Matt and I took a day trip on the eurostar to explore the city of Brussels. Although our trip was brief, we still managed to find some delicious vegan food and experience some of the cool activities the city has to offer.
WHAT TO EAT
GREEN WAY ►►►
Green Way, one of the highest rated vegan restaurants in Brussels, is actually located at the train station, which made for the perfect arrival meal – who said 10am is too early for burgers & fries?
They offer a selection of plant-based burgers, wraps, salads & desserts. We ordered one of the kebab wraps & the meat lovers burger with sweet potato fries on the side and it was all delicious – the perfect way to start a busy day of exploring.
Exki is another eatery we found at the train station which had some well-labelled vegan options, including the tofu sandwiches pictured below. We didn’t get a chance to try any of the Exki’s vegan options as we were full from our 10am Green Way burgers, but it’s great to know there are so many vegan options available.
THE SISTER BRUSSELS CAFE ►►►
After a day walking around exploring the city, we were craving some waffles, so headed to The Sister Brussels Cafe which had this mouth watering vegan waffle and ice cream feast.
WHAT TO DO
Our first stop was the iconic Atomium, a super cool piece of architecture built for the World Expo in the 1950s. Not only does it offer an amazing view over the city, there is also a variety of art and history exhibitions inside the spheres.
MINI EUROPE ►►►
Located a short walk from Atomium is Mini Europe, an attraction featuring miniature figures of European landmarks. It was a great way to learn about the history of various European cities; and if you’re like me, take the opportunity to absolutely nail the leaning tower of pisa photo.
As our visit was short, there’s so much of the city left to explore and so much vegan food left to eat, so I’m sure we’ll be back soon and will be able to update this guide. In the meantime, please do leave any of your recommendations in the comments below.
As you all know, I absolutely love travelling and have shared lots of vegan travel posts on this blog and on my YouTube channel over the past couple of years. So, when I was asked to give a speech at the first ever Surrey Vegan Fair (which took place last weekend), I decided to talk about: MY TOP TIPS TO MAKE TRAVELLING AS A VEGAN AS FUN, EASY & STRESS-FREE AS POSSIBLE! It was such a fun experience and I think the tips are all super helpful, so I decided to write them up into a blog post so that you can all access them any time you like! If you have any tips to add, be sure to write them in the comments down below!
I always set aside around an hour before going on a trip to research vegan / vegan-friendly restaurants in location where I’ll be staying. The main resources I use to do this are:
Happy Cow – great website for finding vegan & vegan-friendly restaurants
Blogs – google vegan (location) i.e. vegan LA and lots of blogs will pop up
YouTube – search vegan (location) and you can watch loads of travel diaries / guides
Instagram – searching #vegan(location) is a great way to find delicious looking food
Google / Apple maps – go to the maps app on your smartphone, type in ‘vegan (location)‘, it will pop up with a whole bunch of pins and you can find restaurants near where you’ll be staying
After I’ve done a little research, I prepare a list of the top restaurants that I want to visit and take that with me on my trip.
Being prepared will require a little bit of pre-planning but it will save you so much time and stress on your trip so will definitely be worth it. There are 3 main ways I prepare:
Take snacks: As you’ll probably be going on trips / exploring during the day, you won’t always be able to plan where you’ll be and if there’ll be a vegan restaurant near by. I therefore like to take snacks with me, and any type of protein / breakfast bar such as Clif bars are great, as they’re filling and fuel you for your day.
Find a supermarket / health food store near by: before my trip, I always do a quick google search to see if there’s a store nearby where I’ll be staying, so that I know I’ll be able to buy snacks there, and therefore don’t have to bring them with me.
Contact in advance:
The accommodation I’ll be staying at to see if they offer vegan meals or if anything they serve can be veganised.
The airline I’ll be flying with to book a vegan meal for the flight.
USE A LANGUAGE AID
If you’re travelling to a country where you don’t speak the native language, you’ll need a way to communicate your dietary needs. The way I do this is to:
Learn how to say: ‘vegan / vegetarian no eggs or dairy‘ if I feel comfortable speaking in the native language (which doesn’t happen very often).
Save translated phrase on phone / print card: before my trip I use google translate to translate the phrase ‘vegan / vegetarian no eggs or dairy‘. I then print screen it and save it as a photo on my phone to show to the waiters/waitresses in any restaurants I visit. You could also write out / type up a card to take with you and keep in your wallet.
Learn specific cultural things to look out for: for example, in Thailand fish oil is often added to lots of dishes, so it would be useful to take a card with you saying ‘no fish oil, please’ in Thai.
Siri is your friend: iPhone’s siri and similar voice-recognition softwares on other smartphones can be so handy on your trip! For instance, when my mum and I were in Italy last year, I activated siri and said ‘find dairy-free ice-cream near me’ and it led us to a great little gelateria that served delicious vegan ice-cream!
MAKE YOUR TRIP VEGAN-FRIENDLY
If you don’t have a particular place in mind to travel to, there are plenty of ways that you can make your trip vegan-friendly:
Choose a vegan-friendly location: PETA releases an annual list of the Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Citites, so choosing one of these cities to visit is a great idea
Go on a vegan specific holiday: there are now lots of vegan-specific holidays you can go on, such as vegan cruises and vegan camping trips! These trips are a great way to not only enjoy delicious food, but also to meet like-minded people. A quick google search will pull up lots of vegan holiday options.
Find vegan hotels: I use the website veggie-hotels.com to find vegetarian / vegan hotels all over the world.
Stay in an apartment / airbnb / hostel: or anywhere where you have access to a kitchen so that you can veganise your holiday by cooking your own food. This is also a great way to save money!
MY TOP 5 VEGAN CITIES
In case you’re looking for ideas of great vegan-friendly places for your next trip, here are my top 5 vegan-friendly cities that I’ve visited!
LA, San Francisco & San Diego in California are collectively by far the most vegan-friendly places I’ve ever visited. Matt and I ate every type of vegan food you can imagine during our trip, and got most of it delivered to our hotel rooms! There are also so many fun things to do and lots of beautiful beaches to hang out at.
New York is such an awesome city with so many fun touristy places to visit. It also has a great vegan-food scene, so is definitely worth a visit.
Berlin has so much historic culture to explore and also is insanely vegan friendly. During mine and my mum’s visit, we stayed in a vegetarian hotel, visited lots of vegan restaurants, and even shopped at Veganz – an entirely vegan supermarket.
Sydney, especially the Bondi Beach area, is filled with awesome vegan restaurants and also has so many fun places to explore.
Queenstown is hands down the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited and it was made even better by the fact that we found lots of great vegan-friendly restaurants there!
When travelling as a vegan, you want to ensure you don’t support any unethical tourist attractions that exploit animals. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t interact with animals on your holiday; in fact, travel provides a great opportunity to see animals in their natural environment and perhaps even to volunteer at a conservation project / animal sanctuary. And fear not, as for every unethical tourist attraction, there is an awesome alternative:
VIDEO OF MY FULL SPEECH
If you would like more detailed tips, you can watch my full speech from the event here: