While the pandemic is not likely to end anytime soon, it’s inevitably that as we drift into the summer vacation season, and case numbers drop, and vaccinations rates go up, we’ll start to think and dream of travelling again. I’ve been resistant to planning anything. Even speculating about when we might be able to return to travel can produce waves of gloom and anxiety, but, with that being said, we do need to hold on to something in these trying times. If imagining yourself in distant places, exploring new terrain and cities, and sipping a glass of vino while watching the sun set over the ocean, are some of the things that help you through the long days stuck at home, then this list is for you!
Situated on the sparkling, crystal clear water of Lake Garda and framed by the Dolomites, Ohana Holidays is a rentable luxury apartment unit in Northern Italy that provides an expansive vegan breakfast with your stay. It’s also located inside the stone walls of the ancient Castello Di Moniga which is pretty cool. There is a lot to see and do in this idyllic region, and there’s a train station right at the castle entrance, but you may also just want to park yourself on the nearby beach and enjoy the Mediterranean Sun. For other meals, the unit has a full kitchen, so you can cook for yourself or check out some of the vegan options in nearby Verona. The unit can accommodate up to three guests. Prices right now are 149 Euros per night for one person or 169 for two but are subject to change.
Palmaia is an all-inclusive wellness resort in Playa Del Carma, Mexico. Their on-site services include an Eco-Spa, wellness classes in yoga, meditation and dance, and four different restaurants, each with their own unique cuisine. Rather than just having options for vegans, Palmaia instead offers plant-based food as a default, with non-vegan options available for those who want them. The resort does have a very distinct new age vibe, which can rub some people the wrong way – admittedly I’m sometimes one of those people – though I have no doubt if you leave yourself open to it you’d leave with your soul feeling lighter. Prices are not indicated on their website, and the cost will likely depend on the type of room your booking, but it will certainly be at the higher end of the scale (600 per night and up according to Expedia/TripAdvisor).
Berlin is well known for its vegan friendliness and should be on any plant-based traveller list of places to visit. Almodovar Hotel in a luxury hotel located in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, a borough of the German capital, that is perfect for both eco-conscious and vegan/vegetarian travellers. Everything in the hotel, from the wood furniture, bedding and textiles to the toiletries, are organic and sustainably sourced. There are two restaurants on the premises: a bistro that does breakfast and brunch, and an Italian restaurant. Both are strictly vegetarian, with many dishes being completely vegan. Prices are not indicated on their website but appear to start around $125 USD for a basic room, though I suspect they would be significantly higher during non-covid times. They also have units available for longer term stays
Ecocirer is an intimate, eco-conscious, family run retreat in the town of Soller in Mallorca, Spain. Having only six rooms, inside a transformed historic house, means a more intimate and personable experience than you’d get at a larger resort and Ecocirer’s intention is to invite guests into the daily rhythm of local life, exposing you to the local markets and regional produce. In addition to the provided vegan three-course dinners, they also offer cooking lessons, and other workshops. There is also a guesthouse available for rent on the same property, if you’re looking for more of an independent space. Rates vary depending on the room, but generally fall in the 200-300 Euros range.
California will always be one of my favourite vacation destinations, and Stanford Inn By the Sea, located on the scenic Mendocino coast, is just another reason to return to the beloved American state. If you’re looking to disconnect from the city chaos, step back from the hustle and bustle of life and renew your relationship with nature, Stanford Inn is the ideal getaway. They offer cooking and gardening lessons, complimentary mountain bikes, yoga classes and creative play shops with a certified art therapist. There is a spa on site as well. The renowned Ravens Restaurant will keep you feeling nourished and spoiled with their plant-based, farm to table cuisine. Aside from their dinner menu, they also provide a complimentary vegan breakfast and Lunch on the Go options, so that you’ll be fully stocked for your nature hike or canoe excursion. They are also pet-friendly, so you can don’t have to worry about bordering your four legged family member when you go on vacation. Suites start at around $350 (USD)
Billed as the first and so far only vegan hotel in Greece, Koukoumi Hotel is an all-inclusive retreat in Ano Mera, Mykonos. Mykonos, with its stunning beaches, cosmopolitan vibe and famously white and blue architecture, is definitely a bucket list type location, and Koukoumi’s suites and activities takes full advantage of the dreamy Greek island atmosphere with an emphasis on providing guests with a sense of harmony, balance and inner peace. There is a gym, pool and spa on-site and they also offer a myriad of other activities like yoga, cycling, hiking, climbing and waters sports. The food on offer is all vegan, but they also cater to other dietary restrictions like raw and gluten-free. Rates typically range from $300 to $400 CAD for the basic room but can go as high as $800 for some of larger suites.
Japan is at the top my list of places to visit when we’re able to travel again, but some reports claim that the country’s culinary scene is not easy to navigate for vegans. This appears to not actually be the case. Happy Cow lists 72 completely vegan restaurants in Tokyo alone. And in addition to the 42 vegan restaurants listings in Kyoto, there is Vegan Minshuka Sanbibi Neko, a completely plant-based B & B with traditional tatami-style rooms for that authentic ryokan experience. Kyoto is known for its Buddhist temples, among many other location attractions, so there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this busy, vibrant city. Single rooms start at 9500 Yen (around $100 CAD).
Nestled on the shore of Nicaragua’s Laguna de Apoyo, Apoyo Lodge is a fully vegan hotel that specializes in health and wellness retreats and creating a restorative space for guests to unwind. The lodge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner plus they also have a healthy snack bar for when you need a smoothie to satiate those mid-afternoon hunger pangs. All their meals incorporate local Nicaraguan produce to create colourful, lavish and nutritious dishes. Aside from the on-site activities like Yoga, and the massage and spa services, the hotel also organizes day trip excursion to nearby markets, towns and attraction like Granada, Masala’s Volcano National Park, and San Juan del Sur, the surf capital of Nicaragua. Rooms start at an extraordinarily reasonable $30 CAD/night.
If you’re wanting to step outside the dizzying and sometimes overwhelmingly busy urban centres of France and experience the calm, lavish splendor of its countryside, a stay in La Maison du Vert will be exactly what you’re looking for. La Maison du Vert is a hotel located in the small Normandy town of Ticheville situated on 3.5 acres of lush gardens and surrounding by rolling hills, orchards and pastures of the Touques Valley. Their restaurant is fully vegan and use organic produce pulled mostly from their own garden. There are three rooms available in the main house plus an on-site fully equipped cottage, if you wish to have your own separate space. There is of course a lot to see and do in Normandy and the area is historically and culturally rich. The famous Mont Saint Michel is about a two-hour drive from Ticheville. Prices start at 70 Euros.
If visiting Portugal, specifically the Lisbon area, a visit to Sintra is a must. If the castle tours and breathtaking landscape of the Atlantic coast aren’t enough for you, the area is perfect for hiking, swimming, cycling, rock climbing, surfing and more. Colina Flora is a guesthouse situated in the Portuguese countryside, amidst the hills of the Sintra National park. The buffet breakfast/brunch buffet they offer is vegetarian, but vegan and other dietary restrictions can be accommodated. It’s unlikely you’ll find too many reasons to leave the utopic Sintra region, but Lisbon is only 45 minutes away and easily accessible via train/bus. Rates depend on the season of course, but can be as low as 95 euros in low season.