Over the last 2 or 3 years, travelling while being a vegan or vegetarian has become dramatically easier! Plant-based restaurants been popping up at record rates all over the globe, offering more vegan friendly choices than ever before. Also, there are now apps and sites to help you find meat-free dishes… no matter what country you might be traveling in.
(I can’t imagine what it must have been like 15 years ago!)
Even with the rise of vegan/vegetarian friendly destinations, there are still some countries out there where meat is king and animal products are a staple in every dish. Here is a list of the top 13 countries that are vegan and vegetarian friendly, some of which might surprise you!
13 Best Countries for Vegan and Vegetarian Travel
Tel Aviv, Israel’s beautiful coastal capital city, has started calling itself the ‘vegan capital of the world’ and no one seems to be arguing with them.
Seemingly overnight, the cities hottest restaurants have been flipping their menus upside down and resurfacing with 100% totally vegan options. They want to fit in with the exploding trend of cruelty free dining throughout Israel that's even spreading to smaller cities outside the capital.
Even big brands like Dominos and Ben and Jerry’s have jumped on the vegan bandwagon, using Israel as testing grounds for their newest dairy-free products.
Israel as a whole has been a leader in vegetarian cuisine, as many of their most popular traditional dishes are already meat free. You are probably already familiar with hummus, baba ganoush, falafel and Israeli salads which are naturally vegan.
Israeli Cities To Travel To:
Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Eilat, Haifa, and Herzliya.
India has more vegetarians than any other country on Earth!
While being a complete vegan might not be as easy in India (especially rural areas), sticking to your vegetarian diet will be no problem at all!
Partly because of religion and partly because of economics, a vegetarian diet is extremely popular and widespread throughout all of India. In every city or town you visit you will be sure to find a restaurant that is either completely vegetarian, or serves popular vegetarian dishes.
If you are vegan, be on the lookout for dishes like vegetable samosa, vegetable biryani, pakoras and channa masala, which are all vegan friendly.
Indian Cities To Travel To:
Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Chennai.
Taiwan probably isn’t a country you thought of when you think ‘vegetarian friendly’, but it’s heating up with tons of cruelty-free options!
Both PETA and CNN have praised Taiwan for being one of the top ‘Vegan Friendly Countries’ in the world, with the capital city of Taipei currently has one of the fastest growing vegan restaurant scenes on the planet!
After only Israel and India, Taiwan has the 3rd biggest population of vegetarians per capita, so it’s no wonder it would soon take stage as a vegetarian haven.
Taiwan is so vege-friendly for a few reasons. It has some of the toughest food labelling processes in the world, the government heavily promotes residents to eat ‘meat-free day’ once a week, and 1/3rd of the country is Buddhist, which usually coincides with a vegetarian lifestyle.
Taiwanese Cities To Travel To:
Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Hsinchu.
4. United States
You might say The United States is a country of polar opposites. While the US technically has some of the LOWEST worldwide rates for vegetarianism, and yet despite it TOPPING the list for global meat consumption, you’ll still find some great meat-free dining options.
To say that Veganism is exploding in the US is an understatement. Forbes recently talked about how in just 3 years people who have made the switch to a vegan diet has risen by over 600%!
This means that vegan and vegetarian restaurants are popping up everywhere, even in small rural towns!
In bigger cities such as Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, New York City, Miami, Denver, Seattle and Chicago, you’ll find hundreds of vegan and vegetarian restaurants that will cater to your wildest dreams! The menus are so creative and so enticing that many non-vegans are dining at 100% plant-based restaurants just to give it a try.
The latest trend in plant-based eating is all the American fast food chains jumping on the bandwagon. You’ll find almost ALL the most famous brands offering plant-based burgers, vegan breakfast sandwiches and other cruelty-free food to go.
- When you go on Happy Cow, you’ll see just how many vegan and vegetarian options you have in the US. There are over 33,000 vegan and vegetarian listings and more are being added every single day!
- Numbers from 2018 put around 5% of Americans eating a vegetarian diet, with 3% being vegan, but these numbers are projected to double by 2020
American Cities To Travel To:
Los Angeles, Orlando, Seattle, Austin, Scottsdale, San Diego, Portland, New York City and Philadelphia.
Sure it’s a small nation, but Singapore was voted by PETA as being Asia’s 2nd most vegan friendly country, only behind Taiwan.
- Even though the entire country of Singapore is only 2/3rds the size of New York City, you’ll still find 1280 vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants to eat at!
Last year the UK launched more vegan products than any other country, plus they had an almost 1000% increase in demand for plant-based foods.
- Visitors to the UK will be happy to find over 11,000 listings on Happy Cow for vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants and pubs.
Veganism is on the rise in Germany, especially with the younger generations. As of 2018, 1 in 5 Germans between 16-24 are buying meat alternatives on a regular basis. Berlin has been featured in countless ‘World’s Most Vegan Cities’ lists and keeps expanding its famous plant-based scene.
- Happy Cow shows 5563 listings for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Germany.
German Cities To Travel To:
Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.
Currently Australia is the 3rd fastest growing vegan market in the world, even though they still rank 2nd overall in meat consumption per capita.
- There are 5390 listings for vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants throughout Australia, which is an impressive amount for their population.
Australian Cities To Travel To:
Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Byron Bay, Bondi Beach, and Perth.
As a Canadian, I am SO happy to include my home country onto this list. Canada has a tendency to follow the US in terms of trends, which has led in an increase in plant-based options crossing the border into the country.
Most vegetarians and vegans in Canada are under the age of 35, but there’s a huge increase across every age demographic that shows more people than every are switching to a meat-free diet.
- Happy Cow reports 4313 vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Canada, with the most being in British Columbia and Ontario.
Canadian Cities To Travel To:
Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Montreal
Thailand is a great country for buying fresh fruits, vegetables, noodles and rice dishes that will be perfect for a travelling vegetarian.
Tip: Even though there are lots of dishes that are already plant-based, watch out for them being prepared in fish sauce or chicken broth.
- You’ll find almost 1500 vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Thailand listed on Happy Cow.
Thai Cities To Travel To:
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui
Mexico isn’t usually a country that comes to mind when you think of plant-based eating, but it’s certainly on the rise. This is especially true in Mexico City, which has been called a ‘Dream City’ for vegans.
In larger cities vege-friendly restaurants are popping up like wild fire, but be warned that street vendors are still mostly using animal products.
- Happy Cow lists 1300 vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants in Mexico.
Mexican Cities To Travel To:
Mexico City, Tulum, Guadalajara, Playa Del Carmen, Merida, Puerto Vallarta
There is a huge cultural mentality change happening in Poland, and it’s resulting in dozens of new vegan restaurants opening up every year. Surprisingly, Warsaw has continued to top the charts for the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, usually coming in 3rd or 4th place.
- Poland has 968 vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants listed on Happy Cow.
Polish Cities To Travel To:
Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan, and Wroclaw
Yes, there is more to Indonesia than Bali, but the small magical island is where you will find the highest concentration of vegan and vegetarian eateries. They are as trendy and vibrant as anything you’d find in LA, but 1/3 of the price and with fresher local ingredients!
- Happy Cow shows 821 vegetarian friendly restaurants throughout Indonesia.
I know first-hand how hard it can be to travel the world and find vegan and vegetarian food, and I’m not even a ‘real’ vegetarian.
(To explain: I don’t eat red meat or mammals whatsoever, but I do eat poultry/fish.)
Even though I am a half-way vegetarian, I have STILL found it very hard in some countries to find dishes without pork or beef products hidden in them. As I step into cutting back more and more of the animal products I consume, I think it’s important to know who the world leaders are in veganism and vegetarianism.
I now identify more with being a ‘flexitarian’ and ‘reducetarian’, as I am starting to eat more dishes that are 100% vegan and only eating the occasional animal product.
I would love to know if you have travelled to a country/city where you found it very easy to eat a plant-based diet! The more we collaborate on these issues, the more positive change we can make for our bodies and the planet.
↓ Comment below where in the world you found it EASY to be a vegan/vegetarian.