegetarian cuisine? Packages start at $935 for two people.
For Americans, there are also plenty of vegetarian fare and travel options to be found on your doorstep. One such example is the picturesque getaway of Winvian Farm, a collection of farmhouses and cottages located on rolling farmland in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut. Winvian conducts its own non-GMO farming and gardening, and features an on-site farm-to-table restaurant with plenty of vegan options. There are also spa and relaxation packages available. Rates start at around $500 per night.
When you think of French dining, maigret de canard and boeuf bourguignon probably come to mind before vegetarian fare does. And yet the Southeastern region of Provence is overflowing with stunning vegetarian options, from wines to hearty vegetable stews and tarts. In the bucolic Drome Provençale region lies Les Aigles, a fully vegetarian-outfitted cottage. Enjoy the beautiful Provence views, swimming pool and alfresco dining in one of the most relaxing and picturesque areas of France. There are plenty of historical and nature walks to be had in the surrounding region, too. Rates start at 72 euros a night.
The Napa Valley in sunny California may be most famous for its wines, but even its wineries are experts in fine vegan dining. At Whitehall Lane, for example, you can enjoy standard winery tours and wine tastings, as well as take cooking classes with the winery chef. Learn to prepare vegan Italian fare using local ingredients like fresh, farm-to-table vegetables. Perfect with a glass of red (or three). Classes run at $125 per person on Fridays and Saturdays.
If you’re looking for both a luxurious and exotic experience from your meat-free vacation, look no further than Fiji’s Laucala Island resort. Laucala features a 240-acre hydroponic farm with 35 vegetable and 15 fruit varieties, plus a garden full of Fiji vanilla plants. The result is an on-site restaurant serving some of the freshest and most divine vegetarian meals imaginable. The restaurant’s staff only cooks with what they have on hand, even foraging for mushrooms and the like in the nearby forests. Pescetarians can also enjoy locally-sourced fish, but vegetarians and vegans still have plenty to choose from. I told you it was luxurious: rates for a villa begin at around $4600 per night.
Have you savored a memorable vegetarian travel experience?
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”