I am planning on going to Europe this summer and I have no idea what I am going to eat!
I have gone before but was not vegan then so I don't remember whether there were many options available. I don't mind not eating out or anything but I would rather not only have raw fruits and veggies for a month (I can imagine how much my body would not thank me for that overabundance of fiber and not enough of so many other things.. ).
I am also planning on traveling with a non-vegan so I would like to make her feel comfortable and not like she is having to accomodate me.
My plans could be in Amsterdam, Spain, Paris, Germany, Prague, Italy, and Greece.
Any help would be great!
i am going to holland this summer with a friend (omni). i have no idea what i'm going to do for meals, but i do know that i will be attending a huge event and seeing one of my favorite DJs, so i can starve for all i care!
Use these sites as a guide! The will come in very handy. I have found out (often the hard way), that they are not always current. So you may want to call ahead if possible. There have been a few instances where I looked something up, and went to the location only to find the restaurant was not in business anymore....or closed on the one day that I decided to check it out >:(!
Hope these help! :)
"My plans could be in Amsterdam, Spain, Paris, Germany, Prague, Italy, and Greece. Any help would be great!"
Being a Brit I have holidayed in Europe and it's difficult being vegetarian let alone vegan!
You may be able to find some veggie-friendly places in Paris (it's cosmopolitan, but can be a little snooty) but France in general, well they don't understand it (although when you explain you don't eat meat/fish/seafruits etc., chefs will try and make you something, afterall they want to see you eating their food and they are very hospitable - but they still don't get not eating cheese!).
The Spanish will put fish on salads even when it's not advertised! I once explained I was veg and didn't eat fish - in broken Spanish admittedly - and that i just wanted salad and had a lovely salad dish given to me with a round of tuna in the middle, when I explained I couldn't eat it they took it away, brought it back within a minute and expected me to eat the same plate of food minus the fish, it wasn't a fresh salad, the same minus the fish with the fishy smell and juice still lingering!
In Italy you may fare better with pastas and pizzas ... but then again a vegan friend of mine travelled throughout Italy and said she was sick of margarita pizzas and salad and chips by the end of it!
I had the best veg food in Crete (a Greek island) where, after about 3 days of eating salad, our host finally asked me why that was all I ate; it turned out his elderly parents rarely ate meat and so I used to get a special serving just from his Mama - stuffed tomatoes and peppers, bean caseroles, hummus, garlic mushrooms - it was the biz!
A work colleague went to Prague and said it was very carnivorous! heavy/stodgy food.
Amsterdam - well, you can always fill up on their famous brownies! ;)
Maybe I have just been unlucky in my European visits and you will find things to be completely different - I hope so, veggies cannot live by salad and chips/fries alone!
I always try to learn phrases like "I am vegetarian", "I don't eat fish/meat etc., or anything cooked using them" in the language of the country I'm visiting - Europeans do like you to try their language as well as their food!
Hi Hespedal: I've spent a lot of time backpacking through Western Europe, and have spent different summers living in Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, etc. Some of these trips were when I was lacto-ovo, but I hope that I can still offer a little advice... First off, definitely check out happycow.net and the other links Davedrum posted above. Once you know where you're going, you can type up lists w/addresses and neighborhood names (if possible) of the veggie restaurants and health food stores in a given city. Also, you might page through Time Out guides for the major cities that you plan to visit because in my experience they do the best job of being up to date on veg restaurants. You also might look through other guides, but I wouldn't trust Lonely Planet much, myself (don't even get me started about all the times I've trekked across the whole of e.g. Munich, Germany or La Paz, Bolivia looking for a veg restaurant Lonely Planet told me would be there, but wasn't even remotely...).
Second, don't be afraid to buy food at grocery stores. This is cheaper than eating out anyway. You can get creative with bread, fresh or canned vegetables, canned beans, hummus, etc. Also, you might also consider making some room in your pack for vegan energy bars. I did this when I went to South America, and although by the time I got back I never again wanted to see another Builder's Bar, nevertheless I never went hungry.
Third, although you may have to become more flexible about picking dairy off what you're given, don't assume it will be impossibly hard to eat as a vegan. I traveled to Prague, Berlin, England, and Scotland as a vegan, and I hardly remember what exactly I ate, because I was too busy having a good time. Lots of beer and vodka-redbull, probably :) Look for falafel from street vendors, Indian food, Chinese food, McDonald's veggie burgers (which are very different than ours... not meaty at all, full of peas and things), pasta with marinara sauce, you can ask for pizza with veggies but no cheese (or you can pick the cheese off, if you don't know how to ask), in Greece there's more falafel, you will be able to find Subway restaurant chains in Amsterdam (I think), Austria, etc... and French Fries and salads exist everywhere.
Anyway, with a little planning and flexibility, you'll be fine. Do learn how to say "I'm a vegetarian" in every applicable language (or at least write it down and show it to your server in the appropriate language). Good luck!
I really hope you'll have a great time in Europe, avoiding an ulcer when visiting sooo many interesting countries, and having lots of good food!
Well, you've already had some great advice from those above me, but I'll just pop in what I find useful to know too..
(I'm swedish, so I've travelled europe all my life, vegetarian and vegan)
I would absolutley recomend you to go to a regular food store (esp when in france!!!!!). If you go to a larger one there will probably be soy products, tons of fruit and veg, bread, beans, cereal etc to bring to your hostel (which I recomend you, because of the teeny kitchens if restaurants or budgets fail you) and eat.
Paris is France, and France is meat. I lived on Salade Vert and baguette (my stomach did not thank me) when in french places. but then, there's sooo much more. Paris has tons of AMAZING cous-cous places, and the vegetable one is vegan. Also lebanese restaurants will have great vegan options (falafel...). There is one place called Aquaruis that's quite nice, veg place, but there are a few more in the city.
Germany (berlin?) will be easy. It's a funky city with falafel and vegetarian restaurants. I do suggest you to avoid rural areas, though, not a lot of vegans there.
I think Italy,greece (those big white beans in tomato sauce, yum yum) and spain'll be ok, prague a bit tougher (lot's of meat and cheese there), amsterdam is also a cool, hippie-ish plce where you'll find veg places.
I would recomend you to look into indian, lebanese, north-african et.c places for dinner, if you're not in a veg place. And, I have learnt from travelling these coutries that
a) you can live on salad, fruit and bred for long periods of time. snack on nuts, you'll be fine. look at the raw people, they make it, don't they?
b) bring your vitamins and flaxseed oil capsules
c) hostels might be icky, but the kitcen areas make it worth it. you save a lot of money, and get the foods you want. plus grocery shopping is like the best thing to do in a foreign country!!!
d) drink water. you'll avoid dehydration and acute fits of hunger.
e) in the middle of the Louvre, paris, there's a food court with a lebanese place, they have vegan stuff!!!
hope that helped!
Tabouleeh is another lebanese veg option. If you're ovo, then you can also eat the grape leaf rolls, if you make sure they are not made with lamb. Usually they are, but you can find non-meat ones. However finding eggless ones will be harder, though not impossible.
I would second the idea of writing the phrase "I don't eat meat, animal milk, or animal eggs" down on a piece of paper. Your accent is worse than you know. ;)
Try this site out, too:
I went to Prague last year as a study abroad type thing. Czech people definitely do not get veg*ism! My first morning there, I went to a street vendor to order a sandwich. The description said "vegetarianska" (vegetarian) and the picture looked safe...but when I got back to the dorm I opened the package up and it had turkey and mayo on it! Later that day I ordered an omelette from a restaurant (I'm lacto-ovo when I go to restaurants or relatives houses ::) ), and it was on the "vegetarianska" menu - and it was filled with deli ham! I swear, I don't know what the heck some of these Czech people thing vegetarianism means!
Luckily, Prague is a huge and diverse city. There are quite a few "Chinzske" (Chinese - I think I spelled that right, not sure) restaurants, a good Thai place or two, and a few veg places. Country Life, located in Old Town, (which is mentioned on the Happy Cow website) is all vegan and very good. It's all Southern European type stuff - pickled cabbage, salads (salads are different in Prague - either you get one vegetable (tomato or cucumber covered in a vinagrette or a lot of julienned vegetables), haluski, seitan with potatoes, you name it. It's cafeteria style, and the menu options change from day today. Bea's is a vegetarian restaurant located in Old Town as well, but they don't always have vegan options. There are also two really good restaurants on Hradchanska - an Indian place and an Italian place. The names of those places escape me...but they're both good and have some vegan options. Note - If you go to a restaurant that is specifically vegetarian, they often don't charge for water.
To say that you're vegan, say "Jsem vegán (male), Jsem vegánka (female)" (Jsem is pronounced "e sem").
If you have the option to cook for yourself, you can find a lot of great produce in the farmer's market in Old Town. The produce in grocery stores isn't always that good. I recommened shopping at Tesco's supermarket for a good selection of cheap veg-friendly groceries (Though I believe a store adjacent to Country Life has veg goods too - better selection, though slightly more expensive). There a few Tescos in Prague. I always went to the one off of the Mustek subway exit.
Here's a useful link:
Here's a vocab link:
Hope you have a great time traveling Europe!