Travelling both domestically and internationally can be one of the most enriching experiences an individual can embark on. It allows you to expand your social and cultural imagination, broadening your understanding of unfamiliar communities and truly bolstering your capacity for empathy and your comprehension for an alternative way of life.
This experience, however, begins to look far more intimidating if you plan on continuing your Vegan lifestyle in a completely foreign city and culture. Naturally, the number of available restaurants and food outlets that market plant-based options are more limited than those that do not, making it sometimes very difficult for Vegan travellers to both travel far, and eat well.
This article hopes to illuminate some of the best cities throughout Europe for Vegan travellers, hopefully encouraging our plant-based readers to pursue their dreams of travelling without having to worry about effectively maintaining their Vegan lifestyle.
With 161 restaurants boasting Vegan options throughout the city, London is the destination with the greatest number of plant-based bars and restaurants on our list. And with the opening of multiple street fairs, events, and meet-ups throughout the summer months, this number is likely to rise at a time when tourism will be at its peak.
The scale of Vegan consumerism within the city naturally brings with it a hugely diverse range of plant-based options, including Vegan Japanese restaurants, plant-based kebab outlets, and even restaurants serving elements of Ethiopian cuisine, modified for a plant-based audience.
One restaurant that truly stands out for us is Unity Diner in Whitechapel, a restaurant opened by popular Vegan activist and speaker Ed Winters. The restaurant boasts an eclectic menu of entirely Vegan cuisine, including hot dogs, curries, mozzarella sticks, and many more.
Unity Diner is also home to award-winning Fish and Chips which, having sampled them myself, are absolutely amazing.
Whether you’re after a quick bite, or a sit-down reservation at a more formal restaurants, London will certainly have the Vegan option for you.
Popularly referred to as the ‘Vegan capital of Europe’, Berlin offers a broad and expansive variety fo plant-based options for residents and tourists alike. With the city being home to 83 plant-based restaurants, all providing expertly made and culturally diverse plant-based cuisine, it makes the perfect summer city-break for any Vegan travellers among our readership.
Berlin is also the central location for one of Europe’s most popular Vegan festivals, Veganes Sommerfest, a social and cultural hub for European Vegans and Vegetarians that celebrates the plant-based lifestyle in a number of exciting and innovative ways.
For some of our more sceptical readers, the festival also invites non-Vegans to really engage with the festival, ask questions about the plant-based lifestyle, and really understand the motivations and potential benefits behind switching to Veganism.
Berlin does have fewer plant-based restaurants than London, however, the food is far cheaper in Berlin, the city is far less crowded, and much easier to navigate. Altogether, Berlin represents excellent value for travellers, and is one destination that our plant-based readers may definitely want to consider for a quick getaway.
We wanted to include Paris on our list, as it has a particularly prominent reputation within the tourism community as a distinctly unfriendly place for Vegan tourists. The ubiquity of such salient foodstuffs as butters and cheeses in French cuisine makes it very difficult for traditionally French restaurants to cater for Vegans by adapting their conventional recipes.
However, with over 70 fully-Vegan restaurants, Paris is able to boast the third-most plant-based eateries in Europe.
While it can be said that the vast majority of Vegan restaurants within the city are largely burger joints, which will of course be no problem whatsoever if you happen to be a burger fan, the sheer number means that Vegan tourists will certainly not struggle to find somewhere to eat while visiting the French capital.
Compared with the other cities on our list so far, Prague is one of the smaller cities with a notable scene for plant-based tourism.
The Czech capital is home to around 50 Vegan restaurants, notably far fewer than the other major cities on our list so far. However, the dynamic options that Prague is able to offer, coupled with the fact that these bars and restaurants are so seamlessly interjected within the city’s social and cultural hubs, makes it an incredibly valuable city to visit as a Vegan tourist.
Monument and Plevel offer authentic Czech cuisine, modified for a plant-based audience of course, while Střecha, an incredibly unique social enterprise, offers a Vegan bistro / cafe experience operated by previously homeless or incarcerated individuals.
The small ‘Old Town’ district of the city can be incredibly busy during the summer months, so we would recommend that, if you plan on visiting Prague, perhaps select a time that is likely to be less lively, so that you are able to truly engage with Prague’s old-school charm and fantastic culture.
Perhaps one of the more surprising inclusions on our list, the capital of Poland is very regularly overshadowed on tourism guides by the more popular student city of Krakow.
But, in this list, we aim to shine a light on Warsaw, giving it the recognition it deserves for offering a truly comprehensive variety of plant-based options for the Vegan travellers among our readership.
Sample some of the authentic examples of Polish cuisine at such restaurants as Chwast Polski and Lokal Vegan Bistro, or venture into the more renowned Vegan foodstuffs at popular Polish Vegan burger chain Krowarzywa, along with many more plant-based bistros and cafes throughout the city.
What makes Warsaw stand out from the other Western-European cities on our list so far is that it is far cheaper; prices for food and travel here will be far less expensive than in London or Paris for example, so if you’re travelling on a tighter budget, Warsaw is an excellent option that will still provide quality dining experiences.
Much like Paris earlier on our list, Madrid gets a bad wrap from travel outlets and writers, who regularly claim that it must be difficult to be Vegan in Madrid, because of the limited number of available options.
However, since 2017, the city has made a concerted effort to bolster its plant-based options throughout, adding 7 more fully-Vegan restaurants to the 35 it was already home to in 2020 alone. Though Madrid may be the city on our list with the fewest overall number of fully plant-based restaurants, it is in their diversity that the city’s plant-based cuisine truly stands out.
From Vegan bakeries (including a renowned Vegan cheesecake served at Landareak), to three completely Vegan doughnut shops; from Vegan junk-food spots, to plant-based gastrobars, Madrid really does try to cover all bases when it comes to Vegan dining in the city.
And, with the recent surge in plant-based dining experiences in the city, we can really see Madrid shooting further up our rankings in the future!
For more of our content on Veganism, check out another one of our articles here!