Hey Love Bees! 🐝
With over 55 vegan restaurants, Berlin is said to be the vegan capital of the world – however, as I recently discovered on my backpacking trip, not everywhere in Europe is quite so vegan-friendly!
As a gluten-intolerant vegan traveller, finding food can be a challenge – and there were times during my recent trip that I went hungry, lived on nothing but giant watermelons, and ate slimy, cold peas from a tin. 😂
These occasions were rare though, and for the most part I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing range of vegan (and gluten-free) food, that I was able to find on my travels.
Eating Vegan in The Netherlands
When I first arrived in The Netherlands I was caught in the grip of my social anxiety, and the busy, bustling labyrinth of Amsterdam really threw me into a tailspin!
Eating Vegan in Prague, The Czech Republic
In Prague, I stayed in a vegan villa, alongside many other travellers and volunteers. It was wonderful to meet other like-minded people, and in the kitchen, they made and sold raw vegan desserts and Kombucha!
The city itself had a great vegan scene, with tons of vegan cafes and restaurants.
One place I really loved was called Vegan’s, which I stumbled upon by accident, when I was sightseeing up at the castle! I looked down across the beautiful city, and to my surprise, I saw a massive sign that read ‘Vegan Restaurant’. My heart skipped with joy, and when I later discovered that they also did gluten free meals, I just knew I had to go there!
It wasn’t cheap, but the food was delicious, and if you book in advance (I didn’t) you can sit out on their terrace, which offers some breathtaking views across the city.
There were many vegan foods to be found in various supermarkets there too, however, I’d recommend avoiding the convenience stores in the city centre, as they were extremely overpriced. (In one, I was charged over £7 for a drink and a few bananas – and I didn’t realise until afterwards, as I was still getting used to the currency! Eek!)
Eating Vegan in Hungary
The first place I visited in Hungary, was beautiful Budapest! With its incredible vibe, breathtaking views and amazing vegan food, I quickly fell in love with the city, and it’s somewhere I’m definitely going to return to!
There were signs for vegan food everywhere, and loads of places listed on Happy Cow. There were also various vegan options in the convenience stores, as well as a massive indoor market selling an abundance of fresh fruits and veg. (The produce was piled so high, that the vendors were hidden from sight!)
My favourite place to eat in Budapest was an extremely trendy burger joint called Toekmag Vegan Street Food. They served the most delicious, freshly-made veggie burgers in soft, gluten-free buns, and although their food was extremely cheap, it was actually very high quality! The burgers weren’t greasy either, and they were made from fresh, wholesome ingredients.
After leaving Budapest, I switched the vibrant cityscape for a tranquil village at Lake Balaton.
Here, the local Hungarians spoke little English and finding gluten-free and vegan food was difficult. They did have a small fruit market there though, which sold some incredible pieces of watermelon – so I feasted on these for several days!
Eating Vegan in Slovenia
Slovenia is definitely the most peaceful, uplifting and beautiful country I’ve ever been to.
The Slovenian people seemed lovely, the colour of the water was like nothing I’ve ever seen (in places it was literally emerald green!) and the capital city, Ljubljana, felt very safe, sweet and innocent.
Ljubljana was also home to some amazing vegan food, and I was very blessed to stay at the beautiful Hostel Vrba which had a wonderful kitchen for cooking in.
The nearby Mercator supermarket also stocked a good range of gluten-free pasta, as well as Playmil vegan chocolate, vegan cream of mushroom soup, and some lovely fresh produce as well. (Their Italian apricots were absolutely out of this world!)
I also went to the Ljubljana branch of Loving Hut which was situated in the perfect location, just across the road from the train station. The food was super cheap (it was a buffet, priced by weight) and there were lots of gluten-free options, with any allergens in the dishes, listed up on the board.
Later, I travelled to Lake Bohinj, where finding suitable food was much harder.
The hostel I stayed in didn’t have a kitchen and the local supermarket didn’t stock many vegan and gluten-free foods.
I did manage to get some rice cakes though, which I ate with cherry tomatoes – until the sourness of the tomatoes began to play havoc with my wisdom teeth, which had just started coming through!
Eventually, the effect of eating so few calories (whilst doing so much walking) caught up with me, and I could feel myself starting to crash.
Until then, I’d been eating relatively healthily, but I’d got to the point where I was just craving some calorie-dense food!
Reluctantly, I bought I huge bag of salted nachos and some salsa (the only things I could find!) and I ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The salt made me blow out like a puffer fish, and I felt guilty for eating such crap, but at the same time it quelled my hunger and stopped me from feeling so faint!
My room mate also had trouble preparing her food without a kitchen, but thankfully she’d discovered the genius method of cooking pasta in a Thermos flask! (You fill the flask with pasta and boiling water, lay it on its side for 10 minutes, and incredibly, it actually cooks it!).
From now on, when I travel or go camping, I’ll be sure to take my Thermos! 👍🏼
Eating Vegan in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Before I set off on my travels, Bosnia was the country where I was most worried about finding food.
In the war-torn city of Mostar, there were no vegan or vegetarian restaurants, and although I saw a few convenience stores being mentioned on Happy Cow, it sounded as if they didn’t sell many vegan products.
Within minutes of arriving there however, I met another vegan traveller who excitedly showed me all the vegan products she’d just bought! She’d found vegan burgers and even vegan Nutella – and when I later popped down to the huge, modern shopping mall, I found a selection of vegan products myself!
They even had gluten-free Schar products, as well as a good range of world foods, from various brands that I recognised.
I was excited to find rice noodles too, as they’re quick and easy to prepare, and are ideal for situations where the cooking facilities aren’t great. I also bought some hot curry powder, as well as coconut cream – which I used to make hot ‘n creamy curried noodles!
I made pasta sauce as well, using fresh mushrooms, coconut cream and some of the powdered mushroom soup, that I’d previously bought in Slovenia!
During my stay in Mostar, I also enjoyed eating lots of fresh fruit and veg and drinking gallons of Bosnian coffee, with new friends, at the wonderful hostel I stayed in!
Although I didn’t end up going there, there was a shop selling Alpro products too – which I’ll be sure to check out next time!
Eating Vegan in Austria and Germany
Austria and Germany were without a doubt the very best countries I visited, for finding both vegan and gluten-free food!
There were signs for vegan food everywhere, and all the convenience stores and supermarkets I went in, had extensive ranges of gluten-free and cruelty-free foods.
Even Mozarts birthplace in Salzburg – which is now a very posh Spar – sold some delicious vegan chocolate!
One of the most common vegan brands that I saw in both countries was called Veganz, and they offered a huge range of products from chocolate, snack bars and kale and coconut chips, to spreads and even mock meats. (The salted caramel coconut chips were the best!!)
Overall, Germany definitely trumped Austria with their huge range of cruelty-free food, and I have to admit, that it was even better than the UK!
Out of all the countries I visited, they also seemed to have the best understanding of exactly what it means to be vegan and gluten-free!
What are your experiences with finding food whilst travelling? I’d love to hear your thoughts and any recommendations, for the best places to eat around the world! 💜
If you’re vegan and travelling in Europe (or anywhere else, come to that!) I’d highly suggest using Happy Cow. You can use the website for free to locate nearby vegan cafes, restaurants and stores, or you can purchase the app (like I did) which makes it easier to find places on your phone.
If you can’t eat gluten (or have other allergies, intolerances or even dietary preferences) it may also be helpful to print off some cards listing the foods you cannot eat, which have been translated into the local language. These can be handed to your server or chef to help them better understand your needs.
- All opinions in this post are my own, and all products mentioned were paid for with my own money!