Berlin – a cosmopolitan city synonymous with cool, understated style and street art. And of course, lest we forget its 20th Century history. You might be forgiven for thinking the German capital would have limited options for vegans, but with 10% of the German population being vegetarian or vegan, the demand for good quality and easily available products is high – and you won’t be disappointed!
Where to eat
Katjes Cafe Grün-Ohr (above) Is a bright and colourful vegetarian/vegan cafe. There are plenty of vegan cakes and gelatine-free sweeties that you can take away and nibble on for substance as you explore the city. I recommend the apple strudel (it would be rude not to). Rosenthaler Str., 32
Kopps (above) is a 100% vegan restaurant, but if on a tight budget, then this might not be the place for you, as it isn’t cheap, but you do get what you pay for here: excellent service in a stylish setting with delicious, fresh, gourmet vegan food, beautifully presented. I tried the cocktail of the day, which was mango mixed with champagne, two of my favourite things in one glass. Linienstr., 94
Daluma is an amazing raw vegan eatery which offers organic food, which will leave you brimming with health and vitality. Weinbergsweg, 3
For a quick bite
There are so many bio and organic shops, supermarkets and health food stores (I even saw one in Alexanderplatz train station) it seems that the Germans are more committed to living a less processed diet than we see in the UK, and of course there is a greater focus on meat and dairy-free options for people who require it.
Bio Company is a vegan-friendly and organic health food supermarket, and there’s also a bakery and coffee shop inside – so you can take a seat and people watch as you enjoy your soya cappuccino. In the main shop be sure to pick up a packet of veganwurst to snack on and anything from the brand Wheaty! Rheinstraße 45-46
Vöner is a very reasonable priced, fast food joint that offers vegan döners, kebabs, burgers and chips. It’s very laid back and not the place for fine dining, however, it’s ideal for a post-beer snack on the way back to your hotel, especially if you enjoy large portions! Boxhagener Str. 56
What to order at a non-vegan place
So many restaurants and cafes in Berlin actively advertise that they do vegan options, and these are not specialty places – just standard eateries. The chances that you will find yourself in a place that won’t accommodate you are slim, however if you end up totally stuck, look out for potato salad, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, rye bread and vegetarian soup (lentil, tomato) – all of which are easily ‘veganisable’ – all you have to do is ask.
I am vegan – Ich bin vegan
Without cheese – Ohne Käse
Without meat, poultry or fish – Ohne Fleisch, Fisch oder Geflügel
Do you have soya milk? – Haben Sie Sojamilch?
Please use olive oil and not butter – Bitte verwenden Sie Olivenöl nicht Butter.
Without eggs – Ohne Eier
Without milk or cream – Ohne Milch oder Sahne
Top 5 sites to visit
The Berlin Wall Memorial – Visit the old structures and learn about the history of the Wall.
The TV Tower – For the best views of Berlin, head up to the very top where you can enjoy something fizzy as you admire the panoramic views of the city.
The Brandenburg Gate – The symbol of Berlin, majestic, striking and a must-visit.
Reichstag Building – Reserve online before the date of your visit to reduce queuing.
The Holocaust Memorial – A moving tribute to the lives lost in WWII. Take your time here and visit the information centre as well.
Where to stay
The Almodóvar is said to be one of the best hotels to visit if you are vegan or gluten free. It’s a vegetarian establishment specialising in 100% organic food, and will happily cater for vegans. And, each room is equipped with a yoga mat and free Wi-Fi! Boxhagener Str., 83
Be sure to download the Happy Cow app or use The Green V Directory to see the best vegan places in the city. It’s easy to get around on public transport so if you want to see another part of the city it won’t be an issue for you. I was lucky enough to be staying in the cool Alexanderplatz area, and there were plenty of places to grab some vegan food on the go. Oh, and don’t worry about your caffeine fix, everywhere offers a soya option – perfect if you’re not a fan of black coffee!
Getting to Berlin
Skyscanner.net is your best option for a reasonably-priced flight. As with many European cities, there are two airports: Berlin Schönefeld (which typically deals with budget airlines) and the main Berlin Tegel Airport. From Berlin Schönefeld, take the Airport Express Train which will take 30 minutes to get to the city’s central train station – Hauptbahnhof, with several district stops on the way. From Berlin Tegel it is only 5 miles into the centre of the city, so you can either take a taxi or one of the four bus options, depending on where you are staying. Take the TXL bus if you are heading to Alexanderplatz (eastern Berlin), the 109 if you are going to the west of the city, the X9 takes almost the same route as the 109 but is more direct, the 128 will take you to the northern part of the city.
This article, written by Rachida Brocklehurst, was first published in Vegan Food and Living Magazine.