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Pet-Friendly Paradise Countries of Europe

Updated: Apr 4


Hidden Destinations: The Surprisingly Pet-Friendly Paradise Countries of Central, Eastern Europe and the Balkans


When it comes to traveling with pets, many pet owners face challenges in finding destinations that welcome their furry companions with open arms. However, there are several countries that might not be the first to come to mind but are surprisingly pet-friendly. From stunning landscapes to rich cultural experiences, the 6 countries in this post offer both humans and their pets unforgettable adventures.




Montenegro


Montenegro, with its breathtaking landscapes and picturesque coastlines, has long been a favored destination for travelers seeking adventure and relaxation alike. For pet owners, the idea of embarking on a journey with their furry friends can be both exciting and daunting, given the varying levels of pet-friendliness across different destinations. However, in Montenegro, the prospect of exploring its natural wonders with your beloved dog in this pet-friendly paradise in Europe is not only feasible but also surprisingly accommodating.



The scene shows the walk to Jezerski peak in Lovcen National Park in Cetinje.
Jezerski peak, Lovcen National Park, Cetinje.

Pet-Friendly Outdoor Activities and Attractions


One of the most enticing aspects of visiting Montenegro with your pet is the plethora of pet-friendly outdoor activities and attractions that welcome four-legged friends with open arms. From boat excursions to hiking trails, there are numerous opportunities for you and your dog to forge unforgettable memories together. For instance, many boat excursions around the country permit dogs on board, allowing them to soak in the stunning vistas of Montenegro's coastline alongside their human companions. Oftentimes the vendors selling these excursions on the seashore will encourage adding your canine companion along.


For those with a love for outdoor adventures, the famed San Giovanni Fortress in Kotor offers an enriching experience for both humans and dogs alike. The fortress, steeped in history and nestled amidst breathtaking scenery, provides an ideal setting for leisurely strolls with your canine friend by your side. As you traverse the ancient walls and soak in panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, you'll find that your pets companionship adds an extra layer of joy to the experience.


Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed to visit the Petar II Petrovic Njegos’s Mausoleum at the top of Jezerski peak in Lovcen National Park in Cetinje.  They are however, allowed to walk around the base of the monument. This is a new restriction in the past two years and there is now an entry fee into the park of 3€ per car and 5€ per person to venture up to the Petar Mausoleum. Sadly, the new Kotor cable car is also not pet friendly, so your pet will unfortunately not be allowed to join you on this amazing outdoor journey to the top of Lovcen Mountain.



Pet-Friendly Beaches of Montenegro


While Montenegro's beaches have witnessed a shift in their pet-friendly policies in recent years, there are still ample options available for beach-loving pups and their owners. While iconic beaches like Plavi Horizonti may have tightened their restrictions on pets, there are plenty of alternatives scattered throughout the country's coastline. Mogren Beach and Slovenska in Budva offer sandy shores where dogs are welcomed, providing ample space for them to frolic in the sun and surf to their heart's content.


In addition to Budva, other coastal towns such as Kotor, Tivat, and Ulcinj boast beaches that extend a warm welcome to canine visitors. Benovo Beach in Kotor, Kukoljina in Tivat, a secluded spot in Buljarica, and the inviting Mojito Beach in Ulcinj are just a few examples of destinations where dogs can enjoy the sand, sea, and sunshine alongside their owners. What's more, during the winter months, when tourist crowds thin out, many beaches in Montenegro become even more accommodating to dogs, offering a serene setting for leisurely walks and playtime.


Pet-Friendly Establishments of Kotor Montenegro


As you plan your Montenegrin getaway with your furry friend, it's essential to be mindful of local regulations and etiquette to ensure a great experience for all. While some establishments may have specific rules regarding pets, maintaining basic courtesy and cleanliness can go a long way in fostering positive relationships between pet owners and the community. Recently, the city of Kotor has added many new restrictions on the green spaces adjacent to the walled city. There are still some romping spots available for your canine buddy, but not the plethora there once was a few years ago.




Pet-Friendly Public Transportation in Montenegro


Pet-friendly public transportation in Montenegro is a bit tricky; it is up to the individual driver as to whether a pet is allowed on board. This practice is very similar to the rules of public transportation in Croatia. It is much easier to take a small dog that is held in your arms or placed in a backpack, but oftentimes the driver will allow the larger dog on board in Montenegro as well. This can make it very difficult to plan your journey through Montenegro with your pet.

 


Poland

Poland, nestled in the heart of Central Europe, often flies under the radar as a tourist destination. However, for pet owners seeking adventure without leaving their furry friends behind, Poland is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. From the cobblestone streets of Krakow to the coastal charm of Gdańsk, the bustling capital city of Warsaw, to the tranquil retreat of Zakopane up high in the Tatra Mountains, Poland offers a diverse array of pet-friendly experiences.


Pet-Friendly Public Transportation in Poland


One of the most convenient aspects of traveling with pets in Poland is the pet-friendly public transportation system. Whether you're exploring the picturesque streets of Krakow, wandering along the waterfront in Gdańsk, navigating the bustling capital of Warsaw, or venturing into the breathtaking mountains of Zakopane, pets are welcome on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, and trains. This makes it easy for pet owners to navigate the cities and beyond, without the hassle of finding alternate transportation or leaving their beloved companions behind.


Pet-Friendly Transportation in Krakow and Warsaw Poland


In Warsaw, dogs are allowed to travel for free though the rules state they must be leashed and muzzled.  The rules in Poland state if a passenger complains about the presence or smell of a dog, the owner may be asked to move to a different compartment with their pet. Our dog did travel without a muzzle in Kraków; however, it appears to be dependent on the train operator whether the rules are enforced.  Larger dogs in carriers are charged for transport, known as a dog ticket. On PolRegion trains, small dogs travel for free and large dogs are charged for their passage. The pet-friendly transportation in Krakow and Warsaw made it very easy to travel through these cities in Poland.


Pet-Friendly Places in Krakow Poland


Krakow, with its rich history and charming Old Town, is a delight for pet owners and their furry friends alike. Many cafés, restaurants, and shops in the city warmly welcome pets, allowing visitors to enjoy their time exploring the city without worrying about leaving their pets behind. One notable pet-friendly attraction is the Kosciuszko Mound, which offers stunning views of the city and houses a fascinating museum. While pets are allowed on the premises, they must be carried through the museum, presenting a unique but manageable challenge for pet owners. The city's vibrant atmosphere extends to its pet-friendly accommodations and attractions, including river cruises along the Wisła River, where pets are welcome to join their owners as they explore the city from a different perspective.  While iconic landmarks like the Wawel Castle may not be pet-friendly, there are plenty of pet-friendly places in Krakow that offer other attractions to explore, ensuring that both pet owners and their furry companions have a memorable experience.



Pet-Friendly Kryspinow Lagoon


Kryspinow lagoon beach in Krakow is a picturesque haven that warmly welcomes pets making it a delightful destination for both humans and their furry pals. Nestled along the shores of Lake Kryspinow, this enchanting spot boasts stunning scenery and tranquil waters, perfect for refreshing dips and leisurely strolls. With the pet-friendly policy of Kryspinow Lagoon, visitors can enjoy bonding with their four-legged friends against the backdrop of rolling hills and lush greenery. Whether lounging on the sandy shores or exploring the scenic surroundings, Kryspinow beach offers a blend of natural beauty and pet-friendly hospitality, making it a cherished retreat for all!



Pet-Friendly City of Gdańsk


On the Baltic coast, the pet-friendly city of Gdańsk enchants visitors with its maritime history and picturesque waterfront. Pet-friendly cafés and restaurants line the streets, inviting visitors to dine al fresco with their furry companions by their side. Gdańsk is a treat for the senses.



A bustling summer day in the picturesque Gdansk Poland crowded with tourists looking for that famed cafe culture.
Gdansk, Poland

Pet-Friendly Beaches of Gdynia


Just down the road from the quintessential city of Gdańsk lies the port city of Gdynia. This city boast a series of beautiful and tranquil forests all around. From hiking trails to biking trails, these paths provide hours of activities for you and your furry friend. Beaches are abundant as well and there are even a few dog friendly beaches in the vicinity where you and your fur baby can spend hours soaking in the sun. Two of the well known pet-friendly beaches of Gdynia are Kolibki, entrances number 18 and 19 and Babie Doły, located at entrance number 4. There are fines imposed if you do not clean up after your pet, so make sure you are respectful of the laws and practicing proper etiquette.


Pet-Friendly City of Warsaw


As the capital city of Poland, Warsaw blends historical landmarks with modern amenities and welcomes pets with open arms. Pet-friendly establishments abound, allowing visitors to enjoy everything from gourmet dining experiences to leisurely strolls through city parks with their four-legged friends in tow. We found visiting the pet-friendly city of Warsaw to be a pleasure as our pets were allowed to join us while we dined inside of beautiful restaurants.


Visiting the Tatra National Park in Poland with Pets


Nestled in the breathtaking Tatra Mountains, Zakopane offers a tranquil escape for pet owners seeking adventure in nature. Pet-friendly accommodations cater to both two-legged and four-legged guests, providing a cozy retreat after a day of hiking or skiing in the mountains. Visiting the Tatra National Park in Poland with pets is not as easy as the Tatra mountains in Slovakia. In Poland, there are three areas that allow pets. Chochołowska Valley, Lejowa Valley and Droga pod Reglami. Additionally, Turbacz Mountain is pet friendly as well as Gubałówka.


Whether strolling through historic streets, dining at outdoor cafés, or embarking on outdoor adventures, Poland welcomes pets with open arms, inviting them to be a part of unforgettable travel experiences in this enchanting European destination.


Slovakia

Nestled in the heart of Europe, Slovakia boasts stunning landscapes, including the High Tatras mountains and medieval towns. Pet-friendly accommodations are readily available, and many outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping, welcome pets. Additionally, Slovakia's pet-friendly attitude extends to its public transportation system, making it easier to explore the country with your furry friend.



Pet-Friendly Slovakia


Our recent jaunt through Slovakia left us pleasantly surprised by the warm reception our four-legged companions received. Despite our brief stay, the country's embrace of pets made a lasting impression. In contrast to our experiences in neighboring Poland's Tatra National Park, where restrictions on pets limited our exploration of the National Park, Slovakia proved to be a haven for pet owners.


Pet-Friendly Restaurants in Slovakia


One of the standout features of our visit was the hospitality extended to our furry friends in various establishments. Unlike many places where pets are relegated to outdoor seating areas, several restaurants in Slovakia graciously welcomed our dogs indoors. This gesture not only made dining more convenient but also made us feel like valued guests rather than inconveniences.


Pet-Friendly Outdoor Activities in Slovakia


One of the highlights of our trip was our excursion to the Strbske Pleso lake trail. Nestled amidst breathtaking scenery, this picturesque trail offered a serene escape into nature. The entire route, encircling the tranquil waters of the lake, provided a perfect setting for leisurely strolls with our pets. The pristine surroundings, reminiscent of a postcard scene, left an indelible mark on our memories.


Visiting the Tatra National Park in Slovakia


What truly sets Slovakia apart, however, is its inclusive approach to pet ownership within its national parks. While in Poland's Tatra National Park, our options for pet-friendly exploration were severely limited, Slovakia presented a stark contrast. Here, our canine companions were not only tolerated but welcomed with open arms. This refreshing attitude allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of the region without feeling restricted or excluded. Visiting the Tatra National Park in Slovakia was much easier for us than we expected.


Pet-Friendly Accommodation in Slovakia


In addition to the welcoming attitude towards pets, finding pet-friendly accommodation in Slovakia was refreshingly easy. We encountered no difficulties in securing comfortable lodging for both us and our furry companions. This accessibility further enhanced our overall experience, allowing us to focus on enjoying our travels rather than worrying about logistical challenges. We did find many of the hotels did charge for pets. Make sure you check the fine print before booking your stay.


Slovakia surpassed our expectations at every turn. As pet owners, we found solace and joy in exploring this beautiful country with our beloved companions by our side. Slovakia was a shockingly breathtaking country with amazing food. We will be visiting it for much longer lengths of time in the future as we find it not only extremely dog friendly but easy on the wallet too!



Slovenia

Often overshadowed by its neighbors, Slovenia offers a wealth of natural breathtaking beauty, from the Julian Alps to Lake Bled, and vibrant cities like Ljubljana and Maribor, stands out as one of our favorite destinations. The country's remarkable pet-friendly culture means that pets are welcome in many accommodations, outdoor cafes, and even some cultural attractions. Whether in cafes, restaurants or shops, our dogs were warmly welcomed, often provided with fresh water promptly. On more than one occasion, our pups were given special treats by the local restaurant servers.


Pet-Friendly Public Transportation and Outdoor Activities in Slovenia


Moreover, Slovenia's pet friendly policies extend to public transportation, making exploring the country much easier. Finding accommodations was a breeze, with thoughtful hosts even providing dog bowls. Slovenia boasts abundant green spaces, parks, numerous hiking trails and the pet-friendly beach of Izola adjacent to the Delmaris factory, surprisingly to us, our pets were allowed to explore the outdoor areas around the Bled Castle. Slovenia is a paradise for adventurous pet owners.



Turkiye/Turkey

Rich in history, culture, and culinary delights, Turkey is also surprisingly pet-friendly. Istanbul, in particular, is known for its welcoming attitude towards pets, with many cafes and parks allowing furry companions. Moreover, Turkey's diverse landscapes, including beaches, mountains, and ancient ruins, offer endless opportunities for pet-friendly exploration.


Pet-Friendly Cities in Turkey


Turkey has emerged as a haven for pet owners, showcasing remarkable hospitality and acceptance towards our furry companions. We visited these pet-friendly cities in Turkey, Akyaka, Alanya, Antalya, Çanakkale, Edirne, Eskişehir, Fethiye, Kaş, and Istanbul, and found the warmth and welcome extended to pets to be consistent throughout.


Pet-Friendly Outdoor Activities in Turkey


Contrary to initial expectations, our apprehensions about bringing pets to Turkey were swiftly dispelled upon arrival. The hospitality extended by cafes and restaurants was exemplary, with almost every establishment graciously accommodating our four-legged friends. Even amid adverse weather conditions, such as snowfall in Istanbul, we found ourselves embraced by the hospitality of local eateries, where fresh bowls of water were readily provided for our pets.

The inclusivity extended beyond dining establishments, with several boat cruises opening their doors to our pets. Although we opted out of visiting the Saklikent Gorge with our furry companions, the fact that pets were allowed speaks volumes about Turkey's pet-friendly character.



Warren and Julie Travel featuring Warren and Julie standing in front of the path leading to the Saklikent gorge in Turkiye
Saklikent Gorge, Saklikent National Park, Turkey

Pet-Friendly Transportation in Turkey


Navigating public transport with pets proved to be a seamless experience. Despite encountering a few exceptions, such as riding a dolmuş in Fethiye where the driver graciously accommodated us, we found Turkish Railways to have clear guidelines regarding pet transportation. Small pets are permitted on trains provided they adhere to specific conditions, ensuring a harmonious journey for all passengers. Unfortunately, larger dogs are not permitted to ride the trains. Istanbul now offers large dogs to ride the mass transportation between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dogs are allowed to travel only with a leash and muzzle.


Even in the realm of taxi services, we encountered no issues, with drivers readily accepting our furry companions as passengers. The pinnacle of our transportation experience was the Istanbul ferry, where we traversed from the European to the Asian side with our pets.


Overall, our journey through Turkey has been characterized by an overwhelming sense of inclusivity and warmth towards pets. From dining out to exploring public transportation options, every facet of our experience has reinforced Turkey's status as a paradise for pet owners.



Serbia

With its vibrant capital city, Belgrade, and diverse natural landscapes, Serbia is an emerging destination for pet owners. Many hotels and rental properties in Serbia welcome pets, and numerous parks and outdoor spaces offer opportunities for pet-friendly recreation. In Belgrade, pet-friendly cafes and restaurants are plentiful, allowing you to enjoy the city's bustling atmosphere with your furry friend.



Pet-Friendly Accommodation in Serbia


When embarking on a journey with our four-legged companions, the concern over pet-friendly accommodations often looms large. However, for those considering a trip to Serbia, fret not, for this Eastern European gem has earned its stripes as a remarkably welcoming destination for pets and their owners alike.

Arriving in Serbia in the chill of January 2021, with our faithful canine companions by our side, we were pleasantly surprised by the warmth of reception extended to our furry friends. The landscape unfolded as a veritable haven for pet owners, with an array of establishments opening their doors, quite literally, to our beloved pets. It was very easy for us to find pet-friendly accommodation in Serbia and we were never asked for pet fees.


Pet-Friendly Cities in Serbia


From the bustling streets of Belgrade to the tranquil corners of Nis, Novi Sad, Subotica, and Zlatibor, Serbia's cities emerged as beacons of pet-friendliness. Cafés, shops, pubs, restaurants, and even a mall in Novi Sad, graciously accommodated our pets, making every outing an inclusive experience for both human and animal companions.


The Easiest Country in Europe to Fly to with Your Pet from the United States


One of the most remarkable aspects of our journey was the ease with which we could bring our pets into Serbia from the United States. The country's pet import regulations proved to be straightforward and hassle-free, setting the stage for a seamless travel experience. For those contemplating a trip to Europe with their pets, Serbia emerges as a promising gateway, offering a smooth entry process. We found the country of Serbia to be the easiest country in Europe to fly with your pet from the United States.


Flying with Your Pet on AirSerbia


Our choice of AirSerbia as our airline of preference further underscored Serbia's pet-friendly attitude. With a policy that permits pets to travel in the cabin, AirSerbia proved to be a reliable ally for pet owners seeking to explore the wonders of Serbia with their furry companions. It's worth noting that for those with pets exceeding 8 kilograms, AirSerbia's cabin transport policy may present limitations, as cargo transport for pets is unfortunately not facilitated. If you are considering flying with your pet on AirSerbia, make sure to review all of their policies and regulations prior to booking your ticket.

While our exploration of Serbia predominantly revolved around road travel, we must acknowledge the limitations of our experience concerning public transport. However, the overwhelmingly positive encounters we had in various establishments across the country instilled in us a deep sense of gratitude for Serbia's commitment to inclusivity in pet-friendly tourism.


Tips for International Pet Travel

1.    Research Pet Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the pet import requirements of each country well in advance of your journey.


2.    Obtain Necessary Documentation: Ensure that your dogs have all required vaccinations, microchips, and health certificates as per each country’s regulations.


3.    Plan Pet-Friendly Accommodations:

Research and book accommodations that welcome pets in each destination to ensure a comfortable stay.

4.    Prepare for Transportation: Choose pet-friendly transportation options, whether flying or driving, and familiarize yourself with the airline or transportation company’s pet policies.


Excess Baggage/Cargo Carrier for Airline Travel- Meets all airline requirements and available in many sizes.

Best Soft Carriers for Airline Travel- Meets all airline requirements for width and height.

  

Reusable, washable and collapsible bowls- Great product for every day travel and airline travel. 

Quick Dry Pet Towels- Perfect for rainy days and bath time for your fur baby. Wonderful option for Europe, especially since most accommodations will not have an electric dryer. These dry very quickly.  

  

Disposable Pee Pads- A must for airline travel and long haul travel on public transportation.

Lysol Wipes Travel Size- Pet accidents cannot always be avoided.

Disposable Female Dog Diapers- Great product for peace of mind for your female dog while flying or traveling on public transportation.

Disposable Male Dog Diapers- Great product for peace of mind for your female dog while flying or traveling on public transportation.


Refillable Water Bottle - An ideal solution for packing water for you and your pet.

  

5.    Prioritize Pet Safety and Comfort: Pack essentials such as food, water, bedding and toys to keep your dog comfortable during the journey.

What to pack for the flight:

Freeze-dried chicken bites- This is a fantastic product They were very hungry, and this was the perfect solution.


Excess Baggage/Cargo Carrier for Airline Travel- Meets all airline requirements and available in many sizes.

Best Soft Carriers for Airline Travel- Meets all airline requirements for width and height.

  

Reusable, washable and collapsible bowls- Great product for every day travel and airline travel. 

Quick Dry Pet Towels- Perfect for rainy days and bath time for your fur baby. Wonderful option for Europe, especially since most accommodations will not have an electric dryer. These dry very quickly.  

  

Disposable Pee Pads- A must for airline travel and long haul travel on public transportation.

Lysol Wipes Travel Size- Pet accidents cannot always be avoided.

Disposable Female Dog Diapers- Great product for peace of mind while flying with your female dog or traveling on public transportation.

Disposable Male Dog Diapers- Great product for peace of mind while flying with your male dog or traveling on public transportation.


Refillable Water Bottle - An ideal solution for packing water for you and your pet.

  

What to Pack for the Continued Everyday Travel:

Dog Toy- Nearly indestructible toy for your pet. This is for the strong chewer.

Dog Toy- Smaller, but sturdy toy for your pet. This is for the average chewer.

Flexi-Leashes- High quality expandable leashes. We have used these for over 4 years. This is the one for the smaller dog.

Flexi Leashes- High quality expandable leashes. We have used these for over 4 years. This is the one for the large dog. The yellow is reflective and helps with night walks.

Dog Poo Bags- Everyday essential for pet travel and a great value!


6. Summer Essentials for Your Pet.

Cool down Bandanas- Great product for those high temperature days throughout Europe. Cool your pet quickly so they don’t overheat.

Cool down mat- A fantastic solution for the hot summer days.


Dog Life Jacket- We packed these with us from the United States to each country we have visited, and I am glad we did.


For Car Travel


 Dog Safety Seatbelt Strap- A mandatory product for several EU countries and the United Kingdom.

Dog Car Seat Cover- We love having one of these for our car. It is washable and easy to clean. It keeps the seats of our car nice and not affected by pet travel.


Fashionable Fur-Baby Extras


Dog Front Carrier Backpack- Perfect for transporting your fur baby easily whether its a jaunt into a store or a hike in the woods.

Cold Weather Dog Coat- This has been the perfect dog coat for our little dog for the past four winters. It is extremely simple to put on and take off with the Velcro strap underneath.


Final Thoughts: Exploring Eastern and Central Europe with Dogs


These off-the-beaten path destinations should be on your radar if you are looking for pet friendly locations to spend your holidays. Happy travels!


Please follow us on YouTube for our ongoing adventures abroad! https://www.youtube.com/@WarrenJulieTravel


We are Warren and Julie, we are early retirement travelers with a wanderlust for seeing the world. As of 2024, Warren has visited 46 countries, and Julie 45, our dogs Katie and Arya have been to 26 countries. We transitioned to a permanent life of slow travel retirement in March of 2020. The goal is to spend quality time in the countries we travel to spending a month or more at a location, while also taking side trips and adventures along the way. We really want to feel the culture, know the people, and examine the cost of living, while also doing the typical tourist attractions. We are traveling with our two dogs, which adds a layer of complications at times. You are invited to join our slow travel roving early retirement journey. Please join our Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/share/nv8qrx7kbtNxkUSo/?mibextid=K35XfP


A man and a woman with their two dogs in Sandomierz, Poland in the heart of the historic district
Sandomierz, Poland historic district

We absolutely love this fantastic soft carrier dog backpack. It has now been used on three continents and is still in great condition. I highly recommend this for small dogs. It was very comfortable for our dog on our transatlantic flight as well. High quality construction and great back support!




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