Portugal is not known for it’s incredible vegan food. Rather for fish and pork, actually. However, there are great vegan options in Portugal and it is a lot easier than you might think to eat vegan – and healthy – in Portugal!
I spent a week in Lissabon a couple of years ago (when I was vegan already) and I spent a week at the Algarve this month. In today’s post I want to share how I eat and how I find the best vegan places when travelling in general – and how I did during my trip to Portugal.
I hope you feel inspired to eat healthy and cruelty free whereever you go! Because it actually isn’t very hard, it’s even rather easy to be honest 😀
1. General tips on eating vegan and healthy when travelling
When I am travelling, I always make sure to stay somewhere, where there is a kitchen. Air Bnb is usually my place of choice to book nice guest houses, apartments, or rooms in a shared flat. You can find anything at Air Bnb for every budget, from luxury apartment to super cheap cozy room in a shared house.
Having your own kitchen when travelling makes it not only easier to get hands on the meals you like but you also get to explore the local supermarkets to find all the really cool local goodies. Exploring a supermarket and checking out produce and products I do not know yet, is one of my favorite things to do when arriving somewhere new.
I always cook super simple dishes when travelling; spagetti with ready-made organic sauce that I just pimp with some fresh greens, whole grain bread with humus and raw veggies, quinoa with beans, potatoes with humus, etc.
For breakfast I often have muesli with a plant based milk, or – when I am lucky enough to find a blender in the Air bnb, it’s simple breakfast smoothies with bananas and oats. Bread is always an option for all bread lovers out there.
When travelling south, we also eat a LOT of local fruits. In Portugal we had papaya and anonas everyday. These fruits are impossible to find in a good quality here in Germany, so I take advantage of them when travelling south.
Things you find in all supermarkets around the world are fresh fruits, fresh greens, pasta, spagetti, and rice. With those few ingredients you can make delicious healthy dishes. Most supermarkets also have humus, ready made organic and vegan sauces, oats, and plant based milk. And in Portugal all supermarket also have a wide range of different types of tofu and vegan sausages etc.
In Portugal it is actually super easy to eat vegan as you will be able to find all the vegan convenience foods in the local supermarkets. And if you want to eat healthy and vegan it is even easier, as fruits and veggies can be found EVERYWHERE!
In the Algarve region you can find beautiful market halls full of frehs fruits and veggies. You will find yourself in vegan heaven 😀
2. Eating out when travelling
You will maybe be surprised to learn that even in the really small fisher towns around the Algarve region in Portugal, you will be able to find all vegan/vegetarian restaurants! And even in other restaurants you will be able to find vegan options!
When I am travelling I usually just google e.g. “vegan Olhao” and I check for what I find. This time we found a vegegarian restaurant in the next door town Fuzeta so we took a train to check it out. We were so surprised to find an almost vegan place in a small town like that! You may be surprised as well when you just google the place you plan to visit. You will see that there are vegan options almost everywhere!
In a non-vegan restaurant you are usually able to get potatoes, pasta or rice and salad. This maybe isn’t super fancy but when the cook just know a little about how to use spices, s/he will make you a delicious little something; I am sure 🙂
3. Eating vegan and healthy during the journey (on the train/airplane/car…)
The most difficult when travelling isn’t finding good foods when arrived at your holiday location – it’s on the way there! At airports or in train stations food is expensive and it may be difficult to find good vegan options. This is why I always prefer to bring something!
Bringing your own food has a lot of advantages:
- You can save money (and time)
- You know what you get
- You can make sure to travel zero waste as you can bring your own containers and boxes
- You have the food whenever you feel hungry (and do not have to wait to arrive at the trainstation/airport/etc.)
- You have boxes/jars with you for reusing during the holiday when you go on day trips or other
- You have something to do when on the train/plane : eating 😀
Here are a few ideas of things I like to bring when travelling:
- Raw veggies like cucumber, carrots, apples…
- Cooked potatoes and a humus or sauce on the side to dip in
- Pasta with pesto
- Quinoa or rice salad
Well and this is basically it!
At the Algarve we have been surprised how easy it was to find vegan food in restaurants and in super markets. There was actually more choice of meatless sausages then in my local organic store here in Leipzig. However, when going to a country where fresh fruit is available in abundance, I actually do not need much more than that.
In case you have any questions regarding eating vegan when travelling, please make sure to let me know!