Kosice is a beautiful city in Eastern Slovakia. We had a few days to spare between our time in Budapest and Kraków, so we spent them in Kosice. It’s Slovakia’s second biggest city and has a rich cultural history. I recently read The Choice by Dr Edith Eva Eger, which made me extra excited to visit as Kosice is where Dr Eger grew up. Kosice was part of Hungary until 1945, and became part of present day Slovakia in 1993. I had hoped to see some kind of mention of Dr Eger and her fellow Holocaust victims, but unfortunately there was none to be found.
As a vegan who loves to thrift shop, I used our time there to explore the city through those lenses. I was really surprised by just how many thrift shops there were, as there were many more than Google had led me to believe. Finding tasty vegan food in Kosice was also very easy. As always, Happy Cow is an essential resource when it comes to researching the best plant-based options.
KOSICE VEGAN EATS
Before we get to the highlights of eating out in Kosice, let’s start with the basics – groceries. If you arrive in Kosice by bus, LIDL is right next door and open everyday until 9pm. We stayed in a central apartment close to Jacob’s Palace, one of Kosice’s most beautiful buildings. Diagonally opposite the Palace you’ll see FRESH, a relatively small but well stocked grocery store. It has plenty of fresh produce, plant milks and all the basics you need to make healthy meals for yourself. However, it is closed on Sundays and a touch pricier than the other nearby supermarket, BILLA.
Like LIDL, both BILLA and FRESH are chain supermarkets, with stores in multiple locations around Kosice. The BILLA store I frequented was in the Aupark Shopping Centre. They have some tasty vegan sorbets (I chose pear) if you feel like a treat. However, none of these supermarkets offer many ‘fun’ vegan alternatives like cheeses, confectionery or sources of protein. Thankfully, there’s a small store called Vegana, nicely located right in the middle!
Vegana is just around the corner, about 2 minutes walk from FRESH, three minutes walk from BILLA and seven minutes walk from LIDL. It has friendly staff, beautiful decor and most importantly, a fantastic range of GMO and palm oil free vegan products. You can find everything here – from vegan dairy products, like ice cream, milks and yoghurts to meat substitutes, like tempeh and vegan sausages, to ‘healthy’ sweets and even cruelty free cosmetics. They also have some really nice zero waste products and gluten free goods. Their Kosice store is the second in Slovakia as they also have one in the capital, Bratislava. If you want to have a good look at their range, you can pop onto their E-Shop here.
If you’re into zero waste, Soup Culture is the lunch spot for you. It was the eatery in Kosice that I was most excited to visit because they serve their soups in edible bread cups! Soup Culture seems to be part of a chain, as you can find them throughout Central and Eastern Europe. I’ve seen them listed in Czechia, Austria, the Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Latvia. The cafe itself is cozy and modern, with friendly staff and plenty of options. They serve both vegetarian and vegan soups, and you can also choose between different flavours of soup cups. The cups themselves are made in front of you, and are thick and chewy. The soups we had were equally as tasty and topped with fresh parsley. One of the things I liked most was the amount of topping choices on our table. We could choose from chia seeds, black and white sesame seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds. The only con I would say is that the portions are reasonably small, so treat it as a fun light lunch.
If you arrive in Kosice hungry, Zazza is a good place to start as it’s located within five minutes walk from the station. Or, if it’s raining like it was when we visited and you don’t feel like going outside, you can order vegan pizza to be delivered to your door. Their website is in both Slovak and English, and you can quite clearly pick the ‘vegana’ pizza with vegan cheese. They don’t always have vegan cheese available though. They didn’t when we were there, and a number of reviews on Happy Cow also mentioned it’s absence. However, their pizzas are still very tasty with a crispy base, a flavoursome pomodoro sauce and fresh vegetables.
There are many more vegan options in Kosice, as you can see if you check out the Happy Cow listings. However, we visited over a weekend, and unfortunately most of the recommended places to eat in Kosice are only open Monday to Friday. I chose the three places I was most interested in, that were also open on Saturday. Keep in mind that when you visit Kosice it’s best to plan your visit during the week so you can take full advantage of all the city has to offer.
KOSICE THRIFT SHOPPING
As I mentioned previously, Kosice has quite a few thrift stores. In fact, I recommend walking down Hlavná street and Mlynská street. On both of these streets, you’ll find clusters of thrift stores all grouped together. Apologies for the rather grainy video, but here are three thrift stores on Hlavná street from left to right. Starting from the left there is Cream (down the alleyway), then a Textile House and finally Kilovka. Cream was unfortunately closed as their hours are 9-5pm Monday to Friday, 9-12pm on Saturday and closed on Sundays. There was another thrift store further down Hlavná called Vintage Shop, which is also worth checking out. It’s actually on the way to Soup Culture, so it’s not a bad idea to pop in on your way to lunch.
A lot of the thrift stores in Kosice were quite big, and Kilovka was one of them. When you enter you can go straight ahead to the smaller men’s section, or turn past the reception upstairs to the women’s section, which is quite large. They sell clothes by weight, but the prices changes each day of the week. I’ve seen this in Croatia before, and it’s because they put out new garments on Monday. When I was there on Saturday everything was already quite picked over, so you may have more luck than me if you go earlier in the week. Here is the price list, and here it is in English as you may not be familiar with the Slovakian days of the week 🙂
Monday: 14€ per kilo, Tuesday: 12€ per kilo, Wednesday: 10€ per kilo, Thursday: 8€ per kilo, Friday: 6€ per kilo, Saturday: 4€ per kilo, Sunday: 2€ per kilo
You can find Kilovka by typing the “Second Hand Kilovka Kosice” into a map app on your phone, but in case that doesn’t work for you here is their address: Hlavná 21/38, 040 01 Staré Mesto, Slovakia. Once you’re there, you can just walk next door to Textile House and Cream.
There are a number of Textile Houses dotted around Kosice. I went to two, but there are five listed on their website here. The image above is the Mlynská street location. This was also a pretty large thrift store. It looks fairly humble when you first walk in the door but once you walk to the back and turn down the corridor, it opens up into a much bigger space with a ton of selection for men, women and children. It seemed to me that the quality of the clothing here was a bit better than it was at Kilovka, but that may only be because I was visiting at the end of the week. You pay per piece here, but many racks have a 2€ sign on them.
Trendy Shop, I Heart Textil, Secondland, Deja Vu and Cream
This is a long list of shops, right? Because we visited over a weekend, all of these shops were closed. So, if you learn one thing from this post, it should be – plan your visit during the week! Here are the addresses for each of the shops so you can find them with ease.
I Heart Textil (pictured): I can’t find any record of this shop online, but it is on Mlynská street. If you go to the Textile House and Trendy Shop on Mlynská, you’ll see I Heart Textil too.
Trendy Shop: Mlynská 883/12, 040 01 Košice, Slovakia
Secondland: Mäsiarska 421/5, 040 01 Košice, Slovakia
Cream: Hlavná 40, 040 01 Košice, Slovakia
Deja Vu: Pribinova 791/2, 040 01 Košice, Slovakia
Thanks for reading my guide to Kosice! I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself, and got lots of inspiration on how to make your visit a blast. You can check out my other vegan travel guides here. I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave me a comment 🙂
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