People sometimes use the words vegetarian and vegan interchangeably as if they are the same thing – they are not! Both do not eat meat but beyond that there are some important differences. There are vegetarians who don’t eat land meats but will eat fish. Many vegetarians can even eat eggs and milk.
Vegans on the other hand eschew all animal and animal byproducts. The list of things that they can’t have is super long because it includes not just animal meat of any kind (including fish), but they don’t eat animal byproducts either. Ice cream is out – and butter, and cheese.
The reasons why people choose to live either a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle differ. Some do it for health reasons, believing that a plant-based diet is much better for humans. Some do it for religious or spiritual purposes and others do it simply because they consider animal slaughter cruel—you can’t get to the ribs without slaughtering a few pigs!
We can’t forget to mix in the latest crowd of vegetarians who are eliminating meat from their diets to help combat climate change too. Whatever the reason, finding a place to eat out can be damn near impossible for vegans and vegetarians. Granted you’ll find many more vegetarian options on menus than you used to but still not many.
From home, you can cook your own favorite vegetarian meals. You know what restaurants serve good vegetarian dishes. When you’re traveling or on vacation, it’s much harder to find places where you can eat like everybody else. That’s led to travel companies springing up that cater to the vegetarian lifestyle.
Thanks to companies like Veg Jaunts and Journeys and Humane Travel, you too can enjoy fine dining and top cuisine prepared by world class chefs while on vacation even if you are a vegetarian. Don’t know where to start? We’ll help you out! We found the best 7 vegetarian cooking vacations from around the world for the non-meat eaters out there.
7 Best Vegetarian Cooking Vacations
#1. VegVoyages - Asia
If you plan on traveling to Asia anytime soon, make Thailand and Chiang Mai part of your trip to enjoy some of the best vegetarian cooking in the world! You get to sample local vegan and vegetarian foods from street vendors while also learning the art of vegetarian Asian cooking from top chefs in the region. If you go with VegVoyages on their vegan food tour of Asia, you’ll stop in places like Bali, Laos, India, and Malaysia. The tour of Thailand is the highlight of your vacation if you travel with Intrepid Travel.
#2. Intrepid Travel - India
You wouldn’t think that finding vegetarian meals in India would be a hard thing to do. Considering its cultural and religious history, India is well-known for its vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Intrepid Travel offers a new vegan food tour – vegan, not vegetarian – that will take you on vegan dining excursions over 8 days through Delhi and other spots along the Golden Triangle. This trip blends sightseeing with vegan food sampling through both famous and hole-in-the-wall eateries that will have your taste buds spinning with delight! You’ll even have the chance to take part in vegan cooking classes on your vacation.
#3. Islands Culture - Jamaica
We found two excellent vegetarian cooking vacations for you in the Caribbean. In Jamaica you can learn firsthand from a top vegetarian chef how to prepare meat-free dishes. This tour is broken into four day and six day trips where you’ll stay at a top resort lodge, see where the food is grown and prepared, and tour the country in search of outstanding vegetarian cooking.
Another cooking tour we think you’ll love is offered by Veg Jaunts and Journeys. On this vacation, you will cruise on an ocean liner to the Caribbean to take part in total vegan rejuvenation. On board you can take part in yoga classes, take vegan cooking classes, and party with the other passengers.
In the U.S. we found three day trips for vegans and vegetarians for about $100. The west coast offers more options but the east coast is beginning to dip its toes into the vegetarian cooking vacations craze.
Stanford Inn by the Sea - California
In Mendocino you can stay at the Stanford Inn by the Sea where the onsite vegan restaurant caters to your unique palettes. All of the food is vegan and sustainably grown. In addition to the food, you can go canoeing, take cooking classes, or just relax on the beach.
Salish Sea Tour - Washington State
Five days a week if you can spare a few hours to visit Washington State you can take part in the Salish Sea Tour’s meat-free day trip. For one afternoon, you will learn how to make your own preserves, go on farm visits to see how and where local foods are produced while exploring vegan foods on the Orcas Islands.
Reno's Food Walks - Nevada
In the desert of Nevada, Reno is making a splash into the vegan and vegetarian industry by adding a number of new vegetarian and vegan restaurants in their Midtown District. You can take part in Reno’s Food Walks where you get to stop and sample vegan and vegetarian dishes from several different restaurants. You can even request a customized vegetarian walk for your private group!
Asheville Vegan Food Tour - North Carolina
The east coast has a new entrant into the vegan food market. They’ve started small and the Asheville Vegan Food Tour is the first of its kind in the city. Therefore, you have to be ahead of the game to book this trip. It’s only offered once a month for groups of six people or less and lasts up to six hours.
#5. Soulscape - Himalayans
Spirituality and holistic healing are all part of the purpose of the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle for many. For you, Soulscape combines vegetarian cooking vacations with spiritual renewal and rejuvenation. In fact, when you visit the village of Ule in the Himalayas, you won’t be staying at a resort but rather in a hut with a local family. You’ll eat all vegetarian meals prepared in the traditional way as well as learn how to prepare authentic Ladakhi cuisine.
#6. ForeverBarcelona Tours - Spain
The ForeverBarcelona Tours are varied and many but the one we found for this list involves a tour of tapas (potatoes) bars throughout Barcelona. Created by a vegetarian, this tour introduces you to some of the best vegetarian dishes and tapas in the city. This is a four hour tour that can be customized for your group and will cost you close to $350. You’ll go to different spots during the day from the beat you’ll tour at night, so plan accordingly!
#7. Veg Jaunts and Journeys - Prague
Last but certainly not least, you can go on a vegetarian cooking tour of Eastern Europe through Veg Jaunts and Journeys. Their Prague and Budapest tour spans 9 nights while you taste and sample vegan dishes from two cities in two different countries. Why Prague and Budapest? Because these cities are incredibly welcoming to vegans with a plethora of vegan food restaurants to choose from. Plus you get to admire and absorb the amazing history, architecture, and landscape around you!