by Emily Leak
Europe isn’t often thought of as a haven for those on a vegan diet, given its notoriety for cheesy, pastry and meat-based fare. Foodies fantasizing about Europe can easily pair prominent dishes to each country, from the iconic Greek gyros and Swiss fondue to world-renowned Belgian waffles or Italian gelato. Those wanderlusters wanting to stick to a plant-based diet may be hesitant to consider a European adventure, but we’re here to set the record straight!
Lucky for you (and your taste buds), Contiki, the original travel company offering epic adventures for 18-35-year-olds, is sharing insider secrets on the best vegan-friendly cities in Europe serving up delicious plant-based eats.
How have we come up with our top vegan-friendly destinations? Well, we’ve grilled locals and travelers for their top picks. Plus, we’ve looked at each city’s emerging vegan scene and taken into account the rising number of vegan-friendly restaurants in each.
Scroll to discover number one and start building your next meat-free munch adventure in Europe…or, save yourself the hassle of planning and travel with fellow vegans on the ultimate Vegan Food Europe Explorer.
Gothenburg is the country’s second largest city but has been dubbed “the vegan capital of Sweden.” Café culture is huge, with Gothenburgers enjoying coffee and cakes in open-air cafés around the city. But with veganism on the rise, there are plenty of plant-based restaurants opening, and even more cafés offering vegan options, so you can expect to enjoy lots of vegan-friendly sweets and treats!
- Frilagret for a full vegan brunch buffet; think waffles, home-made dips and ice cream
- Blackbird Vegankok & Bar for to-die-for, made-from-scratch cheese and tempeh dishes
- Hagabions Cafe for the open-air café culture (vegetarian spot with vegan options)
Not only is Vienna one of Europe’s most cultured cities, it also happens to be one of its most exciting plant-based destinations too (great news, vegans!). You don’t need to wander far to get your whole food fix to find fully vegan bakeries or raw bistros. There’s even a three-day vegan festival that’s been running for 21 years – VeganMania is one of Europe’s largest vegan summer festivals and admission is free!
- Anker Brot for traditional Austrian pastries made vegan
- Veggiezz for easy, vegan fast food like burgers, wraps and hot dogs
- Simply Raw for AMAZING vegan raw cakes
Widely recognized as the “fashion capital of the world,” it’s no surprise this trend-setting city is one of the leaders in embracing plant-based lifestyles. Milan has so much more to offer than chic garments and the meats, cheeses, pizzas and pastas Italy is typically characterized by. Offering vegan-friendly restaurants and plenty of history, culture and art to explore, Milan is definitely worth a visit on any Europe traveller’s bucket list.
- Gelateria Latteneve for satisfying your for satisfying your sweet tooth with vegan gelato options
- Flower Burger for rainbow-coloured burger buns (all natural, of course)
- Veganfruttariano for vegan versions of Italian classics including pizza, pasta and dessert
This city has more vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants (proportionally) than the continent’s most popular tourist destinations, including Paris and London. Aptly self-titled the “veggie capital of Europe,” we’ve got to give Ghent kudos. This Belgian city is often overlooked with travellers opting to visit Brussels and Bruges instead. Ghent’s vegan offering, marketplaces, relaxed vibe (thanks to the university student-heavy population) and largely untouched pre-WWII architecture are reason enough to visit.
- Komkommertijd for a vegan buffet accompanied by a cute courtyard
- V-Box for legendary vegan Belgian waffles and other delectable desserts
- Le Botaniste for cozy wine bar vibes, comfort food (no seriously, food is therapy here)
Bring your appetite to Budapest, which according to The Vegan Word is home to 1.5 vegan restaurants per 100,000 residents so you’re guaranteed to not go Hung(a)ry! Not only is vegan food easy to find, it’s also seriously affordable in Hungary’s capital – think vegan buffets and plant-based traditional Hungarian food.
- Mazel Tov – though not a fully vegan restaurant, the falafel and Israeli salads are YUM
- 827 Specialty Kitchen for the best vegan buffet ever
- Plant Milky Way for gluten-free and vegan sweet treats
Did you know Portugal was officially the first country to make it illegal not to offer a vegan menu option? The law passed in 2017 and the vegan foodie scene has only flourished in the country since then. Lisbon’s infamous golden pastries and enticing crêpes are must-eats on any foodies list when travelling to this city, and luckily the sunny capital has many cafés offering vegan versions of them. According to blogger and former Lisbon resident, The Nomadic Vegan, the city is also home to the most creative plant-based sushi options.
- Zarzuela for vegan (and gluten free) pasteis de nata
- Legumi Sushi for colourful avo rolls and ngiri
- Las Vegan for epic focaccia sandwiches
The Czech capital is not only brimming with Eastern European history but is also home to a buzzing vegan-friendly foodie scene. With over 55 vegan restaurants in the city, Prague offers a bit of everything, from brilliant vegan brunches to stews and comfort food galore, so prepare to treat yourself!
- Forky’s for delectable vegan fast food
- Prasad for vegan buffet and raw desserts
- Moment Vegan Bistro for brunch-ready scrambled tofu and bagels
Okay, so it’s no longer officially part of Europe following Brexit, but it’s only a quick ferry across the English Channel away and remains an iconic destination. As one of the largest cities across the pond, the vegan scene in London is exploding, and it now boasts over 165 vegan restaurants. Whether you’re looking for mouth-watering meat-free burgers, vegan versions of UK classics or Indian deliciousness, there’s plenty of palate-pleasing options, which definitely makes it one of the top vegan-friendly cities you could go to.
- Mildred’s for delicious comfort food (including enchilada Thursdays!)
- Temple of Seitan for fried ‘chicken’ and burgers
- Kalifornia Kitchen for beautiful smoothie bowls
Germany’s bustling capital recently rose to fame as a world-renowned vegan hotspot. There are even vegan hotels popping up, such as Almodovar Hotel, where sustainability is king (and queen). Considering this destination has its own ‘vegan avenue’ (where you’re spoilt for choice), and Schivelbeiner Straße with vegan clothing stores, Berlin is deservedly the top vegan-friendly destination to visit in Europe.
- Brammibal’s for mouth-watering doughnuts
- Kopps for a German-inspired tasting menu and vegan supper clubs
- 1990 Vegan Living for a variety of Vietnamese dishes
So, many great options for the vegan traveler in Europe.
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Emily Leak is a full-time travel addict and part-time puppy enthusiast. When she’s not working as a communications professional at The Travel Corporation Canada, she can be found practicing wellness around the world, one adventure at a time.