It’s only natural I wanted to spend my 12th veganniversary in Berlin—it’s a vegan paradise, and I wanted to step inside one of its fully-vegan grocery stores! In fact, several European cities have them, which makes me wonder why even vegan-friendly U.S. cities, like my home, Los Angeles, are lagging behind in this area. But I digress.
While travel guides that you find online or in books are helpful for finding activities and sightseeing destinations, these inevitably focus on the traditional cuisine of the area (read: non-vegan). To be clear, vegans can make it work at any restaurant, but it’s way more fun to indulge in the local vegan treats. So I customize my own itinerary with the best from the travel guides (museums, parks, etc.) plus the best vegan fare to be found on Yelp, Foursquare, and Instagram. And because the world needs more vegan travel guides in the world, I’m sharing my custom guide to Berlin with you.
Note that my husband and I booked an AirBnB right in the heart of Prenzlauerberg, humming with young families on bikes and lots of vegan options. We arrived Thursday night and left Monday morning (with a Vego bar in hand).
open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm
Order a quick bite to eat at the counter and grab a seat at Goodies, a small extension to the well-known vegan grocery store, Veganz. Here, you can have a breakfast sandwich, or like me, sip on chai and nibble on both a chocolate chip cookie AND a Chewbacca cookie!
open Mon-Sat 8am-9pm
Veganz has vegan versions of everything from gummy bears to condoms. Pick up any staples you’re missing. We got extra sunscreen and snacks.
Boutique Shopping: Dear Goods
open Mon-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 11am-6pm
Next door to Veganz and Goodies are a couple of vegan boutiques. At Dear Goods, I got my first Matt & Nat bag in a perfect cream shade adorably named “tofu.” It’s even shaped like a block of tofu. I also got an oversized sweater in a print featuring origami dachshunds—how could I not?
Shoe Browsing: Avesu
Step right over to the next shop and find some really fantastic pairs of vegan loafers, sneakers, and boots. Nae’s cork shoes contrasted with black embroidery were particularly stunning.
Lunch: vego Foodworld
open Mon-Sun Noon-11pm
Vego is vegan casual dining with cute vegan slogans, stickers, and stenciling on the walls. They have a colorful and instantly recognizable logo, featured on the packaging of their signature chocolate bars with hazelnuts. Their burgers have flavor profiles to make your taste buds sing, but you may want to try their vegan version of the local signature dish, curry wurst. A yummy marriage of cultures, curry wurst is German sausage in a tomato-based sauce and, of course, curry, served with French fries.
Site-seeing: Museum in der Kulturbrauerei
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 10am-6pm, Thu 10am-8pm
This history museum has interactive displays and videos that let you experience the daily lives of people in the DDR. You can view a recreated kitchen or store of the period. You’ll learn about brave artists who self-published their writing and music in spite of government censorship. Entrance to the museum is free and features text in both English and German. It’s housed in a plaza with a pool hall and a poetry center. There’s a sweet photo-op by the huge sculpture of the word LIEBE (LOVE).
Dinner: Cat Tuong
open Mon-Fri noon-11pm, Sat-Sun 1pm-11pm
Vietnamese, all-vegan. Flip the menu over and you’ll find the items listed in both English and German. We had udon with tofu and veggies in a bamboo steamer. After, you can get a nightcap at nearby Café Morgenrot, a vegan café and bar, and/or have brunch there the next day.
open Mon-Sun 9:30am-6pm
Stop by the small building with a timeline of key historical events on display. You can see parts of the wall memorialized across the street. Note there is a church nearby with an interesting history as well. It now serves the children in the community and has the church bells out by the lawn, encased in a wooden frame. It takes several people to ring them, and it is a special treat to see as well as hear them chime.
Elsewhere in Berlin, you’ll find additional sections of the wall covered in murals that are breathtakingly poignant.
Brunch: Café Morgenrot
open Tue-Thu 9am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-3am, Sun 11am-midnight
A vegan café and bar. Their brunch menu features vegan quiche!!!
Pure Fun: Computerspielemuseum
open Mon-Thu, Sun 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat 10am-9pm
It’s incredible that this video game museum was not on any travel guides I saw. We discovered this gem on a flyer at the Museum in der Kulturbrauerei. The Computerspielmuseum does more than detail the history of video games—you can also feel like a kid in an arcade, because, well, it is an arcade. Take your shoes off and climb aboard a jumbo-sized joystick to play Pac Man. Enjoy other games like Super Mario Bros or Sonic the Hedgehog in fully recreated period rooms, beanbags and all. What’s not to love?
Mon-Thu noon-11pm, Fri noon-midnight, Sat 1pm-midnight, Sun 1pm-11pm
This vegan Vietnamese restaurant is in an intricate and cute little street intersection. We sat outside on wooden tables, admiring the stunning theater building across the street.
open 10am – 6pm
This gallery features an eclectic set of exhibits of contemporary and experimental art. The space itself is fun to explore, with a modern, crisscrossing staircase.
Romantic Dinner: Kopps
open Mon-Fri 6pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 9:30am-4pm and 6pm-10pm
Come here if you want vegan fine dining. Here we celebrated my veganniversary, and the food did not disappoint. I haven’t stopped dreaming of those mushrooms and dumplings, so creamy and savory, or the hollandaise-like sauce that came with the asparagus and sweet potatoes.
And—always late to the party—I finally tried my first raindrop cake. Plated like artwork, with florets of raspberry sherbet, vegan cream, and some kind of crumble. I was not disappointed.
Vegan macarons were also included!
Breakfast: Atti’s Café
Not an all-vegan café, but you can order your favorite drink with non-dairy milk and ask which pastries are vegan. I had their vegan bite-sized chocolate chip muffins.
open Mon, Wed-Sun 10am-5pm
Fans of mid-century modern design will not want to leave Berlin without visiting Bauhaus. They feature exhibits by contemporary designers associated with the foundation. Their gift shop offers well-designed puzzle games and even furniture for purchase.
Lunch: Vegan Tiger
This is a tiny place next to a gift shop/bookshop, which faces state park, Helmholtzplatz. Sitting outside Vegan Tiger, you’ll see young couples pushing their strollers and walking their dogs, or friends meeting up for a chat. If you’re anything like me, this is the time and place to get some quick energy from a smoothie and/or a small dish made with fresh ingredients before the jet lag takes over. There’s no shame going back to your room for a nap before dinner.
We caught the last presentation of the day, given only in German, so if this happens to you, and your German isn’t the best, know that you can still recline your chair, look up at the sky, and enjoy the visual experience. We may or may not have caught a few winks, too.
Vegan Pizza for Lunch: Sfizy Veg
open Mon, Thu-Sun 5pm-11pm
Traditional Italian pizza—and vegan. Can’t really lose with that combination. Sfizy also has vegan versions of Italian desserts, such as tiramisu.
A Note on Getting Around Berlin
Berlin has a metro system of trains and buses. You can download their app, BVG, for info and to purchase tickets. Lyft is also available.
Do you live in Berlin, or have you been there? What would you add to this guide?
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Photo: Estella Ramirez