Taking a trip to Vienna was a very special experience for me because it's the hometown of my grandpa and his sisters. They lived in the city center until their early teens when, like something out of a horror movie, they heard news of the Nazis impending invasion of Austria. My great grandparents shuffled their three children onto a midnight train out of Austria just before Hitler's army occupied their city, and that was the last time my grandpa and great aunts saw their parents, their childhood home, their friends, their city. My great grandparents were later killed in a concentration camp but my grandfather and great aunts managed to flee Europe and start a new life in the US. I've dreamt of visiting Austria since I was a little girl, so finally being able to walk the same streets my relatives did was simultaneously exciting and depressing. Imagining them fleeing everything they had ever known in the middle of the night, passing by the same buildings I marveled at during my visit, colored my trip with empathy for my relatives and the other victims of the Holocaust. My grandpa's sister, the only one of the siblings still alive today, looks back on her hometown with a tangled knot of emotions: nostalgia, sadness, adoration. I know it meant a lot to her that I was able to visit and explore the same streets she did nearly eighty years ago.Today, Vienna is a beautiful, artistic, clean city. It's picture perfect exterior leaves no reminders of the terror that existed there so many decades ago. Now, it's home to friendly locals, cozy cafes, and a thriving vegan scene. Vienna, Austria was one of my favorite cities on my trip and I highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Europe!
VEGAN PASTRIES. Really...need I say more? Gradwohl Vollkornbäckerei in Vienna's Naschmarkt offers clearly labeled vegan pastries (can I get a hell yeah!?). My favorites were a cranberry filled sweet pastry and a cinnamon and nut covered croissant. I have a weakness for vegan croissants, and Gradwohl definitely delivered. This place is a must eat!
Naschmarkt Stand 239, 1040 Vienna, Austria
You can't go to Austria without trying a bratwurst, and Kimbodogs has got the vegans of Vienna covered with their plant based hot dogs. This food truck makes it's rounds around Vienna, but we managed to catch it at Museumquartiers after spending several hours wandering around MUMOK, the city's modern art museum. My friend and I split the Rocket Man, a vegan bratwurst (which seemed like it was made up primarily of sweet potato) sandwiched between a pretzel bun and topped with arugula, seeded mustard, and pickled red onions. Yummmmm!
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Home to 120 food and fruit stands, Vienna's Naschmarkt is a colorful, vibrant culinary scene with a variety of foods for everyone. From falafel, to Vietnamese, to vegan pastries, and Italian, no one leaves the Naschmarkt hungry. Stop by early in the morning and grab some local produce to snack on during your day, or meet friends for a beer at one of the sidewalk cafes. The Naschmarkt was one of my favorite things to see in Vienna, for its exuberant energy, good food, and their Saturday flea market.
Weinzel, 1060 Wien
Swing Kitchen is a busy American style burger joint with a variety of vegan burgers, wraps, and desserts. It's got a fun, casual vibe with friendly staff and, most importantly, delicious food. We loved this spot so much that we went back several times to taste test different menu items! The Swing Burger with cheese added was a winner for both of us, as was the chocolate-dipped soft serve cone. The tiramisu, on the other hand, tasted oddly like vodka and isn't something I'd recommend. When you pay Swing Kitchen a visit, make sure to go all out and get a burger, fries, one of their elderberry flower sodas, and a soft serve for dessert. Sounds like a lot but you seriously won't regret it!
Schottenfeldgasse 3, 1070 Wien, Austria
Other notable eateries
Bio-Pizzeria Vero: Vegan friendly pizza joint on the outskirts of Vienna. They have two different plant-based pies available, along with a number of salads. Good pizza but only go if you happen to be in the area.