Flying into Poland, I didn't know what to expect from the plant-based culture in Katowice. I only came for a music festival called Fest Festival to see JMSN and Little Dragon perform. To my surprise, Katowice was one of the cheapest European countries I've visited so far and they had a handful of vegan options.
Travel tips: Upon arrival by bus into the city, I got lost several times trying to find the Hostel Katowice where I was staying. Google maps was sending me to the wrong location and Apple maps doesn't work at all in most countries. Due to the language barrier, try to map out your destination prior to arriving at the airport. In Katowice, there is a public bus that travels from the airport to the city with several stops in the downtown area. There is a kiosk outside the airport pickup area to purchase tickets with cash or card. Most places accept credit/debit cards, so you don't necessarily need to withdraw cash. Also, save all your shopping for Poland; your money will go much further.
After getting lost the first night, I woke up and walked to the Katowice Galleria shopping mall for lunch at Mihiderka. It's a chain of vegan cafes around Poland, serving everything from soups, salads, sandwiches and a variety of international dishes. The staff spoke very little English, but they did tell me the Polish word for vegan is wegańskie. I ordered the curry bowl and it was 23 zł (Polish zloty is the currency, about $6). I was hoping to have room for one of their daily desserts, but the curry bowl was amazing and more than enough.
When I left lunch, I took the metro train to the festival located at a park about 30 mins away. Public transportation is inexpensive and accessible in several locations around the city. The metro dropped us right at the entrance of the festival, I stopped by the box office to grab my passes and proceeded to turn all the way up.
The 3-day festival was playing music 24 hours a day, but I prefer food and sleep over everything. After watching a few shows and drinking free drinks in VIP, I felt so blessed as I stumbled across a vegan food truck, Mixtura Vege. The food truck was an extension of their local vegan restaurant and pizzeria, and the menu was all burgers: Pulled Jack Fruit, Vegan Steak, Kimchi and Tempeh. I'm not fan of tempeh, but they recommended that I order the popular Tempeh burger. I said grace and, before I knew it, the burger disappeared and I was licking the wrapper.
That burger was like the cherry on the top of my night, so I decided to head back to fall asleep with a full stomach. Katowice was an amazing experience, I met a few friends at the hostel and festival from all around Poland that offered incredible hospitality and recommendations. I'll be back soon to explore more of the country; don't be surprised to see Poland on lists for top international vegan destinations.
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