Trip to Europe (Britain, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Czech R.)
In less than 3 weeks I'm going on trip through Europe with a friend (and her parents for a portion of it). We're university students and are travelling by rail for most of it and staying in hostels (read: we're uber cheap). I'm a vegetarian but I far prefer to eat vegan while she's an omni. While I have backpacked before in Canada, Europe seems pretty darn intimidating (and this will be her first experience with hostels, it took me a month to talk her out of hotels). I'm looking for advice or recommendations for various places we'll be visiting. The cities I know we'll be staying in are London, Edinburgh, Athens, Rome, Venice, Prague, Berlin and Paris. I'd really appreciate it if anyone can help :)
London: tons of veggie things including some vegan restaurants. I ate a delicious vegetarioan/vegan restaurant in chelsea. can't remember the name... :(
France: I live in Geneva, Switz, but travel across the border to france every day to work and I lived there for a year...and all I have to say is...good luck. Maybe if you can find an organic store-- "bio" in french and pick up some goodies there to eat, then you'll be ok. as far restaurants in france...pizza w/o cheese, pasta w/tomato sauce (Ask about the pasta having eggs- ouefs en francais), kebab shops (falafel sandwiches- not with white sauce (pas le sauce blanche, s.v.p.). be careful with salad dressings on pre made salads at restaurans...most dressings contain milk and mayo!
as for the other countries...i'm not sure. Germany can be pretty easy to find vegetarain/vegan restaurants but the traditional german places aren't very veg friendly.
Pick up a Michelin guide - I know they do super expensive stuff, but they also tell you if it's cheaper, clean, etc. They will also point out veggie places. Otherwise, Google "vegetarian restaurants and (city name)" to come up with restaurant and hotels that a veggie friendly.
happycow is an excellent website!
happycow is an excellent website!
yes, they'll give you great ideas.
I am in Berlin and I love the veg restaurants here. Some of the places may be a bit out of the way for most tourists but I know that when I was a tourist here I was very happy when I made the effort to eat at the veg restaurants. I really like Yoyo's for yummy burgers and pizza, Cafe V for more eclectic food, and Dolores burritos, which isn't all veg but they have great vegan options clearly marked. There are also doener places on every corner, where you can always get a nice falafel sandwich. yum! Annnd since you'll be staying in hostels, which usually have kitchens, you can cook your own food! There are lots of biomarkt and reformhaus shops which carry tofu and stuff, but you can also get really cheap pasta (about 50 cents/pkg) and stuff like that at the discount stores like netto, lidl, and aldi. Netto carries a great product called soya-reis drink for only 89 cents. You can seriously eat cheaply here. Oh, and go to Veni Vidi Vegi, the all-vegan grocery store! It's right near Cafe V.
As for places to see in Berlin, definitely go to Museum Island and check out the museums there. I also like the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum which has contemporary art. The state museums are free on Thursday afternoons, so that's a good time to go if you don't mind it being a bit more crowded. The Jewish Museum is amazing, so I'd say that's a must-see. And all the stuff about the wall is really interesting. You can see portions of it still standing and it's crazy to think about how far it once stretched. There's a big section of it that's all hacked away at near Checkpoint Charlie and then there's the East Side Gallery, where it's been painted over with murals. There is tons to see here and I hope you enjoy it! Feel free to ask me any other questions. I love this city!
Enjoy your travels!
I haven't been to France in more than ten years, but when I was it was just the worst (and I eat dairy cheese!) I remember being on a bike trip asking for no ham on my pizza and the waiter just about kicked me out of the restaurant. Another night I went to a bistro with a friend and the only thing I ordered were the green beans. That trip I drank a lot of wine.
The good thing is many of the towns have very lively farmers markets where you can pick up fruit and veggies. Also, since eating a baguette with chocolate spread qualifies as a meal, I would go with a couple of jars of "chocolate dream" or some other kind of chocolate spread and buy fresh baguettes wherever I went. The bread is incredible.
I was trying to find out the location of the good veg restaurant in Paris and this is what I found:
The restaurant I was trying to find is number 4 on the list. I ate there when it was called "Aquarius" and the reports about unfriendly service ring true to me, but the food was great.
In Italy I don't think you will have a problem if you are just going to be there a couple of days. I was in Rome three years ago and ate at both the fancy veg restaurants there--Arnacia Blu and the other one that begins with an M. Both of them are very dairy heavy, but they were able to accommodate my husband who doesn't eat dairy. However, they are super duper expensive for those travelling with dollars right now, and frankly I am just not sure they were worth it. In Italy they definitely have beans, and you can usually find white beans with sage on the restaurant menus in even the really touristy places.
Also, no matter where you travel these days there are always at least a couple of Indian, Chinese and other Asian choices. Often they are really good restaurants that are packed. That is always an option.
if you're in geneva, leave me a msg!
Have to agree with JKL, France is a 'mare for veggies let alone vegans. Whenever I go there I resort to salads and veg side dishes.
Rome was difficult too save for simple pasta and pizzas (pasta tends to be a course by itself and I would try to explain that I wanted to eat at the same time as my other half - to no avail).
I should imagine you'll find London and Edinburgh fairly easy for veggie options.