In an attempt to shake off Christmas excess, more than 250,000 people are expected to be taking part in Veganuary, according to the Vegan Society. A large number will likely stick with the healthy eating regime, joining Britain’s growing army of 600,000 vegans.
In the past, even being veggie was a nightmare on holiday, but growing tolerance, education and increased international awareness means many resorts and tours can now cater for different needs. In fact, some countries, such as Ethiopia, have been subconsciously supporting vegan diets for thousands of years.
Demand is also creating a need for new services. Responsible Travel has seen bookings for vegan holidays more than double over three years, rising by 126%.
“Collectively – vegan or not – we’re becoming far more conscious of what we consume, both for our own health, and also the planet,” says customer director, Tim Williamson.
“Eating less meat while away – and opting for locally-sourced, organic produce in locally-run establishments – is one of the most significant ways to lower your carbon footprint on holiday, while also contributing to the local economy.”
Vegan holidays 2020
1. Taking a grand culinary tour of the continent
Gone are the days of 18-35-year-olds boozing and bathing on a beach holiday; increasingly, younger people have an appetite for healthier holidays, where eating well is key. Youth operator Contiki has picked up on the trend with a new escorted vegan tour of Europe, hosted by influencers The Little London Vegan and Laura Fruit Fairy. Stops in Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest will include cooking classes, dining experiences and immersive food tours.
How: Contiki (contiki.com) offer the eight-day Vegan Food Europe Explorer tour from £1,579pp. Flights extra. Starts in Berlin on August 16 and ends in Budapest on August 23.
2. Planting the seeds of a new diet in Essex
The UK’s first purpose-built spa, detox and weight loss centre also bills itself as an all-vegan retreat. Guests at Glass House – who can visit for the day or longer breaks – dine from plant-based menus, and will also be taught how to recreate similar dishes at home. Combating preconceptions that vegan food is dull, the choice of ingredients is colourful and varied. A great way to kick-start a diet plan for 2020.
How: Day rates start from £85 per person. Visit glasshouseretreat.co.uk.
3. Hitting a healthy high on the French slopes
Despite the amount of exertion involved, it’s easy to fall off the healthy food wagon on a ski holiday; apres ski, raclette and even more apres ski are usually to blame. Throughout January, ski chalet company Ski Beat is offering vegan menus in its 59 chalets, in a bid to help skiers exercise as much control in the kitchen as they do on the pistes.
How: Ski Beat’s (skibeat.co.uk) Veganuary ski holidays depart throughout January with seven-night breaks to French ski resorts La Plagne, Les Arcs, Meribel, La Tania, Val d’Isere and la Rosiere from £499pp (save up to 30%). Price includes vegan meals, flights and transfers.
4. Reviving ancient grains in Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s cuisine naturally lends itself to a vegan diet; staple flatbread injera is made from supergrain teff and is both gluten-free and vegan. Learn how to make the pancake-like sourdough, along with taking part in a traditional coffee ceremony on a tour which visits the northern sector of the country, famous for the 12th century rock churches of Lalibela.
How: Responsible Travel (responsibletravel.com) offer the tailor-made 10-day Ethiopian Vegan tour from £1,695. Flights extra.
5. Living la dolce vegan in Italy
Pioneering travel company Intrepid launched vegan versions of their tours some time ago. Their newest escorted trip visits Italy, a country they applaud for its variety of flexible food experiences. Travelling from Venice to Rome, it features a cooking class in Bologna, gelato tasting in San Gimignano and a farm-to-table vegan feast in Tuscany.
How: The eight-day Italy Vegan Food Adventure costs from £1,516pp. Flights extra. Departs October 16. Visit intrepidtravel.com or call 0808 274 5111.
6. Turn up the heat in Thailand
Another offering from Intrepid Travel, is an eight-day vegan food adventure holiday to Thailand offering the chance to experience spicy and flavourful cuisine. Kanom gui chai (Chinese chive dumplings), khao lam (a sticky rice with red beans wrapped in bamboo) and Thai banana cake are some of the delicacies you can expect to try on this trip. In Bangkok, travellers will prepare a meal using ingredients sourced from the railway market at Mae Klong, and will also experience a homestay in Chiang Mai.
How: Eight-days from £910 per person. Visit intrepidtravel.com or call 0808 274 5111.
7. Discover the flavours of India’s Golden Triangle
Indian food is largely vegetarian, and there are plenty of vegan options available as well. Covering Delhi, Jaipur, Kanot and Agra, this vegan food tour combines sightseeing with time spent discovering local markets and street food stalls. Bucket list historical sights such as the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are on the itinerary, but there’s also an opportunity to meet India’s community entrepreneurs through visits to places such as at Sheroe’s Cafe – a social enterprise initiative run by women who are victims of acid attacks.
How: Eight-days from £656 per person. Visit intrepidtravel.com or call 0808 274 5111.
Read our guide to what is Veganuary – how to go vegan in January and what you should know.