Ideas for travel with vegetarian husband

Hi everyone! My husband has never travelled to Europe, and is asking me to plan a trip for his 50th birthday. I have been to England, Paris, and most recently to Italy. I am debating whether to do Germany, Switzerland, and Ausrtia, or go back to places I have enjoyed in the past. The trip will likely be in early Fall, for 2-3 weeks. Complicating matters is that hubby dear is vegetarian. I know he would have no trouble eating very well in Italy, and that in England we would have no trouble reading menus to find things that are appropriate for him. I am concerned about finding vegetarian options in other places. Can anyone ease my mind that my husband won't starve on our trip if we head to the east? And if all things are equal would you choose England, Italy, or someplace new to both of us? Thanks,
Angela

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

As long as he's not a vegan, 3 of Switzerland's national dishes should be OK- rösti (although they sometimes cook it in bacon fat, yum!), raclette and of course, kässefondue. My experience with eating meatless at German restaurants (I'm not a vegetarian, BTW, and nothing is going to make me give up eating the artery-clogging glory that is Schweinhaxe!), is that the menu may not have a specific listing of vegetarian items, but there usually are at least one or two meatless items on the menu. It will usually be something like cheese spätzel, dumpings with mushrooms, etc. And early fall is a great time to visit all three of these countries. The temperatures are mild, and statistically, it's the driest time of the year. Doesn't mean it won't rain, but probably won't rain as much.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4762 posts

I was a vegetarian for over 7 years while living in Germany, and never had a problem with finding delicious meals. Most restaurants will offer several different menu choices that are specifically made for vegetarians, or you can put together a meal from side dishes. Being Vegan in Germany is quite popular right now too, so I really doubt if you will have a hard time. Think of all the potato dishes, or noodles or spätzle. Lots of mushroom dishes will be on offer in the fall, chanterelle or oyster mushrooms being very popular. All of the cruciferous veggies, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, or Brussel sprouts will be on the menus. Leeks are big, and add in the regular veggies like carrots, tomatoes and tomato sauces, eggplants, zucchini, peas, green beans, corn and salads. Lentil soup and pea soups are popular, but you might have to check to see if they have bacon in them. Pumpkin soup is extremely popular. Even things like pizza or pasta are widely available without meat. Pasta arabiata, or spinach pizza are 2 favorites.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

The Swiss and Germans are very health-conscious, and every place we have eaten there had vegetarian options on the menu, generally pasta or pizza, but often nice soups and salads too.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

Agree with Jo... I was not eating any meat on a few trips and had no problems finding plenty of veggies and the carbs that I love.
As for where to travel...I really think someplace that is new for both of you would be the most exciting. Sometimes if you return to a location that you love, its not the same. If I travel with someone who has already visited a place I sometimes get weary of hearing what happened on the last trip. I like to discover things for myself and think it would be great to make all new memories together.

Posted by Angela
Vancouver, Wa, Usa
233 posts

Thanks for all the replies! Good point about doing the "same trip"... There are many places in both Italy and England that I haven't been to, and would certainly have added enough new places to make the trip unique for both of us. I haven't been to Cinque Terre or Naples/Pompeii which is high on my must-be-seen list. I'd also love to see a bit of Wales and/or Scotland and the Lake District. Hubby dear dreams of seeing the Swiss alps (me not so much), while I've always dreamed of seeing Germany and Austria. How is the weather in Switzerland in early fall?

Posted by Betty
Missouri City
201 posts

Germany, Switzerland and/or Austria will have plenty of good food that your husband can eat. Most good guide books will include a section on food and drink with translations.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2892 posts

Also, check happycow.net for vegetarian-friendly restaurants.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

I'd also suggest familiarizing yourselves with the various names of meat (pork, chicken, etc.) and meat dishes in Italian, German, and/or French, so that your husband knows what to avoid on menus. Does he eat seafood? My sister is a vegetarian and I don't eat much meat, so for our recent Paris trip she brought a small "foodie" book with French and English descriptions of a lot of different dishes, so she'd know what not to order.

Posted by Angela
Great Lakes Region, Michigan, USA
81 posts

The only place that seemed a bit of a challenge was maybe Prague unless we were at an Italian restaurant. My vegetarian son lived in Germany for study abroad and it was easier for him to eat there than in some places in the US. Your husband will not starve.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1558 posts

My aunt and uncle have been vegetarians for fifty years, yes you read that right. They have traveled all over Europe and never had a problem. Their days of going to Europe are sadly over but just want you to know it can be done.

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
2374 posts

My wife is a vegetarian, I am not, and we have no trouble in just about any country or restaurant. It is greatly helped though in that she includes eggs and dairy in her diet, as well as seafood. Probably what may be more difficult to determine is if a dish is made with a little chicken stock or other slight meat products (bacon fat or something for flavor). Not all restaurants will indicate Vegetarian or Vegan on the menu so you do take a bit of a chance, especially if there is a language barrier. But as long as he is somewhat tolerant, there should be no issue.

Posted by Deb
Sioux Falls, SD
98 posts

Go on the Rick Steves' Graffiti Wall too. Under Dietary Restrictions, there are other postings about eating vegan, vegetarian and gluten free in Europe. You should find some additional links and information there.