When it comes to embarking on a vacation, the thought of leaving our furry friends behind can tug at our heartstrings. But fear not! Imagine a world where your beloved dog is not only welcome but also celebrated on your travel adventures. This is where pet-friendly countries come into the picture.
“Pet-friendly countries prioritise the well-being and comfort of pets, offering various amenities and accommodations to cater to their needs.” While every country may have different levels of pet-friendliness, some countries are widely recognised for their welcoming attitude towards pets.
tourHQ recommends the five dog-friendly European countries that you can travel to. From cosy accommodations catering to dogs to restaurants where they are greeted with much love, these destinations prioritise the happiness and well-being of humans and animals alike.
Things to know before you go
Marking: Your dog must be implanted with a microchip transponder for identification purposes.
Rabies Vaccination: Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies by an authorised veterinarian. The vaccine should be administered when the animal is at least 12 weeks old and after the transponder has been implanted. The vaccination must be valid for a minimum of 21 days from the completion of the primary vaccination.
Rabies Antibody Test: Your pet must undergo a rabies antibody titration test conducted by an authorised veterinarian. The test should be done at least 30 days after vaccination and no less than three months before travelling.
Health Certificate and Declaration: Your pet must be accompanied by an animal health certificate issued by an official veterinarian or authorised veterinarian endorsed by the competent authority. The certificate is valid for ten days from the date of issue, which can be extended for sea travel. For further movements within other Member States, the certificate is valid for a total of four months or until the expiration of the rabies vaccination or until the conditions for animals less than 16 weeks old cease to apply.
Written Declaration: You must provide a written declaration confirming the non-commercial nature of the movement and the responsibility for the animal's care within five days of the owner's movement.
Travellers' Point of Entry: Your pet must enter through a designated traveller's point of entry, as determined by each Member State. Upon entry, you must contact the competent authority present at the point of entry for documentary and identity checks.
Quarantine: Depending on the destination country's regulations, pets may be subject to a quarantine period upon arrival. However, many EU countries have adopted the "Pet Travel Scheme" (PETS) regulations, which eliminate the need for quarantine if all requirements are met.
It's important to familiarise yourself with the specific requirements of the country you plan to visit, as regulations may vary slightly.
5 European countries to travel with your furry friend
Renowned for its pet-friendly culture, Germany is often considered one of the most welcoming countries for pets. Whether you're exploring bustling cities like Berlin or Munich or enjoying the scenic beauty of the Black Forest, you will find plenty of pet-friendly options. Some of the must-have experiences to enjoy with your dog are- exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sanssouci Park, Potsdam (featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, grand palaces, and charming pavilions), wandering through the pet-welcoming offbeat neighbourhood of Bremen's Schnoor District (known for its medieval architecture), taking your dog to meet other wildlife friends at the Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich's famous zoo), soaking in the beauty on a boat tour along the Elbe River (watching the world go by with your pet by your side) and enjoying wine tasting sessions while exploring the vineyards of the Mosel Valley.
Must-visit Recommendation: Visit Café Katzentempel in Munich, a unique café that combines a love for cats and dogs with delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisine. They provide a special menu for dogs, including treats such as homemade liverwurst bites and dog-friendly cakes.
The next recommendation on our list is the Netherlands, the land popularly known for its charming canals, tulip fields, and vibrant cities. Fortunately, it's also a pet-friendly destination, offering a range of options for travellers with pets. You can unleash your dog for a thrilling adventure in Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park (offering diverse landscapes and scenic trails), visit the 'dogs allowed' parts of Giethoorn (an enchanting village known as the "Venice of the Netherlands"), discover the iconic windmills of Kinderdijk (a UNESCO World Heritage site), go for evening walks in Delftse Hout in Delft (a sprawling recreational area that encompasses a lake, parklands, and wooded areas) and Vondelpark, Amsterdam's largest city park.
Must-have Experience: An unforgettable experience to have in the Netherlands is DoggyBoat, a special tour that allows you to explore the city's picturesque canals while cruising with your furry friend. The boat features a comfortable and safe area for dogs, complete with cushions, water bowls, and even life jackets if needed. As you glide along Amsterdam's canals, you can learn about the city's history, iconic landmarks, and charming neighbourhoods through informative commentary, ensuring you and your dog have an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Switzerland is known for its breathtaking landscapes, and it's also a paradise for pet owners. From the majestic Swiss Alps to the serene Lake Geneva, here are a few adventures you can embark upon with your furry friend: hike through the beautiful trails of Engadine Valley (known for its picturesque landscapes and charming villages), wander around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Zytglogge Square in the city of Bern (housing Zytglogge, a medieval clock tower from the 13th century known for its astronomical clock and ornate façade), immerse in the magical surroundings of Zermatt (a car-free Alpine village serving as a perfect escape from the city hustle), enjoy a picturesque cable car ride with your animal buddy to the mountain town of Arosa, and embark on an unforgettable journey with your dog in the Swiss National Park.
Must-visit Recommendation: One unique place in Switzerland that is specially made for pets is the Hundebar in Zurich. Hundebar, which translates to "Dog Bar," is a dedicated café that caters exclusively to dogs and their owners. From designing the menu to the space, dogs are the primary focus here, ensuring an innovative, fun establishment.
France, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse landscapes, is another pet-friendly gem in Europe. Many hotels and vacation rentals in France allow pets, and some even offer pet-sitting services, allowing you to enjoy your time in the country worry-free. While in France, explore the ‘dogs-allowed’ sections of Jardin du Luxembourg (one of Paris' most famous parks), walk along the fortified walls as you soak in the history of the medieval fortress city of Carcassonne, stroll through the manicured lawns around the Palace of Versailles (a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the French monarchy's grandeur), experience a typical wine-tasting session in Bordeaux, discover the offbeat gem of Eze Village (an enchanting village on the French Riviera with medieval architecture and Mediterranean coastline), and explore and capture the ‘pictures of the trip’ at the Camargue Regional Nature Park.
Must-visit Recommendation: A unique place in France that is specifically made for dogs is the Parc de la Villette in Paris, one of the largest parks in the city, which features a designated area called "Parcours Canin" or "Dog Playground." This dog-friendly section of the park is designed to cater to the needs of our canine companions. It includes open spaces for dogs to run and play, agility equipment for training and exercise, and designated areas for different sizes of dogs. Moreover, you can also enjoy various other attractions, such as beautiful gardens, outdoor art installations, picnic areas, and even an outdoor cinema during the summer months.
With its progressive pet-friendly policies, Sweden is a fantastic destination for pet owners. The country's vast forests, beautiful archipelagos, and dog-friendly beaches offer endless opportunities for you and your pet to explore. While in Sweden, explore Djurgården (a beautiful island in Stockholm known for its parks, museums, and historical sites), stroll through the charming streets of Gamla Stan (Stockholm's old town), embark on a hiking adventure along the dog-friendly trails of Skåneleden (a long-distance trail in southern Sweden), take a cruise across the Göta Canal, witness the Northern Lights during the winter months in the Abisko National Park, and have a fun-filled time at the Falsterbo Beach near the town of Falsterbo (known for its wide stretches of sandy shoreline and dunes.)
Must-visit Recommendation: One unique place in Sweden that is specially made for dogs is the "Dog Island" in Stockholm. Dog Island, also known as "Hundudden," is a dedicated area along the city's waterfront where dogs are free to roam off-leash and enjoy a day of fun and socialisation. You can relax and soak up the beautiful views of the surrounding archipelago while your furry friend has a joyful time off-leash.
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