By Soren Rivero
Did you know that in the United Kingdom, the population of people going vegan nearly quadrupled between 2014 and 2019?
There are so many new vegan restaurants emerging across Great Britain, but the island of Scottish kilts and the Royal Family isn’t the only one hopping on the vegan train. Here are ten of the most vegan-friendly countries in Europe that you must visit!
The demand for vegan options in the United Kingdom has seen a dramatic increase in the last few years. This is peculiar considering that some of the most famous English dishes use meat as the focal point of the dish. You’ve probably heard (or even tried) a full English breakfast, Fish and Chips, Shepherd's Pie, or Bangers and Mash. But the increase in veganism has made it possible to find all of these dishes and more at nearly every street in the country!
Even fast food chains such as KFC and McDonalds have introduced certified vegan options to their menus — something you sadly can’t find in the United States. To get the best experience in Europe's most vegan-friendly country, head to the UK’s prime plant-based center: London!
You’d think that the country that serves us cheesy pasta dishes and meat-filled calzones is unsuitable for anyone who follows a vegan lifestyle. And you would be (mostly) right! The thing is, Italy does have good vegan options if you play your cards right.
What you get your hands on ultimately depends on the gastronomy of the region you’re in. Even for non-vegan dishes, you’ll get something pretty different depending if you go to Naples compared to Venice. You should be able to find traditional Italian cuisine that can be veganized wherever you go. It’s fairly easy to replace meat and cheese in a dish and even find dishes that are what we call “accidentally vegan” in Italy. If you want a more detailed guide on how to eat vegan in Italy, click here!
The Netherlands have seen a near 100% increase in veganism in the past few years. They are now ranked as 11th place on the national popularity scale for veganism right above the United States. So if you’re looking for a country in Europe suitable for vegans, visit the Netherlands!
The Netherlands are now a leading country in the veganism boom despite being rather new to the scene. What makes veganism work so well in this country is their natural tendency to support progressive ideas; sticking to what the science says about the animal industry hurting the planet; and the government’s good working relationship with the science industry and consumers.
As for where to find vegan options in the Netherlands, you’ll want to head to Amsterdam. This is the country’s capital and leading progressive city. You’ll find delicious vegan restaurants in Amsterdam, as well as dozens of stores supplying plant-based alternatives.
Ireland takes the #10 spot for the most suitable country in the world for vegans. In 2019, Dublin was ranked the most vegan-friendly city in the culinary world. If you want an experience like none other, you have to try out the vegan food in Ireland.
Eating vegan in the Emerald Isle is pretty easy. The country already uses a pretty fair amount of produce and grains in their dishes. There are plenty of restaurants that use vegan substitutes for traditional Irish dishes such as Bangers and Mash and Toad in the hole. Tesco is a popular supermarket in Ireland that supplies alternatives as well.
You’ll have no trouble traveling through Spain as a vegan and finding delicious options for any meal of the day. Madrid and Barcelona are thriving when it comes to offering vegan options in Spain. Other parts of the country are also accommodating to a vegan lifestyle!
One thing that consistently surprises many people when visiting Spain, is that the traditional Spanish recipe for churros is vegan. It’s just dough fried in oil. Other editions of churros such as the Mexican recipe do have egg, but finding vegan churros in Spain is super easy! Just be sure to have it alone, as most churros come with chocolate a la taza — a much thicker version of hot chocolate.
Other traditional Spanish foods that can be veganized are gazpacho, paella de verduras (vegan paella), parrillada de verduras, and coca which is a Spanish pizza that can be made vegan. No trip to Spain is complete without trying tons of Tapas (appetizer plates)!
This one might surprise you! Portugal is a great place for vegans to visit despite having a plethora of meat-based dishes.
Portugal consumes the second most amount of seafood in the world. But interestingly enough, the Portuguese government introduced a law that requires public institutions (schools, hospitals, government offices) to provide at least one vegan option. This makes eating vegan in Portugal all the more easier. To add to that, many Portuguese dishes are inherently vegan such as Milho Frito and Sopa de Cenoura. The country’s famous egg-tart dessert, Pastel de Nata, can also be veganized if you visit Lisbon or Porto!
Did you know that around 10% of the Austrian population is vegetarian/vegan? Most people are raised on a very meat-heavy diet in Austria, though the country has seen an enormous increase in vegans throughout the recent years.
Finding vegan food in Austria is pretty simple. Almost every restaurant has at least one vegetarian dish that can be customized for a vegan. Vienna is the best place to find good vegan eateries in Austria. Mock meats and cheeses are quite abundant so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything with your friends or family. You can find anything from tofu sandwiches to vegan desserts!
Known for beer, sausages, football, and enormous castles, Germany is a great place to visit if you want both comfort AND variety. But wait — sausages and beer aren't vegan, right?
Germany has rapidly become a country that is extremely suitable for vegans despite the country’s traditional cuisine. Germany’s capital, Berlin, has consistently ranked as a very popular city for vegans because of its enormous supply of options. Diversity is one aspect of this city that makes it stand out compared to others on this list. There are tons of restaurants and cafes in Berlin that are 100% vegan, offering food from all over the world. Syrian, Mediterranean, and Sichuan cuisines can all be found in Berlin among other options such as vegan brunch and ice cream. Since you’re there, you’ll definitely want to try some traditional German dishes that have been made vegan. You can find anything from veganized schnitzel and wurst, to sweets and other fine treats.
A must-try vegan dish in France is the super popular Ratatouille. It’s completely vegan and easily found throughout the country. Salads and pizzas are also commonly made vegan at certain restaurants. You can even get your hands on a croissant made without milk or eggs if you shop at local markets! The best part about being vegan in France is visiting the local farmer’s markets where you can pick fresh produce and handmade items.
You’ll find the greatest abundance of vegan options in France by visiting Paris. If this magnificent city isn’t already on your list, you’re definitely missing out. It’s a great place to find restaurants that offer vegan options as well as dozens of shops selling fresh baguettes – a naturally vegan delight! Lyon and Bordeaux are also good options for those looking for vegan restaurants in France.
Greece is a great place to find some unique vegan food. Greece uses traditional Mediterranean cooking methods and flavors, usually incorporating olive oil, wheat, and wine. Finding dishes that are suitable for vegans shouldn’t be a problem when visiting this ancient and historically rich country!
Many dishes with meat can be made without, or with falafel instead. Just be sure to ask if they use eggs as a binder. Finding meatless options can also be super easy since the country is primarily Christian Orthodox, a religion that practices lent. Some notable vegan dishes in Greece are dolmadakia yalantzi and spanakopita (without the cheese).
For the most vegan food in Greece, head over to Crete, Mykonos, or Santorini. Just one example of the delicious vegan food to eat in Santorini is fava. This side dish is similar to hummus, but made with capers and eggplant in addition to chickpeas. Plus, most local wines on the islands are also vegan!
Which of these vegan-friendly countries in Europe will you visit next?