Whether Christmas is your favorite time of the year or the season you’re desperate to get away from, we’ve compiled a list of the ultimate vegan-friendly destinations sure to bring some magic to this time of year.
7 Magical Winter Escapes With Amazing Vegan Food
1. Relax on an Alaskan Yoga Retreat
Glittering snow, animals that many only fantasize about seeing – reindeer included – and views of the incredible Aurora, Alaska is the winter destination of dreams. A true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this is the ideal getaway for anyone looking to relax their way into the New Year and reconnect with nature. The Soaring Spirit Yoga Studio in Juneau offers the perfect place to reconnect with your body and soul with the principle of ahimsa, Reiki energy-channeling, Thai yoga therapy, and a range of yoga practices – all while overlooking pristine water and mountains.
If you fall in love with the experience – and we challenge you not to – why not return for the annual Soaring Spirit Yoga Retreat, hosted by Julie Hovsepian (a curator of healing retreats) and Cheryl Moss (founder of Goda Yoga in California) for a five-night experience of yoga classes, mediations, hikes, and vegan food – including cinnamon French Toast for breakfast.
2. Go Skiing in France
If you fancy the snow but are seeking something more adrenaline-inducing than yoga, how about a ski trip to France? This winter, UK-based ski chalet company Ski Beat is launching its first-ever “vegan weeks.” Adding to the usual fun and excitement of a ski trip, these unique getaways will make the experience even more special for guests looking to avoid animal products – though visitors of all dietary preferences are sure to enjoy the offerings – by serving specially created plant-based dishes in the specified chalets.
With days of skiing and evenings of refuelling on delicious, nutritious vegan food, the only winter weight you’ll need to fret about is how much you can fit in your suitcase before it’s over the limit.
3. Visit Santa’s Hometown, Lapland
Where else would you find Santa Claus himself but hidden away in the northernmost of Finland, deep inside the Arctic Circle? Quite literally the stuff of fairytales and childhood dreams, Lapland might be the ultimate magical winter getaway. Enjoy its snowy forests, log cabins warmed by fires, views of the Northern Lights, and a residency of more reindeer than humans.
Travelers can even find vegan food, especially in Rovaniemi, Lapland’s cosmopolitan capital and the place regarded as “Santa’s official North Pole residence.” We recommend hitting up the zero-waste Arctic Restaurant, which offers vegan options such as fried chanterelle and shitake and a roasted Jerusalem artichoke soup. The Yuca eatery is another option with its veggie tortillas, tacos, and Mexican sides; as is Curry Masala. With a range of Indian and Nepalese dishes, visitors will have a hard time picking from the variety of meat-free dishes on offer.
4. Beach It Out on the Gold Coast
So maybe you’re not dreaming of a white Christmas. If you’re missing the sunshine, the feel of warm sand between your toes, and are eager to avoid the icy roads that winter brings, why not take a trip to Australia’s Gold Coast and have yourself a gold Christmas instead?
There, you can fill your time admiring the city from the SkyPoint Observation Deck, scuba diving in the clear blue sea, visiting the Warner Bros. Movie World theme park, and, of course, enjoy some incredible plant-based food.
The Greenhouse Canteen, with a motto of “cruelty free and killing it,” offers meat-free dishes including smoked jackfruit enchiladas and sushi. The Cardamom Pod’s impressive veggie and vegan menu includes a range of fresh salads, vegan chicken pies, calzones, and plant-based lasagnes. The Giri Kana Cafe also offers “a fresh take on vegan and vegetarian food,” from tofu scramble breakfasts to burgers at dinnertime.
5. Feel the Magic at Disney
It wouldn’t be a complete magical getaway list without Disney making an appearance. Dubbed “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” Walt Disney’s parks offer the excitement and fairytale enchantment that many families look for during the festive season.
Adding to the joyful experience, Disneyland California offers a plethora of delicious plant-based treats to keep the magic alive in your stomach as well as your heart. From plant-based Dole Whips, Mickey pretzels, waffles, and crepes to vegan gumbo, chili hot dogs, and cheesy dairy-free pizza, there’s something for everyone.
6. Get Caught Up in the Northern Lights
Love the idea of the Northern Lights but would rather see them from Europe? In Finland, you can view the Aurora Borealis from purpose-built spaces like Arctic tree houses, glass igloos, and luxury suites. After a day of cross-country skiing, you can keep cozy in a glass villa by the frozen sea.
You could even try one of McDonald’s new vegan burgers, the McVegan or the El Veggo. The latter just launched this month and brings a spicy salsa flavor to a soy-based “steak” burger. It’s available in all of McDonalds’ 65 Finnish locations, so where ever you are in the country, you can take one – or several – back to your little hideaway in the mountains.
7. Immerse Yourself in London Life
If you’re looking to get amongst the action these holidays, the energizing streets of London may be your calling. The city boasts countless events over the festive period like Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, with ice skating and ice sculpting, as well as Christmas-themed cabaret shows. You can attend a gin masterclass to perfect your vegan cocktails or participate in London’s first pop-up bake off, which caters to vegan bakers. You can also enjoy a plant-based menu at the Gingerbread Cabin in Camden.
London is the proud host of many vegan and vegan-friendly eateries. The Temple of Seitan calls Shoreditch home, serving up dirty vegan junk food like meat-free Buffalo wings and BBQ Bacon burgers. Vegetarian and vegan restaurant Mildreds serves up the popular Moving Mountains burger or if you have a sweet tooth, drop into By Chloe. for some vegan cupcakes and brownies.
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