Vegan Travel In Portugal: The Complete Guide In 2024

Published on May 1, 2024

Portugal, nestled on the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, is a captivating blend of rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. As one of the oldest nations in Europe, Portugal boasts a heritage steeped in maritime exploration. 

From the enchanting cobblestone streets of Lisbon to the sun-kissed beaches of the Algarve, Portugal offers a tapestry of experiences for travellers. With its delectable cuisine, renowned wines, and warm hospitality, Portugal welcomes visitors to discover its charm and allure at every turn.

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    Welcome To Your Vegan Travel Guide Portugal

    Here is your ultimate vegan food guide to Portugal, where plant-based cuisine meets the rich culinary traditions of this vibrant country.

    Portugal offers a growing array of vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes, and eateries waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a passionate vegan, a curious foodie, or simply looking to discover new flavours, you’ll find something to delight your taste buds in every corner.

    Join us as we uncover traditional cuisine and celebrate Portugal’s vibrant hospitality culture.

    A Brief History Of Portuguese Cuisine

    While Portugal’s culinary landscape may appear meat and seafood-centric at first glance, many accidentally vegan options are waiting to be explored. From iconic pastries to beloved street snacks and traditional dishes, vegan travellers and food enthusiasts can delight in Portuguese cuisine’s diverse and surprising offerings.

    Ancient Roots

    Portuguese cuisine has deep roots in ancient agricultural practices dating back to pre-Roman times. Staple foods such as wheat, olive oil, wine, and seafood were central to early settlers’ diet.

    Roman Influence

    The Roman period lasted from the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE. This included cultivating grains, fruits, and vegetables and introducing olive oil and wine production.

    Moorish Rule

    Portugal was under Moorish rule from the 8th to the 13th centuries, significantly impacting its cuisine. The Moors introduced new ingredients such as almonds, figs, rice, and spices like cinnamon, saffron, and cumin. 

    Age of Exploration

    The 15th and 16th centuries marked the Age of Exploration, during which Portuguese explorers travelled the world, establishing trade routes and bringing back exotic ingredients from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This period of exploration introduced potatoes, tomatoes, chilli peppers, corn, peanuts, and pineapples to Portuguese cuisine.

    Colonial Legacy

    Portugal’s colonial empire, which included territories in Africa, Asia, and South America, further enriched its culinary landscape. Colonial trade brought spices, fruits, and cooking techniques from Brazil, India, Mozambique, and Goa, influencing traditional Portuguese dishes.

    Regional Diversity

    Portugal’s diverse geography and climate have contributed to various regional cuisines. Each region has its traditional recipes and local ingredients, reflecting the country’s culinary diversity.

    Modernisation and Globalization

    In the 20th and 21st centuries, Portugal experienced modernisation and globalisation, leading to changes in eating habits and culinary trends. While traditional dishes remain popular, there has been a growing interest in fusion cuisine and healthier options, including vegan food. Today, the major cities have become a hub for vegetarian and vegan restaurants so you wont have any issue find a vegan meal in places like Lisbon or Porto. 

    Vegan Food In Portugal

    Portugal’s traditional cuisine heavily features seafood, meat, and dairy.  However, inventive chefs are reimagining classic dishes into delicious vegan versions. 

    For example, “bacalhau à brás,” a codfish-based dish, is recreated using tofu or chickpeas. 

    The abundance of fresh produce makes Portugal a fantastic place to enjoy fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. 

    Portuguese cuisine’s staple ingredients are naturally plant-based, including olive oil, rice, beans, legumes, bread, fresh herbs and spices. 

    When it comes to cooking in Portugal, several commonly used methods are used, such as grilling, stewing, frying, and steaming. You will also find that griddling (Grelhado na Chapa) on a flat hot plate is a popular way to make delicious-filled sandwiches (tostas) and grilled vegetables.

    Portugal’s abundant fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, forms the backbone of vegan cuisine. Farmers markets across the country offer abundant locally sourced ingredients, inspiring chefs and home cooks alike. Produce is seasonal, fresh and delicious. You can find locally sourced ingredients such as oranges, lemons, almonds, plums, grapes, pears, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, garlic, and cabbage. 

    The climate is perfect for cultivating a diverse range of produce year-round. You will be overwhelmed by choice.

    Vegan Dishes You Must Try In Portugal

    Sopa de Legumes

    A simple and comforting vegetable soup made with various seasonal vegetables, potatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs.

    Feijoada Vegetariana

    A vegan version of the traditional Portuguese bean stew, feijoada, is made with beans, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and savoury spices.

    Salada de Polvo

    Octopus salad is a popular dish in Portugal, but a vegan-friendly version can be made using marinated and grilled mushrooms or marinated tofu. It is served with fresh vegetables and a tangy vinaigrette.

    Tofu à Brás

    This is a vegan twist on the classic “bacalhau à brás.” It consists of shredded tofu sautéed with onions, garlic, and thinly sliced potatoes, all bound together with a flavorful mix of olive oil and spices.

    Arroz de Tomate

    A simple and satisfying tomato rice dish with ripe tomatoes, onions, garlic, and rice, cooked until the flavours meld together to create a deliciously savoury and aromatic meal.

    Pão de Alho

    Garlic bread is a popular side dish in Portugal. A vegan version can be easily made using crusty bread, garlic, olive oil, and herbs. It’s perfect for dipping into soups or enjoying on its own.

    Salada de Grão de Bico

    Chickpea salad is a nutritious and versatile dish with cooked chickpeas, diced vegetables, fresh herbs, and a lemon dressing.

    Empadão de Legumes

    A hearty and comforting vegetable pie made with layers of mashed potatoes or root vegetables, sautéed mixed vegetables, and a savoury tomato-based sauce baked until golden.

    Doce de Abóbora

    Pumpkin jam is a popular sweet treat in Portugal. It is made by simmering pumpkin with sugar and spices until spreadable. It is perfect for enjoying on toast or serving with crackers.

    Salada de Frutas

    A refreshing fruit salad made with various seasonal fruits, such as oranges, apples, bananas, strawberries, and grapes, with a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of agave syrup.


    Olives are ubiquitous in Portuguese cuisine, served as appetisers or incorporated into various dishes. 


    Bifana is a popular Portuguese sandwich typically filled with marinated pork. Try finding a vegan version using marinated tofu or seitan.

    Pastéis de Nata

    These delectable custard tarts are a Portuguese staple, and many are surprised to learn that the pastry is often vegan-friendly. While the traditional custard filling contains eggs and milk, some bakeries offer vegan versions without compromising taste. 

    Insider Tip: You can find the vegan version at Vegan Nata in Lisbon! The perfect place for coffee and Portuguese tarts and one of our favourite stops on our getaways to Portugal!

    Non Vegan Ingredients In Portuguese Cuisine


    Given Portugal’s extensive coastline, seafood plays a significant role in its cuisine.


    Pork is particularly prominent in Portuguese cuisine. Chicken and beef are also commonly used in various dishes.

    Dairy Products

    Portuguese cooking frequently incorporates dairy products such as cheese, butter,, and cream. These ingredients are used in a variety of savoury and sweet dishes.


    Eggs are a versatile ingredient in Portuguese cooking. They are featured in dishes like custard tarts (pastéis de nata), egg-based desserts, and savoury dishes such as migas (breadcrumbs with egg).

    Lard and Animal Fats

    Traditional recipes often use lard (toucinho) or other animal fats for cooking and flavouring, especially in classic dishes and traditional pastries.

    Sausages and Cured Meats

    Portuguese cuisine includes various sausages and cured meats, such as chouriço, linguiça, and presunto (similar to ham). These are used in soups, stews, sandwiches, and as accompaniments to cheese and bread.

    Dining Out In Portugal

    Eating out as a vegan in Portugal can be challenging as the vegan diet is often confused with a vegetarian diet. The capital city of Lisbon has seen a significant increase in vegan and vegetarian options in recent years, making it a hotspot for plant-based dining. 


    Breakfast in Portugal depends on regional influence and diet, but it is typically much lighter than the other meals. The meal typically consists of bread, pastries, cereal, fresh fruit, and coffee. It could be enjoyed at home or a local cafe. 

    You might also find that cold cuts of meat or cheese are served as part of the breakfast meal. 


    Coffee plays an important role in the local culture, and the region is known for its love of espresso, locally called “bica” or “café.” It’s a strong, short shot of coffee enjoyed throughout the day, often served in small cups. 

    Portuguese café culture involves more than just drinking coffee; it’s about socialising and enjoying the moment.

    Lunch & Dinner 

    Lunch in Portugal is called Almoço. It is the day’s main meal and consists of numerous courses, including soup, main course, and dessert. Lunch is typically enjoyed with friends or family and work colleagues in a social setting. Dinner in Portugal is lighter than lunch and is sometimes served later in the evening, even after 9:00 p.m. 

    Dinner can also consist of multiple courses, but it tends to be simpler and quicker, for example, sandwiches, soup, or a fresh salad. 


    Desserts such as fruit, pastries, or rice pudding are served as a sweet treat after a meal. Many traditional desserts are not vegan, as they contain eggs and dairy. Try to find vegan gelato, baked goods, sorbets, or fresh seasonal fruit at the local market to enjoy. 


    Portugal boasts an extensive array of indigenous grape varieties, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. The most famous is the Port wine, which is a fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley, often enjoyed as a dessert wine. 

    Vegan wines are also now available, so you can enjoy a glass without worrying about cross contamination.  

    The most famous wine regions include:

    • Douro Valley (Port wine)
    • Vinho Verde (light, crisp white wines)
    • Alentejo (full-bodied reds)
    • Dão (elegant reds and refreshing whites)

    When purchasing wine, check if it is labelled and certified vegan to ensure no animal products are used in the production line. 

    Vegan Restaurants In Portugal

    Major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Faro boast a vibrant vegan food scene with dedicated restaurants and cafes offering diverse plant-based menus. In fact, it is considered relatively easy to be vegan in Lisbon and the demand for vegan options continues to grow especially with regards to tourism in the city. In addition, a number of restaurants and cafes now have vegetarian or vegan options on the menu. 

    However, if you are outside of the major metropolitan areas, it only gets more difficult to find vegan food, but you can always rely on the fresh farmers market and the local produce. 

    Enjoy as many of the vegan spots as you can if you are visiting the cities. 

    The Green Affair – Cascais

    The Green Affair is a vegan restaurant and cafe known for its delicious plant-based dishes and cosy ambience. The menu features a range of options, from brunch favourites to hearty mains and indulgent desserts, all made with locally sourced, organic ingredients.

    Galeria House Of Wonders – Cascais

    A great spot to enjoy a vegan meal up on the rooftop with a beautiful view of the city. Friendly staff, boho vibes and a relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect place to chill out. Serving fresh salads, vegetable dishes, pasta, fresh organic juice and much more – the menu is vegetarian with plenty of vegan options. 

    The Food Temple – Lisbon

    A vegan spot that serves seasonal dishes on an ever-changing menu, The Food Temple is designed so you can experience a range of different plant-based options. There is also a mains tasting menu and a dessert tasting menu so you can try each bite if you cant decide what to order! 

    Scoop n Dough – Lisbon 

    This wonderful spot sells hand-made artisanal plant-based doughnuts and ice cream and has been rated as the number one vegan ice cream and doughnut shop in the world on Trip Advisor. You can also find a range of pastries and macarons in-store to take home. 

    Legumi Sushi – Lisbon

    If you are searching for Japanese food, you might be surprised to find this wonderful restaurant that serves delicious vegan sushi, gyozas, and tempura. 

    A Minha Avó – Lisbon

    This is the place to try traditional Portuguese food but vegan. Serving authentic dishes with meat alternatives and a selection of vegan desserts, you can be sure to try something new here that you won’t find in non-vegan establishments. They even make their version of the vegan fried egg from pumpkin! 

    Kong – Lisbon

    A vegan restaurant that supports and gives back to local animal charities and works towards creating a sustainable and compassionate world. Check out the simple but delicious plant-based menu, including their homemade grilled Kong Burger with vegan mayonnaise and french fries.  

    Vegan Junkies – Lisbon

    If you are craving some vegan junk food, this cosy cantina has you covered. Relax and enjoy one of the most incredible vegan burgers with a craft beer in a friendly setting. They also serve vegan BBQ cauliflower wings, fries, hotdogs, and tacos! Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!

    Há Mas São Verdes – Lisbon

    A wonderful vegan spot that also supports a local farm animal rescue centre – you definitely have to stop by if you are in Castelo Branco. Serving up traditional dishes with a vegan twist, it’s a great place to try plant-based Portuguese meals and know you’re giving back to the community. 

    Kind Kitchen – Porto

    Vegan food at an affordable price with lovely outdoor seating. Serving green juices, excellent salad bowls, nachos, burgers, tacos, and much more! The welcoming atmosphere and the friendly staff make Kind Kitchen a must-do on your foodie list if you are exploring Porto.

    Vegana by Tentugal – Porto

    A health food grocery store with a cafe on-site serving wonderful coffee and fresh food. The menu has vegan and gluten-free options (mostly organic), and there are many freshly prepared specials each day.

    Best Time To Travel Portugal

    One of the best times to travel to Portugal is in the Spring, between March – May each year. That is why our vegan getaway is in May when the season is mild and the flowers bloom. It is considered the perfect time for exploring and doing outdoor activities plus it is just before the peak tourist season that begins in May when the region gets very busy. 

    Soph’s Portugal Plant-cation was fully SOLD OUT but there is now 1 last spot that has reopened!  This getaway is taking place from May 11 – 18th, 2024 alongside vegan lifestyle expert Sophie Waplington of @sophsplantkitchen!  

    You won’t want to miss out so be sure to check out our Upcoming Getaways or send us an email to book!

    If you are interested in joining us on our next getaway to Portugal in 2025 be sure to get in touch so we can add your name to our waitlist so you will be the first to know! 


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