Travelling with a dog is oh-so rewarding. Watching as they explore their new surroundings is almost meditative, and can remind us of the important things in life that we so often forget due to constantly being connected via our phones: being present, appreciating the world around you, and unbounded joy of discovering new things.
While I’m not a dog-owner myself, I’ve spent a lot of time with friends’ dogs and last year began travelling with Amy’s pup Luka, a former street dog she adopted from Montenegro. Learning where we could and couldn’t take him, and where he was allowed to run free was a minefield. So to help you navigate the dos and don’ts of holidaying in Germany with your dog, we’ve put together this guide of tips and tricks when travelling with a dog, as well as our favourite holiday spots.
One of our favourite beach locations for dogs is Hundestrand Markgrafenheide, a stunning stretch of white sand beach near Fischland-Darß-Zingst on the Ostsee. Here dogs can be off the lead throughout the year. There are also a few dog beaches on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula where leashes don’t need to be worn out of season (October-May) which are stunningly beautiful.
Stay: Dierhagen Cabins, two black-wood cabins that are located directly on the Baltic coast's white-sand beaches. They’re surrounded by pine trees and have bold, modern interiors.
Long walks along the river are the perfect way to spend your day, especially when broken up with visits to medieval towns to enjoy coffee and cake (or dog treats and water)! For this reason, we think the Elbe is great, as you can visit Stade, which was first mentioned in records in 934.
Stay: The Elbe Treehouses, sleek, secluded treehouse hideouts overlooking the river Elbe, with wood-burning fires and a hot tub, made for total escapism.
Berlin is a great city for dogs, which we often forget! The dog runs at Templehofer Feld and in Tiergarten are relaxed, social places for your four-legged friends, and they can run free in some parts of Grunewald. Plus you can easily travel around the city with public transport (only big dogs need to get a ticket).
Stay: The Michelberger, that hyper-hip hideout at the heart of Berlin, has individually styled rooms, an exceptional restaurant and sleek wine bar, plus they provide doggie care packages.
The Bavarian mountains are, of course, a great place to get some fresh air and explore with your dog. We think the area around Tegernsee is perfect, as it’s a little quieter than Allgäu or Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but just as beautiful.
Stay: Tegernsee Farmhouse, a family-run farm with stylish rooms and apartments, combines minimalist design with traditional features, and is surrounded by forests and lakes.
The expansive beauty of the Mecklenburger Seenplatte is enjoyable for dogs and humans alike, as there are over 6,000 square kilometres of lakes to explore. A favourite for four-legged friends is Fleesensee where there’s a special dog beach.
Stay: Müritz Water Towner, a striking, 120-year-old water tower boasting 4 industrial-chic apartments, is located at the water’s edge in Germany’s Lake District (note dogs are allowed in the ground-floor apartment Hagenow only).
Travel out of season
Going on holiday in spring and autumn not only tends to be more affordable, but there tend to be fewer regulations for dogs (they can be off their leads more). Plus there are less people, meaning it's most relaxing (for you both!)
Don’t forget the documentation
Of course, your dog must be chipped or tattooed, and you should travel with a copy of its vaccination certificate, just in case.
Pack like you would for a small child
You don’t want your four-legged friend feeling stressed, so it's worth taking a few of their favourite toys and blankets so they have something familiar to play with. Also make sure to pack water for your dog when you go on hikes or days out.