For individuals with celiac disease, traveling can be a challenging experience. The risk of consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, can turn what should be a relaxing vacation into a nightmare of discomfort and illness. However, with increasing awareness of celiac disease and gluten-free lifestyles, there are now numerous destinations around the world that cater to celiac travelers. In this article, we will explore some of the best vacation spots for celiac travelers, where they can enjoy delicious gluten-free cuisines, explore breathtaking landscapes, and immerse themselves in rich cultures without worrying about their dietary restrictions.
Ireland has a notably high concentration of individuals with celiac disease, approximately 1 in 100 people. Due to the prevalence of the gluten-free diet in the Irish population, the country offers an incredible abundance of safe and accessible food options for those following such dietary restrictions. It is undoubtedly one of the top destinations to consider for travelers who adhere to a gluten-free diet.
Locating gluten-free products in Ireland is an effortless task. Grocery stores dedicate entire aisles to gluten-free and allergen-friendly products, and the quality of these offerings is exceptional.
The Irish people understand that eating gluten-free is not a matter of choice for a significant portion of the population, and they take great care when preparing food for such individuals. Alongside the traditional savory stews, fresh fish, delightful dairy products, and refreshing hard cider, Ireland offers a diverse range of safe dishes, including various international cuisines. The country places a strong emphasis on farm-to-table quality meals, contributing to the fantastic culinary scene that caters to gluten-free requirements.
Rest assured, when you encounter gluten-free menus in Ireland, they genuinely mean it. The establishments go to great lengths to ensure the food is free from gluten and protected against cross-contamination. Some pubs even serve special stews with celiac-safe gravy, and numerous restaurants offer gluten-free rolls. For pizza lovers, Milano Restaurants provide gluten-free options, while Murphy’s is an excellent choice for indulging in gluten-free ice cream. For grocery needs, Lidl and Spar stores have a wide selection of gluten-free products available.
Despite the prevalence of bread in the Italian diet, there is no need to worry! Similar to Ireland, Italy also has a significant number of citizens with celiac disease. Consequently, the Italians have made considerable adjustments and now offer some of the most delectable gluten-free foods globally. In Italy, you can relish in the flavors of gnocchi, pasta, pesto, pizza, gelato, and even savor the taste of fresh Italian bread, just like everyone else.
You can easily find dedicated gluten-free facilities in all major cities across Italy. Moreover, the Italian government provides celiac patients with vouchers on a monthly basis to purchase gluten-free food, further emphasizing the country’s commitment to accommodating dietary needs. The Italian Celiac Association maintains an extensive list of restaurants with excellent gluten-free options, ensuring that celiac travelers have a wide array of choices. Rome, Milan, and Venice offer a wealth of choices, with an ample selection of dedicated gluten-free gelato shops, pasta-making classes, and extensive gluten-free menus available.
Grom Gelato is a must-try for the safest and most delightful Italian treat. With locations across the globe, this 100% dedicated gluten-free facility offers a wide selection of flavors to indulge in. Additionally, if you find yourself visiting the Vatican, make sure to dine at La Soffitta Renovatio for calzones and pizza that are guaranteed to impress you with their deliciousness!
With its history of millions of European immigrants, Argentina has a higher prevalence of celiac disease than other South American countries. This cultural background, coupled with the availability of gluten-free food, makes Argentina an excellent choice for a vacation destination. Similar to Ireland, approximately 1 in 100 Argentine citizens are affected by celiac disease.
The Argentine diet primarily revolves around grilled meats, commonly served at “una parrilla” or grill, along with vegetables and potatoes. The government acknowledges the importance of proper food labeling and ensures that gluten-free products are clearly identified with the label “sin T.A.C.C,” which translates to “sin trigo, avena, cebada, y centeno” or “without wheat, oatmeal, barley, and rye.“
You will find numerous dedicated gluten-free facilities in the bustling capital of Buenos Aires. Take the chance to visit Sintaxis and GOUT Gluten-Free, where you can savor a milanesa sandwich or indulge in a medialuna pastry. Gullón, an Argentine cookie company, offers a wide range of gluten-free varieties, and you can find these delightful gluten-free treats at Coto supermarkets. Even in the southern region of Patagonia, gluten-free options are readily available, making Argentina an ideal destination for travelers with gluten-free dietary requirements.
Bali is a tropical haven that attracts yogis, vegetarians, travelers, and backpackers seeking a serene escape. The island prides itself on being eco-friendly and health-conscious, offering a range of cafes, spas, and wellness classes for visitors to enjoy. As one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia, Bali thrives on its tourism and hospitality industry. The Balinese people are renowned for their warm and welcoming nature, making every traveler feel at home. Whether you are a gluten-free diner or not, a visit to Bali is a must for many.
Amidst this lush paradise, you can find numerous dedicated gluten-free facilities that cater to specific dietary needs. The island also offers a delectable variety of tropical fruits, fresh juices, smoothie bowls, and healthy dishes, ensuring that gluten-free travelers can indulge in delightful culinary experiences. For the best gluten-free options, head to Ubud, where you’ll find excellent facilities and menus tailored to gluten-free diets. Fussy Bird and Gluten-Free Kitchen are highly recommended for their tasty and safe meals, providing a delicious fusion of flavors for gluten-free diners.
Traveling with dietary restrictions need not be a hindrance to exploring new destinations. Gluten-free travelers can embark on unforgettable journeys by rethinking what is possible and being open to new culinary experiences. These spots in Bali are proof that a gluten-free diet does not have to limit your travel experiences; instead, it can open doors to new and exciting adventures.
Spain’s vibrant culture, historical landmarks, and sandy beaches make it an attractive destination for all travelers, including those with celiac disease. Spanish cuisine is rich and varied, with many naturally gluten-free options like paella and tapas. Additionally, the country has seen an increase in gluten-free awareness, with an array of gluten-free restaurants and establishments in major cities such as Barcelona and Madrid. Celiac travelers can indulge in delicious gluten-free tapas while admiring the architectural marvels of Antoni Gaudí or lounging on the beaches of Costa del Sol.
New Zealand is a paradise for nature lovers, with its stunning landscapes, lush greenery, and adventure sports. For celiac travelers, it is equally a haven for gluten-free dining. The country has embraced the gluten-free movement, and many restaurants and cafes offer extensive gluten-free menus. From exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Milford Sound to hiking through the majestic Tongariro National Park, celiac travelers can embark on thrilling adventures while enjoying worry-free gluten-free meals.
New York City
New York City, often regarded as the holy grail of gluten-free food and a top destination for celiac travelers, is truly a haven for those with dietary restrictions. With thousands of restaurants scattered across the city, New York City is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on the east coast for individuals with celiac disease. The abundance of dining options includes sit-down restaurants, bakeries, and delightful sweet shops. Manhattan, in particular, is home to numerous 100% dedicated gluten-free facilities.
Among these establishments, Modern Bread and Bagel stands out as a kosher deli offering the most incredible gluten-free bagels. Senza Gluten, a classic Italian eatery, creates an inviting trattoria atmosphere where you can indulge in gluten-free delights. For satisfying your sweet tooth, Posh Pop and NoGlu are sweet shops that serve an array of pastries, cookies, and cakes that will make you forget what gluten even is.
New York City’s vibrant food scene, coupled with its dedication to catering to those with celiac disease, makes it a must-visit destination for celiac travelers. You can continue to enjoy your favorite NYC foods, gluten-free, without compromising on taste or variety.
Additionally, there are numerous restaurants in the Big Apple that have implemented robust celiac protocols to ensure a safe dining experience. For instance, Keste Pizza offers a delectable selection of classic Neopolitan pizzas, while Lilli & Loo boasts dedicated fryers for gluten-free dumplings, noodle dishes, and fried rice. Even Friedman’s, a chain restaurant with nearly ten locations, serves gluten-free chicken and waffles, providing a wide range of delicious options for celiac diners. With such diverse and gluten-free-friendly eateries, there is no shortage of delectable food to enjoy while exploring New York City.
When in Boston, be sure to make a stop at Kane’s Donuts, which offers 100% gluten-free and dairy-free donuts at three different locations in the area. For celiac and allergen-safe dining options, Burtons Grill, Red Heat Tavern, and 110 Grill are excellent choices. If you venture north of the city to Burlington, Twist Bakery & Cafe is a must-visit, serving the most delicious sandwiches and sweets that are all 100% gluten-free.
Boston is a city that provides plenty of gluten-free and celiac-safe food experiences, making it a great destination whether you are exploring the city or enjoying the coastal areas and North Shore.
As awareness of celiac disease and gluten-free diets continues to grow, more destinations worldwide are accommodating celiac travelers. From exploring Italy’s historical wonders to indulging in Bali’s gluten-free delights, the options for gluten-free vacations are vast and diverse. It is essential for celiac travelers to do some research before embarking on their journey, but with careful planning, they can enjoy their vacations without compromising their health or culinary experiences. So, pack your bags, embark on an adventure, and savor the flavors of these gluten-free paradises around the world. Happy and healthy travels await you!