The best vegan destination I never knew - and the Essential Vegan Travel Guide
Zagreb was a city I hadn't expected to love. When I got off at the city's main train station earlier this year, I wasn't sure if making a trip to Croatia's capital had been a great idea.
Most people visiting the country will head to its coast, usually to Dubrovnik, and I'd been no exception. I'd loved that first trip enough that before I'd left I was planning a return visit to Croatia, but I wasn't expecting much in the way of vegan delights. Despite the vast number of tourists that visit Dubrovnik every year, there's not an overabundance of veg*n options, and only one vegetarian restaurant in the city.
I am a terrible judge of first impressions. Seriously, I'm awful. Some of my best friends are people that on first meeting I really didn't like. Loathed them, in fact, and we're still friends years later. I guess I must have the same lack of talent when it comes to cities too: my first experience of Zagreb as I walked from the train station to my hotel was full of regret for not staying longer in Vienna, my previous destination. And, like those friends who went from zero to hero in my eyes, Zagreb convinced me how wrong I was.
By the end of the four days in Zagreb, I'd completely changed my opinion of the city, and can't wait to go back. It has everything you'd want for a long weekend, only without all the hordes of tourists that such places usually (rightly) attract. It's got top museums, street art, parks, architecture, and an old town that's full of little drinking spots that will leave your heart, not your wallet, lighter.
And, as any good holiday destinations should, Zagreb has an assortment of veggie and vegan restaurants and health food shops you could pop into and grab a slice of vegan cake for a picnic later.
Given the slim pickings in Dubrovnik, I was pleasantly surprised by the abundance of vegan food in Zagreb. For even the most seasoned vegan, there can still be a bit of trepidation about what sort of food awaits in your destination.
I was chatting not so long ago to a relatively new vegan, who was planning a trip to a part of Europe where she feared there would be nothing to eat and she'd have to make a brief return to vegetarianism to be able to eat for the duration of her stay.
I wish I'd been able to give her a copy of The Essential Vegan Travel Guide, by Caitlin Galer-Unti of The Vegan Word, a blog I've been a big fan of for years.
It's a practical no-nonsense to guide to making the most of your vegan travel, wherever you are. If you're a new vegan, then the book's there to help you take your first vegan trip abroad without the fear. And if you're a seasoned traveller, there's all sorts of smart tips that you'll wish you'd known about earlier. I've been lucky enough to travel to a good few countries as a vegan, and I found a huge amount in the book that was new to me and I'll be using next time I have an excuse to dig out my passport.
Whether you need help on how to make the most of your phone, your communication skills, or the room in your suitcase, Caitlin's got the answers. Best of all, it's all written in her usual smart style that will keep you entertained as well as informed.
If you fancy winning yourself a copy, just tweet or retweet this post (or any other posts from Caitlin's blog tour - more on that in a second) with the hashtag #vegantravelguide to be entered into a prize draw. The winner will get a copy of the book (in the format of your choice, print or PDF) - and you get one competition entry per blog post you tweet or retweet.
If you're not lucky enough to win, go get your wallet and head over here to get the PDF, to Amazon UK or Amazon US for the Kindle version. (If you're after a print version, it'll be coming to Amazon shortly!)
There's a blog tour in honour of the publication of The Essential Vegan Travel Guide - for the next few days, vegan bloggers will be sharing foodie updates from destinations around the world. Next stop - get yourself over to Elsewhere for a view from Chaing Mai in Thailand.