Vegan Travel Barcelona: The Complete Guide In 2024

Published on July 1, 2024

Welcome To Barcelona, Spain! 

Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, is one of Spain’s most captivating cities. Nestled along the northeastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, it lies along the Mediterranean Sea, which provides a beautiful coastal setting. To the northeast, it is bordered by the Serra de Collserola mountain range and is approximately 75 miles south of the French border. 

The city’s rich cultural tapestry is woven from its deep-rooted traditions, bustling markets like La Boqueria, and a lively arts scene showcased in venues like the Picasso Museum. Visitors can stroll down the famous La Rambla, relax on the golden sands of Barceloneta Beach, or indulge in the culinary delights of Catalan cuisine. 

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    Welcome To Your Vegan Travel Guide Barcelona

    Here is your ultimate vegan food guide to Barcelona.

    In recent years, Barcelona has emerged as a haven for vegan food enthusiasts. It is often referred to as an easy destination for vegans with an abundance of places to wine and dine around the city. 

    The culinary landscape has expanded to include various vegan restaurants, cafes, and markets, making it easier to enjoy delicious plant-based meals.

    Barcelona is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors annually.

    Here are some reasons why Barcelona is considered vegan-friendly:

    1. Abundance of Vegan Restaurants: There are numerous vegan and vegetarian restaurants throughout the city, offering a wide range of cuisines, from traditional Catalan dishes to international flavors.

    2. Vegan-Friendly Markets: Barcelona has several markets and grocery stores catering to vegans, including organic and health food stores where plant-based products can be found.

    3. Vegan Options in Traditional Restaurants: Many Spanish restaurants have started offering vegan options to accommodate the growing demand.

    4. Specialty Cafes and Bakeries: Vegan cafes and bakeries offer plant-based versions of popular treats, including pastries, cakes, and ice cream.

    5. Events and Festivals: Barcelona hosts vegan festivals and events, such Vegan Fest, attracting locals and tourists.

    6. Supportive Community: The city has an active vegan community, with online forums, social media groups, and meetups that can provide recommendations and support for vegan travellers.

    7. Eco-Friendly and Health-Conscious City: Barcelona’s emphasis on sustainability and healthy living aligns well with veganism, making finding eco-friendly and health-conscious dining options easier.

    A Brief History Of Spanish Cuisine

    Pre-Roman & Roman Influence

    The Iberians and Celts, the early inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula, laid the foundation of Spanish cuisine with their agricultural practices, growing olives, grapes, and wheat. When the Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula, they introduced new ingredients and culinary techniques, such as olive oil, wine production, and wheat cultivation, which became staples in the Spanish diet.

    Moorish Rule

    The Moors from North Africa conquered parts of Spain, profoundly impacting Spanish cuisine. They introduced ingredients like rice, almonds, citrus fruits, and spices such as saffron, cumin, and cinnamon. The Moors also brought new irrigation techniques, which improved agriculture. Many iconic Spanish dishes, like paella and rice dishes, have roots in Moorish cuisine.

    Age of Exploration

    Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas in 1492 significantly impacted Spanish cuisine. New ingredients such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, chocolate, and vanilla were brought to Spain, revolutionising the culinary landscape. 

    20th Century & Modern Influence

    The Spanish Civil War and the subsequent Franco regime brought economic hardship and food shortages, affecting culinary traditions. Despite these challenges, traditional Spanish cuisine persisted. In the latter half of the 20th century, Spain underwent significant economic development, leading to a resurgence and modernisation of its culinary traditions. Spanish cuisine’s evolution is a testament to the country’s rich history and cultural exchanges.

    Catalan Cuisine

    Originating from the region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain, Catalan cuisine is renowned for its rich and diverse flavours, traditional cooking techniques, and use of high-quality local ingredients. It reflects a blend of Mediterranean influences and Catalonia’s cultural heritage. Barcelona is at the heart of Catalonia, and its traditional cuisine is a major draw for visitors. 

    Catalan Cuisine

    • Fresh, Local Ingredients: including fresh vegetables, seafood, meats, and fruits.
    • Olive Oil: used for frying, dressing salads, and as a base for many dishes.
    • Garlic and Tomato: essential ingredients in many recipes, often forming the base of sauces.
    • Herbs and Spices: Common herbs and spices include parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, and saffron.
    • Nuts and Dried Fruits: almonds, pine nuts, and raisins are frequently incorporated into savoury and sweet dishes. 

    Fasting During Religious Holidays

    Fasting has various cultural and religious dimensions in Spain. Orthodox Christianity also has a small presence, mainly due to immigration from Eastern Europe. However, fasting for religious reasons in Barcelona is no longer as common as it once was. 

    Cooking Methods In Spanish Cuisine

    Sautéing and Stir-Frying (Sofrito): Sofrito is a foundational technique in Spanish cooking in which onions, garlic, and tomatoes are sautéed in olive oil. This method is often the base for many dishes, including stews, rice, and soups. Sofrito is also the base for paella and many other traditional dishes.

    Grilling (A la Parrilla): Grilling over an open flame or charcoal, commonly used for meats, fish, and vegetables. 

    Stewing (Guiso): Slow-cooking ingredients in a pot with liquid (broth, wine, or water) to create rich, hearty stews. This method is common for both meat and vegetable stews. 

    Baking (Hornear): Baking in the oven, a method used for a wide range of dishes, including bread, pastries, and casseroles. Traditional Spanish baked goods include empanadas and various types of bread.

    Frying (Freír): Frying in oil is a popular technique for savoury and sweet dishes. It is commonly used for tapas such as croquetas (croquettes), churros, and patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce).

    Simmering (Cocer a Fuego Lento): Simmering over low heat is often used to prepare soups, broths, and sauces.

    Paella Cooking (Paellera): Cooking paella in a wide, shallow pan over an open flame or stovetop. This method ensures even cooking and allows the rice to develop a crusty bottom known as socarrat.

    Pickling (Escabeche): Marinating and preserving food in vinegar and spices. This method adds flavour and extends the shelf life of ingredients.

    Vegan Food Barcelona

    Barcelona offers a vibrant and diverse vegan food scene with something to suit every taste, from traditional dishes to innovative modern cuisine.

    Street Food and Tapas

    Patatas Bravas: Fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce. They are often found at many tapas bars around Barcelona. Make sure to check if the sauce is vegan.

    Vegan Pintxos: Many bars in Barcelona offer vegan pintxos (small snacks), including combinations like roasted vegetables, hummus, and marinated mushrooms on bread.

    Vegan Croquetas: Various bars and restaurants offer vegan versions of croquetas, traditionally filled with ingredients like mushrooms or spinach.

    Markets & Cafes

    Chök: A famous doughnut shop with vegan options, perfect for a sweet treat while exploring the city.

    La Besnéta: A vegan bakery offering a variety of cakes, cookies, and other baked goods.

    Spanish cuisine is rich and diverse, incorporating various ingredients contributing to its distinct flavors. Many traditional Spanish dishes include non-vegan ingredients that vegans must be mindful of when travelling the region. 

    Here are some commonly found non-vegan ingredients in Spanish cuisine:

    Jamón (Ham): Jamón Ibérico and Jamón Serrano are cured hams that are staples in Spanish cuisine. 

    Chorizo: A type of pork sausage flavoured with paprika, garlic, and other spices, used in stews, soups, and tapas.

    Bacalao (Salt Cod): Salted and dried cod is a key ingredient in many traditional dishes, such as bacalao a la vizcaína.

    Pulpo (Octopus): Commonly used in dishes like pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus).

    Queso (Cheese): Manchego: A popular cheese made from sheep’s milk, often served as tapas or dessert.

    Queso Fresco: Fresh cheese used in salads and various dishes.

    Crema (Cream): Used in desserts and savoury dishes.

    Mantequilla (Butter): Used in cooking and baking.

    Huevos (Eggs): These are used in cooking, baking, and making popular breakfast dishes. 

    Gambas (Shrimp): Used in various tapas, rice dishes, and soups.

    Calamares (Squid): Often fried as calamari or used in stews and rice dishes like paella.

    Must Try Vegan Dishes In Barcelona

    Spanish cuisine offers a variety of “accidentally” vegan dishes, meaning they are traditionally made without any animal products. Here are some of these dishes:

    Gazpacho: A cold tomato-based soup that includes tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and bread. It’s a refreshing dish often enjoyed in the summer.

    Salmorejo: This is similar to gazpacho but thicker. It is made with tomatoes, bread, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. Just ensure it is served without the usual hard-boiled egg and ham topping.

    Pan con Tomate: Toasted bread rubbed with ripe tomato garlic and drizzled with olive oil. It’s a simple yet flavorful tapa.

    Pisto: A Spanish ratatouille made with tomatoes, onions, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers. It’s usually cooked in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

    Patatas Bravas: Fried potato chunks served with a spicy tomato sauce. Ensure the sauce is made without mayonnaise or any dairy products.

    Espinacas con Garbanzos: A traditional Andalusian dish made with spinach and chickpeas, often cooked with garlic, paprika, and cumin.

    Alcachofas a la Plancha: Artichokes grilled with olive oil, garlic, and salt.

    Aceitunas: Various marinated olives are commonly served as tapas.

    Dining Out In Barcelona

    Breakfast (Desayuno)

    Breakfast is often simple and light, involving a coffee (café con leche) and a pastry such as a croissant or a slice of toast with tomato (pa amb tomàquet). Churros with hot chocolate can also be a popular choice. Breakfast is often a quick meal at home or a local café.

    Mid-Morning Snack (Almuerzo)

    Typically enjoyed between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., this light snack consists of small sandwiches (bocadillos), fruit, or pastries, often accompanied by coffee.

    Lunch (Comida)

    The main meal of the day is taken between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. It is typically a three-course affair, starting with a light salad or soup, then a protein-based dish with vegetables, and ending with dessert or fruit. Lunch is a significant social event and often lasts an hour or more, especially on weekends. Many businesses close for a couple of hours to accommodate this meal.

    Afternoon Snack (Merienda)

    Another time to enjoy pastries, sandwiches, or tapas, usually accompanied by coffee or hot chocolate, is before the main meal, usually much later in the evening. 

    Dinner (Cena)

    In Spain, having dinner between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. is common. However, this meal is usually much lighter than lunch; for example, tapas, salads, or an omelette are popular choices. Dinner is a later affair than in other cultures and is often enjoyed at home or in restaurants with friends and family.

    Spanish Tapas

    Tapas are small savoury dishes commonly served in bars and cafes across Spain. They can include simple snacks like olives and nuts or elaborate dishes.

    Here are some examples of vegan tapas:

    Patatas Bravas: Fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce. Ensure the sauce is vegan.

    Pan con Tomate: Toasted bread rubbed with ripe tomato garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

    Aceitunas: Various marinated olives.

    Pimientos de Padrón: Small green peppers, fried and sprinkled with sea salt.

    Escalivada: Grilled vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers, and onions.

    Gazpacho: A cold tomato-based soup made with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar.

    Espinacas con Garbanzos: Spinach and chickpeas cooked with garlic, paprika, and cumin.

    Alcachofas a la Plancha: Grilled artichokes with olive oil, garlic, and salt.


    Barcelona’s coffee culture is integral to daily life and is characterised by its social and leisurely approach.

    A strong espresso called Café Solo is a good choice for vegan coffee lovers!

    Here are the most popular types of coffee in the region:

    Café Solo: A strong espresso, typically enjoyed quickly at the bar.

    Café con Leche: Equal parts espresso and steamed milk, popular for breakfast. Plant-based milk is now an available choice in most cafes. 

    Cortado: Espresso with a small amount of milk to reduce acidity.

    In Barcelona, it is common for people to start their day with a quick espresso or café con leche, often paired with a pastry.

    Coffee breaks are social events, with people gathering in cafés for mid-morning or afternoon coffee. The city has various cafés, from traditional bars to modern specialty coffee shops. 


    Barcelona, located in Catalonia, is renowned for its vibrant wine culture.

    Check for labels and certifications indicating vegan-friendly production when looking for vegan wines.

    Many wine shops and bars in Barcelona are knowledgeable and can help guide you to vegan options.

    Cava: A sparkling wine, mainly produced in the Penedès region near Barcelona. It’s often enjoyed during celebrations and meals.

    Priorat: A robust red wine from the Priorat region, known for its intense flavours and high quality.

    Penedès Wines: Known for white and red wines, the Penedès region produces wines using local and international grape varieties.

    Wine Bars & Tours

    Barcelona boasts numerous wine bars (bodegas) offering extensive selections of local and international wines. Some popular spots include Bar del Pla, La Vinya del Senyor, and Monvinic.

    Many tours take you to nearby wine regions like Penedès, where you can visit vineyards and wineries to learn about wine production and enjoy tastings.

    Wine Festivals

    Barcelona Wine Week is an annual event that showcases the best wines from Catalonia and other regions of Spain, featuring tastings, workshops, and industry exhibitions.

    Vegan Restaurants In Barcelona

    Barcelona has a vibrant vegan food scene with dedicated restaurants and cafes offering diverse plant-based menus.

    There are so many places to choose from that you will be spoilt for choice in the city!

    Being vegan in Barcelona is easy – the hard part is choosing where to go!


    A family-owned vegan cafe focusing on brunch and coffee, it’s the perfect spot for vegan pancakes or smoothie bowls. 

    Blu Bar

    Open since 2019, this 100% vegan restaurant serves delicious plant-based dishes, including pizza, salads, tapas, and juice. Best sellers include oven-cooked patatas bravas, nachos with house-made “cheddar” sauce, and the famous Blu Bar veggie burger. 


    Asian-inspired vegan cuisine that is a fusion of flavours! The diverse menu serves everything from oishi broccoli to gyozas and pad thai. Be sure to check out the plant-based desserts, which include a vegan cheesecake and a chocolate cake. 


    A wonderful kitchen and bar that is a great option to try some modern tapas including artichoke flower, grilled avocado, Velada bravas and teriyaki skewers. In addition to the tapas menu, there are several international dishes, including burgers and salads. 


    A unique and intimate dining experience with a fixed-price menu. Enjoy seasonal produce across the four-course menu, which includes a selection of different dishes you can choose—the ideal place for a special dinner and a nice glass of wine.


    Fresh juice, coffee, cocktails, milkshakes and a fantastic selection of vegan meals, plus it’s dog-friendly! Ideal for lunch with everything from vegan wraps, bowls, kebabs, sandwiches and burgers!

    The Vegan Corner

    A popular cafe and bakery with delicious vegan pastries and sandwiches. Stop by for a coffee and a croissant, or try the vegan omelette for breakfast. Spanish hot chocolate and churros are also on the menu! 

    Vegan Mount

    Specialising in vegan Nepali and Indian cuisine, Vegan Mount has an incredible menu. Try the seitan momos or the vegetable thali set with rice, curry and bread.

    Best Time To Travel Barcelona

    The best time to visit Barcelona depends on what you are looking for in your trip. Still, generally, the most favourable periods are from late spring to early summer (May to June) and early fall (September to October). 

    Late spring and early fall are generally considered the most pleasant times to experience the city’s vibrant culture, beautiful architecture, and Mediterranean charm.



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