The Family Friendly Guide
What You Need to Know About Pet-Friendly Travel in Europe
Planning a pet-friendly vacation to Europe? If you’re visiting countries that are part of the European Union, taking your best furry friend along should be fairly straightforward as paperwork is standardized EU-wide—for dogs, cats, and ferrets that is.
If your animal is another species or if you’re going to non-EU countries, best to check the pet relocation rules that apply to the country you’ll be visiting. In any case, be sure to prepare well in advance! Here are some key points to consider.
- Research your travel arrangements: Each airline has a different policy on pet travel—and some may not accept certain breeds of dogs—so read the fine print before you book your flights! If you’re planning to use trains, buses, or rental cars once you arrive, check their pet policies as well. You may find that the easiest way to get around with a dog is to hire your own car.
- Book pet-friendly accommodation: Whether you prefer to stay in a hotel or a vacation rental, there’s generally lots of options in most parts of Europe. Make sure to check size restrictions and possible fees.
- Find an accredited vet who will issue the EU Health Certificate required to enter the European Union (valid for travel within the EU for up to four months). Remember: Your pet must have a rabies vaccination at least 21 days before departure, as well as an EU-compatible microchip. For other destinations such as the UK, Norway, or Malta, dogs may also need tapeworm treatment.
Once in Europe:
- Add pet-friendly activities to your itinerary: From hiking in national parks to exploring cities or romping around beaches, there are plenty of ways your beloved furry friend can enjoy a European vacation with you. Bear in mind when you’re off sightseeing that dogs are not allowed in churches, museums, and galleries, and look out for “no dogs allowed” signs.
- Eating out with your pet? While they’re commonly accepted in dining areas in countries like France or Italy, it’s always a good idea to check before you walk into a cafe or restaurant with your four-legged friend. Some countries are more welcoming to pets than others.
- If you’re lucky enough to stay in the EU longer than four months, get your fluffy friend a European Pet Passport, which contains their health records. Kept valid, it will save you from having to obtain a new EU Health Certificate each time you travel to Europe with your pet in tow. (In addition, a few non-EU countries including Switzerland and Norway also accept it!)