Travelling Europe As A Vegan: Everything You Need To Know
This article was written by, and released in partnership with, 26-year-old Lithuanian world traveler and blogger Aistis. Better known as ASTraveler, Aistis of writes on the topics of travel, plant-based living, and wellness. You can find his travel blog here.
Headed on a luxury trip to Europe? Gone backpacking? No matter the cost or glam factor of your trip, you may find yourself wondering if you can stay vegan abroad.
Worry not. While there are some countries where it might be a challenge, vegans in Europe can absolutely get their plant-based needs met — so long as they plan ahead — and, in certain areas of the continent, you may even find yourself spoiled for choice.
What follows are the tips you’ll need to come prepared and travel Europe in style.
Download Some Helpful Apps
Before you even set out, be sure to do your homework with the help of apps like HappyCow and the Yelp Mobile App.
The HappyCow app will help you to find vegan-friendly restaurants near your accommodation. If you are not staying in a remote part of Europe, you should find a few good options nearby — and the reviews shared on the app can help with decision making.
While in some countries, like Monaco for example, you’ll be met with restaurants boasting seasonal ravioli, pastas, burgers, smoothies, and more. In others, however, you may find options to be more few and far between — either way, HappyCow can help you find them.
If you are staying in a secluded part of Europe, you may be able to use Yelp to identify nearby restaurants that are vegan-friendly. From there, you can check out menus online and try to sort out which spots suit your taste. Making a list for each city you’ll visit is not a bad idea, either. Don’t want to end up hangry abroad.
Stop In, Ask Questions, Make Requests
All of that said, for those visiting a super small town or village in some remote part of Europe, it may not be possible to find options in advance. In such situations, it’s better to visit the restaurant and check what is available — so maybe do this before you get hungry.
In some cases, you may be surprised to find some perfectly suitable options, even if they are just fries and salad. However, you can also ask to speak with a chef or staff member and ask if they can make alterations to any of their dishes.
For instance; you may politely ask them to make pizza or pasta without cheese. You’ll find many are happy to oblige. You may even suggest that the chef cook a plant-based dish of their choice for you. Doing this in advance can help save you from a drawn out dinner table conversation with or without nonvegan companions.
Indulge In Vegan Specialties
Most countries in Europe have at least one item they’re known for which can be made vegan. If you are planning for a trip to Switzerland, for example, you can take advantage of some excellent dark chocolate. Also, Brezelkonig is a well-known Swiss chain where you can buy all vegan brezels. You may want to pack some of both for your journey to your next destination.
In Greece, on the other hand, you’ll find a wide array of vegan options — like grilled mushrooms, fried zucchini, and eggplant — appear often in the cuisine.
By sorting out the vegan specialties of each country ahead of time, you can help to ensure you have a wonderful trip abroad.
Don’t Go Anywhere Without These
There may also be times when you aren’t be able to get healthy, nutritious vegan meals during your trip — French fries, anyone?
Consider carrying some healthy snacks with you so that you have something to munch on until you find a good vegan restaurant, or in case you don’t! I also recommend that you carry an excellent vegan multivitamin alongside your healthy, easy-to-transport snacks. Dried fruits, healthy vegan snack bars, and nuts all make great options.
Find The Right Accommodation
If you have already booked a hotel or hostel, get in touch with customer care to find out whether it’s vegan friendly and there’s a kitchen on site. This will help you to prepare well in advance and pack appropriately. You may want to bring some ingredients along.
Airbnb, VRBO, and most hostel booking sites have filters that allow you to find accommodation with kitchens, no matter where you go. Couchsurfing can be another great way to find vegan-friendly accommodation as the website includes a filter for vegan hosts. Many are travellers themselves and would be more than happy for you to whip up some vegan options while staying in their home and, if you’re really lucky, they may just make something for you! Either way, staying with like-minded people will certainly make your holiday a memorable one — but do take precautions to travel safely.
Cities Making It Easy
Those looking for super smooth sailing may want to simply plan an itinerary around their diet.
Some of Europe’s most vegan-friendly cities include Barcelona, Lisbon, London, and Berlin. If you don’t want to bend over backward, and want to keep things as simple as possible, these are excellent options — but there are many more! Happy Cow can help you sort out which cities make staying vegan abroad a walk in the park.
You can also rest assured knowing the European Union ensures that the food allergens are clearly indicated on all packaged products, a great tool which can help vegans pick suitable snacks! You may even find some restaurants that mention allergens like eggs, fish and dairy on the menu.
Embrace & Enjoy
While all of these tips can help to ensure you have some of the best vegan meals of your life while exploring Europe, it never hurts to brush up on a few phrases in the local language of countries you visit — so don’t forget to embrace, enjoy, and have a wonderful time!