It was on my last trip to Europe, prior to coming to Europe with my dog Schnitzel, that my eyes were opened up to how dog-friendly Europe is and the possibilities of travelling with a dog here (unlike my native Australia). It was a cold winters day in Prague, just a few days after Christmas, and we were enjoying the warmth inside an excellent cafe compared to the snow-covered street outside. A man entered the door, accompanied by a large dog on a leash, and we heard a woof from a few tables away. Inside the cafe was already another dog, who wasn’t too happy at another dog entering. Wow, we commented, they allow dogs inside cafes here!
In fact, Prague and the Czech Republic are one of the most dog-friendly countries in Europe, and it’s been a delight to visit the country twice with our dog. If you’re planning on travelling in the Czech Republic with a dog, here are some tips for enjoying your time.
Dining Out in Czech Republic with a Dog
As I mentioned above, dogs are allowed inside many restaurants and cafes in the Czech Republic. This is just as well, as the food in the Czech Republic is delightfully affordable, and it’s tempting to eat out every meal. As well as in Prague, we also dined inside restaurants in Cesky Krumlov, Brno, Olomouc and Ostrava with our dog, as well as a few small towns. Just make sure to check at the door, as like other countries there are some exceptions. This also applies to bars, naturally!
Taking a Dog on Public Transport in Czech Republic
Just as dogs are allowed in most restaurants and cafes in the Czech Republic, the public transport is also fairly dog-friendly, except for some cases with larger dogs. Note also that for larger dogs the ticket required and rules vary throughout the country.
The simplest situation is if you have a small dog in a carrier bag. Whether on local transport in Prague or other cities, or on regional trains, small pets in a carrier bag travel for free. The carrier bag should have an impermeable bottom and should be kept closed. In Prague the maximum size specified is 25 x 45 x 70cm, while for ČD trains the maximum size is a very generous 40 x 60 x 90cm. Your dog should also not be a “nuisance” to other passengers.
For dogs not in a carrier bag, they need to be on a short leash and wearing a muzzle. It’s a lot more common to see dogs wearing muzzles in Czech Republic, at least on public transport, compared to other countries. (In Prague, the rules even state that dogs in a non-entirely-closed carrier must have a muzzle!)
In Prague, larger dogs travel for free inside the Prague city limits, except for the Airport Express bus and PIT trains (see below for trains). The charge for the Airport Express bus is 30 CZK. Outside the city limits, the charge is a flat 16 CZK. When boarding a bus, tram or funicular, you must indicate to the driver that you are intending to board with a dog – they decide if you’re allowed! You need to then board through the doors with the dog pictogram (except for funiculars) and travel in the adjacent vestibule, unless the driver indicates otherwise. Additionally, dogs are not allowed to travel in the same vestibule as a pram. For more details, see rules and ticket prices.
For public transport in other cities and towns in the Czech Republic, check the relevant website (although an English version is not always available) or signage. The most common situation is that larger dogs require a reduced fare ticket. This was the case when I visited Ostrava (see sign above). In this case there were no rules on specific doors or checking with the driver.
On regional trains operated by ČD, the ticket price for larger dogs is based on distance travelled, but is very cheap. It varies in price from 15 CZK for up to 50km to 50 CZK for 350km plus. (Yes, only €2!) See the full price table. Note that larger dogs are not allowed in 1st class. (It’s not entirely clear, but it seems dogs in a carrier bag are okay in 1st class.) With RegioJet, unfortunately larger dogs are not allowed.
A final note on the long-distance buses also operated by RegioJet. Small dogs in a carrier bag are also allowed on the national buses operated by RegioJet (both in Czech Republic and Slovakia). They travel for free, either on the lap or under the legs of the owner. However, larger dogs are not allowed and no dogs at all (except guide and assistance dogs) are not allowed on the international routes. For more information, see their guidelines.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Czech Republic
The majority of accommodation in the Czech Republic allows dogs. In my recent investigation, 60% of hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs in Prague on Booking.com allow dogs, although conditions may apply. Often a extra charge applies – we were stung with a hefty (compared to the amount we paid for our room) charge of €15 when staying in a hotel just outside of Prague. We also had no issues finding dog-friendly apartments on Airbnb, many being rented out by people who themselves are dog owners!
Dog-Friendly Parks in Czech Republic
While we didn’t spend much time at parks in the Czech Republic (on our most recent visit it was too hot, so we often chilled out in our accommodation), there are plenty of dog-friendly parks in the different cities. Not far from our apartment in Prague we found this handy sign (see above), showing the nearby parks, including whether dogs are allowed on-leash, off-leash or not allowed.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Czech Republic
There’s plenty of dog-friendly sightseeing options no matter where you are in the Czech Republic. Here are some of my top recommendations.
1. Visit a Charming Historic Town
Many visitors to Czech Republic only visit Prague, the country’s bustling capital. However, one of my favourite things to do in the Czech Republic is to visit the countless charming historic towns scattered all around the country. In particular, there are some very impressive old town squares, lined with pastel-hued buildings and home to some excellent restaurants and cafes. Two of my favourite towns are Olomouc (in the east of the country, easily accessible by train) and the pint sized Telc (which has been UNESCO World Heritage listed).
2. Walk Across the Charles Bridge in Prague
But of course you should also visit Prague, which is packed full of things to see (and tourists). One of the must-see attractions of Prague is the Charles Bridge, stretching over 600m across the Vltava River, connecting Prague’s castle and the Old Town. Construction began in the 14th century and the bridge is lined with many impressive states. The best time to walk across the bridge is the early morning (before the crowds arrive, and when the light is beautiful). At the other end, it’s also a short detour to the heavily-graffitied Lennon Wall, a fun spot for photos but with historic significance.
3. Explore Prague Castle
If you head up the hill from the Charles Bridge, through the narrow streets of the Lesser Quarter, you’ll reach the extensive grounds of Prague Castle. It’s a huge complex, and there’s plenty to see! While dogs aren’t allowed inside the castle buildings or the gardens, they are allowed to explore the grounds with you. Dogs are also allowed inside most (if not all) of the restaurants and cafes.
It’s free for both humans (and dogs) to visit the grounds of Prague Castle, with entry fees only applying for entering buildings (although it’s free to enter the vestibule of St Vitus Cathedral). It’s also fun the catch the changing of the guards ceremony at 12 noon. For more information on visiting the castle complex, click here.
Check out more recommendations for free sights to see in Prague, 100% dog-friendly!
4. Visit Karlštejn Castle
Something else that isn’t in short supply in the Czech Republic are castles. The country has countless castles, and one of the most popular AND most dog-friendly is Karlštejn Castle. It’s just a 40 minute drive to the southwest of Prague, surrounded by forest. It’s also accessible through a train ride then either a long walk or a taxi.
All dogs are free to join their owners in the grounds of the castle, as long as they are on a leash. However, the best part is that small dogs are also allowed to join you on Tour 1, as long as they are being carried in a bag. This tour is the most popular, visiting the private and representative rooms of Emperor Charles IV. (Dogs are not allowed on the tours to the sacred rooms or the upper floors of the tower.) For more details on visiting Karlštejn Castle, click here.
Unfortunately I missed out on visiting this castle, but you can read about when Montecristo the Chihuahua visited the castle here.
5. Stroll Around Lednice Park
Lednice Park is in the far east of the Czech Republic, not far from Brno, plus the borders with Austria and Slovakia. The park is home to a grand neo-gothic chateau, but when I visited in late Autumn, the chateau was closed that day, plus if you’re visiting with a dog they are not allowed to join you inside. Instead, I recommend that you stroll through the beautiful park. It contains a large irregular lake, crossed by multiple bridges, plus the grounds are dotted with interesting follies. It’s completely free to visit and the park is open year round, except for during severe weather. It would be beautiful anytime of year, but my heart was won over by the magical fall colours during my Autumn visit.
Read more about our visit to Lednice Park with a dog.
6. Visit Cesky Krumlov
I couldn’t make recommendations of what to do in the Czech Republic without including Cesky Krumlov. It’s a fairly small town, but absolutely gorgeous, although that has translated into huge numbers of visitors in recent years. For that reason, it’s best to stay at least overnight, and head out early in the morning or the evening to explore the streets.
Cesky Krumlov, like Prague, is dominated by a castle on the hill above the town. However, in this case dogs are not allowed in the grounds. One of the signs wasn’t that clear, but there was a no dog pictogram at the entrance to the grounds. We were determined though to have a quick look, so carried our small dog through the entry, and wasn’t stopped inside. If you have a small dog it’d be possible to do the same – just be apologetic and leave the grounds if you are stopped.
In summer time, the river weaving through the town is filled with canoes and rafts. If you have a water-loving dog, I’m sure you could bring him along! Otherwise, have a quick paddle in the chilly waters to cool down. An affordable spot for lunch or dinner (prices at many restaurants here are a lot higher than in the rest of the country), is the historic brewery, Pivovar Eggenberg. Our dog joined us at our outdoor table (it was a hot day), but I’m sure dogs are allowed inside too.