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How to Go to Europe as a Vegetarian or Vegan (And Not Leave Hungry)

by Shelby Deering

Oct 2, 2014

Italian © aprilante | iStock


Picture a meal at a German restaurant in the heart of Bavaria. It would likely involve wienerschnitzel and a big pile of egg noodles. But if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you might be picturing an empty plate and thinking to yourself, “What am I going to eat in Germany?”


But with our tips, we will help you navigate the land of meat and cheese and taste the best cuisine Europe has to offer.


1. If you will be visiting a non-English speaking country, learn a few basic food words ahead of time. Make a list of meats, cheeses and other milk-based products and keep it in your bag or on your smartphone. Pull out your list and look for the buzzwords in the menu, and skip those dishes.


2. While you’re at it, learn the names of vegetarian and vegan dishes and keep a list of those as well. Find out which meals best represent the local cuisine and fit your dietary needs.


3. Research restaurants before your trip and choose ones that are vegetarian- or vegan-friendly. Be sure to include those restaurants on your itinerary so you will have guaranteed places you can eat.


4. Sometimes, even in the United States, you find yourself in situations where you are relegated to eating side dishes. That will be true of your travels in Europe as well. But eating a plate of fresh vegetables won’t be the worst meal in the world.


5. Whenever you can, do your shopping at a local market. Make a few meals in your hotel room or pack a picnic.


6. Stop and get snacks you can keep in your bag, such as fruit or granola bars. That way, if you end up at a restaurant where there isn’t much for you to eat, you can at least have some other options.


7. Ask the concierge or front desk staff about restaurants and cafés that offer vegetarian or vegan options. Since they are local, they will know the best places to eat, too.


Europe can be a daunting place to eat, whether you’re a new vegetarian or vegan or have been one for decades. But with a little planning and a spirit of adventure, you will have some of the best meals you’ve ever had.



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