Which Countries are Best for Gluten-Free Travel?

Traveling gluten-free can be a hassle. For people with a serious allergy, having to prepare for your vacation by printing out diet cards in various languages, researching and digging through gluten-free blogs and travel sites, all the while packing a back-up stash of gluten-free snacks. It’s time consuming, and at times overwhelming.

Luckily, gluten-free travel is getting easier as people around the world become more aware of gluten intolerance, even in places that heavily utilize wheat. Here are four countries that may surprise you with their wealth of gluten-free options. Pick your next vacation stay in one of these, and you can focus on immersing yourself in the experience, instead of fretting over what’s on your plate.

1.Italy

There are few places that can make maintaining a gluten-free diet seem more impossible than Italy. Known as the land of pasta and pizza, you’d be surprised at the number of options available for people seeking authentic Italian cuisine while also staying gluten-free. Dishes like osso buco, risotto and caciucco come to mind. But that’s not to say that you have to stay away from your Italian favorites. In Italy, “senza glutine” (gluten-free) has been available long before the trend started heading West to Americans.

Italy actually started offering gluten-free options back in the 1970′s. Chef’s in Italy are responsible for some of the best gluten-free pasta brands available such as Jovial, Delallo, Rustichella d’Abruzzo, and Riso Bello. Even their chain restaurants have menus senza glutine. No matter where you go in Italy, all you need is one little phrase: “io sono celiaco(a).”

2. Ireland

When you think of Ireland you probably think of enjoying pint, a slice of brown bread with fresh Irish butter, and a basket of fish and chips. What you might not know though is that Ireland has a fairly high concentration of celiacs. The country even formed a group called The Irish Coeliac’s Association way back in 1963, far before celiacs disease became as talked about in the US. This long history of gluten-awareness means that Ireland has some of the best food options and resources for gluten-free travelers. Try Gluten Free Ireland, a search engine that can link you to over 700 gluten-free establishments across the country.

Still worried about entering a pub? You’re in luck, Bulmers cider (known as Magner’s in the U.S.) is naturally-gluten-free and just as popular in Ireland as any beer is.

3. Australia

Australia is in the middle of a food revolution, and part of that revolution seems to be including gluten free options on everything. From high-end restaurants to local cafés, there are always gluten-free options no matter where you go. From ravioli to dinner rolls, you’ll be able to enjoy your meal worry free, and the locals are so used to the request that they don’t think twice about it. No more silent judgements from the waiter as you ask for the gluten-free option.

Having celiac can be frustrating, and no one enjoys feeling like they can’t go out and enjoy the same restaurants and bars as the rest of their friends. Luckily, the world is changing, and soon enough, it will be as accommodated for as any other allergy.


Originally published on Bruno Villetelle’s blog.