The hardest part of traveling as a vegan is learning how to get by in a new place. There are vegans and vegan-friendly options all over the world, but it's intimidating to visit a new place when you don't know how to find those people or those options.
Having now spent two weeks in Malta, I've learned that it's not a difficult place to survive as a vegan! There are ample vegan-friendly restaurants all over the island and a wonderful vegan community that makes it much easier to have a great trip.
Here are my four tips for surviving as a vegan in Malta. After reading the rest of this post, you'll be set up for a great trip.
1. Bookmark the Vegan Malta Map
The Vegan Malta Map marks vegan and vegan-friendly spots all over the island. No matter where you are when you get hungry, you can take a quick look and see what's nearby.
I consulted the map regularly throughout our two weeks in Malta, but the map was particularly useful when we were driving around Gozo and needed to find a lunch spot. I quickly found a town with several vegan-friendly spots within walking distance of each other.
Although the map has lots of good spots, I don't think it's been updated in a few years because it's missing a lot of great options. This is where the Vegan Malta Eats Facebook group comes in.
2. Join the Vegan Malta Eats Facebook Group
The Vegan Malta Eats Facebook group is probably the most useful tool you'll have while you're in Malta. It's a small but active group. I often searched the archives for restaurant ideas and a of couple times I posted in the group asking for advice.
The vegans who live in Malta full-time have a great pulse on the scene and know when new vegan options come on the market. They also do a great job of engaging with local businesses to encourage them to include more vegan options. I got tons of great recommendations for places that weren't on the Vegan Malta Map and also discovered my favorite meal through this lovely group.
The other thing that's really great about the group is that they often organize or share vegan events happening on the island. It didn't work out for us to attend any of them while we were there but I would have loved to meet some local vegans.
3. Stay at the Ramla Bay Resort
After doing some research, we decided to stay at the Ramla Bay Resort because they have vegan food available for every meal. Although we planned to do a lot of exploration around the island, we were also looking forward to some lazy days reading by the pool so we really wanted to have vegan options close by.
We added on an all-inclusive package that allowed us to eat and drink for free to keep things simple but you can also pay as you go. While we did get sick of the food by the end of our trip, there were lots of flavourful vegan options every day, including ample protein, and non-dairy milk.
It was really lovely to be able to have the resort experience as a vegan and we ended up eating a lot of meals there. They'll even pack a lunch for you if you're going to be out all day.
4. Keep an Eye Out for Accidentally Vegan Options
While a lot of traditional Maltese dishes are not vegan, there are a few delicious accidentally-vegan staples to watch out for. Our favorite was vegetable ftira. Ftira is a bit like pizza without cheese and the vegetable version is typically vegan. It's also must tastier than a cheeseless pizza!
Today we tried a traditional Maltese dish, Gozitan ftira. It's kind of like pizza without tomato sauce or cheese but much much tastier. The base is layered with thinly sliced potato and it's topped with tomatoes, red peppers, onion, green olives, and capers. The bread is crispy and slightly oily on the outside but soft on the inside. 🙌😋👌 #malta #gozo #veganmalta
Other options include traditional Maltese bread, called ħobża tal-Malti, and a broad bean paste, called bigilla. We also found great olive oil and fresh tomatoes almost everywhere we went in Malta.
Bonus: Stay Somewhere With a Kitchen
Although I didn't stay somewhere with a kitchen in Malta, I almost always do when I travel. A kitchen offers flexibility—even if you don't plan on cooking much. In particular, it's helpful to be able to order extra food at vegan-friendly restaurants and keep leftovers in the fridge for another meal. Breakfast can also be difficult for vegans while traveling because many places don't open early and things like muffins at cafes are often not vegan. I usually wake up quite hungry so a kitchen to prep simple breakfasts is often a must for me.
Image: cliff hellis