There are myriad ways to incorporate gastronomy into your travel experience, from a luxury dinner out to snacking on delectable street food at an open-air market. But traveling as a vegetarian can come with limitations, especially in destinations where a meat-free diet is relatively rare. Fear not, epicurious vegetarians; there’s a whole range of travel solutions out there for you to discover.
Here are ten of the best vegetarian-friendly vacations:
Photo courtesy of VegVoyages.
1. Explore Laos
In Southeast Asia, being a vegetarian is relatively easy. You can uncover jungles, mountains, waterfalls and the Mekong River as you explore this landlocked country, stopping by temples, caves and local villages. In Laos, you can find lots of vegetarian dishes alongside hiking and swimming activities and savor exotic Laotian vegan banquets.
Photo and suggestions courtesy of Raushan Jaiswal via Trekroute.
2. Trek To Everest Base Camp Veg Style In Nepal
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 vegetarian diet. Local teahouses and suppliers offer vegetarian options ranging from Dal Bhat, rice and lentil soup, corn roti and vegetarian dumplings: sublime.
Photo courtesy of Montali.
3. 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 vegetarian 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.
Photo courtesy of Waterfall Villas.
4. Sample Gourmet Vegan & Raw Dining In Costa Rica
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.
Photo courtesy of Bicycle Beano.
5. Cycle Green Through England & Wales
In the idyllic surrounds of rural Wales and England, cycle your way through the country stopping in vegetarian rich restaurants along the way.
Photo courtesy of Paresa Resorts.
6. Relax At A Vegetarian Resort In Phuket, Thailand
One of the finest national cuisines for vegetarians would have to be Thai, with its aromatic curries, fragrant sauces and creative meat substitutes, from tofu to bamboo. Savor the best Thai vegetarian 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?
Photo courtesy of Winvian Farm.
7. Visit A Vegetarian Farm In Connecticut, USA
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 vegetarian options. There are also spa and relaxation packages available.
Photo courtesy of ISchmidt via Shutterstock.
8. Revel In A Vegetarian Retreat In Provence, France
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 cheeses to 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.
Photo courtesy of Sopotnicki via Shutterstock.
9. Cook & Eat Vegetarian In Napa Valley, California
The Napa Valley in sunny California may be most famous for its wines, but even its wineries are experts in fine vegetarian 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 vegetarian Italian fare using local ingredients like fresh, farm-to-table vegetables. Perfect with a glass of red (or three).
Photo courtesy of Laucala Island.
10. Indulge In Organic Vegetarian Produce In Fiji
If you’re looking for both a luxurious and exotic experience from your vegetarian 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.
Have you savored a memorable vegetarian travel experience? Please share in the comments below.
By Gemma King