If you want to travel the world with your best pet companion and let your adventures be inspired by your furry friend, there are Europe destinations where that is possible. Even if there is a lot of planning involved and you need to be a bit creative, here is a list of 10 best dog friendly destinations in Europe.
1. Wallonia – Belgium
If you are searching for a thrilling outdoor adventure or a simple countryside walk with your dog, look no further. Wallonia is one of the best pet friendly destinations. As a fact, there are more than 1300 pet friendly hotels in Wallonia, according to European Best Destinations and you can discover some breath-takig panoramas and take a stroll in one of Wallonia’s nature reserves and explore its rich biodiversity. Some of the most beautiful towns in Wallonia are: Durbuy, Liege, Namur or Mons.
2. Dalmatia – Croatia
Dalmatia is one of the most beautiful regions of Croatia. It stretches from the town of Zadar, in the north, to the Bay of Kotor on the border with Montenegro, in the south. Its dramatic coast, around 350km long, encompasses the historic cities of Split and Dubrovnik. Inland the region includes the white peaks of the Biokovo mountains and the lowland plains of the Neretva Riviera. In the azure waters of the Adriatic, hundreds of islands float tantalisingly in the distance like jewels in the sun. (European Best Destinations). It is also the country that gave its name to the Dalmatian dog breed but there is no evidence that the breed even originated in Dalmatia even if they were used as dogs of war, guarding the borders of Dalmatia. Best towns to visit: Trogir, Split or Krka National Park.
3. Paris – France
Paris, the famous city of “les petits chiens” is one of the best destinations in Europe with more than 1,000 pet friendly establishments, hotels and appartments. Moreover, as of January 1st the city’s parks are opened to dogs following a town hall vote. The new rule stipulates that dogs must be kept on leads at all times, and must stay on the paths. It applies only to parks without children’s playgrounds, for the moment. Best parks to walk your dog are: Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the Jardins du Luxembourg.
4. Venice – Italy
Venice is like a huge playground for dogs. with more than 500 pet-friendly accomodations, from the famous Baglioni Hotel Luna and Westin Europa & Regina, to dozens of affordable hotels and appartments. Known as “the city of pet-lovers”, Venice honors Saint Roch, the patron of dogs, bachelors, surgeons, disabled people, and people who have been falsely accused of crimes. He devoted himself to cure people from the plague with the Sign of the Cross represented by a deep red mark on his chest in the shape of a crucifix. When his travels brought him to the town of Piacenza, he discovered that he was no longer spared from the deadly disease. But instead of burdening anyone with his sickness, he commended himself to God and awaited his death in a remote and abandoned forest hut. Providentially, a local nobleman’s hunting dog found and befriended him, bringing him food daily and licking his wounds. A spring arose nearby to provide St. Roch with fresh water. Statues and artwork depicting Saint Roch and the dog can be found throughout Venice.
5. Lisbon – Portugal
“They’re small, they’re friendly and we just love to have them in our lives. They provide us with constant companionship and affection like no other and for most of us, the thought of being apart from our beloved pets can often seem unbearable.”(beportugal.com) So yes, Portugal is a dog loving country, with more than 400 establishments in Lisbon being pet friendly. According to bePortugal.com, in 2015, an estimated 2 million Portuguese households owned at least one pet – a remarkable statistic which equates to more than half of the country’s households. What’s more, as recently as March 2017, Portugal passed a law that states that animals in Portugal are no longer to be considered as just “things”. Animals now hold legal status as living beings with sensibility and are subject to legal protection.
6. Madrid – Spain
If you don’t want to leave your pet behind while travelling to Madrid, you should know that this is one of the best pet-friendly destinations in Europe and you will find all kinds of facilities to enjoy a holiday with your dog. Before travelling, you should know that Spain does not allow you to bring in animals that are younger than three months’ old and which have not therefore been vaccinated against rabies.(esmadrid.com) Once you arrive in the cosmopolitan city, you can book your accomodation in some magnificent places, such as Westin Palace Hotel or Catalonia Gran Via. The best parks to visit with your dog are El Retiro, Madrid Rio and Casa de Campo.
7. Santorini – Greece
Santorini, also known as Thira, is one of the most visited islands in Greece and a trully magical place. Located in the Aegean Sea, it offers the most dramatic sea views you’ve ever seen and enormous cliffs are dotted with dreamy Cycladic whitewashed houses! The enthralling sunset view in Oia Santorini, the minimal Cycladic architecture, the luxurious Santorini Greece hotels, the delicious restaurants, the dramatic rocky landscape, and the Santorini volcano are just some of the reasons you’ll have a crush on this unique island! more about the island here.
8. Cadaques – Spain
Cadaques is a fishing village that owes its allure in part to its windswept pebble beaches, meandering lanes, pretty harbour and the wilds of the nearby Cap de Creus, but it’s Salvador Dali who truly gave Cadaques its sparkle. The artist spent family holidays here during his youth, and lived much of his later life at nearby Port Lligat, where the Dalís’ otherworldly seaside home stands.(lonelyplanet.com) You can choose from over 130 pet friendly establishments, hotels and appartments if you decide that this is the perfect place for your holiday.
9. Riga – Latvia
Riga, the capital of Latvia is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with gorgeous sea dunes and blueberry filled forests. It is also one of the best holiday destinations in Europe, with more than 230 pet friendly accomodations. “If you are booking a place to stay with your dog in Latvia, make sure you ask about fees up front”, advices blogger and travel author Gigi. who went to visit Riga with her dog, Luna. “One place would have cost me about $40 per night for myself and an additional $30 per night for Luna, which was rather shocking”.
10. Bruges – Belgium
Bruges is a perfect destination for travellers with pets. The fairy-tale medieval town is one of Europe’s best preserved cities. Picturesque cobbled lanes and dreamy canals link photogenic market squares lined with soaring towers, historical churches and lane after lane of old whitewashed almshouses. The best times to visit are in spring, when daffodils carpet the tranquil courtyard of the historic begijnhof retreat, or outside of Christmas in winter, when you’ll have the magnificent, if icy, town almost all to yourself, according to LonelyPlanet.com. “In our experience, many restaurants in Belgium will allow your well-behaved dog to join you inside, although it’s always best to confirm first before entering.It’s easy to get around Belgium on the train system, as the country is quite small and well serviced by trains. On Belgian Rail, small pets in a basket, cage or box travel for free. The maximum dimensions of the container should be 30 x 55 x 30cm. Larger dogs require a pet ticket which costs a small €3 per single trip,” says Shandos Cleaver, who is travelling around the world with her Miniature Dachschund named Schnitzel.