Lonely Planet Writer

Revealed: the most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world

Although vegetarian travel is improving, the herbivores among us can sometimes be faced with a restrictive diet when travelling. Now a new index will help people find the most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world before booking their flights.

Some places make it easier than others to keep your vegetarian diet while travelling. Photo by Foxys_forest_manufacture/Getty Images

The Global Vegetarian Index was compiled by Oliver’s Travels who looked at data from 183 countries to make up their list. They examined the number of vegetarian restaurants in the country and then compared the number in relation to its population size and also looked at the annual meat consumption per capita. The combination of those data points awarded every country a score on the index.

The Seychelles came out top, thanks to a combination of its low meat consumption and a high number of veggie-friendly restaurants in relation to its small population, with Thailand coming a close second and Malaysia third.

vegetarian travel
With fruit like this available in Seychelles’ Victoria Market, who needs steak? Photo by Sergio Pitamitz

The vast USA had the largest number of vegetarian restaurants but it lost out on a top 20 spot due to the world’s highest meat consumption at a whopping 120 kilograms per capita. On the other end of the scale, the tiny nation of Bhutan consumed just 3kg per capita.

If you can’t afford to go long-haul for a delightful vegetarian culinary holiday, these are the top countries in each continent:

Africa: Seychelles
Asia: Thailand
Europe: United Kingdom
North America: Belize
South America: Peru
Oceania: Solomon Islands

Global Vegetarian Index
The top 20 most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world. Image by Oliver’s Travels

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the less meat-reliant countries of South East Asia are ranked among the highest, while Canada and Australia also get healthy scores due to the sheer diversity of their food scene.

You can browse the full country index here.