(Updated January 22, 2020) Europe is the ideal destination for a quick couple’s break with your loved one. The continent is home to many interesting, historical, and artistic cities, perfect for a romantic vegan vacation. Even better, many of them are just a short plane or train journey away from the UK.
If you want to cut down on flights for environmental reasons, many destinations in Europe—like Paris in France or Ghent in Belgium—are accessible via the Eurostar, a high-speed railway service that travels through the underwater channel tunnel.
If you choose to fly, Swiss non-profit Gold Standard—founded by several environmental non-profits, including WWF—can help you offset your carbon footprint. You can work out what your carbon footprint is by using an online calculator and then donate to one or more of Gold Standard’s various environmental projects. Donating $15, for example, will help supply solar cookers to refugee families in Chad.
During your trip, instead of using taxis, take a romantic walk to see the sights, or have fun cycling around together. You could also use the public transport system. Cities like London, Paris, and Barcelona all have easy-to-use and well-connected metro systems.
Gold Standard also advises ditching or reducing your meat intake. Animal agriculture is responsible for a multitude of environmental problems, including high greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.
How to Eat Vegan on Vacation
During your vacation, consider seeking out vegan food. Try using veggie restaurant locator Happy Cow to find the best vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes around you. You could also stock up on vegan snacks at home to put in your bag for the road (or plane journey).
You could also read the Vegan Travel Handbook by Lonely Planet before you leave. The book includes details on vegan-friendly activities, as well as advice and tips from experts.
If you book self-catering accommodation, you could even visit local supermarkets, or farmer’s markets if available, and make your partner a delicious local dish—using healthy, plant-based ingredients—in the privacy of your own room or apartment.
If you’re not sure where to go, these nine cities have thriving vegan scenes, and they’re also some of the most romantic destinations in Europe too.
9 European Cities With a Thriving Vegan Scene
Nestled in the Italian Alps, just under a two-hour drive from Italy’s fashion capital of Milan, is the city of Turin. It’s grand, it’s picturesque, and it’s extremely vegan-friendly. In fact, it’s known to some as Italy’s “first vegetarian city,” thanks to its mayor Chiara Appendino. Back in 2016, Appendino proposed a weekly meat-free day, as well as animal welfare lessons in schools.
For healthy fast food, take your love to Flower Burger, an Italian vegan burger chain with locations in Turin as well as Rome and Monza. If you’re feeling adventurous, try its black charcoal bun. For pastries, there’s Ratatouille, which also serves traditional Turin-style Pizza. For something a bit more upmarket, try the authentic pasta dishes at Soul Kitchen.
Berlin is a haven for history, art, and museum lovers, as well as those after a bit of plant-based fare. Treat your partner to Vietnamese black tofu at H&D Chay or vegan pork at Cat Tuong. For pizza and pasta, La Stella Nera is a good bet or Sfizy Veg. For the ultimate kebab, try the vegan meat at Voner.
Arguably, the best way to say “I love you” is with pizza. Many pizza-lovers around the world believe you can’t have the traditional Italian pie without cheese. But Naples—the actual home of pizza—proves this isn’t the case. In fact, the marinara (the recipe of which dates back to the 1700s) is served without cheese. And you can find versions of it everywhere across Napoli. But if you overdose on pizza and fancy something a little more nutritious, try the health-focused ‘O Grin. If you’re after a tasty and cheap dish, check out Officina Vegana.
Krakow is an unexpected vegan paradise, but a vegan paradise all the same. The city has everything plant-based travelers desire. After a long day strolling around the southern city’s architecture and museums with your other half, stop at Krowarzywa for some vegan pastrami or Veganic for some tasty vegetable-centric cuisine. For Asian inspired dishes, try Pod Norenami for sizzling “beef” in hot black bean sauce or sushi.
Busy Barcelona is packed with plant-based cafes and restaurants. Try Ale and Hop for veggie tapas and a craft beer or Be You Juicery for a refreshing cold-pressed juice or smoothie. For pizza, pasta, and burgers try deWeggie’s, or for a showstopping evening out together, try the vegan-friendly Chaka Khan.
The Czech Republic’s medieval capital of Prague is steeped in history and culture. It’s also a vegan haven. For brunch, try Moment Vegan Bistro and Cafe or for something sweet, try Forrest Bistro. If your partner loves fast food, take them to Forky’s. Located in the Old Town, Forky’s offers delicious vegan cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and juicy steak cut fries.
The capital of Hungary has risen in popularity with travelers in recent years, thanks to its festival scene, historical buildings, Roman baths, and general laid back vibes. It’s also a great destination to sample vegan food. Try Mantra Masala for some vegan-friendly Indian dishes or Matrjoska Kroska for a classic vegan burger.
Apart from the museums, bridges, quirky vintage markets, and places of historical significance, the main thing London has to offer couples is a diverse range of food. You can get a vegan version of pretty much anything you desire in the UK’s capital, from Indian at City Spice on Brick Lane, to Kebabs at What the Pitta to cheesy, meaty, pizzas at Purezza.
With its pretty medieval architecture, Ghent in the Northwest of Belgium is known for being a cultural hub. It’s quirky and unique, with a thriving music and art scene. There’s also plenty of vegan food on offer to sustain you both during a city break, as the city is super veggie-friendly, with many locals observing at least one meat-free day a week for the environment. Try Greenway if you’re in the mood for fast food or if you’re in the mood for a vegan feast, try the veggie buffet at Cucumber Time.