Dog Friendly Europe

Dog Friendly Europe

Posted by Jen and Dave of Long Haul Trekkers on 31st August 2015


Jen & Dave along with their pup, Sora, are winners of the Kurgo Live Your Adventure contest. 


In April 2015, they gave up their jobs and left their home in Portland, Oregon to cycle Europe from Oslo, Norway to Istanbul Turkey by Fall 2015. For their next adventure, they have their sights set on cycling from Patagonia back to Oregon. 

You can follow their journey at Long Haul Trekkers, and read their guest post below! 

 

 

 

 



One
of the most common questions asked about our cycling journey is why we decided
to begin in Europe. The continent is expensive and not all that unlike the
United States in terms of creature comforts..


We
choose Europe for a few reasons:



    • It’s
      not all that unlike the United States in terms of creature comforts. With
      this being our first extended bike tour, we wanted to gauge our own level
      of comfort while living on our bicycles. We felt that Europe was foreign
      enough, yet would also allow us to feel a bit at home while we got the
      hang of cycle touring.

    • Europe
      has the best cycling infrastructure in the world. With thousands of
      designated and well-labeled, separated bike routes in nearly every
      country, we wanted to explore the potential that could one day turn the
      U.S. into a world class cycling destination.

  • Third
    and most important, we wanted to travel in a dog-friendly environment.
    Europe is well known for being dog-friendly and with Sora along for the
    ride, we wanted to ensure that she would be accepted where we traveled.
    Moreover, we wanted to travel where we knew that we would have little
    issues staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, and taking public
    transportation.


Dog-Friendly Europe


Public Transportation and Trains


In
most cities, dogs are permitted on public transportation, domestic and
international trains, and ferries. During our journey, we have taken Sora on
several ferries, subways, and international trains without hassle. She is
welcomed on the upper decks of ferries and sat next to us on the train we took
from Prague to Linz, Austria.


Often,
regulations require a muzzle, though we, ahem, ignore the rule and have managed
to get by with the
Gentle Leader we use for Sora.
Everyone thinks it’s a muzzle and no one has questioned us.


Hostels, Hotels, AirBnB, and Campgrounds


We
typically sleep at campgrounds or wild camp as we travel, and so far, have only
found one campground (in Italy) that did not allow dogs. We often pay a small
fee to have her along, ranging from [$1-2]. Further, finding a hotel or hostel
that accepts dogs has never been an issue, and we tend to secure lodging within
a half hour of arriving in a new destination.


We’ll
often start with the local tourism board and ask if they know of accommodations
that accept dogs. We have also found that it helps to email the managers ahead
of time and ask if we can bring our well-behaved pup along. Staying several
nights in a row for well-deserved rest may even reduce the pet fee.


Restaurants, Malls, Grocery Stores


Dave
and I take turns staying with Sora while one of us runs into an indoor place
that does not allow dogs, like a museum. However, Europe is much more relaxed
about permitting dogs inside compared to the United States. We’ve taken Sora
inside
restaurants, the mall, bakeries, tourist offices, and many other atypical
locations without question.


Dog Food


Finding
quality dog food has been simple throughout Europe so far. Pet stores are easy
to find in most cities and the dog food bags generally list the ingredients in
at least 10 languages, including English. We purchase grain-free food with no
by-products for Sora in 6-8 lb increments. to make for lighter traveling.


No Dogs Allowed


Despite
Europe’s overall acceptance of dogs, we have experienced a few instances where
Sora was not welcome.


No Swimming


After
pedaling several hours in 95 degree temperatures and completing a major
milestone of our route (riding from Oslo, Norway to Grado, Italy), we wanted
nothing more than to jump into the Adriatic Sea to celebrate and cool our
overheated bodies.


As
we pedaled down the beach, we discovered fence after fence of privatized
beaches that clearly indicated No Dogs. Even the campsite at which we stayed
did not permit dogs (however, we fortunately convinced them otherwise). We
eventually found one beach designated as the “Spaggia di Snoopy,” or Snoopy’s
Beach, which was great. Except that Sora doesn’t do well with an abundance of
other dogs around.


Our
only opportunity to spend quiet time on the beach with Sora was in the early
morning, around 6, just before departing for the day’s ride.


Similarly,
while pedaling through Austria, also in searing temperatures, we came across
many lakes. Again, we wanted nothing more than to jump in and cool ourselves,
but lake after lake did not permit dogs.


To
overcome this situation, Dave and I will take turns swimming in lakes or at the
beach, while the other remains outside with Sora. She’s not much of a water
dog, anyway.


Off-Lead Dogs


Though
signposts request that dogs be leashed, a seemingly large percentage of
Europeans choose to disregard this courtesy in public places. Well-behaved dogs
with a strong recall don’t affect us much, however most of the off-lead dogs
pose a bit of a problem. Sora is a dominant female who does not get appreciate
other dogs sniffing all up in her business.


Dogs
will come sprinting towards her from across plazas or in the streets. We do our
best to block Sora from the ability to face the dog, while oblivious owners
remain seated at their cafe perch, screaming for their pup, who clearly has no
intention of returning to its human. For us, this means that we have to be
vigilant for unleashed dogs around corners, under tables, and in parks.


Lack of Grassy Spots


Europe’s
vintage cobblestone roads are certainly unique in character and beauty,
however, we have often found a lack of green space for Sora to relieve herself
in many cities and villages throughout our trip. She’s a lady and won’t just
pee anywhere. Sora is used to a backyard or plentiful parking strips or parks
in Portland.


Getting
her to relieve herself on these old stone roads requires longer walks and
searching in vain for some gravel or bark where she feels comfortable. In
some instances, she has given in, after waiting overnight at times, and gone
right on the street, much to her dismay.


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