Gluten Free Getaways

Although I have some ancestors from Sicily, I really don't know much about that part of Italy. My travels thus far have focused on what I call the "big three:" Rome, Florence, and Venice -- and a lovely week in the region of Umbria in central Italy. What I didn't know until recently is that Sicily is where the Italians themselves vacation! This is due to its wonderful climate, gorgeous beaches, and legendary food. In fact, Sicily is where Italy likely gets its reputation as a culinary dream. Since it has been at the geographical crossroads of so many different cultures over the millennia, it has blended influences into what most agree is exceptional cuisine. This is where southern Italian dishes that many American Italians grew up on originated. For example, "red gravy" (tomato sauce) has its origins here. And, as in most areas of Italy, you'll be able to find gluten free pasta offered as an option in many restaurants. Much of the food in Sicily is farm to table, so there is a freshness and quality that you don't always find in other locations. For gluten free travelers, Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us makes it even easier... Read more →


Unless you're a skier, you might be surprised to hear that Switzerland makes a great destination ANY time of the year, even in the Winter. While Summer offers the most comfortable temperatures, it can also be the most crowded, with Summer tourism affecting popular sites (but, of course, that's no different than in other places in Europe!). You may want to consider a trip in the Fall or Spring, when the cooler weather is crisp but pleasant -- and you'll encounter fewer crowds. Of course, Winter sports enthusiasts will love the colder months when they can enjoy Alpine activities. And gluten free travelers will be thrilled to learn that travel agent Ellen Morse, who is Celiac herself and provides customized travel itineraries for gluten free travelers (as well as travelers without dietary restrictions), has recently created an itinerary for a 7-night trip to Switzerland. Please note: This is NOT a group tour. You can take this trip at any time you like and with whomever you like. The suggested itinerary, which Ellen can help you customize for your own specific interests, covers three perennial favorite spots: Zurich, Lucerne, and Interlaken. These towns will give you a true taste of Switzerland's... Read more →


You've heard me talk about Italy a lot on this Blog. It's both because it's my personal favorite destination...as well as one that seems to be on top of most people's travel lists. It's no wonder, given the beautiful scenery, fascinating history, and noteworthy art and architecture. And, oh, the food and wine isn't too bad either! Speaking of which, Italy also happens to be the most gluten-free friendly place our family has ever visited. Of course, I wouldn't recommend just booking a plane ticket and winging it! No, you really need to do your research before going if you want to have the optimal experience, especially when it comes to dining on the best gluten free specialties. Delicious (and safe) gluten free pizza, pasta, bruschetta, crepes, gelato, pastries, and more can be found in both the big cities -- and even in the smaller, quaint towns that are off-the-beaten-path. But you have to do your research on sites like our GlutenFreeTravelSite to find them. I also wrote an e-book, available on Amazon, called Gluten-Free in ITALY: Your Worry-Free and Gluten-Free Guide to Italy. It's perfect if you don't have much time to research or plan a trip yourself --... Read more →


Last week I posted about a tour of Puglia, Italy being organized by classically trained chef and yoga instructor Janice Veech (the "GoYogi Chef"), who is gluten free herself. Today I want to share another small group tour she is organizing in Italy. This second trip -- to the beautiful Umbria region in central Italy -- immediately follows the week in Puglia (so you could do both, if you are so inclined!). The dates of the Umbria small group tour are October 12-19, 2019 (note the change of date from 2018 to 2019). Umbria is similar to Tuscany...full of rolling hills, medieval hilltop towns, vineyards, olive groves, and rich history. But it's still a bit less touristy than Tuscany has become. You'll enjoy a more "authentic" side of Italy, a far cry from the crowds of larger cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice. The itinerary is exactly the same as the tour I accompanied Janice on last October, and let me tell you, it was amazing...one of the best trips I've ever taken. (This photo of Janice and me in the hat, along with another lady from our group, was taken at the wall in Orvieto). Our trip was the... Read more →


What's better than planning a vacation to a dream destination where you'll be able to dine on fresh regional specialties -- all while staying safely gluten free? Having someone else do all the planning! That's what you have with this latest travel opportunity...a chance to visit Puglia, the sun-kissed heel of Italy, with all the details (including gluten free meals) planned for you! And this someone else isn't just anyone. It's Janice Veech, a.k.a. the "Go Yogi Chef," a classically trained chef and yoga teacher who is gluten free herself. Janice has made it her mission to plan spectacular trips where her fellow travelers can tap into the energy and authentic vibe of the region while enjoying its history, beauty, and culinary specialties. She ensures arrangements are made with restaurants in advance if any gluten free adaptations are needed for the meals. (Both gluten free and non-GF guests are welcome on her tours.) Unlike large group tours where you are served a pre-selected meal, this trip gives each guest the ability to order off the menu for each meal, selecting favorite items. Puglia is especially known for its fresh seafood, abundant vegetables, and, of course, a range of wonderful regional... Read more →


Have you ever dreamed of visiting the Greek Islands and actually standing atop this hill you see in so many photographs? Would you love to tour the Acropolis in Athens and marvel at the Parthenon? What about meandering among the ancient ruins on an uninhabited island full of archaeological treasures? If these things have been on your own Bucket List, it's no wonder. Greece has always been a favorite destination -- for all these reasons. In addition to the natural beauty that surrounds you and the amazing history and architectural wonders, Greece's citizens are so warm and hospitable. Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us (and gluten free for decades herself) recently had some gluten free clients request an itinerary for Greece, and based on the success in setting up the trip, she is offering a similar itinerary to other clients. Of course, as with any of Ellen's itineraries, you are the "captain of your own boat" and can tailor it to your interests and desired length of stay. And because it is NOT a group tour, you can take it any time of the year (although Ellen highly recommends April through October as being ideal). This particular itinerary hits on... Read more →


Many of you are familiar with my Gluten-Free in ITALY e-book, available on Amazon. In it, I give advice on finding the best spots dining gluten free in Rome, Florence, and Venice (yes, there is amazing gluten free pizza and pasta to be safely enjoyed, but you need to know where to go!). Just a few months ago, I added a section on Umbria, the “landlocked” region of central Italy bordering Tuscany to the southeast. It was here that I was fortunate to experience a less touristy side of Italy…medieval towns, rolling hills, historical sites dating back to Roman and Etruscan eras, important religious sites, vineyards and olive oil producers, and wonderfully simple and fresh Italian culinary specialties. Unlike our family’s previous trip to Italy, which we did on our own after having help from fantastic (and gluten free) travel agent Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us, this trip to Umbria was with a small group. A college friend and I traveled with Bluone Tours, a “boutique” travel company specializing in small group tours of the many regions of Italy. While their focus is on the food and wine of the different regions, their tours encompass so much more. For... Read more →


Multi-generational travel has become increasingly popular in recent years, and cruise ships provide the perfect venue for bringing travelers of all ages together. In fact, it's something to consider for a family reunion! Let's face it, it's hard to please every traveler on a trip, but cruise ships sure come close. There's really something for everyone, whether you like relaxing by the pool, trying out a zip line or simulated surfing, scheduling a spa visit or time in the gym, hanging out in the casino, taking in the entertainment on board, heading to the teen center, or playing mini golf. And the ports of call offer a range of options for differing tastes as well. Plus, on a cruise ship you have the option of spending some time together -- and some apart. Best of all, there are dining options for every taste, and cruise ships typically offer plenty of choices for gluten free folks -- and even travelers with other dietary restrictions. The post below was reprinted with permission from Travel Leaders agency, where one of our favorite gluten free travel specialists works. Lesley Hayden-Hock, reachable at 800-487-6110 or Lhayden@travelleaders.com, knows the best cruise lines for gluten free dining... Read more →


Are you thinking about visiting London? Maybe you even already have a trip planned for the spring or summer.... London continues to rank high on travelers' Bucket Lists, and it offers something for everyone...no matter what your age or what your interests. When we took our sons there, we had such a fantastic time. Between the range of tourist sites, world-class museums, and fascinating history, we were captivated. And any fears we had about finding restaurants that could serve our son safe gluten free meals were quickly dispelled. That's because I'd done my homework. As always, the hours of advance research had paid off. While we can all probably agree that there's not a lot of spontaneity when following a gluten free diet when traveling, researching and planning where you'll eat in advance saves you from having to scramble each day. The more planning you can do, the more seamless your trip will be. If you have a plan, you'll be able to relax and focus on enjoying the experiences -- without scrambling at mealtime to find restaurants nearby that might offer gluten free options. I put all the knowledge we acquired in our 10-day stay into an e-book called... Read more →


Whether you're intrigued by Norway, land of beautiful fjords...or Stockholm, Sweden, the "Venice of the North"...or the town of Copenhagen, Denmark, situated on a series of islands, Scandinavia has something for everyone. I remember visiting the Scandinavian capitals with my family when I was in college. It was the summer, and enjoying daylight up to 11 pm made quite and impression on me! It's a part of Europe that doesn't get talked about as much as, say, Italy, England, or France, but there is so much rich history in each of these countries, along with unrivaled natural beauty. Now, thanks again to gluten free travel specialist Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us, you can safely travel gluten free in these countries, all while staying in 4-star hotels she and her local Scandinavian travel partners have vetted. You'll also be provided with a list of restaurants for gluten free dining for any meals that are not pre-arranged as part of the trip. You will not have to "go it alone" figuring out where you can safely dine! And, of course, your traveling companions will have the choice of whether to eat gluten free or not. You are not locked in to... Read more →


Our son has been gluten free for over 12 years now, after a diagnosis with Celiac Disease in April 2005. We have dined out considerably since then...and traveled extensively in the U.S. and to many major European cities. There have been ups and downs along the way -- both pleasant surprises and occasional disappointments. I've written in the past about the Top 10 Mistakes Restaurants Make When Trying to Provide Gluten Free Meals. Don't get me wrong...even as the founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Dine Gluten Free mobile app -- along with this Blog -- I'm actually not particularly hard on restaurants that at least make an effort to serve our gluten free community. And frankly, our 14-year-old son is pretty easy to please as well. As long as there are a few options on a menu -- and they are prepared safely and with optimal taste in mind -- we are happy. At this age, he is content with a juicy steak, a burger on a decent gluten free bun, simply prepared gluten free pasta, most gluten free pizzas, and any chocolate dessert that can claim it's gluten free! My Top 10 listing from months ago hits on how... Read more →


You've probably heard of the Seychelles Islands. Their pristine, unspoiled beaches are often mentioned among the world's best. Located off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, this archipelago is made up of 115 islands. Many of the Seychelles islands are uninhabited and are nature reserves. Ellen Morse, one of our gluten free travel specialist partners (and who is gluten free herself) just had some clients return from a trip she planned for them to this exciting and exotic destination. They absolutely raved about the experience, and Ellen is eager to share the itinerary she planned for them with more clients. On this journey, which is not a group tour and can be taken at any time, you'll visit three of the main islands: Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue. She has worked with local tour companies who do business in the Seychelles to ensure all meals will be safely gluten free. Imagine seeing this beautiful part of the world while relaxing and having all your dietary needs taken seriously! Like many island nations, the people of the Seychelles enjoy a wide variety of fresh fish, seafood, and fruits. Rice flavored with curry, coconut, or saffron is another common... Read more →