Nollaig and Rudi’s Travels on Mainland Europe

This is part of a Blog that Nollaig sent to Renvyle Cat and Dog Rescue telling of his travels with his dog Rudi in Mainland Europe. We enclose it here as it is very informative about how to plan for such a trip with your dog, travelling by boat and train.

  • It is important to stress that a Microchip is essential and checked at ferry terminals.
  • Passport and Vaccinations required.
  • Rabies shot more than twenty one days prior to travel. Wormed 2 to 5 days before travel and also returning by a vet.
  • All this is recorded in the Pet Passport.

Hope all the following is helpful and a big thank you to Nollaig and of course Rudi!

We always depart Ireland from Rosslare to Cherbourg. Stena Line allows foot passengers with dogs and has onboard kennels, some of which are free and others which cost around €30 each way. The kennels are located on the restaurant deck and you can visit your dog regularly and walk the deck with him/her for exercise.

France: Arrival in Cherbourg is usually an uneventful affair. We travel onward to Paris using the train. There is a shuttle bus from the ferry terminal to the city centre. Tickets can be booked online but I recommend using the french-language version of the OUI.sncf website as you can book the dog ticket voucher. Train tickets must be collected from the train station office or ticket machine. Small dogs can travel in a container or you must muzzle the dog if sitting near you. In my experience if the dog looks passive then the inspector has no issue if he/she is not muzzled. I always keep the muzzle on the seat edge just in case one complains. There are many hotels in the Gare Saint Lazare/Gare du Nord area which are dog friendly. We have used the underground system to travel in Paris (I believe dogs are not allowed on the Metro).

Germany: (NOTE: German dog laws require the following-dog lead in a built up area must not exceed 1M in length, outside a built up area not exceed 2M in length). We depart Paris Gare du Nord for Cologne using the Thalys high-speed train. A dog ticket is usually about €30. We would advise travelling in the Comfort or Premium areas as there is more room for the dog. Again, a muzzle or container is required but as in France, depending on the dog, this may not be enforced. Cologne is extremely dog-friendly. They travel free on public transport and do not need to be muzzled. Most department stores allow dogs to enter but always check with security at the door. Lots of hotels are dog-friendly.

Berlin: Make sure to depart from Cologne main train station as the views are spectacular. We travel with Deutsche Bahn in the first class carriage as there is plenty of room and mobile phone quiet areas. A dog ticket costs the same price as a child's ticket and we buy them online prior to departing for Europe. You can purchase tickets three months in advance and they are much cheaper. Larger dogs must be muzzled when travelling on public transport and all dogs must have a valid ticket. If you buy a day/week ticket your dog is covered for travelling also. Do not travel without a ticket as if you get checked by a ticket inspector you will be fined on the spot. Plenty of dog-friendly hotels.

Netherlands: A dog ticket is required to travel on Dutch trains. Last time we travelled from Amsterdam Centraal to Delft a dog ticket cost €4 each way. You must also have a valid ticket for trams. In our experience, dog-friendly hotels are not as common as in Germany. Stay away from the red-light district with a dog, even if it’s for curious sightseeing.

Belgium: We have visited Antwerp and stayed in a dog-friendly hotel in the diamond district. Again, a dog ticket is required to travel on public transport. Definitely worth a visit as it’s a beautiful city. The main train station is a work of art and the old town is lovely to visit, sit outside with your dog and have a meal.

Luxembourg: From Antwerp to Luxembourg city cost around €24 for a dog ticket. We advise not staying in the train station area of Luxembourg city but travel to the old town which is about a 35 minute walk. We stayed in a hotel quite near the parliament building and the palace. Luxembourg can be a bit expensive but easy to get around. We didn’t do any shopping so unsure of the department store dog policies. No problem sitting outside cafés etc. with your dog.

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