Vegan Travel: Where to find the best vegan hotels in Lapland, Scandinavia
Vegan travelers will know that booking a holiday can be complicated by a hotel’s or region’s commitment, and understanding of a plant-based diet. Fortunately, Scandinavia’s open-mindedness and drive for culinary innovation makes it not only a vegan-friendly, but an exciting foodie destination. The Nordic purist cuisine takes a holistic approach to sustainability by keeping food miles low, and supporting small businesses including the indigenous Sami people. In cities, concept diners like Natura in Helsinki pride themselves in their use of local suppliers who source herbs, berries and mushrooms from the green belt surrounding the capital. Generally speaking, vegans won’t struggle on their search for a tasty Scandi grub in Northern Europe’s urban centers, be it on the go or haute cuisine.
Further North in Arctic Scandinavia and Lapland the situation is slightly different. Travelers will commonly stay in wilderness lodges with little access to either supermarkets, or vegan-friendly restaurants. While most wilderness retreats will be able to cater to a vegan diet, the spectrum in terms of vegan food quality is wide. The good news is there are some outstanding restaurants who would cater to a vegan diet with local, authentic, local dishes. To minimise the risk of disappointment, we recommend giving the hotel a heads-up to be able to source the right ingredients prior to arrival even if a high-quality dining experience isn’t necessarily the focus of the trip.
If you’re traveling with us we recommend to not take any chances and choose hotels which either casually feature vegan food on their a la carte menu, or have a creative culinary flair that is not limited to meat-based, or vegetarian diets. Do let us know in the planning stage and the team will be able to make specific recommendations to suit your dietary and travel requirements. To provide a glimpse into what a vegan holiday to Lapland could look like we have selected a few small-scale wilderness retreats whom we have been working with closely during the past decade.
The chalet-style spa retreat outside Sweden’s northernmost city, Kiruna, prides itself in sustainably sourced local food. The a la carte menu features vegan options across three courses, for example a mushroom soup, vegan bouillabaisse, or carbonara and berry dessert featuring vegan vanilla ice cream, spicy blueberry soup, crowberry meringue, crowberry meringue, blackberries and vegan chocolate. YUM!
We recommend Camp Ripan for its accessibility from Kiruna airport, a sublime spa experience including an outdoor hot tub, indoor infinity pool, and a Nordic sauna experience, which can be rounded off with Lappish-inspired skin treatments. From the lodge guests can join cruelty-free dog-sledding experiences, visit the nearby ICEHOTEL, or learn about Sami culture.
Sorbyn Lodge in Swedish Lapland is a community-funded hotel with a restaurant that is adored by both locals and visitors. At the restaurant, a passion for local cuisine is combined with a desire to learn and develop. While the hotel does not feature vegan options on its menu its vegetarian options can be turned into a vegan meal.
Our personal veggie experience: In hindsight, the vegetarian dish featuring celery, pureed cauliflower, and roasted nuts turned out to be the best veggie dish I had during my 4-day trip to Swedish Lapland. I was mostly impressed by the restaurant’s focus on making the most of the vegetarian ingredients available, and avoiding the easy solution which would typically include veggie sausages, bean, or worse a portobello mushroom pattie (!). The approach was original, authentic and well-suited to the overall ambiance of the lodge. While I can’t comment on the vegan food specifically the top-notch quality, and evident passion of our host, Cicci manages to kindle my appetite for celery-infused dishes without fail.
Grano Beckasin is a retreat-like hotel that exudes charm and character. Its charm lies in its whimsical treetop accommodation overlooking South Lapland’s Umea River. In the lodge’s spacious interior, far reaching views may only be disturbed by curious squirrels peeping through the panoramic windows. Its character lies in its commitment to staying true to its conservationist roots. Inspired by one man’s love for the local bird life, Grano Beckasin turned into an eco tourism micro retreat with little appetite for expansion, and a strong focus on improving the quality of the experience.
This also applies to the lodge’s commitment to culinary flexibility, the hotel restaurant caters to all dietary requirements with organic food that is sourced from the surrounding wilderness area where possible.
Javri Lodge in Finnish Lapland has a strong focus on sustainably, and locally-sourced food. The owners come from a high-end gastronomic background, which is reflected in the lodge's emphasis on food quality.
When asked whether the lodge is vegan-friendly, host Egle reassured us that: 'We had vegan guests who stayed with us for 4/ 5 nights, a bit more challenging but our chefs can always create a custom menu to meet your clients’ specific needs.'
Example options for vegans could include:
- Winter root vegetable light bouillon, cabbage cannelloni, horseradish foam
- Pumpkin seeds pesto, gnocchi
- Lentils dip, coriander and apple
- Pan-fried veggies, tofu Rosso
- Vegan chocolate cake
Tucked between the spikey peaks of the Lyngen Alps and glassy fjord water lies the luxurious Lyngen Lodge, a boutique hotel which prides itself in its ability to balance top-notch adventures with food for the soul. An outdoor hot tub, and a chef who has catered to both the Queen and Metallica, travelers can expect a creative menu and playful use of ingredients.