Thriving as a vegan in Montenegro: Tips and tricks (it’s possible!)

Traveling can broaden your perspectives, introduce you to new cultures, and challenge your dietary preferences. Especially when you’re a vegan, finding food that fits your lifestyle might seem daunting. However, how to survive as a vegan in Montenegro is not only a question but a delightful challenge that can be met with enthusiasm and a bit of pre-planning.

Nestled on the Adriatic coast, Montenegro is a blend of natural beauty and historical charm. For vegans, it may require some creativity to dine out, but it’s a small compromise for the adventure that awaits. Let’s explore how you can thrive in this Balkan gem while sticking to your plant-based diet.

Is it possible to be vegan in Montenegro?

On first glance, Montenegrin cuisine, with its Mediterranean and Eastern European influences, might seem heavy on dairy and seafood. However, the region’s abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains means that thriving as a vegan in Montenegro is absolutely achievable. From local markets bursting with organic produce to a slowly growing number of vegan-friendly options, you’ll find that with a little research and flexibility, your vegan lifestyle can continue to flourish here.

Eating vegan in Montenegro requires some ingenuity. When dining out, don’t hesitate to ask the chef to modify dishes. Many traditional meals can be adapted to fit a plant-based diet, and most restaurants are accommodating once they understand your dietary restrictions.

Moreover, the trend of healthy living has touched Montenegro too, making it more common to find dishes that cater to vegans. While the vegan community is still small, it’s a tight-knit one, and social media groups can be a goldmine for personalized advice and hidden gems.

Finding vegan restaurants in Montenegro

Although Montenegro isn’t known for a vast selection of vegan restaurants, the capital city of Podgorica boasts a few spots that cater to plant-based diets. There are also international cuisines, like Italian and Indian, offering inherently vegan or easily customizable dishes.

When looking for a place to eat, use apps and websites dedicated to vegan and vegetarian restaurants, such as HappyCow. Additionally, keep an eye out for places with “Zdrava Hrana” (healthy food) signs, which often indicate vegetarian-friendly options.

Remember, even if a restaurant doesn’t explicitly advertise vegan options, don’t be shy to converse with the staff. They may be willing to whip up a vegan dish on request, providing a chance to enjoy local Montenegrin hospitality.

Here is a video showcasing some vegan food options available in Montenegro. Take inspiration from the dishes you see here and don’t hesitate to ask for similar creations when dining out:

Shopping for vegan groceries

For a more hands-on approach, consider preparing your own meals. Larger supermarkets, like Iper, and health food stores provide a variety of vegan staples such as plant milk, tofu, and meat substitutes.

Exploring local markets is also essential. There, you can find an array of fresh, local produce to create nutritious and flavorful meals. Plus, markets are a great place to interact with locals and learn about Montenegrin cooking techniques you can use in your vegan recipes.

When shopping, don’t forget to look for “bez animalnih proizvoda” (without animal products) on labels and familiarize yourself with some local terms for common vegan ingredients. This will make your vegan grocery shopping in Montenegro much easier.

Cooking your own vegan meals

Staying in accommodations with kitchen access, like an Airbnb, can be a game-changer for vegans in Montenegro. Cooking at home allows you to experiment with local ingredients and ensure that your meals are entirely plant-based.

Look for traditional recipes that are naturally vegan or can be easily adapted. For example, Ajvar (a roasted red pepper spread) is vegan and pairs wonderfully with fresh bread. Also, consider preparing hearty vegetable stews or using grains like buckwheat to create satisfying meals.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with the seasonal produce. Montenegro’s climate yields a bountiful harvest, providing an excellent opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables. Make use of the local olives, citrus fruits, and herbs to add a Montenegrin twist to your dishes.

Vegan-friendly towns and cities

While Podgorica is making strides in vegan-friendly dining, other cities are also worth exploring. The coastal town of Bar, for example, offers a blend of local and international cuisine with potential vegan options.

Coastal areas, thanks to their tourist-driven economies, often have more diverse dining options, including vegan or vegetarian-friendly menus. Whether you’re in Kotor, Budva, or Ulcinj, you’ll likely encounter eateries that understand and cater to your dietary needs.

Small towns might present more of a challenge, but they also afford the chance to immerse yourself in Montenegrin culture. Friendly discussions with locals can lead to discovering the best places for fresh, vegan ingredients, and sometimes, even a home-cooked meal.

Tips for surviving as a vegan traveler

Here are some additional tips to ensure your vegan journey in Montenegro is both enjoyable and stress-free:

  • Learn key phrases in Montenegrin to communicate your dietary preferences.
  • Carry snacks like nuts and fruit for those times when vegan options are scarce.
  • Reach out to local vegan groups on social media for advice and company.
  • Always have a backup plan, such as a packed meal or knowledge of where to shop for groceries.
  • Embrace the adventure – every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Being a vegan in Montenegro might require a bit of extra planning, but it is a rewarding experience that aligns well with a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. Enjoy the stunning scenery, the warm people, and the joy of discovering new ways to maintain your vegan diet. Every meal is a chance to create a new memory and share the beauty of being a vegan traveler. So, venture out, explore, and let Montenegro surprise you with its hidden vegan delights!