For years a fringe movement, veganism has now hurtled into the mainstream, with recent research suggesting there are as many as 3.5m of us in the UK. While the merits and ethics of veganism remain divisive (and don’t I know it!), there’s no doubting that it has become big business. Plant-based restaurants, shops, festivals and organisations are popping up all over the world, catering as much to vegan travellers as to locals. Having travelled extensively as a vegan, I can attest to the growing number of specialist itineraries — and to the growing acceptance.
Barcelona is a city that you could spend a month in and barely skim the surface. Despite being Spain’s second city, it’s the undisputed number one when it comes to culture, cuisine, drinking, style and electric energy. But how can time-poor travellers maximise on the abundance of treats offered by this popular destination in two short days? Barcelona’s diversity plays a major role in its appeal: you can traverse the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter, kick back on sandy beaches, sip cocktails in historic bars, feast on fresh tapas in buzzing markets, and marvel at Gaudí’s spectacular Sagrada Família. Here’s our streamlined, time-savvy guide to Barca’s absolute essentials – with a smattering of new and offbeat openings thrown in.
Even for the most ardent meat-eaters, the recent growth of the vegan movement has been hard to ignore. The US has seen a 600% rise in veganism since 2014, while in the UK it’s a little lower – a ‘humble’ 360% increase. But for many people, no matter how much they respect the principles of a plant-based diet, the idea of giving up a big, juicy burger remains inconceivable. Enter the Impossible Burger – a patty that looks, smells, tastes, feels and even ‘bleeds’ like a classic beef burger… with one major difference. It’s made entirely out of plants.
When you think of Spanish cuisine, chances are that most of the dishes involve animal products. Known worldwide for their love of ham, fish and cheese, the Spanish didn’t seem particularly welcome to meat-free consumers. For years, vegans had to rely on plates of Padrón peppers, grilled vegetables and patatas bravas (hold the mayo!) to get by in Spain — but things are changing. Like most cosmopolitan cities around the world, Barcelona is experiencing the same transitions, and here the plant-based movement is not only growing but exploding. Here are my picks for the best plant-based restaurants in Barcelona.
While Vancouver has a wealth of sights to keep tourists and residents interested, one of the best things about this city is its proximity to the wilderness. It’s the ideal jumping-off point for day trips into British Columbia, whether you want to head up to the mountains, sail around the fjords or island-hop til your heart’s content. Here are three of the best day trips from Vancouver… all with a welcome dose of luxury.
Sprawled over seven hills above the shimmering River Tagus, Lisbon is one of the most beautiful, historic and captivating cities on the continent. One minute you can be ambling along narrow, cobbled streets adorned with street art, the next sipping sangria in cool and modern rooftop bar. Merging gothic buildings, colonial history, excellent food and raucous nightlife – not to mention the friendly, family-orientated locals – Lisbon is a city you can’t help but fall in love with. Here’s where to stay, eat, and what to do in the buzzing Portuguese capital.
The popularity of plant-based food is soaring across the world, and things are no different in Vancouver, Canada. Notoriously a health-orientated city, in the past few years Vancouver has seen numerous vegan eateries pop up, and while the long-established restaurants remain popular, I found that it was the newer restaurants that served up the most enticingly innovative dishes. From the best cruelty-free comfort food to fresh mezze plates and brand-new plant-based pop-ups, here’s where to eat vegan in Vancouver.
In recent years, even the most ardent meat-lovers would find it hard to ignore the rise of veganism. The most recent research estimates that six percent of Americans now follow a vegan diet — a staggering increase of 600% in just three years. While the idea that vegans just eat salad prevails among some, the notion that you can eat healthily and deliciously without animal products is catching on. The Big Apple is a great place to discover how versatile a vegan diet can be. So where should you eat vegan food in New York City? Just about anywhere!
Deep in the North Yorkshire dales, set in 250 acres of forested parkland bordering the moors, is the Swinton Park Estate. As you drive through wrought-iron gates and catch a first glimpse of this striking ancestral home, complete with ivy-clad turrets and Gothic battlements, it’s easy to imagine you’ve stepped back in time. The building work for this handsome manor house began in the 1600s, although it wasn’t until the Cunliffe-Lister family bought the property in 1882 that Swinton Park began to take the castellated form you see today. Swinton Park opened as a luxury hotel in 2001, and since then it’s been busy carving out a name for itself as Yorkshire’s top country hotel.
After 16 months on the road, Vietnam was the last stop of my vegetarian food journey. Luckily it was also one of the best. While nothing beats Bali as the ultimate vegetarian destination, the veggie food in Vietnam is amazing. The local cuisine is packed with fresh vegetables, just-picked herbs, succulent tofu and a subtle colonial French influence, and the prices are staggeringly low. Here’s how to eat veggie in Vietnam.
While it may not be considered a go-to luxury destination like Monaco or the Maldives, over the past decade Dublin has been steadily carving out a reputation for quality restaurants, boutique hotels and sleek bars. It’s not hard to see why: with its world-class pubs and theatres and elegant Georgian architecture, Dublin will please even the most discerning traveller. A famously compact city, the best way to discover the Irish capital is simply by walking – but once you’ve done that, where are the best places to stay, eat and drink? Here’s your essential luxury guide to Dublin.
Shadowed by three dramatic volcanoes, Arequipa’s setting is about as glorious as you can get. Much smaller than Lima and far less touristy than Cusco, Peru’s second-largest city has just as much cultural significance – and arguably considerably more beauty. Arequipa’s centre gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000, and the city’s vistas, with the El Misti volcano looming behind, are magnificent. The iconic white baroque buildings are made from local white volcanic sillar rock and give the centre a grand and markedly European flavour.
For backpackers, tourists, or anyone who travels for work, trying exotic new cuisines is one of the best things about travelling. Who wouldn’t be excited to try authentic empanadas in Mexico, steaming-hot street food in Vietnam, or a plate of fresh gnocchi in Italy? But if you don’t eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs, things can be more difficult. Though the vegan movement is growing quickly, in many countries meals still centre around animal products, and the very concept of veganism can be met with bewilderment.
Deep in a highland valley in the South American Andes is the city of Cusco, Peru’s most popular travel destination. Once the beating heart of the mighty Incan Empire, today Cusco is a launchpad for tourists to explore the historic villages and relics of the Sacred Valley, most notably the “lost” city of Machu Picchu. But while the area surrounding Cusco offers a dizzying array of cultural excursions, treks and outdoor activities, the city itself is a joy to discover. Designed by the Incas in the shape of a puma, at Cusco’s centre is the splendid Plaza de Armas, around which labyrinths of colourful cobbled streets beckon for exploration.
It takes a lot to reduce me to stunned silence, but this July one Vietnamese resort managed it. Situated just off the Cambodian coast on the island of Phu Quoc is the JW Marriott Emerald Bay. Beautiful, breathtaking, innovative, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc deserves every superlative you can throw at it – it’s already picked up the title of Asia’s Leading New Resort. Designed by the famous Bill Bensley, this brand new resort cost an estimated $250 million. Bensley was given a blank cheque to design it, and the result is a resort that will stretch the very boundaries of your imagination.
In many ways, Thailand is paradise for food lovers. You can’t cross a street without the aroma of frying garlic and chillies drawing you in, or smoke pouring from a street grill hitting your nose. Everywhere you go there’s a new temptation, whether it’s spicy papaya salad, fragrant coconut milk curry or traditional roti pancakes sizzling away. But in Thailand, navigating what’s safe to eat can be a minefield.‘Vegetarian’ generally means not eating meat or seafood: anything else, including meat stock, shrimp paste or fish sauce, is fair game. Get it right and you’ll be feasting on a variety of aromatic and flavorful dishes; get it wrong and you’ll find yourself inadvertently chewing on some gristle. Here’s how vegetarians can eat well in Thailand.
The pristine Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc (pronounced foo-kwok) lies off the Cambodian coast in the Gulf of Thailand. Long one of the country’s best kept secrets, recently tourism has begun to boom here. Still quieter than most island paradises in Southeast Asia, the time to discover Phu Quoc is now. Here are four great reasons to book that flight.
I didn’t expect to love Ho Chi Minh City as much as I did. More than any other place, Vietnam seems to divide travellers and tourists: they either really love it, or really don’t, and Ho Chi Minh City is often at the forefront of that. Because of this polarisation, I entered the city thinking I probably wouldn’t love it instantly, but perhaps it would grow on me. I was totally wrong. I LOVE Ho Chi Minh City – or Saigon, as everyone still calls it. Forget about it growing on me, it took about five minutes to realise this city was right up our street.
As Thailand’s northern capital, Chiang Mai has long been popular with travellers and adventure seekers. A historic city surrounded by dense rainforest, Chiang Mai is an alluringly laidback alternative to frenetic Bangkok, and this ‘Rose of the North’ is the perfect place for weary travellers to recharge their batteries. Despite its old-world associations, Chiang Mai today is a thoroughly modern city, one that embraces freshness and change as much as its cultural past: this is a city where barefoot monks and young hipsters are equally at home.
The Thai island of Phuket isn’t short of luxury hotels, but word has it that one resort is head and shoulders above the rest. Located in the serene southeast corner of the island is Sri panwa. Spread across a jungle-covered peninsula, the hotel is a favorite of Thai royalty and global celebrities alike. The way I see it, if it’s good enough for Rihanna and Snoop Dogg, it’s probably good enough for me, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. What’s so special about Sri panwa?
Like many people who visit Thailand, the lure of learning Muay Thai was strong for Tom and me. At this point we’d been travelling for a year, had eaten and drank waaaay too much and (unlike Tom) I’d done barely any exercise. I was more unfit and out of shape than I’d ever been, and Muay Thai training seemed the perfect way to remedy that. Three weeks might not be nearly long enough to go from lazy layabout to Thai fighter, but it’s long enough to notice improvement and get back on track.
Bangkok is paradise for a food lover. You can’t cross a street without the aroma of frying garlic and chillies drawing you in, or smoke pouring from a street food grill hitting your nose. Everywhere you go, there’s a new temptation, whether it’s a spicy papaya salad, fragrant coconut milk curry or traditional roti pancakes sizzling away. You could spend weeks wandering these chaotic streets and barely scratch the culinary surface of this city, but many people only spend a few days in Bangkok. If you’re just passing through and want to make the most of your time here (i.e. eat as much as possible), there are a few things you can do to experience how diverse and delicious the food scene here is.
It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic place than Bali. With ornate Hindu temples, verdant green rice fields and white sand beaches, this beautiful Indonesian island encapsulates the idea of paradise. As one of the world’s top destinations for holistic retreats and a mecca for yoga enthusiasts, the concept of health and wellness permeates many aspects of tourism here. As a result, it’s also a dream for vegetarians and vegans — more so than any other country I’ve visited so far on this year-long trip.
Writers are often prone to hyperbole, but it’s no exaggeration to say that The Siam is Bangkok’s best hotel. Rated number one on TripAdvisor, The Siam sits in prime position along the Chao Praya River and provides the perfect blend of antique allure and contemporary comfort. Setting foot in this 39-room luxury retreat is like stepping back into a bygone era. The cool building offers respite from the sultry heat, and its refined, serene elegance are welcome after bustling, buzzing downtown Bangkok. Considered by many to be the best hotel in Thailand, not just Bangkok, what is it exactly about The Siam that’s so special?
There are few places as entrenched in spirituality, health and wellness as Bali. As such, few places are more suited to a yoga and meditation retreat. This beautiful Indonesian island has its fair share of luxury havens, but critics seem in agreement as to which one is best. Bali Floating Leaf is “the premiere retreat center with the best personalized service,” according to VOGUE. Condé Nast Traveller considers it one of the “world’s best yoga and wellness retreats,” and Harper’s BAZAAR brands it “the number one choice for luxury oriented, eco-conscious travellers.” So what exactly makes Floating Leaf so special?