Dog-Friendly Europe

6 Beautiful Palaces in Europe to Visit with Your Dog

dog-friendly palace Europe

In Europe there’s no shortage of beautiful palaces that human visitors can visit, walking through endless processions of richly decorated rooms and enjoying gardens that are still beautiful to this day. But if you’re travelling with a dog, your options are limited. I firstly realised this when wanting to walk with my dog through the gardens of Aranjuez Palace in Spain, and we were faced with no dog signs plus the occasional guard to enforce the rule. And once again when visiting Versailles, I was hoping to take my dog with me when I visited the formal gardens (I had previously toured the interior). But at Versaille, dogs are only allowed in the grounds around the canal, far away from the palace, and not in the gardens proper.

However, there are some amazing palaces that it’s possible to visit with your dog. In the majority of these cases dogs are allowed within the formal gardens and beautiful parklands of the palaces. Usually on a leash, naturally. But there’s also a handful of palaces I’ve discovered where small dogs can also be taken inside. Add one of these palaces to your next trip to Europe with your dog!

Table of Contents

Chenonceau Chateau, Loire Valley, France
Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Royal Palace, Turin, Italy
Parks and Palaces of Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany
Lednice Park, South Moravia, Czech Republic
Studley Royal Park, North Yorkshire, England

1. Chenonceau Chateau, Loire Valley, France

Schnitzel making himself at home at Chenonceau

Chenonceau’s construction is very unique

The beautiful gardens at Chenonceau

The signs at the carpark of Chenonceau makes it clear it’s pet-friendly!

Exploring the interior of Chenonceau with Schnitzel in my arms

Walking around the gardens at Chenonceau – dogs of all sizes welcome!

One of the most beautiful chateaus in the Loire Valley (one of my favourite regions of France), Chenonceau is also one of the most distinctive. Part of the chateau is built over the River Cher, the river running under its archways. Originally it was just a bridge, but when Catherine de Medici needed to add a ballroom for her legendary parties, it was built above the river.

While it’s possible to drive up to many other chateaus with your dog in the Loire Valley (such as Chateau Chambord, although a parking fee is charged), the car park for Chenonceau is located a short walk away. Luckily then dogs are free to join you for the visit. In fact, there’s plenty of signs in the carpark imploring visitors not to leave their dogs in their cars. Even better, if your dog is small enough to be carried, it can join you in touring the interior of the chateau.

Water bowls were provided when we visited at the entrance to the chateau, with another offered when we sat down at the cafe for ice creams. Just be warned this chateau is very popular, so the interior can get crowded in summer and on sunny weekends.

Check out more recommendations for dog-friendly sightseeing in France

2. Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden

A beautiful Summer day at Drottningholm

With a water frontage, it’s possible to arrive at Chenonceau by boat

Don’t miss taking a quick peak at the entrance stairway of Drottningholm, although dogs must be left outside

Behind Drottningholm Palace is a large garden in the French style

Head to the other end of the park to see the Chinese Pavilion

Within the English Park at Drottningholm is an off-leash dog “island” – the perfect addition for a dog-friendly day-out!

The sign at the entrance to the off-leash dog park

While most visitors to Stockholm will see at least the exterior of the Royal Palace, as it lies in Gamla Stan, the “old town”, I recommend making a trip out to Drottningholm Palace. It’s easily accessible from the city centre via 20 minutes on the metro and a 5 minute bus trip (with dogs allowed for free on both, just look for the dog allowed carriages on the metro and sit in the back half of the bus). Alternatively, take a boat trip and arrive via water.

While it’s possible to buy tickets to view the interior of the palace, plus the Chinese Pavilion and the Theatre, it’s free to wander the grounds, and this is what we did with our dog. Part of the formal garden is chained off, as the Palace is still lived in by the royal family. But everywhere else both human and dog visitors were free to roam.

It’s a popular spot with local dog owners too, partially as one of the islands in the English Garden is an off-leash dog park. (Look for the island with the gates at the end of the bridge, near the Gothic Tower.) Unfortunately it was a hot day when we visited, and the island doesn’t have much shade, so we didn’t make use of it for long.

Find out how you can visit Stockholm and Drottningholm Palace on a 2-night Baltic Cruise with your dog

3. Royal Palace, Turin, Italy

The large square outside the Royal Palace in Turin

The grand Royal Palace in Turin allows small dogs to be carried inside

The entrance to the Royal Palace

Exploring Turin with our dog Schnitzel

One of the beautiful squares in Turin

The Royal Palace is just as stunning at night

The Palazzo Reale di Torino, as it’s officially known in Italian, is located in the northwestern Italian city of Turin. Turin is a beautiful city that is probably the least Italian of all the cities in Italy I’ve visited – it has more of a French feel to it. It’s also one of the most dog-friendly places I’ve visited in Europe, and this extends to the Royal Palace.

The royal residence of the House of Savoy, it dates back to the 16th century and is located next to the charming Old Town with its narrow laneways. At this palace, dogs aren’t just welcome in the large square outside the front and the gardens behind it (which were unfortunately closed to all visitors when I visited in January). Small dogs carried in a bag or your arms are also allowed to join you inside, touring the rooms of the palace. Unfortunately I only found this out at the last moment and didn’t have time in my itinerary to visit inside (it’s recommended to allow 2 hours), but I’m sure the rooms inside are just as grand as the exterior.

Check out more recommendations for dog-friendly sightseeing in Italy

4. Parks and Palaces of Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany

The grand and imposing New Palace at Sanssouci

Fit for a spoiled Dachshund!

At the other end of Sanssouci Park is the playful Sanssouci Palace

Grape vines grow along the terrace in front of Sanssouci Palace

Sanssouci Park is also home to the Orangery Palace

Schnitzel checking out the Orangery

Strolling through the long forested paths of Sanssouci

Don’t also miss the Chinese Tea Pavilion

Germany has no shortage of castles and palaces scattered around the country, but one of the grandest has to be the palaces at Potsdam, once a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser until 1918. In the expansive Sansoucci Park, just outside the small city, there’s not just one but four palaces (Sanssouci Palace, Orangery Palace, New Palace and Charlottenhof Palace).

While unfortunately dogs are not allowed inside the palaces, it’s fine for your dog to join you to wander through the park and view the palaces from the exterior. They have all been built over the centuries in different styles, so are fascinating to view. Don’t also miss the delightful Chinese Tea House. If travelling from the centre of Berlin, purchase a day ticket so that your dog travels with you for free (otherwise a reduced fare ticket is required for dogs not in a carrier). The train takes about an hour, then catch the regular buses to the various stops in the park.

Check out more recommendations for dog-friendly sightseeing in Germany

5. Lednice Park, South Moravia, Czech Republic

Checking out Lednice Chateau with Schnitzel

The 19th century Chateau Lednice was the summer palace of the Liechtenstein family

A large lake lies at the heart of the extensive Lednice Park

Visiting Lednice Park with a dog

Schnitzel dressed for the chilly late Autumn weather

Walking on the main path around the lake

If you’re up for a longer walk, head to the mock ruin of John’s Castle

Tucked away in the southeastern Czech Republic, Lednice Park has a fascinating history. While currently in the Czech Republic and right next to the Austrian border, this park once belonged to the royal family of Liechtenstein, until they lost the property during World War II. Their principal palace was in the nearby town of Valtice, but I prefer the whimsy of the neo-gothic Lednice Chateau and its surrounding park, which was used as their summer palace.

While Lednice Chateau itself does not allow dogs inside (and is closed over most of the winter to human guests as well), the surrounding formal gardens and parks are freely accessed to all, year-round, including dogs on a leash. When I visited in late October, while the formal gardens were no longer at their best, the extensive English parklands and lakes were beautiful to stroll through, especially with leaves changing hue into a kaleidoscope of colours. The park is 45 minutes drive from Brno, plus only 75 minutes drive from Vienna.

Read more about our visit to Lednice Park

6. Studley Royal Park, North Yorkshire, England

The ruined Fountains Abbey at Studley Royal Park

Schnitzel exploring the ruins of the abbey (with his coat to protect him from the drizzle)

Inside of the ruined church of Fountains Abbey

Vistas across the Water Park to Fountains Abbey

The Water Park looking very green in late Spring

Exploring the walks through the park

One of the many follies inside Studley Royal Park

Ducks enjoying the lake next to the Tea House

Although not strictly speaking a palace, I couldn’t resist including this delightful property in northern England. Studley Royal Park once belonged to a medieval manor house, located about 30 miles north of Leeds in North Yorkshire. However, the manor house burnt down in 1945, leaving behind an intriguing property that now belongs to the National Trust and is UNESCO World Heritage listed.

The oldest feature of Studley Royal Park are the remains of Fountains Abbey, a Cistercian abbey dating back to the 12th century. After the dissolution of monasteries in the 16th century it was left to ruin and is now open to the air, except for the mill building which is still intact. A couple of hundred years later the owner of the Studley estate built the Royal Water Gardens next to the ruins of the abbey, with ornamental lakes and a number of follies, plus some beautiful vistas back to the abbey. It’s a fine example of an English park.

Luckily dogs are welcome to join you on a visit to the park, including wandering around the remains of the abbey, although not inside any of the few buildings on the site. I recommend stopping off at the tearoom next to the cascade at the end of your visit, enjoying a cream tea with your pup on the terrace outside, although keeping your distance from the many ducks and geese. Outside of the ticketed area there is also a larger deer park, with walks suitable for on-leash dogs.

Check out more tips for travelling with a dog in the UK

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Riana Ang-Canning
    July 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

    What beautiful spots! I really hope to be able to travel through Europe with my dog one day. My partner and I are looking into the logistics of a working holiday visa and bringing our dog along too. Your website has been such an amazing resource! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      July 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Great to hear! All the best with the working holiday visa, that would be an awesome way to explore.

  • Reply
    Susanne wilkie
    August 3, 2018 at 3:35 am

    Hi Just came across your site…how exciting!!! I’m taking my little friend with me to Spain first to Spain to Marbella but I have to go cross the tunnel first from the UK then get on a plane down to Andalucía as there are no flights that take dogs in the cabin at all into Europe from UK. This is because
    I havent got the time to drive all the way down and back as I only have 12 days and it is a long drive..
    So then i am planning to drive over to Munich mid October through to Poland then Czech Republic back through Hamburg and Hanover into Netherlands down through Belgium and back via Calais. You have truly inspired me!! Rufus has already had all his rabies jabs and has his pet passport ready…. and next year if all goes well i want to drive up through Sweden into Norway may/June 2019…… thank you so much……its just me and my dog so a little daunting…
    Susanne and Rufus.

    • Reply
      Shandos
      August 3, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Susanne and Rufus,
      That’s amazing to read about your upcoming adventures! I wish you and Rufus an awesome time and would love to hear more! And while I travel with my husband, which makes travelling with a dog a bit easier, there’s plenty of other women I know travelling alone with their dogs, so I’m sure you’ll be fine. I’ll be adding some more posts about our travels with a dog in Czech Republic, Poland and Scandinavia soon, hope they can help. (We also did a road trip through Sweden and Norway, camping in a tent, which Schnitzel loved!) You’re also welcome to join the FB group I started recently: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dogfriendlytravelrtw.
      All the best,
      Shandos & Schnitzel

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