Eating abroad can be a minefield for travelling vegans. It can be tricky to know how traditional dishes are cooked and whether animal products are inadvertently included. The process is made even more difficult when language barriers make it tough to communicate dietary preferences.
Luckily, travelling in Europe as a vegan is becoming easier than ever because veganism is on the rise. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of vegans in Europe doubled – this has led to a boom in vegan options on menus, dedicated vegan restaurants, and vegan products in supermarkets.
Let’s take a look at three of the very best vegan travel destinations in Europe for 2023:
1. Riga, Latvia
Although Latvia is known for its incredibly meat-heavy cuisine, there’s been a big boost in veganism over the last decade and it’s easy to find vegan options in the capital of Riga. There are plenty of vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes, and some with 100% vegan menus.
If you’ll be doing some cooking of your own, be sure to check out Riga Central Market. It has five indoor pavilions and an outdoor area jam-packed with merchants selling fresh produce. The meat and fish stalls are separated from the fruit and vegetable stalls which makes shopping a pleasant experience for vegan visitors. You’ll also spot merchants selling homemade ornaments, jewellery and wickerworks. Make sure you sample salted, dried and pickled mushrooms, sandthorn syrup, and the non-alcoholic beverage kvass, all of which are traditional Latvian dishes.
2. Warsaw, Poland
Despite the fact that traditional Polish cuisine is heavy in meat and dairy, the capital of Poland, Warsaw, has developed a reputation for being one of the most vegan-friendly cities in Europe. You’ll find several vegan bistros serving up delicious cruelty-free versions of Polish classics such as pierogi, pyzy and Żurek.
The city has a thriving street food scene, so look out for food festival events where you’re likely to find inventive vegan food truck owners serving delicious dishes. Market halls are popular in Warsaw, with the biggest ones being Hala Mirowska and Szembek’s Bazaar. These are ideal spots to pick up high-quality fresh ingredients if you’re in self-catered accommodation. Be sure to sample the array of traditional brine-cured products on offer, such as sauerkraut and brined cucumbers.
3. Berlin, Germany
With an impressive 83 vegan restaurants, Berlin is informally known as Europe’s vegan capital. It’s also deemed one of the most culturally diverse cities in Europe. So you can easily enjoy vegan cuisine from all over the world. If you want a taste of Germany, you’ll find plenty of meat-free eateries that specialise in vegan spins on traditional fare. Even when you visit non-vegan restaurants, you can expect to see plenty of vegan dishes on menus.
Germany is also leading the way when it comes to the launch of vegan products, with new plant-based meat alternatives hitting the market on a regular basis. This is ideal for self-catering travellers who plan to explore Berlin’s supermarkets and get cooking on their trip.
If you’re planning a summer visit to Berlin, see if your trip coincides with the Veganes Sommerfest. Here you can find a huge variety of businesses selling vegan food, clothing, cosmetics and more.
Enjoy travel without food stress
Sampling local cuisine is one of the most enjoyable aspects of travelling. By choosing one of the three vegan travel destinations on this list, vegan travellers can indulge in delicious, local flavours with minimal stress.
Colin Barnes developed a passion for travel from an early age, and has nurtured this throughout his career working as a travel writer. He always looks to provide his readers with useful information to help inspire them follow their wanderlust.