Vegan is a new buzz word, apparently. Veganism is trending, they say. Lonely Planet named vegan travel the “travel trend of 2018”.
Since people love to talk about what’s trending, there have been a lot of articles floating around recently talking about the most vegan-friendly cities in the U.S. or the most vegan-friendly cities in the world. However, if you look these articles, you’ll notice one thing in common – there is no rubric or basis for choosing these vegan cities beyond the fact that the writer had some good vegan food there.
So, naturally, we decided to write our own list to the most vegan-friendly cities in Europe – based on actual facts and statistics, with some parameters. We first started this list in 2017 and have updated it for 2018. We hope it helps with planning your vegan holidays in Europe!
How We Calculated This Vegan Europe List:
We used the number of fully vegan restaurants listed on HappyCow (like a vegan Yelp) as a barometer. Yes, we know that this isn’t a failsafe method. There surely are vegan friendly cities in Europe with few vegan restaurants but vegan options aplenty in traditional cuisine. There are many places whose traditional cuisine can be quite vegan-friendly – we love to search out these dishes. (Check out Nomadic Vegan’s book Veggie Planet on exactly this subject). But these accidentally vegan dishes are exactly that – accidental. If possible, we like to support people and initiatives (like vegan restaurants, sanctuaries, hotels, etc.) that are consciously working towards a more ethical, environmentally friendly, and healthier world.
We also used this method because it’s what we do and it works. Every time we visit a new city, we check out Happy Cow and read guides by local bloggers. This is what has helped us to write our many vegan city guides and eat at some of the best vegan restaurants in Europe and the U.S. Doing some research is key to successful vegan trips. Not only do we love to get excited about the delicious food we’re going to eat, but research gives us realistic expectations from a place and the food that’s going to be available.
One more thing to keep in mind – the actual proportion of vegan spots to the total population. For example, when measured per capita, Salt Lake City is on track with Portland, which crushes New York City. A lot of the top vegan cities in Europe are capitals, but some of them are smaller cities – there were quite a few cities on here that surprised us, and we expect will surprise you too!
Top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly Cities in Europe in 2018
We first published this list in 2017, and it’s been interesting to see changes to the rankings for the best vegan cities in Europe as the world gets more vegan each day! For people who are swayed by stats like us, we included how many new vegan spots opened up since we wrote this list last year, and if the city moved up or down in the list. (Keep in mind that as restaurants open and close, these numbers may vary slightly throughout the course of the year).
To assist in your vegan Europe travels, we’ve also linked the most extensive guides we could find – written by vegan travel bloggers who live in these respective cities (where possible). Nothing irritates me more than when non-vegan bloggers write blog posts claiming to be complete vegan guides to a destination. They always find a way to sneak in a comparison to meat and you can’t help but feel like someone paid them to do it (probably because someone did). Even worse are articles about places the writer has never even been to, or alleged complete guides where the writer has only spent one day in the destination.
We have scoured the interwebs for the most comprehensive blog posts written by residents, but if you know of (or have written!) any great articles or posts we missed, please send them our way! And while there are still very few fully vegan hotels in Europe, we included options for vegan-friendly places to stay (such as offering vegan breakfast options).
Without further long-winded adieu, here are the top vegan cities in Europe!
1. London, England – 120 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +44 vegan restaurants, same ranking in list
It’s no surprise that London grabs the top spot here. Like NYC in the U.S., it’s hard to compete with a city of eight million. Both cities regularly come in on lists of top vegan cities in the world. Every month there are multiple vegan street fairs, events, and meetups. Some unique vegan restaurants include the insanely popular Temple of Seitan featuring vegan fried chick’n made from seitan, an all-vegan Japanese restaurant, vegan doner kebab, vegan Ethiopian, a plethora of vegan cafes…ok we’ll stop now. If you’re more into fine dining, London is home to one of the best vegan restaurants in the world. The UK, in general, is one of the most vegan countries we’ve been to. We spent the entire summer of 2017 there, house sitting in insanely vegan friendly cities of Glasgow and Brighton and traveling throughout the country in between. The UK is really one of the best countries for vegans in Europe.
Resources: Caitlin of The Vegan Word lives in London and has a vegan London travel guide – she’s also always posting her vegan food finds on her Instagram too. For more vegan London food porn, you can’t go wrong perusing through @vegansofldn on Instagram.
Where to Stay: Kew Gardens B and B is a cute boutique vegetarian bed and breakfast located in a quiet neighborhood. Who would say no to avocado toast being included in your room rate? Click here to check availability and current rates.
2. Berlin – 61 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: + 6 vegan restaurants, same ranking in list
Berlin is often known as the “vegan capital of Europe” and it’s a well-deserved title. The city is a wonderland of plant-based food and we won’t lie – that was a big factor in us returning twice in 2017. Happy Cow even named it Number One on its list of Top Vegan Cities in the World. Berlin is home to one of the largest vegan festivals in Europe, Veganes SommerFest, as well as a chain of vegan grocery stores, Veganz. Some of the most popular vegan Berlin eateries include Let It Be vegan creperie, Brammibal’s vegan donut shop, and Voner, a vegan doner kebab joint, and of course, spots to get vegan German food (among many others, see guides below). There is also a “vegan shopping center” with a vegan shoe store, restaurant, clothing store, cafe, and grocery store.
Honestly, we much prefer Berlin to London as it’s much cheaper, way less crowded, and we love the alternative vibe of the city (check out our post on Alternative Things to Do in Berlin if you’re headed there). It’s without a doubt one of our favorite cities ever, and a place we’ll always keep returning to.
Resources: Make sure to check out long time Berlin resident VeganNomNom’s epic Vegan Guide to Berlin or one of (also a Berlin resident) Indefinite Adventure’s many food-specific vegan guides (like best vegan brunches in Berlin). We used these guides when we hit up the best vegan eats of Berlin for our Berlin Vegan Guide. If you like food tours, don’t miss out on the vegan food tours offered by Maja at Vegan Tours Berlin.
Where to Stay: Almodóvar Hotel is an organic vegetarian design hotel (vegan, gluten-free, and raw options as well) that includes a yoga mat in every room, perfect for keeping active on the go (we do yoga every morning). They’re located just a few blocks from Berlin’s vegan mini-mall mentioned above. Click here to check availability and current rates.
3. Prague, Czechia – 52 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +12 vegan restaurants, +1 in list
Prague is perhaps the most surprising in its high place on this list, because of its comparatively small size (1.26 million) compared to the other best vegan cities in Europe. The city is bursting with old-school charm in every corner, so even if the small Old Town can be overwhelmed with tourists in the summer months. Most people only spend a few days in the Czech capital, so you’ll likely not be able to come close to trying all the delicious vegan food on offer in just one visit! Try vegan Czech food (including bac’n dumplings!) at Plevel, visit vegan lunch spot and grocery store Puro, or take an I Like Veggie walking food tour for a personalized vegan Prague tour.
Resources: Vegan blogger Randi of Veggie Visa lives in Prague – check out her epic Guide to the Best Vegan Restaurants in Prague. Giselle and Cody of MindfulWanderlust wrote an extensive vegan Prague guide over at VeganTravel.
Where to Stay: All Vegan Airbnb! With breakfast included! There’s also a cat. Yes, please. (Get $40 off your first Airbnb booking with this link).
4. Paris – 49 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: + 4 vegan restaurants, -1 list
France is not known to be one of the best countries for vegans due to the use of butter and cheese in French cooking. However! Eating vegan in Paris is sure to be a delight with almost 50 entirely vegan restaurants in Paris. Vegan highlights include the mouth-watering pastries of VG Patisserie, several vegan brasseries, and famed Le Potager du Marais in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Paris.
For vegan tours in Paris, check out Vegan Culinary Tours Paris , which offers 2 different tours in the French capital.
Resources: Shout out to our friend Charlotte who is a vegan chef from Paris – her Instagram makes us want to jump on a plane and land in a Parisian patisserie immediately. She also gave us the insider scoop for the best websites for vegan Paris info. Check out Paris By Vegan and French-language site VG-Zone which has an interactive map of all things veg in Paris. Vegan Food and Living also has a great Vegan Guide to Paris.
Where to Stay: Solar Hotel proclaims itself to be the first green and affordable hotel in Paris and even offers free bikes for guests to use. They use a variety of energy and waste-saving tactics to reduce the hotel’s environmental impact. Click here to check availability and current rates.
5. Warsaw – 47 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +10 vegan restaurants, same ranking in list
While Warsaw often gets overshadowed in favor of popular student city Krakow, the capital city of Poland is certainly worth a visit, with sprawling parks and a beautiful (if completely rebuilt) Old Town. Many vegan travelers have expressed their surprise upon arriving in Warsaw and finding a plethora of vegan restaurants. Jub of TikiTouringKiwi even called it the “new Berlin of the East” because of the incredible vegan food in Warsaw. The offerings are diverse, from restaurants serving vegan versions of traditional Polish food, to burger joints, vegan sushi places, bistros, and vegan hot dog trucks. Best of all, you’ll find the prices here much lower than more touristed Western European countries.
Resources: Check out Bright Nomad’s Vegan Travel Tips for Warsaw and Vegans with Appetites’ Foodies Guide to Eating Vegan in Warsaw. If you’re going to be traveling around the country, Bounding Over Our Steps has a very informative article on Being Vegan in Poland.
6. Madrid – 26 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +4 vegan restaurants, +1 in list
Frankly, we’re tired of hearing that Madrid’s vegan scene sucks or that it has a long way to go. With 25 fully vegan restaurants, a vegan bakery, a vegan donut shop, many vegetarian restaurants, and vegan options throughout the city, Madrid has a thriving vegan scene and deserves way more recognition than it gets. Madrid vegans are passionate about veganism and there are frequently animal rights protests, vegan events, dinners, and more. There are vegan restaurants in Madrid opening every month – a vegan gastro bar, a vegan grocery store, and a vegan cake shop are scheduled to open by the end of the month (April).
All of this has happened in the past few years, which is even more impressive. We’ve had some amazing vegan food in Madrid, with many places offering up veganized versions of traditional classic Spanish foods, like croquetas and tortilla. Many places offer a vegan “cocido Madrileño” – Madrid’s traditional winter stew (see photo below).
Resources: Read our Ultimate Vegan Guide to Madrid for our take on all of Madrid’s vegan restaurants as well as vegan options at vegetarian and omnivore spots. We also have a vegan tapas guide for Madrid and a guide to the best vegan lunch specials. Spanish speakers can check out Madrid Vegano for up to date news and events.
7. Amsterdam, the Netherlands – 26 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +14 vegan restaurants
Amsterdam is known for being pretty environmentally conscious, with bike highways (seriously, bikers scared me way more than car drivers in Amsterdam), but the Dutch capital wasn’t even on 2017’s list with “only” 12 vegan restaurants in Amsterdam when we checked last year. In the past year, Amsterdam has over DOUBLED the number of vegan establishments in the city. If that doesn’t prove that veganism is the future, we don’t know what is. (Or maybe it’s just all the vegans in Amsterdam getting the munchies?) One of the most famed new spots is Vegan Junk Food Bar, which is pretty much exactly as described, and now has three locations throughout the city.
Resources: VeganAmsterdam.org is your one-stop shop for all things vegan Amsterdam. The website has reviews for vegan, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly restaurants in Amsterdam, talks about vegan grocery shopping in Amsterdam, and keeps you up to date with all the latest openings and news.
8. Milan, Italy – 26 Vegan Restaurants
Milan totally came out of left field this year, surprising us with 26 vegan restaurants! To be completely transparent, a couple of these are local chains with more than one location (such as Vegan Junk Food Bar in Amsterdam). This still means more places to dine if you’re eating fully plant-based, so we’re counting them! Italy has several vegan restaurant chains, like Flower Burger with its iconic brightly colored burger buns, or for vegan Italian food, Universo Vegano, which we ate at several times while touring the vegan restaurants in Florence. Both of these places have locations in Milan (Flower Burger first started here). In Milan, you can also dine at Shaolin State of Harmony, which is a raw vegan restaurant located inside the Shaolin Cultural Center. We practice and are big fans of martial arts, so this one is super intriguing in particular. Milan is also home to Joia, the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe to win a Michelin star.
We haven’t been to Milan, but have heard mixed reviews on the vegan scene – a friend of ours said most of the vegan restaurants were pretty pricey and high end. If you’ve been, please please share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Resources: Fine Dining Loves has a list of the best vegan spots in Milan, with recommendations on what to get at each spot – we love when people do that! Also check out VegItalyGuide.com, a website by a half Italian half American couple dedicated to helping vegan travelers in Italy.
9. Budapest – 22 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +2 vegan restaurants, -3 on list
Having Hungarian blood (my grandfather was born and raised in Budapest and I still have a lot of family in Hungary), I’m proud to see Budapest on this list. Though I’ve been to this beautiful city many times, only one of those times has been since I became vegan. I was dead broke after traveling for four months in Europe, so didn’t have much money to eat out, sadly. I can’t wait to go back hopefully soon to eat all the things!
Napfenyes Restaurant is probably the most famous vegan restaurant in Budapest and serves up Hungarian food veganized. There are also several veggie burger joints, some of the best falafel I’ve had outside of NYC at Hummus Bar, and an artisanal all vegan cheese shop (say whaaa)! There’s also a monthly vegan pop up market!
Resources: Laura of Vegan Vs. Travel currently lives in Budapest and has rounded up the best spots in her post Best Places to Eat Out in Budapest.
10. Vienna – 23 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +5 vegan restaurants, -1 in list
Among the vegan restaurants in Vienna include Swing Kitchen, which has multiple locations, does not use plastic, and plays swing music in the background while you eat. There’s also an all vegan outlet of the traditional Viennese bakery, Ankerbrot (it took so much self-control not to put that in all caps because that is just amazing).
Resources: Indefinite Adventure has spent time in Vienna and has created an extensive vegan guide to the city.
Honorable Mentions for Most Vegan Friendly Cities in Europe!
We got so carried away we couldn’t stop at just 10. Here are a few cities that almost made the list. Some of these were on 2017’s list, so they’re definitely up there in terms of great spots for vegan friendly vacations.
Lisbon – 21 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +2 vegan restaurants
Lisbon is a beautiful city (though let’s be real, what city on this list isn’t?) with a thriving vegan scene to boot, so it’s the perfect vegan friendly holiday destination. Portugal also just mandated vegan food to be served in prisons and public schools, so it’s safe to say that this small country is at the forefront of veganism in Europe.
Resources: Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan lives in Lisbon – check out her guide to the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Lisbon. My Five Acres also has an extensive vegan and vegetarian guide to Lisbon, complete with must-eats and what to avoid. We always love when bloggers include restaurant “misses” since it helps others know what to avoid.
Barcelona – 20 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: +5 vegan restaurants
Madrid and Barcelona have a bit of a rivalry. Outside of Spain, Barcelona is more well-known and more frequently visited than the capital. Often we hear that Barcelona is way more vegan-friendly than Madrid and if we’re talking strictly per capita, it’s true. Barcelona is half the size of Madrid (1.5 million to Madrid’s 3), yet it has almost as many vegan spots – perfect for quick vegan holidays. Popular spots include Cat Bar, a cat themed vegan bar with local craft beers and burgers, and Barceloneta, a beach-side bar offering vegan versions of Spanish dishes, including vegan paella on Thursdays.
Resources: Caitlin of The Vegan Word lived in Barcelona for over a year and recently updated her Ultimate Vegan Guide to Barcelona. She also just published an extensive actual book on vegan Barcelona! Click here to grab your Vegan Barcelona Guide.
Rome – 19 Vegan Restaurants
Change from 2017: -2 vegan restaurants
While many people think of Italy as the land of cheese and prosciutto, Italian food is actually very veggie friendly, naturally. Like in Spain, they cook in olive oil, not butter, and many vegetarian pasta dishes and even pizzas are made without any dairy. Also, there is a vegan restaurant and cat abode called Romeow Cat Bistrot, so if that’s not a reason to go to Rome, I don’t know what is.
Resources: Check out Puntarella Rossa’s great post on the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Rome with lots of tantalizing photos. The Nomadic Vegan lived in Rome for many years and has written about rediscovering Rome as a vegan.
Where to Stay: Rome has no shortage of veggie-friendly and eco places to stay. Bed and Breakfast Bio is a cute bnb in a residential area with individual rooms (like Ginger or Tumeric Rooms) and a fully vegan breakfast served in their leafy courtyard. If you have an early or late flight, The Vegan Inn near the airport might be a good option. Click here to check for availability and current rates at The Vegan Inn. If you prefer staying in your own apartment, Casa Veggy has you covered. Click here to learn more about Casa Veggy. For hostels, check The Beehive Hostel, which has a vegetarian cafe on the premises.
Turin – 18 Vegan Restaurants
Another Italian city, making Italy one of the most vegan countries in Europe! Turin made waves in 2016 when the city’s new mayor announced plans to make Turin a “vegetarian city.” The city plan includes educating about animal welfare and the environmental and health benefits of eating vegan. Turin, or Torino, is already quite environmentally minded because of the heavy pollution that the city experiences thanks to its location between mountains. One of the most popular vegan restaurants in Turin is Mezzaluna, the city’s first vegetarian (later turned vegan) restaurant, which opened in 1994.
Resources: As part of the initiative, the city of Turin has created its own veg map for tourists. Check out Vegan Miam’s extensive guide to Vegan Eats in Turin. Sam’s Guide to Eating Vegan in Turin is also fantastic!
It’s important to note that the vegan demographic is an easy target for those wanting to make money off a growing movement. Despite being such a small percentage of the world population, there is a large and vocal vegan community. We’ve come across a couple of non-vegan restaurants that have labeled “vegan options” on their menus that are not in fact vegan. In Bucharest, most vegan restaurants there use honey as a sweetener. In Florence, we discovered that (by asking employees) gelato listed as vegan actually contained cow’s milk.
Ultimately, for those looking for reliable information, you need to consider the source. Find a vegan who’s actually on the ground in the place you’re visiting, rather than someone who might not even be vegan and has just done research for an article without going there. Europe has some of the best countries for vegans in the world – we have had many trips within Europe filled with delicious vegan food, and we’re sure you can too!
Further Resources for Vegan Travel in Europe and Beyond:
Vegan Travel FB Group: A great worldwide resource with 20K members that I admin. Head here to ask any and all questions vegan travel. But please – use the search bar first as your question may have been answered already! (It very likely has been for the popular vegan holiday destinations).
Vegan Meetups, Couchsurfing and Traveling – Link up with vegan hosts and travelers worldwide.
Vegan Travel:Vegan community with reviews, blog posts, videos, and more for planning your vegan trips.
Happy Cow: Vegan Yelp. User-sourced so doesn’t always have all restaurants with vegan options but is great as a starting point and to find vegan restaurants in Europe and around the world.
Essential Vegan Travel Guide: Updated with new sections for 2018, this guidebook by Caitlin of The Vegan Word tells you everything you need to know about vegan travel!
Sustainable Vegan Travel FB Group: This is our Facebook group which we created since we didn’t see any groups dedicated to vegan travelers trying to also (further) reduce their environmental impact while traveling. Come join us and say hi! There are lots of Europe-based travelers in here happy to answer your questions.
Have you been to any of these vegan-friendly cities in Europe? Any other resources or guides we missed?
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