In February 2017, when we arrived in Madrid with our Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, we had no idea of what amazing travel adventures that Europe held in store for us. Coming from a country that isn’t dog-friendly for travelling (Australia), we’ve been amazed at all of the incredible places in Europe that we’ve been able to take our dog. We’d encourage anyone considering travelling in Europe with their dog to take the plunge and plan a trip. In particular, here are some of our favourite photos and destinations from our own travels with Schnitzel!
If you head to Europe with your dog, I highly recommend visiting France. While it’s not quite the most dog-friendly country of all (I’d say Germany, Switzerland and Italy pip it), there’s still so much to do with your dog. Don’t miss strolling along the banks of the Seine in Paris, and stopping off at the park next to the Eiffel Tower. There’s dog-friendly chateaux in the Loire Valley, plus the medieval town of Carcasonne to explore. And don’t miss walking along the waterfront in Nice or visiting the beautiful Alsace region – it’s hard to pick a favourite between Strasbourg and Colmar!
For our Christmas in Europe, we decided to enjoy it in Germany. Not only are there Christmas markets in nearly every town (the quieter ones are best to visit with a dog), but there’s plenty of hearty restaurants that’ll allow your dog to sit under the table – a must for cold and snowy days! In Berlin, don’t miss checking out the Brandenburg Gate with your pup, or exploring the palaces and parks at Potsdam.
Over two visits to Italy, we’ve travelled from the far north all the way to Sicily, and have been delighted with the many dog-friendly things to do along the way. While Venice may be crowded, we found it very welcoming to dogs. Plus the colourful island of Burano is a welcome retreat (complete with grass for a change!) There’s lots of Roman ruins to explore, although dogs can only visit the outside of the Colosseum. If visiting during the cooler months, don’t miss visiting the Cinque Terre, whether catching a train or walking between the villages. And if you need to chill for a while, rent a dog-friendly villa above Lake Como.
We started our European adventure in Spain, and it will always hold a warm spot in our hearts. While it’s not the most dog-friendly country, it’s the perfect place to visit in the late winter or springtime when it’s starting to warm up before the rest of Europe. San Sebastian in the Basque Country was our pick of dog-friendly cities. Plus we all enjoyed staying on a boat in the Canary Islands!
While our time spent in Switzerland was short (it’s a bit pricey if you’re on a budget), it left us with many delightful memories. My pick of the highlights was Grindelwald, in the centre of Switzerland. Whether that involved ascending a cable car to a beer garden with a view or taking the mountain railway up to Jungfraujoch and the summer snow.
Although Schnitzel didn’t seem too keen to take up bike riding on our visit to the Netherlands, we explored both the cities and countryside in this small country. Wandering the canals of Amsterdam is delightful with a dog by your side, while Kinderdijk and its windmills make for a great day trip from Rotterdam.
During our time exploring the United Kingdom, whether England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, we enjoyed plenty of hiking outings with our dog. In Wales we had a grand adventure climbing to the summit of Mt Snowdon. Though our pick of the most dog-friendly part of the UK was the Lake District. It seemed every second person was there to go walking, along with their dog. We had a delightful time hiking up the Cat Bells.
Unfortunately Ireland isn’t that dog-friendly (with no dogs allowed inside restaurants and pubs), there’s plenty of outdoor adventures that welcome your dog. After taking a boat trip to the Aran Islands, we all enjoyed sunset at the Cliffs of Moher.
Norway is probably the most spectacular country we’ve visited, scenery-wise! There are so many beautiful fjords, and mountains, and lakes, and waterfalls! Just be aware that it’s definitely the most expensive country in Europe (even the chocolate at the supermarket is exxy!), and the weather can be chilly and rainy, even during summer. Don’t miss the beautiful area around the World Heritage listed Geirangerfjord and Naerøyfjord!
We were lucky to visit Sweden during the warmest May in years, and my memories will always feature warm sunny days, plus the endless lakes, forests and shorelines. Schnitzel loved spending a couple of lazy days at Lake Rättvik in the centre of the country.
Copenhagen is a beautiful city, surrounded by water and with a very cool vibe. Our highlight was the beautiful Nyhavn waterfront, with its colourful buildings and outdoor terraces. But don’t also miss taking a cruise around the harbour with your pup.
Slovenia is one of the hidden gems of Europe. If you don’t have it on your wish list, make sure to add it! We also found the country very dog-friendly, in particular when we spent a short week exploring the area around Lake Bled. From strolling around the lake to taking a day trip to the Soca River to visiting cute villages, don’t miss visiting this gorgeous part of Europe with your dog.
While the Azure Window may be no more in Malta (with this natural archway crashing into the sea a year before we visited), that didn’t stop Schnitzel visiting the spot. With a slightly exotic vibe (it’s located closer to Africa than most of Europe), it’s an easy flight or ferry trip away.
One of our favourite cities in Europe, try and squeeze in Budapest on your European itinerary. While climbing to the Fishermans Bastion, with its views over the city, is a must, don’t also miss affordable dining, enjoying the historic metro, or even popping into a ruined pub (in the quiet afternoon hours, of course) with your pup.
Feeling inspired now to visit Europe with your dog? Check out my ultimate guide to travelling around Europe with a dog to help plan your trip!