Going abroad for a holiday can be great fun when you have a dog, but it can also be troublesome. Some dogs don’t like travelling, but even when they do you still have to consider a lot of separate issues like transportation, the dog’s accessories, making the holiday plan dog-friendly and, especially, making sure that you find the best dog holiday resort.
Considering that there are countries with extremely strict pet quarantine laws for dogs from foreign countries, travelling abroad with your pooch becomes even more of an adventure. If you haven’t researched the subject so far, what should you look into first?
It’s a three-step process:
Step 1 – Research the countries with the least troublesome pet quarantine laws. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean countries with little to no quarantine laws, because there are a lot of third world countries that can fit that criteria. Pet quarantine laws exist for a reason, however, since they help shape an environment that’s better for both the people and their dogs. And that’s ideally where you’d like to go. Countries with a lot of stray dogs are also probably ones that you’d like to skip, for example.
Step 2 – Choose the countries that are not only pet-friendly, but that you yourself would like to visit.
Step 3 – Research about the best dog holiday resorts, hotels, cottages and other places to stay in the country you’ve chosen.
So, now that you've seen an overview of the process, let's talk about the details. I'll explain everything that you need to know to find a dog holiday resort that will meet your needs and budget.
Best Dog Holiday Resort Options in the World
You may be wondering exactly what this means. When it comes to international travelling with pets, countries are divided into 4 different categories of countries of origin:
Category 1: Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom.
Category 2: Cayman Islands, Denmark, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America (Guam & Hawaii only).
Category 3: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, United States of America (except Guam & Hawaii).
Category 4: All other countries.
These countries are important, because depending on the country of origin (the country where the dog has lived for the past 6 months), the requirements of the country you are going to will differ. For example, if you are going to Singapore from a Category 1 country, then your dog needs to have only the basic vaccinations done.
If, however, you’re entering Singapore from a Category 2 country, then your dog also requires to have been vaccinated against rabies in the last 30 days and also needs to go through a blood titer test.
If you are entering from a Category 3 or 4 country, then the pre-entry requirements become even more extensive. There are also a lot of other requirements like tick and tapeworm treatments, health certificates, and so on.
The basic advice here is to make sure that your dog is fully vaccinated for everything, but you’d also want to do a detailed research for the pet import regulations of the country you are going to. In fact, you can add that as a Step 2.5 to the list of steps that we discussed above.
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World's Best Dog Holiday Resort Options
To further help you out, we thought we’d go over some of the best dog holiday resort options in the world – going country by country. Keep in mind that we will obviously miss some places and even some countries. After all, most countries have at least some dog-friendly resorts.
Plus, new hotels, resorts and cottages are created and closed all the time. Still, the list below will at least be a solid baseline for the most dog-friendly countries. They will also give you some ideas about dog holiday resort options that could be an option for you and your pet.
As a Category 1 country, the UK is quite strict to pet import. However, in recent years their pet import rules have become much more manageable, especially if you’re coming from a Category 1-3 country. For tourists from Category 4 countries, there will be a brief quarantine period, but it is shorter than most other Category 1 countries.
Still, if you want to go to the United Kingdom, make sure to familiarize yourself with their rules and to follow them strictly. If you don’t, then the quarantine period upon entry can be quite extensive (up to 4 months!).
If your pet checks all the necessary marks, however, then your entry will be relatively easy. And once you’re inside, the UK is great for four-legged visitors – the National Rail system is open to dogs of all sizes, making travelling inside the UK exceptionally easy and pleasant. The country also has a ton of parks and green spaces that allow dogs.
Most notably, however, there are a ton of great pet-friendly resorts, hotels and cottages all throughout the British Isles, guaranteeing a wide array of choices for your vacation. Let’s take a look at a couple of them:
- Applegarth Villa and Restaurant is a luxury place in the heart of Windermere. It’s great for couples and very accommodating towards dogs.
- Holiday Resort Unity is a holiday park that offers virtually everything – lakeside cabins, premier safari tents, pods, and more. It is an amazing place for dogs and dog owners alike.
- Loch Tay’s many amazing lodges offer amazing scenery, lots of open space and perfect walking and trekking options.
France is notorious as a very dog-friendly country – dogs are accepted almost everywhere, including a lot of cafés, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions. It is also a Category 3 country, which makes entering it a much easier task than some other countries.
Of course, you still need to fit the basic requirements. So, don’t skip on researching what the requirements are for France, just because “it’s not as bad as the UK or Australia.”
France is still a very dog-safe country in terms of possible health concerns. Here are some of the best dog holiday resort options in the this country:
- Gite Maison Vigneronne Somail on the Canal du Midi is a mere 25 kms from the Mediterranean and offers a ton of open outdoor spaces for exploring, a lot of great restaurants in the area and great accommodations.
- Oh.. La La! Studio is a dog-friendly studio with an amazing location – just a minute away from Notre Dame and river Seine. In addition to its premium location it also offers premium accommodations and is dog-friendly.
- Villa Carbuccia is perfectly situated between the sea and the mountains of Corsica. It is open for dogs and dog owners and offers one of the best scenery you can wish for.
Travelling with a dog in the U.S. varies quite a bit depending on which state you are going to. States in the U.S. all have different rules and regulations regarding pet import, with some being quite open and dog-friendly, while others having more regulations.
Still, as a whole, the U.S. is quite welcoming towards four-legged tourists, as long as the basic criteria are met. The country also offers literally tens of thousands dog-friendly hotels and resorts, as well as a lot of dog-friendly public spaces like tourist attractions, restaurants, etc.
Some of the best dog holiday resort options in the U.S. that are worth mentioning include:
- The Fairmont in San Francisco is a great dog-friendly hotel with high luxury accommodations and everything you and your pooch may desire.
- Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe is a Japanese-style inn that’s so dog-friendly that it offers dog beds and has a dog-proof fence.
- Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago is an excellent hotel for dog owners, as it offers their pups private dog beds, dog bowls and more.
Switzerland is not a member of the EU but cooperates on most of the rules and regulations regarding pet import and transportation. As such, it is a very dog-friendly country as a whole – dogs are allowed in all public transport – train, bus and boat – at the price of a Day Card For Dogs pass that you can buy together with your ticket.
Most of the cafés, restaurants and tourist attractions in Switzerland are also very welcoming towards dogs, as are a lot of their resorts and hotels. Some of the best dog holiday resort options in this country include:
- Apartment Jarvis in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland is an amazing luxury 3-bedroom apartment in the heart of the Lauterbrunnen valley.
- Palazzo Varesi Apartment is a gorgeous place in Locarno – it is very dog-friendly, has an amazing view towards Lake Maggiore and offers a great central location.
- Chalet Luftschloss has a stunning view towards the surrounding Swiss Alps. It is a luxury Chalet in a great location, close to a lot of great skiing and hiking options.
Austria is a Category 3 country and has its pet import regulations, but they are not awfully unmanageable. Some of the specifics are that you can’t bring more than 3 dogs per person, all dogs must have an ISO microchip, and not only do the basic vaccinations need to be done, but they also need to be written in German.
As always, familiarize yourself with the specifics, but none of them are too difficult to accomplish. And once you are inside Austria you’ll find that it is a very dog-friendly country. All public transport and most restaurants and resorts are perfectly accepting towards dogs, and the many mountains and open spaces of Austria offer a ton of fun for both you and your pooch.
Here are some of the best dog holiday resort options in Austria:
- Ferienhaus Trattenstreet is a great self-catering home in the Austrian mountains with a stunning view and ideal, dog-friendly accommodations.
- Apartment Wolfgangsee has everything you could desire – it’s a luxury apartment with an amazing view towards the beautiful Lake Wolfgang.
- Apartment Rauch Bacher in the Hohe Tauern National Park is another perfect resort for dog owners with a beautiful surround area and perfect accommodations.
Turkey isn’t a member of the EU yet, however, like Switzerland, they’ve adopted most of the EU regulations towards pet import. One specific is that they allow only one dog and one cat per person, so keep that in mind and also familiarize yourself with the other details.
Aside from that, as a country Turkey is very accommodating towards dogs, with the sea-side resorts offering a lot of open spaces, public transport being more or less welcoming, and most resorts and restaurants also accepting dogs. Here are some of the places in Turkey that are the best dog holiday resort options:
- Club Antiphellos is located on an amazing peninsula and has beautiful, peaceful surroundings. It is pet-friendly and offers a lot of tourism options.
- Kibala Hotel consists of six wooden lodges beautiful natural garden by the mountains. It’s a gorgeous piece of Heaven that both you and your dog will be happy to explore.
- Bilgin Hotel is a pet-friendly hotel in an excellent location. It offers great prices for its rooms and is a high-value place that will leave you and your pup happy.
Spain is notorious on how accepting they are towards dogs. The country offers a lot of open spaces for you and your pooch, the public transport is welcoming towards your four-legged pal, as are most restaurants and resorts. Plus, even the biggest cities have a lot of dog-friendly parks and open spaces, as well as toilet areas.
Remember to mind the temperatures during the summer months. Spain is quite a hot country so, especially with a big dog it might be a good idea to avoid the hottest summer months. If you go to Spain, here are some dog holiday resort options I’d recommend for you and your pup:
- Hotel Sa Vall – Valldemossa – with a pool, a restaurant, a great scenery and a peaceful ambiance, this hotel is very welcoming towards dog owners.
- Hotel Mas de la Costa has great dog-friendly surroundings that are beautiful to walk through. It also has a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a lot of other attractions.
- Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque Resort is a great hotel in Adeje that’s very accommodating to dogs. It is a luxury hotel with a restaurant, pool, spa, bar, and a lot more.
If you’re interested in visiting the Balkans, Montenegro is a great option – it is very welcoming towards pets, both on the border and inside the country itself – transport, resorts and hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, etc.
Additionally, Montenegro offers a ton of awesome open spaces both in the mountains and on their beautiful sea side, all of which are sure to be quite enjoyable for both you and your pup.
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Here are some of the best dog holiday resort options in Montenegro that I’d recommend:
- Hilton Podgorica Crna Gora is a highly rated pet-friendly hotel in Podgorica. It has a great central location and perfect accommodations.
- Regent Porto Montenegro is a beautiful waterfront hotel in Tivat. It has luxurious nautical themed rooms and a gorgeous seaside view.
- Casa del Mare is located in Herceg-Novi and has a perfect location near the sea, as well as a bar and a restaurant.
Greece’s pet import standards are fairly standard, but the real plus of the country is the immeasurable open spaces and beaches. Greece has so much beach space per capita that it is exceptionally easy to find empty beaches for yourself, your family and your four-legged pal.
One thing to keep in mind is that during the summer months the temperatures in Greece can reach quite high numbers, so pick a month that’d be comfortable not only for you, but for your pooch as well. Here are some dog holiday resort options in Greece:
- Villa Thimari is a great Greek villa that offers a private swimming pool and a garden, a very peaceful environment and a close access to nearby beaches and restaurants.
- Villa Mavrikiano is another great option with Wi-Fi, a private pool, amazing view and easy access to beaches, shops and restaurants.
- Villa Danae is another ideal villa for dog owners. IT offers and idyllic and peaceful experience in Rhodes, a private pool, as well as all the comforts you’d require.
Scandinavian countries aren’t really known for their pet-friendliness, but one exception we’d point out is Norway. While its pet-import rules are stricter compared to those of other EU countries, they are far from unachievable, and the country itself is very welcoming towards dogs.
There are a ton open spaces that are great for tourism (do we need to mention the fjords?), plus there are a lot of pet-friendly hotels and resorts in the big cities, particularly in Oslo (the capital). The only problem are some of the public spaces like shops and restaurants. Also, if your pooch isn’t a fan of cold weather, then Norway obviously doesn’t work as a destination.
Some of the pet-friendly hotels and resorts in Norway include:
- Scandic Kristiansand Bystranda is a great sports hotel in Kristiansand that is very dog-friendly.
- Scandic Sorlandet is another great dog-friendly hotel in Kristiansand that offers a great service and luxury accommodations for you and your pup.
- Clarion Hotel Tyholmen is a perfect dog-friendly hotel with a seaside view, in a great area and with excellent services.