I know for me, when deciding where to travel to, I always take into consideration how vegan friendly the city is and how other vegans have rated it. However, after going to the notoriously vegan friendly cities – London, Amsterdam, Budapest (which are all amazing and definitely recommended by me), I found myself wanting to go to countries and cities that weren’t so famous on the vegan radar. This didn’t stop me going of course, and although in some cities – I’m looking at you Split, Croatia – I lived off tomato pasta, I still had a lovely time. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised by so many countries with how vegan friendly they were and I’m much more likely to recommend these countries to friends and family.
I hope this list shines some light on to other countries in Europe worth making the trip to try their vegan food and you add a few of these countries to your bucket list because they’re worth it!
I’ve also included some restaurant suggestions that you shouldn’t miss when visiting each location!
When I first decided to go to Serbia, I really wasn’t thinking about the vegan restaurants or how easy it would be. I am interested in the history of Yugoslavia and when I heard they have a Museum of Yugoslavia, I started making plans to visit. But wow, I was so impressed by the amount of vegan restaurants and supermarket goodies they had. I remember the supermarket we went into had a whole free from section which was filled with vegan/dairy free foods. When we got off the night bus from Montenegro, we were starving and stumbled upon a bakery in the Zeleni Venac neighbourhood, where we went in and explained that we were vegan, and they had so many vegan choices including a mushroom pastry and a vegan cheese pastry. Unfortunately this place has closed down now, however, I still think it shows that even in small bakeries, there are still vegan options.
I have also heard a lot about the Serbian Orthodox Fasting Period and how it is perfect for vegans. This is an eight week fast starting 40 days before Easter Sunday. During this time, Serbian Orthodox avoid meat, animal products including dairy and eggs, as well as fish with a backbone, they do still however eat honey. This will make it even easier to travel vegan in Serbia if you visit during this time!
When visiting Belgrade, I would recommend checking out Radost Fina Kuhinjica which is a secret veggie and vegan restaurant. It can be quite difficult to find as it’s located in a house, but once you follow Google maps to the location, you will see people eating in a restaurant through the window. This does feel a bit rude, maybe because I’m British, but you just need to knock on the window and someone will come out and get you. It’s worth it because the food is delicious, even my non vegan friend said this food was some of the best so take your meat eating friends here.
If you read my best vegan desserts in Europe blog post, you’ll already know how much I loved Vilnius and how amazing their vegan food was. Not just for desserts, but for lunches and dinners too. They even have a veggie and vegan shop called Veggo Shop to pick up your milks, cheeses, meats, that kind of thing. Perfect for trying new products and cooking something for yourself. In my other blog post, I recommended a place called Holy Donut which is perfect if you have a sweet tooth, they serve a selection of donuts as well as a banana and chocolate freak shake which is to die for! I think when a dessert shop like Holy Donut has more than one vegan option, it shows just how vegan friendly the city is.
Whilst in Vilnuis, you should definitely visit GYVAS Baras which is a 100% vegan restaurant. This started out as a veggie restaurant but after only a few months, they became Lithuania’s first fully vegan restaurant. GYVAS Baras opened in 2015 so they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to vegan food. They also have outdoor seating which is lovely if you visit in the summer, like I did, and the staff are all really sweet. One of the waitresses gave me some tips about where to visit whilst in Vilnius which I thought was so kind.
I completely understand why London is at the top of the list when talking about vegan cities in the UK, and it does have some amazing vegan restaurants, however, I think Manchester is truly overlooked. Vegans make up about 2% of the UK so of course so many major cities are catering to them and Manchester is no exception, and because it’s not the capital city, it’s no where near as busy with tourists compared to London. I used to study at University near Manchester so I’ve eaten out here more times than I can count and every time I’ve been so happy with the food. I actually used to make my way into Manchester just to eat at these two restaurants because they were so good. If you’re visiting London, it’s worth it to take a trip up to Manchester.
I will leave two recommendations for Manchester since I know the area a lot more compared to the other locations. Firstly is Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen, this did close down for a while but it has opened back up. This is a fully vegetarian Chinese restaurant, however most of it is vegan. They have so many vegan versions of classic Chinese dishes such as duck pancakes, prawn toast and egg fried rice. It’s amazing what they do and everything is delicious. My second must-visit in Manchester is Little Aladdin which is a fully vegan restaurant offering curries as well as American style food such as burgers and chicken nuggets. The stars of the show really are their curries; they’re all made from scratch by the family and are made with love. You can try three curries with rice for only £5 which I think is an amazing price!
Skopje, North Macedonia
Are the Balkans just great for vegans or what? Not only does Skopje have a variety of vegan restaurants, they also have so many vegan and accidently vegan snacks available in supermarkets, and my personal favourite the BBQ Lays that are vegan friendly and unfortunately we don’t have in the UK but taste incredible. I even found that many restaurants and takeaways serving mainly meat had vegan options. When I was visiting, I went to La Puetra which is a burrito place that had four vegan choices, which I was surprised about. Skopje is also really inexpensive, and two burritos only cost us £2.80. The perfect destination for a vegan on a budget, proving that you don’t need to spend a lot of money when travelling as a vegan!
For really good vegan food when in Skopje, you have to visit Vegan 365 Kitchen, it’s only a short walk away from the Bazaar. There is a wall dedicated to vegan and veggie posters, all with really sweet messages on them about loving all living beings and reasons to go vegan. The staff are so so lovely, we were trying to order a cab to take us to the bus station but we were having trouble with language barriers and pricing so one of the ladies who worked there called the cab company for us and sorted it all out, which was really sweet. The food was incredible, I had a cheeseburger and the sauce that came with it was amazing. Also, heads up if you love gherkins, this is the perfect place as they filled my burger up with gherkins, I love them but I understand not everyone shares this same opinion.
Freetown Christiania, Denmark
Okay so this isn’t actually a city but rather a commune located in Copenhagen but since it is its own little town and I haven’t seen many people talk about the vegan scene in Christiania I decided to add it to this list. When I first heard about Christiania, it was actually my main reason for going to Copenhagen, I was fascinated by a community that has its own rules independent from the rest of Denmark and where cannabis is being sold in the street from market like stalls. If you don’t know much about Christiania, it’s worth searching up for yourself and I’ve never visited anywhere quite like it. It has beautiful landscape views, gorgeous nature and amazing art dotted around the whole town, and free toilets which is very rare in Denmark! It is also completely car free which is one of the reasons I think it’s kept so nice so make sure you walk or take public transport to the gates.
When visiting Freetown Christiania or Copenhagen in general, you must visit Morgenstedet which is a fully veggie café though from what I remember everything was vegan when I stopped by. They change dishes constantly so you can go a few times and try new foods. They have a selection of different salads and hot dishes and you decide on a few to try out. I always think this type of café is a great idea because I’m so indecisive when there’s more than one vegan option and I want to try everything. The food here tastes amazing, everything tastes homecooked which I love and you can tell that the chefs put a lot of effort into the food and making sure it tastes incredible. If the weather is nice, they have a cute outdoor seating area with wooden tables which I think is perfect for the atmosphere.
This is the end of my surprisingly vegan friendly hotspots in Europe. I really hope you enjoyed reading this and were able to add a few more countries to your list of must-visits. You definitely won’t be lost for food in these cities. Let me know what country surprised you with how vegan friendly it was!
I hope you’re having a lovely day or night wherever you are!