So you’ve decided to travel through Europe this summer, but since you’re a vegetarian, you have concerns about the food. So many countries have meat dishes deeply embedded into their culture that you could easily assume – and most of the time you wouldn’t be far from the truth – how tricky it is for a veggie lover to find dishes they actually enjoy. But the old continent is constantly reinventing itself, even when it comes to food. So what are the best European destinations if you’re a vegetarian? Read our vegetarian’s guide to Europe!
The motherland of pizza and pasta has about 10% of the population declared as non-meat eaters. This brings a pretty good chance of finding great food and even though the restaurant you’ve just stepped in may not be specialised in vegetarian dishes only, it’s likely that your waiter will know how to properly take care of you.
Aperitivo is another authentic Italian experience, especially in the northern part of the country. It is only available late in the afternoons and for approximately 6 euros you can serve delicious cocktails with healthy snacks on the side. Fresh olives and cheese, onion rings, salads or chips will accompany your drinks, while you and your friends spend a relaxing time together.
When in Spain, it’s time for tapas! Same as with Italy’s aperitivo, tapas is an after-work day appetiser much enjoyed by the locals. A fresh glass of sangria accompanied by patatas bravas, tomato bread, olives or cheese plates is just something to get you started. Big cities have entire areas dedicated to this afternoon treat and it’s easy to understand why – it’s a perfect way to end a work day and get ready for dinner.
Spain boasts many other vegetarian-friendly dishes, as well. Tortilla española or the Spanish omelette is a classic delicacy. The eggs and potatoes make this dish both tasty and nourishing to keep you going until your next meal.
Worried about missing Spain’s authentic taste of paella just because you do not eat meat? Spaniards have taken care of this too, as vegetarian paella is easily reachable almost everywhere.
Back in 2009, London was named Europe’s most vegetarian-friendly city by PETA. Today, the city is still one of the world’s greatest cultural melting pots. When so many cultures collide, food options widen, too. Expect high numbers of Indian, Malaysian, Thai, Pakistani or Turkish places to eat. London boasts plenty of meatless ethnic food.
Soho hosts a great number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, including The Coach & Horses, the first vegan & vegetarian pub. This healthy lifestyle trend is highly promoted through the London community, as all restaurant menus and labels feature a green “V”. Great eats for both vegetarian and vegan foodies!
In my opinion, you can’t really compare the vegetarian culture in London to anywhere else in Europe. You can turn any corner and find a veggie-friendly cafe! I also love Brighton in England and Berlin, Germany. When it comes to restaurants and dishes, I would recommend The Mexican Bowl from Farmacy in London. Farmacy is a beautiful vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Notting Hill and everything on the menu is phenomenal. The Mexican Bowl is one of my favourites. The combination of coriander rice, guacamole, corn chips, tomatoes, frijoles and purple mash is to die for!
Be fearless with your eating! Always order something different and ask for the chef’s recommendations. This way you get to try the flavour combinations that are unique to the location. – Sassy, Naturally Sassy
When it comes to meat, France is the land of frog legs, snails and the famous boeuf bourguignon. But France is also the land of soft warm bread, old cheese and markets bursting with fresh vegetables.
Only 3% of the population is declared to be vegetarian, but as a non-meat eater visitor, it’s good to know that there are no less than 1,618 vegetarian restaurants throughout the country and 290 only in Paris! Those numbers look pretty good and they are increasing with every month that passes by, which makes it safe to say that France is definitely on its way to turning to vegetarianism.
I spent four years living in the French Alps. At the time the health food craze had yet to hit the Alps like it had back home in Canada, but with good reason; what France lacked in terms of kombucha and plant based restaurants, it made up for in organic local vegetables at the weekly market. So while some vegans/vegetarians might be apprehensive about travelling through the world of cheese and bread, you can also be sure to find the most beautiful, fresh produce at most French Markets.
We’re not people that eat out much, but when we did, we always went to the same microbrewery in town, Le Bec Jaune. The food was fantastic, exactly what you wanted after a day of skiing. There were always a few good vegan options, including ice cream – and they changed the menu often to keep things interesting. They made a really good salad with chickpea tofu, shredded carrots + beets, spinach and brown rice with a tahini dressing. It was just done so well. I’d go back now just to eat there one more time. – Jodi, Happy Hearted Kitchen
Yes, it’s true! We all know that Oktoberfest could never make it without all that beer, pretzels and sausages, but you’d be surprised to discover that among all the meat, Germany is actually an amazing destination for vegetarians.
9% of the population, (that’s over 7 million people) is vegetarian, so finding amazing restaurants to cater to your dietary needs is not hard. Berlin is a great place to start with, as you’ll notice not only that restaurants here will go above and beyond to accommodate your requests, but there is a whole vegan & vegetarian trend going on here. Enjoy a casual veggie burger on-the-go or indulge in a refined dinner at Lucky Leek.
Being a vegetarian is not only a trend but also a healthy lifestyle choice. It’s high on the rise, as more and more people become aware of it. Dare to travel and be adventurous with your food when travelling through the best European destinations for vegetarians.
If you’ve watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, where the son-in-law admits silently he is a vegetarian and is afterward offered lamb by the mother-in-law, you might think Greece is not for you – but don’t worry! While it’s true that Greeks can enjoy a good grill, but there are countless healthy and hearty vegetarian meals that will make you wonder how you could enjoy life without knowing that.
Greeks eat seasonally, which is why your salad will taste awesome. Go for the famous choriatiki salata (Greek salad) during the summer months to enjoy some incredibly fresh, ripe red tomatoes, or instead try salata lachano-carota (cabbage-carrot salad), marouli (lettuce salad) or hand-picked horta (wild greens). The extra virgin olive oil is included. You can also always choose your preferred way of Greek dining, which is based on getting a lot of mezedes (appetizers) and sharing them; spanakopita (spinach pie), tiropita (cheese pie), skordalia (garlic and potatoes spread), fava (fava peas puree), tzatziki (garlic and cucumber dip) or keftedes (fried fritters from zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, etc). Last but not least, the vegetarian main courses vary from artichoke stew, chickpea soup, stuffed tomatoes, and peppers, to briam, similar to the French dish ratatouille. Just remember that Greece, a country whose national dish is fasolada (white bean soup), will not disappoint you!