Are you a vegetarian backpacker? You’ve probably lost count of the times that you’ve been asked home or away: “Are you vegetarian or vegan?” Know that it doesn’t have to be a challenge to stick to your diet and beliefs while travelling. We found 20 cities that make it easy to eat well as a vegetarian or vegan.
Our list was inspired by Nestpick, a platform to help you find furnished accommodation anywhere in the world. A practical choice if you’re planning to spend six months in Barcelona after the pandemic or for your next session abroad in Paris. In addition to offering a selection of apartments, they have created a list of the top 75 best cities to live in if you are vegetarian.
The list considers several criteria to determine the most vegan and vegetarian-friendly cities, such as the availability and rating of restaurants, deviation in the pricing of local ingredients, overall price, the number of events and festivals, etc.
Here is a boiled-down list of 20 cities that you should visit as a vegetarian backpacker:
1. London, England
We were surprised to find that London holds the number one spot, although we now realize that the capital of England has adapted its food to vegetarians and no longer serves only fish & chips and steak & potato pie. Why not check out The Coach & Horses pub in the Soho district? It was the first veggie pub to open in London. Vegans and vegetarians will love their fresh selections! In addition, their menu offers a wide variety of allergen-free dishes to meet the needs of every customer.
If you’d like to travel and work in London one day, you might be interested to know how a Canadian came to live there.
2. Berlin, Germany
Journalists repeatedly proclaim Berlin as the capital of vegetarianism and veganism. It’s no surprise that Germany is number 2 on the list, considering that it’s the European country with the most vegetarians. At Bonvivant Cocktail Bistro alone, they serve ten vegetarian options!
If you’re going there for the food, you might begin to think about what it’s like to move to Germany.
3. Munich, Germany
Another German city tops the list! By now, we know that the country caters to more than lovers of sausages, pork and beer! Over the past decade, the number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants has exploded in Munich.
4. Vienna, Austria
The capital of Austria is known for its many great restaurants and fun places to mingle. Although their most traditional food remains a meaty dish of Schnitzel, more and more restaurants are offering vegetarian or vegan options. Here’s how you can say you’re vegetarian or vegan in German: “Ich bin Vegetarier” or “Ich bin Veganer.”
5. Glasgow, Scotland
Be sure to visit Glasgow, an artistic and creative Scottish city. When hunger strikes, take a trip to the Hanoi Bike Shop restaurant. Without being a completely vegetarian restaurant, they have enough options to suit both vegetarians and pesco vegans. They even prepare homemade tofu in-house! In addition, the atmosphere is incredible.
6. Zurich, Switzerland
The largest city in Switzerland takes the 6th position from the top. Did you know that Zurich has the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world (which is still open)? The Hiltl Restaurant was founded in 1898 and is still a trendy place to this day. That’s over 123 years of great veggie-inspired dishes!
7. Palma de Mallorca, Spain
¡Soy vegetariano o soy vegetarians! Palma de Mallorca serves up hearty meals of earth-grown goodness on the shores of the Mediterranean. The seaside city has several vegan restaurants (or eateries with options), some even offering raw food. Go here to try new dishes and new flavours!
8. Los Angeles, United States
A culture of self-care thrives in California, so it’s no wonder that vegetarianism is a common term. If you’ve been there before, you probably fell into step with the Californian health vibe (before dark, of course). A classic day includes jogging, surfing, yoga, followed by a good acai bowl on the beach!
9. Bristol, England
Located in the southwest of England, Bristol has no shortage of interesting maritime history. If you are a pesco vegetarian, you will be happy to learn that several old port warehouses became seafood restaurants. If you are vegan, there are also several vegan restaurants. You could try a Trip Advisor favourite, the popular Pipal Tree Restaurant.
10. San Francisco, United States
🎶 If you’re going to San Francisco… Why not take the opportunity to experience vegetarian nightlife? The cosmopolitan city offers so many choices for veggie-lovers. You can eat your way through different culinary cultures: Indian, Asian, or Greek (while not eating any meat)!
11. Rome, Italy
You will be happy to realize that pasta carbonara full of bacon is not the only reasonable option to eat in Rome. In fact, traditional Italian food includes a lot of meatless dishes. Think of the Marguerita pizza or creamy fettuccine Alfredo dishes. No reason not to visit the capital of Italy if you’re a vegan backpacker!
12. New York, United States
“The city that never sleeps” is so diverse that it has naturally adapted to vegetarian and vegan tastes. The veggie possibilities are virtually endless. If you’re backpacking in New York, why not try some vegetarian street food? Delicious, affordable and plant-based! Take a trip to NY Dosas, which serves Indian dosas (a pancake stuffed with lentils and potatoes). Vegan options are available as well. It’s the perfect fuel for backpackers on the go!
13. Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand is a pioneer country when it comes to environmental protection. Air New Zealand has even established a zero-waste target (to landfill) beyond 2020 for its sites in Auckland. You are probably not surprised to find that Auckland, one of the most prominent cities in NZ, is in the top 20. If you’re looking for a vegetarian dinner that is as affordable as it is delicious, try the Water Drop Vegetarian Cafe. The cafe, located in a Buddhist temple, will take you out of your comfort zone in the best way.
Did you know that life has returned to normal in New Zealand? We did an inspiring interview with a Quebecer who lives there.
14. Wellington, New Zealand
Indeed, the Kiwis are steps ahead when it comes to caring for the environment. We are well aware of the negative impact of the beef industry on the planet. So it’s no wonder the capital of New Zealand follows its cousin Auckland in offering vegan and vegetarian options. You should check out the top 10 best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Wellington (HappyCow).
15. Prague, Czech Republic
The capital of the Czech Republic is much more than a “city of one hundred spires.” We won’t go so far as to say that there are a hundred veggie restaurants, but there are certainly many options available. Lehká Hlava is an eclectic restaurant housed in a 15th-century house. The restaurant is an actual work of art. Take a look around to combine history, fun and healthful food.
16. Melbourne, Australia
If you’re a backpacker and pretty edgy, you’ve probably already heard how well you would fit in with everyone in Melbourne. It turns out this is even more true if you’re a vegetarian! This artsy and cultural city is full of hip places to try. The Vegie Bar is an institution in the bohemian suburb of Fitzroy. Established in 1988, you will recognize the site by its fluorescent neon sign.
You might be interested in: Why Australia is one of the best destinations for Canadians to travel and work.
17. Tel Aviv, Israel
Even though it’s not the right time to go, no one says you can’t dream of the food in Tel Aviv. Some consider it “the vegan capital of the world.” It has more than 400 vegan-friendly restaurants. With 5% of its population being vegan, Tel Aviv is home to the most vegan inhabitants in the world.
18. Gothenburg, Sweden
Every vegetarian knows that Ikea veggie dumplings are where it’s at. Applying sound logic, we figure if the industry giant had the sense to think of its veggie customers, then all of Sweden must be pretty accommodating to vegetarians. Jokes aside, Gothenburg does have a multitude of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Crave is a food truck that offers vegan options in addition to yummy veggie dogs. You can take off your backpack and enjoy your meal at one of their picnic tables.
19. Sydney, Australia
If you backpack around Australia, chances are you will arrive in Sydney and spend at least a few days there. It is one of the largest cities in the country, offering lots of different types of food. According to Google Reviews, Lentil as Anything, located in the Newton district, is rated the best vegetarian restaurant in town.
20. Manchester, England
Who knew that a city in the northwest of England would be close to the top of the list? Fun fact: the modern vegetarian movement as we know it today was founded in Manchester in 1847. Incredible, right? Now we need to go there and see what all the hype is about!
Bonus: Montreal, Canada!
Even if Montreal did not make it into the 20 (it’s ranked 66), we had no choice but to mention the city we love. Montreal is full of veggie restaurants to try and offers a variety of vegetarian products in grocery stores and markets. Our favourite restaurant by far is Lola Rosa. Their menu attracts non-vegetarians as much as vegetarians, and the dishes are amazing!
What will be your first destination as a vegetarian backpacker? Which city would you add to the list?
This article was originally published in French and adapted in English by Britney Claveau.