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 certain cities beyond the fact that the writer ate good vegan food there. When the articles were first posted on social media, people took to the comments and voiced their disapproval of the choice of certain cities (like Helsinki, which has hardly any vegan restaurants, or Detroit, which only has a handful) and omission of others.
So, naturally, we decided to write our own list to the most vegan-friendly cities in Europe – based on facts and with some parameters.
We used the number of fully vegan restaurants listed on HappyCow (like a vegan Yelp) as a barometer. This isn’t a failsafe method as there surely are vegan-friendly cities in Europe with few vegan restaurants but vegan options aplenty in traditional cuisine. However, we feel that the number of all-vegan restaurants is a pretty good indicator of how vegan-friendly a city is and the strength of their vegan community.
Sure, there are many places whose traditional cuisine can be quite vegan-friendly and we always love to search out vegan dishes in traditional cuisine. But these accidentally vegan dishes are exactly that – accidental. If possible, we like to support people – like those that own vegan restaurants – that are consciously working towards a more plant-based world.
We also used this method because it’s what we do. 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 great vegan food throughout Europe and the U.S. So until someone points us out a better way, here’s a great way to figure out how vegan-friendly a city is.
To assist in your vegan travels, we’ve also linked guides by vegan bloggers who live in these respective cities (where possible). There are surely plenty of other articles and blog posts on each of these cities (link us to them!). But what better way to learn about a city’s vegan scene than from a long-term resident?
Top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly Cities in Europe in 2017
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.
1. London – 76 Vegan Restaurants
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. Every month there are multiple vegan street fairs, events, and meetups. Some unique vegan restaurants include the recently opened and insanely popular Temple of Hackney 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.
Have recommendations? Send them our way in the comments, message us on Instagram or Facebook, or send us an email – we’ll be in London this summer!
Resources: There are countless vegan articles on London so it’s hard to choose one (if you know of a great resource please share in the comments!). But if you’re looking for London vegan food inspiration, 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?
2. Berlin – 55 Vegan Restaurants
Berlin is often known as the “vegan capital of Europe” – and it’s a well-deserved title. With a population of 3 million and yet almost 60 vegan restaurants (about the same as NYC), the city is a wonderland for plant-based food. 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 popular vegan eateries include Let It Be vegan creperie, Brammibal’s vegan donut shop, and Voner, a vegan doner kebab joint (among many others, see guides below).
Resources: Make sure to check out Berlin resident VeganNomNom’s always updated and 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.
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 including Veganz (vegan supermarket), a vegan shoe store, and a vegan cafe, and a vegan restaurant.
3. Paris – 45 Vegan Restaurants
Though eating vegan in other parts of France may prove more difficult due to the use of butter and cheese in all the things French cooking, eating vegan in the French capital is sure to be a delight. Vegan cafes galore, a vegan brasserie, and plenty of more health-focused juice spots abound. Just since we started writing this article, three new all-vegan places have popped up!
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.
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.
4. Prague – 38 Vegan Restaurants
Prague is perhaps the most surprising on this list because of its comparatively small size (1.26 million) compared to other cities listed here. 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 all vegan-grocery store Veganz, or take a I Like Veggie walking food tour.
Resources: Vegan bloggers Randi and Michael of Veggie Visa live in Czech capital – check out their 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).
5. Warsaw – 37 Vegan Restaurants
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 its vegan food scene.
Resources: Herbivore’s Heaven has a two part vegan guide to Warsaw here.
6. Budapest – 23 Vegan Restaurants
Having Hungarian blood (my grandfather was born in 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 a long trip so didn’t have much money to eat out, sadly. Napfenyes Restaurant serves up Hungarian food veganized, there are veggie burger joints, and an artisanal all vegan cheese shop just opened (say whaaa).
Resources: Nicole of Vegan Nom Noms lived in Budapest for a month and wrote an extensive vegan guide to the city here.
7. Madrid – 22 Vegan Restaurants
Frankly, we’re tired of hearing that Madrid’s vegan scene sucks or that it has a long way to go. With 21 fully vegan restaurants (and at least 2 confirmed to open soon), many vegetarian restaurants, and vegan options throughout the city, Madrid has a thriving vegan scene and deserves way more recognition than it gets for being vegan-friendly. Madrid vegans are passionate about veganism and there are frequently animal rights protests, vegan events, dinners, and more. 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.
Resources: Read our Ultimate Vegan Guide to Madrid for our take on all 20 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.
8. Vienna – 21 Vegan Restaurants
When we first wrote this list, Vienna was tied with Lisbon and Rome with 19, but with our second revision, it’s climbed to number 8, with two new fully vegan restaurants opening recently. Among Vienna’s vegan restaurants include the local chain, Swing Kitchen, which does not use plastic and plays swing music in the background while you eat. There’s also an all raw bakery and a vegan Chinese restaurant with a lunch buffet, among other yumy spots.
Resources: Indefinite Adventure has spent time in Vienna and has created an extensive vegan guide to the city.
9. Lisbon – 19 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. 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: My Five Acres just came out with 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.
10. Rome – 19 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. We were pleasantly surprised with the wealth of fully vegan restaurants during our house sitting stint in Florence, so it came as no surprise to us to see Italy’s capital on this list.
Resources: Slow Vegan Travel has an excellent resource for eating vegan in Italy in general, including their top-recommended vegan restaurants in Rome. 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. If you prefer staying in your own apartment, Casa Veggy has you covered.
We got so carried away we couldn’t top at just 10. Here are a couple cities that almost made the list!
Barcelona – 15 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. Interesting spots include Vegan Cat Bar, etc…
Resources: Caitlin of The Vegan Word lived in Barcelona for over a year and recently updated her Ultimate Vegan Guide to Barcelona. She started a Vegan Barcelona meetup, that’s how legit she is. She’s also going to publish a vegan guidebook for Barcelona (whaa!!), which you can pre-order here.
Copenhagen – 14 Vegan Restaurants
If you know one thing about Copenhagen, it’s probably that there are bikes everywhere. In fact, the city was named the European Green Capital for 2015 due to its environmental initiatives. The Danish are already quite eco-conscious, so it goes hand in hand that there’d be a great vegan scene there. We’ve been put off so far from visiting due to the high prices. But if you do make the trip, there are plenty of vegan spots to keep you occupied.
Resources: Finding a comprehensive guide by a Copenhager (?) was difficult, but head to The Tofu Diaries’ Copenhagen vegan guide for a recent roundup of some delicious eats. Good Eatings also has a big guide to vegan food in Copenhagen!
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 population, there is a large and vocal vegan community. To give you some examples from Madrid, we’ve come across a couple of non-vegan restaurants that have labeled “vegan options” on their menus that are not in fact vegan. Another example from 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 someone who’s actually on the ground in the place you’re visiting.
Vegan Travel FB Group: A great worldwide resource with 15K members. 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!
Vegan Meetups, Couchsurfing and Traveling – Link up with vegan hosts and travelers worldwide. We’ve met some of our closest friends in Madrid thanks to this group!
Vegan Travel: Vegan community with reviews, blog posts, videos, and more.
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 all vegan restaurants.
Essential Vegan Travel Guide: Updated with new sections for 2017, this guidebook by Caitlin of The Vegan Word tells you everything you need to know about vegan travel!
Have you been to any of these vegan-friendly cities in Europe? Any other resources or guides we missed?
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