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The 5 best vegan-friendly vacations

Welcome to vegcurious – the blog for people who are curious about plant-based eating.


If you’re someone who loves to travel, like I do, then you might be concerned about finding restaurants that serve plant-based meals when you are on vacation. While most of the world is quickly catching up to the fast-growing number of people who want vegan options on menus, not everyone is there yet, but most places at least put in a good effort! According to vegan.com, these are the world’s most vegan-friendly cities:


  • San Francisco & Oakland, California

  • Portland, Oregon

  • New York, New York (especially Manhattan & Brooklyn)

  • Tel Aviv, Israel

  • Prague, Czech Republic

  • Guadalajara, Mexico

  • Canggu, Bali

  • Chiang Mai, Thailand

I have a few more to add to that list! I sat down with Susan Housel, Travel Specialist with Pure Magic Vacations (puremagicvacations.ca) to talk about the places we’ve been that are really good about offering plant-based eaters creative and delicious options. At the end of this blog you’ll find some resources and apps that you can download to find vegan-friendly restaurants all around the world.


Here are our picks for some great vegan-friendly destinations. If you live in a vegan-friendly city, or have visited one that’s not on our list, I’d love to hear about it. Email me at bevegcurious@gmail.com

My first pick is near and dear to my heart…

1. Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

OK…this is a cheat. I live here. But lots of people travel to Toronto for a vacation – it’s a great city! And the best part is that the vegan food scene is not only alive and well but unbelievably diverse. Toronto has one of the most diverse populations in the world with over 250 ethnicities making this beautiful city their home. This makes for some very interesting dining options. In Toronto you will find authentic food prepared by the people who grew up eating those foods in their homes – not “fake” fast-food or watered down versions of the real thing. It's a foodie paradise!

(From left to right: arancini from Gia, sushi from Planta, koshari from Papyrus)


A lot of cultures around the world rely heavily on plant-based meals for economic and health reasons. And, because Toronto is home to so many different cultures, you are sure to find gems from all corners of the world. I have personally enjoyed authentically prepared, fully plant-based meals in Toronto that were Egyptian, Tibetan, Chinese, Nigerian, Middle Eastern, Italian, Japanese, Ethiopian and good old fashioned, greasy junk food like fried chick’n and burgers. And don’t even get me started on the vegan bakery scene! It’s enough to make you want to hide your scale forever! (Note: Not all of these restaurants are 100% vegan – most of them offer a variety of food including many vegan options.)


Next up, from Susan, is one of her happiest places on Earth…maybe one of yours, too? Well, guess which mouse is offering up some great vegan food when you visit?


2. Disneyworld

From travel specialist and special guest blogger, Susan Housel

Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Disney has really stepped up their game since the early days when I first became a vegan. Every restaurant, both quick service and sit down, now offers vegan options on their standard menu, and if you have additional requests, the chefs are very knowledgeable and flexible in making food that suits your needs.


If you’re thinking of a Disney vacation, there’s a great Facebook page called “VegDisney” where you can ask questions, look through other’s people’s photos and recommendations, and on the My Disney Experience app, you can look at the menus for onsite restaurants and check out what they offer on the “Plant Based” tab. Some of my favourite places to eat vegan at Walt Disney World (Florida) are at Steakhouse 71 in the Contemporary Hotel for any meal – they do an amazing Mushroom Wellington, and Toledo at the top of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – I love it for the ambiance, the vista from the rooftop terrace, and the amazing food!


Now, if Disneyland wasn’t enough of a wild ride, the truly adult version of “Disneyland” can be found in the European city of Amsterdam.


3. Amsterdam

No cartoon mice or rides here, but some pretty “adult” entertainment can be found all over the historic centre. After a stroll through the narrow, winding streets and over the countless canals, you’re going to work up quite an appetite. I recommend you head straight for a FEBO (pronounced FAYbow).


FEBO can best be described as food coming out of heated slots in a wall. But not just any food! This is hot, prepared-fresh-daily, and restocked-almost-constantly, surprisingly delicious food. And recently FEBO has added a variety of plant-based items to their menu of typically Dutch and Indonesian food like croquettes, vitaaltje and bami, and even old standbys like veggie burgers. On a recent trip, I was told by a local that the vegan croquettes at FEBO sell out faster than their meat-based croquettes and they are on their way to becoming FEBO’s best-selling item! For scientific purposes only, I tried one and I can report a full 5-star YUM!!!

A stroll down any street in Amsterdam will turn up lots of fully vegan bakeries and restaurants, as well as restaurants with many plant-based options. Yes…it is a culture steeped in cheese and chocolate, but now there’s lots of vegan cheese and chocolate options to indulge in, too!


If Amsterdam is too hectic for you, maybe you’d prefer some beach relaxation? I’ve found the island of Aruba to be a haven for plant-based foodies.


4. Aruba

Not going to lie…this one surprised me. Aruba is a very small island just off the coast of Venezuela – a country known for its cattle industry and high consumption of beef. Aruba is filled with traditional steakhouses and, being an island, seafood restaurants abound, as well. What surprised me was the inclusivity of plant-based options at, literally, every restaurant I visited. In one restaurant, because I asked for their vegan menu (yes…many restaurants have those!), when the breadbasket arrived, it came with two dishes of butter – one dairy and one plant-based!

Plant-based menu items are not an after-thought in Aruba. Chefs on the island are putting their creative culinary minds to work creating some really delicious meals. From offering vegan cheese on pizzas to fast-food places offering Beyond Burgers, and plant-based gelato to incredibly creative vegan tacos and fine dining chef creations, this island caters to everyone, and vegans can happily enjoy plant-based meals pretty much everywhere. And, if you opt for an Airbnb and want to prepare meals yourself, the major supermarket, Super Foods, carries more vegan products than I’ve seen in many North America grocery stores!


5. Virgin Voyages

Back to travel specialist and special guest blogger, Susan Housel


Cruising is one of my favourite ways to see the world and, until recently, it could be a bit “hit or miss” when it came to vegan offerings. You could always get the old standbys…salad, some pastas, the occasional veggie burger, or vegan cheese pizza, but let’s face it, half the fun of a cruise is all the delicious food! Enter Virgin Voyages. With Virgin Voyages, vegetarian and vegan options aren’t an afterthought – they are every bit as delicious and well-planned out as the regular dining menus.


One thing I love about Virgin Voyages is that they don’t have huge dining rooms and endless buffets, like some cruise lines. Instead, they offer restaurant-style dining and quick-service options, and each of the 24 places to eat onboard has a selection of vegan options to choose from. Sometimes the crew even brought out extra vegan goodies for me to enjoy that weren’t on the menu!


So, if cruising is your idea of a great vacation, and you want to enjoy lots of really delicious plant-based meals and snacks onboard, one of Virgin Voyages’ many exciting itineraries just might be the perfect option for you.


If you’re adding more plant-based meals to your diet, or if you’re already fully vegan, then I hope this blog inspires you to pack your bags and get ready to try all the delicious plant-based food the world has to offer! What’s your favourite vegan-friendly city? email me at bevegcurious@gmail.com


Apps and resources to help find vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants

Here are some great resources for finding vegan, and vegan-friendly restaurants all over the world. And, if you are planning a trip, you can do a Google search for a vegan guide to that specific city or country. There are plenty of books and websites out there!

The Vegan Travel Handbook (By Lonely Planet)


A special thank you to Susan Housel, Travel Specialist with Pure Magic Vacations. She volunteers with Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary and lives in Ontario with her two fur babies, Pluto and Rutabaga, and her husband, Ray. If you’re thinking about planning a holiday, contact Susan at shousel@puremagicvacations.ca

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I hope this blog has helped you find your way to plant-based eating. Remember…the goal is not to be perfect. Do the best you can and enjoy the journey! Subscribe to vegcurious.ca to receive the monthly blog directly to your inbox.


Note: It is strongly recommended that you consult with your primary care physician before making any changes to your diet. This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to recommend or endorse any particular product, diet or eating plan.

Next post: These are a few of my favourite (vegan) things!



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