After feasting on pizza dripping with vegan cheese in Rome or endless bowls of plump ravioli in Florence, you might think that your epic feasting adventure will continue right into Venice.
Well, my friend, you should think again.
After being spoiled for choice in vegan wonderlands like London or Hamburg, coming to Venice will probably feel like you’re going on a diet (well, it did for me). Don’t get me wrong; there are options; some are circa 1990 (think cheese-less pizza and house salad), and some just aren’t advertised, making it more challenging to plan your foodie adventure.
I’ve heard both ends of the vegan spectrum for people — some felt they ate well in Venice, while others posted SOS messages in vegan travel forums looking for anything other than another bowl of spaghetti.
I wonder where you will fall?
Well, I reckon it won’t be too rough for you because you have me, and I’ve done all the vegan investigative journalism for you (you’re welcome).
One hip tip before you venture off to make your travel plans, you should know there are only two vegan restaurants in Venice — one on the mainland (Mestre) and one on the island. If you plan to visit the one on the island (La Tecia Vegana), make reservations! Since it’s the only vegan game on the island, it’s popular, and you don’t want to miss out.
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Is Venice Vegan-Friendly?
Venice isn’t the most vegan-friendly city, but not the worst. A vegan visit to Venice takes much more effort and planning than, say, a visit to a vegan mecca like NYC or Berlin. To my surprise, there is only one vegan restaurant on the island; the rest is a fun game of menu decoding to find out what’s friend or foe. You can visit markets for fresh produce, but don’t expect to find a laundry list of vegan alternative products. Sadly, because Venice has become such a tourist Disneyland, there are far more convenience stores than full grocery markets, making it challenging to find a diversity of products — but hey, you can live on wine and bread for a few days, right?
Vegan Restaurants in Venice
Calle dei Secchi, 2104, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Since there’s only one vegan restaurant on the island in Venice, I thought that I would try and come here more than once — not so fast! I think because it’s the only vegan game in town, it gets busy. The first night that I tried to visit, I was politely told, sorry about your luck, but no, and I had to make a reservation for the following day. The menu is heavily Italian, with a bit of Asian influence. You can dive into bowls of cheese-filled ravioli, rich lasagna with a meaty house-made sauce, or go for raw spaghetti with zucchini noodles for a superfood boost. I was feeling weighed down from all my travel eating, so I ventured for the raw spaghetti, and the creamy cashew sauce with black garlic didn’t disappoint. If you can, save a little room for dessert — all are house-made, from rich cheesecake topped with citrusy marmalade to decadent chocolate hazelnut cake.
Viale Ancona, 10a, 30172 Venezia VE, Italy
Over on the mainland, there is one other vegan restaurant to check out, but I will say, if you’re staying on the island, it’s not all that convenient to get to it. So, if you’re coming into Venice via the train, hop off at the Mestre station before going to the island. The veggie-forward spot is well known for its eclectic mix of dishes, from fresh sushi and house-made bean burgers to a seasonal cream-covered lasagna. All pairs delightfully with a glass of organic red or white wine!
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Venice
One important note when looking at restaurant menus: the little green “v” is often used to note vegetarian options. Some restaurants (like many below) will note both, but not all. A few times, I looked at a menu and thought, oh, they have great options, to find out later it was all vegetarian.
Fondamenta Frari, 2558, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
This Middle Eastern restaurant is an absolute vegan-friendly gem. Right when I sat down, the server asked if I had any dietary restrictions, and I said I was vegan and gluten-free. She immediately started flipping through the menu and pointed out all of the options and a few other things that they could adjust — what a terrific and unexpected start. In addition to flavorful falafel, you’ll also find veggie-packed dishes with spiced rice, grape leaves, and even vegan dessert options. The hummus was exceptionally tasty — extra creamy with a good dose of nutty tahini — you can tell they don’t cut any corners in the kitchen.
C. Lunga S. Barnaba, 2722, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
There’s a bit of a theme in Venice. Want vegan options? Head to Asian, Middle Eastern, or African restaurants! As soon as you step into this quaint restaurant, your spirits are immediately lifted by the bright colors and beat of the drum music dancing in the background. The menu focuses on dishes from Ethiopia with a bit of Middle Eastern influence, and their verdure section (and side dishes) is the best spot for vegans to check. The staff were also very familiar with what vegan meant, so there was no uncomfortable pause when I inquired what was safe. The veggie stew with okra and rice was filling and flavorful — this would be a great place to go if you have to please a group.
Calle de la Madoneta, 1457, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
I’d say make a reservation at this tiny breakfast spot, but even then, you might not get in quickly — come mid-morning, there is always a line streaming out the door! The breakfast and brunch spot is extremely popular, not because of its vegan options but because it offers a pretty good diversity of popular fare. You’re limited on the vegan side of things, but during the breakfast hour, that’s pretty standard — take what you can get! Their online menu is well-marked for vegan and vegetarian options, which include avocado toast, fresh juice, and fruit. They also have a variety of nondairy milk options.
Fondamenta de la Misericordia, 2535, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
The love of books meets the love of organic, veggie-friendly food at this charming café and bookshop. The walls of books surround a petite bistro filled with rustic tables accented with wildflowers; it’s a calming place to enjoy a meal. On the food side, they have a vegan menu (hooray!) that includes fresh, colorful salads, falafel, croutons (think bruschetta but with variety), sweet treats, and even vegan wine! One more bonus: they can make just about anything gluten-free.
Rio Terà Farsetti, 1847, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
This lovely spot in Cannaregio features a flavorful mix of dishes from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with plenty of vegan options. The online menu (the pdf.) is well marked for vegan (v) and vegetarian (ve) options like mujaddara, dahl, curried veggies, and more. It’s also unique that they share where the dishes originate, like Afghanistan, Lebanon, Turkey, and more!
Calle dei stagneri 5242, e Calle Galiazzo, 5265, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Between Rialto and San Marco, you’ll find this fine-dining spot that is well known for its Venetian dishes and famous patrons. It’s also one of the first restaurants in Venice to offer a vegan menu (with gluten-free options), and it’s not just four items! The well-developed menu includes delicious dishes for every course, from zucchini and avocado tartare as your starter to a crusted beetroot fillet with porcini pate and truffle sauce, but it doesn’t end there. Their pastry chefs know that vegans love sweets and have also developed multiple creative dessert options — you’ve got to try the strawberry soup with champagne ice cream!
Fondamenta S. Giobbe, 548/B, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Thankfully, Pepe remembered vegans when he developed his crepe menu! You’ll find separate vegan and vegetarian options (so there’s no confusion) filled with various sweet and savory options. Sweet tooth fans should check out the Tradizionale filled with banana, chocolate hazelnut spread, and hazelnut cream! If you’re more of a savory fan, the Grecia Veg with hummus, roasted veggies, and olives might be more your speed.
Fondamenta Cannaregio, 969, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Check out this vegan-friendly restaurant and jazz club for those looking for a special dinner and musical performance. Throughout the week, the restaurant hosts a variety of live music and activities that pair nicely with its veggie-focused dishes. There are two vegan menu options — a multi-course set menu and an a la carte menu. All of the dishes are seasonal and feature locally sourced ingredients.
Calle dei Fabbri, 4685, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Although this spot doesn’t have a massive lineup of options, it’s a charming little place for a fancier evening out. Each course on their dinner menu (not lunch) features a clearly labeled vegan dish. You can start with a fresh green salad, then move on to giant shells stuffed with carrot cream and roasted tempeh. There’s even a vegan sweet ending — rich coconut mousse with coconut crumble, strawberry crisp, and your choice of sorbet.
Rio Terà S. Leonardo, 1815, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
I would’ve sailed right past this spot, but a local brought it to my attention! The casual brewpub is well known for its massive beer lineup and diverse cicchetti (small snacks), which include vegan options like tramezzini (cold Italian sandwich). This is the perfect place to come for a mid-day or late-night snack (they close at 10 p.m., so not too late).
Sestiere Cannaregio, 5666, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Looking for a healthy, veggie-packed bowl? Come here! This Hawaiian-inspired spot gives you complete control over creating the bowl of your foodie dreams. You can load up on tofu, fresh veggies, rice, sauces, and more. They also have Garden Gourmet soy meat, but you’d have to double-check if it’s vegan or vegetarian.
Sestiere Dorsoduro, 2727/B, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
This small little B & B and Japanese tea room is a hidden gem in Venice! The vegan-friendly menu is small but you’ll find fan favorites like veggie rolls, bagel sandwiches, golden croissants, and cakes! All of which pair nicely with a soymilk latte. This is a great place for breakfast, lunch, or a light snack.
Don’t Miss These Other Vegan-Friendly Cities in Italy
Where to Find Vegan Pizza & Pasta in Venice
Calle Stretta Morosini, 5836, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
I passed what felt like 100 Italian restaurants with hardly a vegan option until this spot caught my eye with a sign that read, “senza glutine.” I figured, what the heck, let’s have a look. To my surprise, there was a “vegan piatti” section right in the middle of the menu! Now, it wasn’t enormous, but at that point, I wasn’t going to be too picky. In addition to a few pasta dishes, they also have a veggie burger. I went for the pasta all’Arrabbiata; the spicy tomato-based sauce definitely had a kick, maybe a little more than I bargained for.
Calle de la Mandola, 3711, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
You’ll find many places that say they have vegan pizza, but it’s almost always without cheese! That doesn’t count in my book. Thankfully, that’s not the case at this vegan-friendly pizzeria. They offer a Vega option, which includes a variety of veggies and delicious formaggio vegano. They also have focaccia, which is naturally vegan.
Vegan-Friendly Bakeries & Gelato in Venice
An essential note about finding sweets in Venice: options are rarely marked! I spent an afternoon going in and out of places and asking if they had a vegan option, and I’d say about half of them had something. Here are a few bakeries, gelaterias, and cafes to mark on your Google Map.
Vegan Croissants & Soymilk Cappuccino
If either of those things interests you, check out these two cafes for a delicious pastry and coffee treat!
Multiple locations throughout Venice
Campo Santo Stefano, 2797, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Additional Vegan Pastries & Sweets
These bakeries and cafes offered various vegan options but weren’t marked. You might be able to find cookies, pastries, chocolate, and more. It’s best to do what I did and just wander in and ask what’s vegan.
Rio Terà S. Leonardo, 1382, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Cl. Ghetto Vecchio, 1143, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Calle S. Pantalon, 3743, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Multiple locations throughout Venice
This bright little gelateria proudly displays its vegan options, and it’s way more than just strawberry sorbet! Each location might vary slightly with its options, but I found yummy flavors like pistachio, hazelnut, banana, coconut, chocolate mint, and more! On top of having a great flavor lineup, they also have vegan and gluten-free cones (I didn’t find anywhere else with that)!
Strada Nova, 4273/b, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
This small artisanal shop has great, well-marked vegan options like hazelnut, chocolate, and fruity flavors. Just look for the little green writing on the flavor names! They have a rotating mix of fruity popsicles, too.
Vegan Shop in Venice
Calle dei Fuseri, 4462, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
I was super surprised when I walked by this vegan clothing shop! If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, it’s well known for its feather-free down and super warm, cruelty-free coats. In addition to winterwear, they might also stock lightweight jackets, vests, and even jackets for your pup.
Where to Stay in Venice
There isn’t a vegan hotel in Venice, and finding a vegan-friendly one is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I chose this eco-friendly hotel because it puts you within a 12-minute walk to La Tecia Vegan!
Fondamenta Zattere Al Ponte Lungo, 1413, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
This modern hotel, with a bit of Venetian flair, offers comfortable accommodations and stunning views of the lagoon. It’s also one of the few hotels in Venice that I could find actively discussing its eco-friendly priorities. They’ve decreased their plastic consumption, re-evaluated their energy usage, and made swaps like bamboo guest toothbrushes, eco-friendly cleaning products, and only stock vegan and cruelty-free soaps. Their breakfast menu doesn’t have many options (they do have nondairy milk), but if you call ahead, they might be able to accommodate the request.
Vegan Hotels in Italy
If you’re in the market for a vegan hotel experience, you’ve come to the correct country! I have found nearly ten vegan or vegan-friendly hotels outside of Venice. A couple include:
Northern Italy, South TyrolBook Your Stay
Tuscany, an hour from FlorenceBook Your Stay
If you’re looking for more, I’ve got a complete list of excellent vegan hotels peppered throughout Europe.
A Few Notes & Tips About Other Activities in Venice
If you want to book a gondola ride, don’t book it in Venice.
This romantic activity is generally on most visitors’ lists, and while it’s a lovely experience, it can be super expensive! Most gondoliers charge over 100 euros (or more) for a short trip around the canals. In my mind, it’s not worth it. A much more cost-effective option is to book a shared ride ahead of time! Depending on when you book, I’ve seen shared rides range from $20 – $30. There are also guided tours that include it with other activities.
Book St. Marks & Doge’s Palace ahead of time
Most visitors come to Venice just for this and then leave, which means this area and these two places are always packed! Both places are worth visiting if you have the time but not worth it if you waste hours in line. The best way to see both spots and understand their historical significance is on a guided tour (I booked this tour).
Venice is going through A LOT.
As you wander through Venice, you might see signs that say 49999 or SOS Venice, and that’s because locals are quickly losing their homes and culture to tourists. Venice is heavily over-touristed and has become a tourist Disneyland. While I was there, it was announced that there were more beds for tourists than locals. Locals are being kicked out of their rentals to make way for visitors throughout the high seasons. On top of that, there are substantial environmental implications facing the sinking island. I say all of that to encourage you to take a walking tour with a local to understand better what’s going on in the city vs. what tourism boards want to sell you.
With that in mind, spend money with locals at their shops, restaurants, etc., instead of any type of chain store while you’re there.
Getting around the island can be challenging.
There are no cars, buses, or even bikes on the island, so your only options are your own two feet or a boat ride. If you’re coming from the train station, depending on where your accommodations are, you might want to check the water bus schedule. Otherwise, you’ll have to drag your luggage over bridges and down narrow alleys (it can be done; I did it, but it wasn’t enjoyable).
Book a shared water shuttle in advance if you’re going to the airport; this will save you some cash! Private transfers to the airport are well over $100 one-way. The water shuttle is also way more efficient than getting the bus near the St. Lucia train station.
Venice is actually made up of a TON of islands.
Most people don’t realize that the main island of Venice is made of over 100 different islands, all connected by bridges. Every time you cross a bridge, you’re on a new island. In addition to the main islands, there are also the islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello, and Lido. Each of them is known for something different. Go to Murano to see how Murano glass is made, go to Burano for lace and colored homes, go to Lido for the beach (it’s also where the Venice Film Festival is held), and Torcello used to be the commercial capital of Venice.
You can book guided tours to some of the islands or purchase ferry tickets at the Alilaguna transit port; there are ticket offices throughout Venice. One of the most convenient is on the Lagoon by St. Mark’s Square.