Do you want to visit a vegan haven this year?
In this blog post, I’ve collected and trimmed down a large list of countries to give you the ten best vegan travel destinations in the world. In these destinations, you’re going to find cities where the vegan movement is brimming and ever-expanding.
As you’ll be able to read for yourself, most destinations are modern-world countries where veganism blew up, partly because of the immediate access we have to information.
Being from Portugal, a fairly traditional country where bullfighting still happens, that information crept up to me through a documentary called Cowspiracy. And it was this access to information that allowed millions of people to embrace veganism, as well.
The trend is still growing worldwide, and the way we can know that is by using tools like Google Trends (and Happy Cow) because it allows us to see what people are searching for. And these are essentially the tools I’ve used to come up with the best vegan destinations for any vegan looking to visit a place with awesome vegan food.
Google Trends is a tool that allows you to check if whether or not interest is trending in a particular country, or even worldwide.
I’ve typed in “vegan”, and I’ve set ‘Portugal’ as the location this time around. Plus, I set the time range for the past 5 years. And as you can see, it’s a bull trend.
Over the past 5 years, more and more people have been showing interest in the ‘vegan’ term, which means more people are interested.
But you can go even deeper…
You can see wherein each country is that term being searched for the most.
In Portugal, those are the 5 sub-regions (or districts), where searches for the ‘vegan’ term are being conducted the most. What this also means, is that there’s a higher chance of you finding more vegan restaurants if you visit one of the five sub-regions.
At the same time… you can see which countries are conducting searches related to veganism the most. All you have to is change the location to“worldwide”.
Using this one or any other tool might not be the most precise way of finding out which countries are the most vegan-friendly, but it’s a good starting point.
When you dive a bit deeper and research terms like “vegan recipes” and vegan restaurants near me”; that means the search goes just beyond curiosity.
While Happy Cow can serve us immensely by helping us find a top-notch vegan restaurant, it can also help us figure out how many vegan restaurants we have within a certain location.
Combined with Google Trends, we can more or less figure out if a certain country, city or region is vegan-friendly.
This is especially important because veganism starts with our diets. it’s not like we’re on a strict omnivore diet and can suddenly open an exception to chocolate…
No… we need to ensure we find vegan food in the places we’re traveling to, and this article is to help you find out about the places where you can find a brimming vegan culture… where movements and restaurants are brought to existence at an incredible pace.
Let’s have a look at the best vegan travel destination from worst to best!
The point of this article is to remain current, and therefore the information on this page might change over time.
The data I’ve used here is from 2019 and onward.
This data is essentially interest-level data by Google Trends that we’re confirming using Happy Cow by looking at the number of vegan establishments in a given location.
You might have a country with a high-interest level in veganism, but it might not be ideal to receive vegan travelers. Happy Cow gives us that confirmation.
#15 – Romania
Popularity level (Google Trends): 24
When I think about Romania, I think about meat and potatoes.
However, the Eastern Orthodox fasting tradition common in most Eastern European countries compels them to abandon meat and dairy during the fasting season.
Not sure whether these recipes were developed for that season in particular, but Romanians have many traditional vegan recipes such as Varza Calita, which is essentially stewed cabbage. Mamaliga, which translates to cornmeal porridge. And Sarmale, which is stuffed cabbage rolls. (This is normally stuffed with meat, but not unusual to find them stuffed with rice as well.)
There are many other vegan recipes you’re able to find in traditional restaurants in Romania, and I don’t think you’d be disappointed.
As far as vegan restaurants go, you can find a few across all Romania, but it’s in Bucharest, the capital city, where you can find most.
#14 – Slovenia
One aspect I found to be common among Eastern European countries is the affordability of eating at a restaurant. And Slovenia is not any different. With 5-7 euros you can stuff your belly and not feel bad about it.
While there are only a few vegan restaurants across the country… you’ll find most of them in Ljubljana, the capital city.
In fact, you can even find the Loving Hut, a vegan restaurant chain that sells delicious vegan food at a really reasonable price. A wrap and chips for 5.50 euros is a bargain.
#13 – Norway
In just 6 years, the number of vegans living in Norway has increased by 80%. And it’s also estimated that 4% of the Norwegian population follows a meat-free diet.
Mind you, these metrics come from a country that allows whale hunting and was once the world’s biggest producer of fox fur.
Fortunately, Norway is experiencing a shift, which you can confirm via data:
- Stores reported a 60% increase in sales of plant-based foods in 2018 when compared to 2017.
- The Norwegian government has agreed to put a stop to mink and fox farming in the country by 2025, shutting down the fur industry there.
- There’s an increasing number of animal activists and protests against animal cruelty.
And while it’s not a vegan paradise, you can find 21 vegan restaurants in Norway. With 13 of them being in Oslo. (According to Happy Cow)
#12 – South Africa
The chances of a booming Veg-African movement are slim, but in South Africa the vegan scene is strong. South Africans are known for their braai or shisa nyama, which in Zulu translates to ‘burn meat’, and is what we describe as barbecue.
But the truth is many traditional African meals are plant-based. Yam and vegetables, Ghanaian beans and plantains, South African pap and chakalaka, and Kenyan chapati and vegetable stew. Just to name a few.
Even if no vegan restaurants existed in South Africa, you’d still be able to eat vegan, because plant-based food is ingrained in their roots.
And fortunately, today you can find a strong vegan movement taking place in Cape Town. Where slowly you see more and more people embrace a more sustainable lifestyle, free from animal cruelty.
#11 – Finland
For people unfamiliar with Finland’s culture, you would probably think of Finland as the first country to embrace veganism due to its progressive conduct.
However, they have a deep-rooted hunting and fishing background, born from the need to withstand long, and harsh winters. As food distribution improved, hunting and fishing left from being an absolute necessity to becoming a sport.
Thankfully, in recent years there was a boom. And you can now find a wide array of vegan options in Finnish restaurants and supermarkets. Even smaller supermarkets in more remote towns tend to have a section dedicated to vegan ingredients.
Veganism is booming in some Finnish schools as well — where they serve only meat-free meals once a week while providing vegetarian options for the remaining days.
Helsinki happens to be the center place of the vegan boom, where you can find amazing vegan restaurants, each one with its creative flair of recipes.
#10 – Denmark
Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, was actually named among the most vegan-friendly cities in Europe. And Denmark as a whole is blooming and embracing veganism, due mostly to environmental reasons.
Even Danish politicians from two different political parties completed a 22-day vegan diet to draw attention to how Western food production has an enormous climate footprint.
This progressive behavior from Danish politicians doesn’t surprise me, given how Copenhagen was named the European Green Capital in 2014.
They are forward-thinking indeed. 🙂
According to Happy Cow, Copenhagen has 25 vegan restaurants you can visit, which is quite significant considering it’s a small city that harbors 600k people.
#9 – Ireland
Similar to the countries I’ve mentioned above, Ireland is also embracing veganism and making changes one step at a time.
It’s not a mecca for the movement, but it’s not a complete stranger to it either.
This beautiful country is quickly catching wind of what veganism represents, by making available the options vegan seek the most, particularly in Dublin.
#8 – Singapore
The vegan movement is booming in Singapore, and the city is fast becoming a haven for plant-based individuals. Not my cup of tea (as I prefer to live in nature), but I totally wouldn’t mind dropping by to explore the vegan culture emerging in the city.
And lest not forget that Singapore was once considered the 2nd most vegan-friendly Asian city by PETA Asia, and the 6th top vegan city in the world by Happy Cow.
#7 – Netherlands
The vegan scene in the Netherlands is strong.
Unlike Ireland, where Dublin is the centerpiece of the vegan movement, here the case is somewhat different.
In the Netherlands, there’s one more city where vegan gastronomy is shining. There’s Amsterdam with 38 vegan restaurants, while Rotterdam, the second biggest city in the Netherlands has twelve.
This is impressive considering the Netherlands is two times smaller than Ireland but has triple the number of restaurants.
#6 – Sweden
One in ten people in Sweden is a vegetarian or vegan, according to a survey.
Coming from a country known for its meatballs, that is damn impressive. Today, you can easily find vegan restaurants in most big cities. With Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö being the heaviest hitters on that department.
You’re also able to find regular restaurants with a few vegan options, making it possible for vegans to eat anywhere.
This being said, the southern cities tend to be more welcoming to vegans, while northern cities tend to focus mostly on meat, fish, and dairy. But don’t let that deprive you of visiting beautiful northern cities, because there’s always a solution.
Supermarkets in Sweden tend to have a huge variety of dairy and meat-free options.
#5 – Australia
Despite being one of the countries where the consumption of meat is the highest… Australia is fighting for the crown for the best vegan destination.
This is one country where people are friendly, thrill-seekers, open-minded, and enjoy living a healthy lifestyle. Because of these traits, you’ll find many vegan-friendly restaurants, as well as restaurants that are happy to accommodate if necessary.
In Australia, there are nearly 300 vegan restaurants. New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland are where vegan gastronomy seems the hottest.
#4 – United States
A report released in 2017 reveals that 6% of the American population is now vegan. That’s a 600% increase in three years.
Plus, I found out that in the United States, there are an astounding 1488 vegan restaurants. The states with the majority of vegan restaurants are the following: California, New York, and Florida. Each state has more than 100 vegan restaurants.
The states with the lowest number of vegan restaurants are Alaska, Kansas, West Virginia, Alabama, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Delaware.
#2/3 – Germany
Germany is known for its beer and sausages, but it also dominates the global vegan product market, according to a report launched by Mintel. The report reveals that Germany accounts for 15% of vegan introductions all over the world.
Every vegan knows Berlin for its vegan-friendliness. It has cemented its reputation as the original vegan hub of Europe, with its vegan restaurants and movements everywhere.
Also, the German government makes an effort to listen to the population and promote pro-environment alternatives. I’d say this should be a go-to destination for any vegan.
#2/3 – United Kingdom
In the UK is where you find the highest number of vegan restaurants in Europe.
Just in England alone, there are 455 vegan restaurants.
Around 170 of them located in a radius of 8 km around London.
That number is increasing, alongside eco-grocery shops and cruelty-free clothing shops.
These outstanding numbers point to an increase in demand, from an increasing population of vegans. In fact, research from 2018, suggests that more than 3.5 million UK residents currently identify as vegan. That number represents 7% of the population.
#1 – Israel
Tel-Aviv, the capital of Israel is considered the capital of veganism.
There are over 400 vegan-friendly places in Tel-Aviv alone.
And just like every other place, those numbers increase every year.
In fact, the tourism department of Israel promotes the country as a ‘Vegan Nation’. With Tel Aviv as the center of all veganism.
Hummus, tahini, falafel… those are at the core of Israeli cuisine, which are all vegan ingredients. Tel-Aviv is also known for the amazing and flavourful dishes born from the use of those very same ingredients.
It doesn’t matter where you go, you can get vegan food!