Veganuary is here, with many people adopting a plant-based diet for the month. Being vegan is easier than ever, but it does sometimes require some research when travelling to make sure that your destination will have vegan-friendly options. Wizz Air presents the best destinations for vegan travel, plus tips for travelling as a vegan.
Barcelona is a beautiful city full of culture, stunning architecture, perfect beaches, and incredible food – and it’s one of the best vegan destinations in Spain. The local government declared it to be a “friend of vegan and vegetarian culture” and promised to promote veganism and vegetarianism.
Even in restaurants that aren’t exclusively vegan, it’s easy to have a vegan meal in Spain as many tapas dishes are plant based anyway. Things like pan con tomate (toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with tomatoes and olive oil), pimientos de padrón (roasted padrón peppers), gazpacho (chilled tomato soup), and patatas bravas without the aioli are all typically vegan – just double check when you order.
Berlin has the highest population of vegans in all of Europe, with 7.5 million following a plant-based diet. There are approximately fifty fully vegan restaurants and over three hundred other spots that are vegan friendly throughout the city, and they even hold a vegan summer festival every year.
Though Portugal is one of the largest consumers of seafood, there’s also a fast growing vegan community, and was the first country in the world to make it mandatory for schools, prisons, and hospitals to have vegan options available.
The capital of Lisbon boasts over two hundred and eighty vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants, offering plant based versions of traditional Portuguese cuisine, so it’s become a wildly popular destination for vegan foodies. Some plant-based dishes to look out for are milho frito (fried cornmeal, like polenta fries), torricada (crispy garlic bread with olive oil and salt) and migas de feijao frade (black-eyed peas, kale, and cornbread).
The north of Italy is slightly less vegan-friendly than the south, with dairy and meat used in most regional dishes, but there are still plenty of options wherever you go. Turin, for example, offers plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, as the city had a mayor who was pro-veggie, and was ranked in the top twenty cities in the world for vegan friendly restaurants. In the south of the country, veganism is much easier. Here, you’ll be more likely to find pasta senza uova (without eggs), and there are many dishes that are accidentally vegan.
Italy has many traditional dishes that are accidentally vegan, such as caponata (aubergine, pepper, courgette and olive stew), the original pizza invented in Naples, pizza marinara (just tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano – no cheese), and many risottos can be easily adapted to be vegan.
In recent years, the Hungarian capital has opened more and more vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants, making it easier than ever to be plant-based in Budapest.
Traditional Hungarian food often features a lot of meat and dairy products, but it’s easy to find veganised versions of traditional treats, like marzipan pastries, lángos (deep-fried flatbread with a variety of toppings – traditionally sour cream and cheese), and dödölle (potato dumplings fried with onions).
Approximately a quarter of the population of India follow a vegetarian diet, with around nine per cent being vegan – compared to just ten per cent of the UK being vegetarian and three per cent vegan. It’s the number one vegetarian nation in the world, and most restaurants in India have a smaller menu for meat options, with the main menu being veggie, rather than the other way around. It’s also very easy to adapt traditional Indian meals to be vegan; many things are cooked with ghee, which is clarified butter, so asking to switch that to oil can make most veggie meals completely plant-based.
Tips for travelling as vegan
Do your research in advance. Not all cities are as good as others for vegan friendly options, so make sure you know where the best spots are. Look at Instagram hashtags to find vegan dining options – like #veganlisbon or #plantbasedportugal, and look for restaurants and cafes that are tagged.
Learn some vegan phrases in the local language so you can make sure you order the right things, like words for meat and dairy products, and how to say “I am a vegan”.
Notify your hotel of your dietary requirements when you book so they’re prepared in advance. If you can, book somewhere to stay that has a kitchen – if you unfortunately can’t find anywhere that will cater for you, you know you’ll be able to eat well by cooking for yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask for changes and substitutions when ordering food out. It may be as easy as asking for something to be cooked with oil instead of butter to make it vegan instead of vegetarian.