gluten free travel

Coeliac Disease – Travel challenges

I’ve just had a great week staying at the St Nicolas Bay Hotel in Crete who catered well for coeliacs with a wide range gluten free dishes available, and gluten free bread on offer as part of the breakfast buffet.


On the Thomas Cook flight I enjoyed their gluten free meals which I had ordered in advance. I had a tasty James Martin hot breakfast on the way out, and beef paprika on the way home. Images of both the regular and gluten free afternoon in flight meals are included to illustrate the difference. By the way, the gluten free chocolate chip muffin was delicious!

Gluten free in flight meal

Gluten free in flight meal

Regular in flight meal

Regular in flight meal










Although I had a good experience checking out gluten free options on my trip, problems experienced by those travelling with Coeliac Disease are highlighted in a 2013 Canadian study who found that:

  • 69% said travelling abroad was difficult because they could not tell from labels if food was gluten free.
  • 61% said they could not eat many local /national speciality dishes.
  • 54% said they had difficulty finding shops and restaurants selling gluten free food.
  • 53% said that restaurant personnel abroad were unaware of what gluten free means.
  • 46% reported difficulty carrying gluten free food when travelling.

Strategies used by those with Coeliac Disease to enhance their ability to follow the gluten free diet when travelling included:

  • 44% take translated information about gluten free diet when abroad.
  • 28% research restaurants on the Internet before leaving home.
  • 16% contact Coeliac organisations (e.g. Canadian Celiac Association) about sources of gluten free food.
  • 15% carry a doctors letter indicating that they require a gluten free diet.

The Canadian study concluded that it is essential for individuals with Coeliac Disease to receive accurate and comprehensive information about the disease and its dietary management.

Coeliac UK has some useful information leaflets to help prepare for world wide travel. The following link takes you to the one for Greece but there are over 30 other guides that you may find useful.  Coeliac UK Guide for Greece.

As for this week, well done St Nicolas Bay Hotel and Thomas Cook, you did great.


Zarkadas, M., Dubois, S., Maclsaac, K., Cantin, I., Rashid, M., Roberts, K.C., La Vieille, S., Godefroy, S. & Pulido, O.M. (2013) living with Coeliac Disease and a gluten-free diet: a Canadian perspective.

St Nicolas Bay, Crete