When I looked at a list of the best countries to be Vegan, Italy was no high-bar. Last year on my 26th birthday celebratory solo trip to Venice and Copenhagen, everyone commented on ‘being vegan there’, assuming I’d be at some kind of disadvantage!
Yes it’s an epicentre of culinary delight. Gelato… Pizza…
Well, I didn’t struggle.
Hunting Local Cuisine Opportunities
I did my research and found a tiny shop that did vegan pizza and calzone, and another that did gelato. I wondered along a few little streets and across a bridge until I found myself at the foot of the Rialto Bridge, plonked myself down and positioned that pizza box right in front of me (and the birds eyeing it up). And I think now I nearly avoided these stunning places that are categorised as hard to eat at. But I’m here to talk about Greece.
More importantly, Gyros.
It is true that far-flung places might be harder to find restauraunts serving specifically Vegan options. I spent 2 weeks in Athens last summer and I was absolutely fine, and Northern Greece was also accomodating in the city. It’s not that you can’t eat at other places, unless you went to a fish restauraunt in the hope of happening across tofish, but cities are best.
Preparation = Lower Cost.
A good idea to look to offsetting your eating out costs is with a self-catering apartment, especially thinking about breakfast. I’m not saying miss out on eating out, but it’s nice to cook something with new ingredients yourself right? Everywhere has supermarkets and you can probably find something familiar there without panicking about eating the morning after you arrive in a new place.
If you’re travelling with others make sure they keep in mind you’re vegan! I’ve made this mistake and it wasn’t a great experience. If they aren’t accomodating, or you aren’t comfortable dining alone if necessary, I’d think twice about travelling with them. It’s fine to piece together some starters into a vaguely satisfying meal, but it’s not exactly holiday mood inducing.
One of the things I always love about Vegan food abroad is the contrast between the local surroundings, people and places you find them – it’s nice to share that with at least one other person.
Embracing the Adventure
Finding and experiencing new food is three fiths of my joy in travel. I’m literally lead by my stomach. I like to save places on google maps around the area in a bit of a pre-travel amble, or idle first evening, it saves you standing around hungry and trying to find somewhere to eat or walking miles on an empty tummy! All you have to do is search vegan restaurants and read a couple of reviews and menu if you can, just to be sure.
I was so excited about a Vegan patisserie in Thessaloniki, I wound it into a genius & seductively logical plan that my boyfriend couldn’t deny it. I forced past my empty stomach from the hotel to reward of a chocolate hazelnut tart, pacing past greek men sitting under trees in the morning with my foil lined box, ready for the drive to Halkidiki.