The Demand for Vegan Food Tours Is Growing — and These Are 9 of the Best Around the World
The rise in plant-based eating has inevitably led to more demand for vegan food tours around the world. From 2014 to 2017, the United States alone saw a whopping 500-percent increase in people identifying as vegan — and this isn’t counting the growing number of vegetarians, flexitarians, and “reducetarians” (those trying to reduce meat consumption). The U.K. and Canada are also seeing rapid growth in vegan eating. So an increase in travel experiences catering to vegan foodies makes perfect sense.
Food tours are one of the fastest-growing categories on the travel site TripAdvisor, and vegan food tours are no exception.
“I’ve been watching vegan tours start to pop up all over the world, and it’s exciting to see this demand start to be met,” Diana Edelman, who launched the Vegans, Baby Las Vegas food tour in 2018, told Travel + Leisure. “I get emails all of the time for more dates for my tours, so it’s really encouraging in terms of what vegan tour operators can expect in the coming years.” Edelman is currently expanding to new cities to meet demand, and she has plenty of competition.
So if you’re looking for a vegan food tour experience, which should you pick? Based on a mix of insider recommendations, personal experience, and reviews, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best vegan food tours around the world.
1. Thailand Vegan Food Adventure
Most vegans know that many traditional Thai dishes are already plant-based, and this tour, hosted by Intrepid Travel, takes full advantage. This nine-day vegan food tour is for the adventurous; guests eat their way through Kanchanaburi, Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Chiang Mai, where they experience a homestay in a small Thai village. In addition to sampling local markets and dishes like tofu red curry, sweet sticky rice, and traditional Thai banana cake, guests will enjoy a cooking course so they can take the local flavors home.
Neil Coletta, Intrepid’s brand and product manager of food tours, says research was important in crafting their vegan tours. Also key was ensuring that guides were all vegetarian, if not vegan. “Our guests can be safe in the knowledge that their leader will not only know the safest and cleanest stalls and restaurants but also where to order food that will be 100-percent vegan,” he said.
2. Vegano Italiano Tour
This tour is led by none other than popular vegan cheese purveyor Miyoko Schinner (of Miyoko’s Kitchen). The nine-day tour includes lodging at Lavimia Vegan Hotel and takes guests through Venice and the Dolomites. Designed for foodies who want to relax, this luxurious trip includes four cooking demonstrations and visits to local sites.
“I love leading these tours because it gives folks an intimate, insider perspective on the regions we visit, including local vegan cuisine that most people aren’t even aware of,” Schinner told T+L. “Italy is rich in cucina povera, or peasant cuisine, which is mostly veggie, legume, and grain based, but you won’t find those dishes on most restaurant menus. The trick is to have a super Italian operator who knows all the places to go so that vegans can have fabulous feasts in places off the beaten path.”
3. La Belle Vie Tours
In spring 2019, La Belle Vie Tours launched a vegan wine tour in Sonoma County, California. Not all wine is vegan (some production methods use animal byproducts), but this five-hour tour through wine country certainly is. Guests enjoy two vegan wineries, a delicious boxed lunch, and a vegan chocolate tasting to complement the wine. It’s all topped off with a stop at a local farm sanctuary, making this a truly feel-good vegan adventure.
4. Fork & Walk Tours Berlin
Berlin has one of the most thriving vegan scenes in the world — and lots of different vegan food tours to choose from. Fork & Walk Tours offers a wide variety of experiences: The historical vegan food tour takes you through the history of communist Berlin as you eat, while a tour of a trendy neighborhood like Friedrichshain is best for those who want to focus on the food.
“Our tours show guests that in Berlin there are not only fully vegan restaurants, but also street-food stalls, local restaurants, and fine dining hotspots offering vegan dishes,” said Dov Selby, who leads many of the tours. Your guide moves at a leisurely pace and will engage you in conversation not just about local cuisine but also about Berlin’s history and lifestyle. If you want to eat like a local and feel like you’ve made some new friends, this is the tour for you.
5. India Vegan Food Adventure
This nine-day tour, also hosted by Intrepid, takes adventurers through Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. Although still in its first year, the tour was crafted with the help of six knowledgeable vegan influencers who joined a pilot trip to help ensure the tour is anything but ordinary. Food is obviously a major focus, but guests will also see many iconic sights.
“We visit the Taj Mahal and other major cultural highlights in the region, but mix these sites in with things like cooking classes, meeting local vendors at markets, and making soy (or almond) milk chai on the street,” Coletta tells us. “You can even take in an authentic Bollywood film after a full day of vegan indulgence.” A hot-air balloon ride and a visit to Sheroes Hangout, a vegetarian and vegan cafe that provides opportunities for women who were victims of acid attacks, are also highlights of this extensive tour.
6. Vegans, Baby Las Vegas Tour
This tour takes you off the Strip and behind the scenes of the city’s thriving vegan scene. Guests will enjoy local street art and downtown hipsterdom as they visit five restaurants and sample 13 delicious vegan dishes, from Indian food to doughnut ice cream sandwiches.
“The tour is designed to showcase the diverse culinary scene in the area and the quality of the cuisine,” Edelman said. “Whether you’re vegan or not, this tour highlights amazing restaurants tapping into the growing food trend.” You’ll leave more than full and feel you got to see a side of Vegas usually only locals know.
7. Duma Explorer
While not an exclusively vegan food tour, Duma Explorer makes the list for offering the unique experience of exploring Mount Kilimanjaro — without going hungry while you do it. The eight-day Lemosho climb or seven-day Machame trek are the most popular tours, and both accommodate vegans, not with trail mix as an afterthought but with a full menu of traditional Tanzanian food, such as vegetable stew with mashed potatoes and chips, chapati, and East African peanut soup. Even better, the company states a commitment to ensuring its tours all promote social, economic, and environmental sustainability, giving back to the community by building classrooms and otherwise supporting the local economy.
8. Eat Like a Local Mexico City
The four-and-a-half hour Mexico City Foodie Immersion tour can be made vegan upon request, and for just $99 a person, guests enjoy local street food, a candy tasting, a home-cooked meal, and cocktails at a hip local bar. You can expect unforgettable vegan dishes, including cactus and avocado tacos, huaraches with fried onions, squash blossom quesadillas, and bean tlacoyos topped with huitlacoche (fungus that grows in corn).
9. Vegan Food Tours (Cities Vary)
Vegan Food Tours claims to be the top-rated vegan food tour in Europe and offers three-hour tours in London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, and Lisbon. Each tour includes food and drinks at four restaurants, a vegan tour guide, and plenty of local neighborhood flavor. One of the more affordable and casual options on this list, these vegan food tours are a safe bet if you’re visiting any of these cities and want to know where local vegans eat.