We all know that dogs are man’s best friend, but what about man’s best holiday companion? Anyone with a furry friend can vouch for the fact they bring paw-fuls of excitement wherever they go, and over-seas is no exception. Undertake European adventures side-by-side, and you’ll be promised exhilarating views for the family and tail wagging fun for pets. You never know – with so much excitement, they might even sleep at the end of the day. So, with passports and microchips at the ready, read on for our pick of the best pet-friendly holidays in Europe...
If dogs could talk, we’re certain they’d describe paradise as the French Alps in summer. Luckily for us all, the miles of mountains double up as a dreamy destination for humans and one of the most welcoming holidays for pets. Although the Alps may conjure up images of snowy slopes and après bars, come summer the mountains are blanketed in lush green vegetation and criss-crossed with wondrous walks. Picturesque towns like Chamonix, Annecy, Morzine and Megeve are fringed with Alpine scenery and bursting with outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and climbing. If the 10 to 15-hour drive from England has your tail between your legs, fear not. Stopping over in cities like Reims, Dijon or Lyon breaks up the journey into manageable chunks (for driver, passenger and pooch), letting you soak up some French culture and stretch those legs.
There are 101 reasons to visit Dalmatia, and being one of the best pet-friendly holidays in Europe is a strong contender. The Dalmation breed takes its name from this dramatic coastline which is home to a mix of beaches, seafood and Mediterranean culture stretching from Zadar in the north to Dubrovnik in the south. Your four-legged friend deserves to bask in these sunny Croatian delights as much as the rest of us, and luckily, they can. Duilovo Beach in Split is equipped with shady tents and water bowls, and St. Clement’s Peninsula in Zadar has a dog-friendly zone where both humans and pets can splash around in the crystal waters. With plenty more pet-friendly beaches, restaurants and hotels along the 230-mile coastline, you’ll have no trouble incorporating your furball of fun into a Dalmatia getaway.
Pets are part and parcel of Berlin life. In 2011 and 2012, it was voted Germany’s most dog-friendly city, and you don’t have to look far to see why. Parks like Humboldthain, Mauerpark and Tempelhofer Feld have designated dog exercise areas that let you escape the city buzz and play fetch to your heart’s content. Once you’re back in the centre, pet-friendly public transport means you can whizz from A to B with ease – pets the size of a cat (or smaller) don’t need a ticket, but larger dogs will need a reduced fare ticket. The metro will take you to ample attractions, and with places like Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall out in the open, they’re easily enjoyed with pet in tow. After a day of exploring, settle down and guzzle beer from a stein (humans only) or water from a dog bowl (pets only) in one of Berlin’s many traditional beer gardens.
Scandinavians are about as laid-back as you can get, and you best believe this attitude extends to welcoming along pets. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a street that isn’t dotted with dogs, after all this is a nation whose love for their fluffy friends spans back generations. Additionally, vast natural landscapes lend themselves to a lively dog’s dream; idyllic Swedish countryside, crystal-clear Norwegian lakes and dog-friendly Danish beaches provide a picturesque backdrop for your daily dog walks. To get to these vibrant vistas, your best bet is to pile your travelling companions and animals into a car and hop on the ferry to Holland. Dogs, cats and even ferrets are allowed on board, with the option to book a dog-friendly cabin instead of using the kennels. From there, embark on an exciting fur-ruffling road trip to begin one of the best pet-friendly holidays in Europe.
Written by Evie Buller