THINGS TO KNOW FOR YOUR SWITZERLAND VACATION WITH A DOG
Traveling with a dog in Switzerland has always been a great experience – one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I often visit Switzerland with my dog, Puppygak. I know it is my favorite place, but I am confident in saying that it is one of his favorite travel destinations as well (and he has seen quite a bit of Europe).
The country is beautiful, the people are friendly, and they understand how important it is to have your four-legged companion along with you. There are lots of dog-friendly activities to do in Switzerland, from exploring its picturesque nature trails to visiting landmarks, playing at parks, and more.
Switzerland is an amazing destination for travelers with a dog for many reasons. In this blog post, I am sharing all the info you need for traveling to Switzerland with a dog, great activities to do with your dog and more dog-related travel info.
RULES OF VISITING SWITZERLAND WITH A DOG
When it comes to bringing a dog into Switzerland, there are a few rules you have to follow. For “dangerous breeds,“ please double-check all the info!
- All dogs must be up-to-date on their vaccinations and bring an updated pet passport with them when entering the country. Also, the vaccinations must have been done several weeks prior to going to Switzerland.
- This includes that dogs must have a current US rabies vaccination certificate in order to travel into Switzerland.
- Additionally, all dogs must be fitted with an identification microchip before entering Switzerland. The chip should contain a unique identification number, as well as the pet owner’s name and address.
Entering Switzerland by car or van with a furry friend? Fear not, no paperwork is necessary! I have entered Switzerland many times by car/van and never had to do any paperwork. Though I’ve never been asked to present documents, taking the proper precautions always pays off – especially when it comes to facing Swiss law enforcement.
While Switzerland may have a few hoops to jump through prior to travel, its gorgeous scenery and great hiking trails make it worth the effort! So don’t let anything stop you and your dog from taking in Switzerland’s breathtaking scenery together.
DOG–FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland is an amazing vacation destination for everyone – including your furry companions! Here are some of the best activities to do together in Switzerland.
HIKING IN SWITZERLAND WITH DOGS
Explore its picturesque nature trails. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, there are plenty of delightful trails to explore with your pup. From the breathtaking Swiss Alps to the charming lake towns, there’s something for all kinds of adventurers!
Unleash the fun for you and your dog! With open green fields full of running cows, Switzerland is an ideal place to let your friend go wild. Make sure to research safety rules before letting him off his leash, so everyone can have a great time outdoors.
Take your pup on a journey to explore some of Switzerland’s most scenic trails! From gentle ascents suitable for more relaxed pace-setters to picturesque alpine hikes that are perfect for the fitness fanatics among us and our four-legged friends, this country has something special in store for everyone.
Reward yourselves with breathtaking views as you discover an outdoor adventure like no other!
CULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN SWITZERLAND WITH DOGS
Visit historical landmarks. While your dog mostly does not care, you can still enjoy the country’s rich history with your pup by visiting popular historical sites like Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge or the castles in Sion.
While Switzerland is extremely dog-friendly, many indoor places – like museums – do not allow dogs. Thus, I enjoy cultural sights that are outdoors and where I can take my dog with me.
VISIT DOG–FRIENDLY PARKS
Play at pet-friendly parks. There are several dog parks in Switzerland where your pup can play off-leash and make new friends. While I avoid these parks because my dog does not necessarily enjoy the company of other dogs, these places are an amazing meeting point for more… social dogs.
LET YOUR DOG ENJOY A BATH IN THE SWISS LAKES
Switzerland is a paradise for dog owners, as almost all lakes and rivers allow owners to bring their pooch with them.
From the iconic Lake Geneva in the west of the country to mountain lakes like Lake Oeschinen, Lake Brienz, or Lake Thun in the Bernese Oberland, you are sure to find a spot for your pup to cool off.
Nothing brings Puppygak more joy than taking a dive into the majestic Swiss lakes. As if freedom itself was encapsulated within each droplet of water, they happily frolic around and enjoy an endless stream of baths!
DO SOME CITY SIGHTSEEING WITH YOUR FOUR-LEG FRIEND
While many cities in Europe might not be the perfect choice for a dog-friendly vacation, cities in Switzerland have plenty of outdoor sights and attractions that will allow you to do a city tour with your dog.
At the heart of Switzerland lies Interlaken, which serves as the perfect base for a dog-friendly vacation.
The beautiful mountain scenery, sparkling lakes, and the town’s stunning architecture make it one of the best travel destinations in Europe. Your pup will love exploring the quaint cobblestone streets, visiting nearby Bernese Oberland with its scenic waterfalls and lakes, and taking a boat trip to the top of Mt. Jungfrau.
In Zurich, you can explore the city’s historic old town or take your pup for a walk along the river Limmat. The nearby Uetliberg Mountain offers stunning views of the city and there are plenty of pet-friendly trails to be explored.
In Geneva, you can take your pup for a walk around Lake Geneva and stop at the Jet d’Eau fountain, or explore the city’s many parks and gardens such as Parc La Grange or Parc des Eaux-Vives.
Further north, Bern offers plenty of interesting sights such as Zytglogge clocktower, Bear Park, and Gurten Park, where your pup can howl at the view.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN SWITZERLAND WITH A DOG
Taking your dog with you on public transport in Switzerland couldn’t be easier! Most public transport in Switzerland allows dogs!
However, your furry friends must wear a muzzle at all times while on board and be in a travel bag – not ideal for your pup or its social life, but necessary nonetheless – and your dog must be on a leash when traveling.
Additionally, small and medium-sized dogs can often travel for free while larger breeds may need to buy a ticket. As long as the pooch is small enough to fit in a pet travel bag (and smaller than 30 cm), most forms of transport permit dogs without charge. Yes, dog owners of small dogs are the lucky ones.
This also applies for actually all boats I have been on with my dog: if he was in his travel bag, he traveled for free.
Just make sure to clean up any mess your furry friend leaves behind and ensure you don’t take up too much space if the vehicle is particularly crowded. With these tips in mind, traveling around Switzerland with a four-legged companion is a smooth and stress-free adventure!
So, what about bigger dogs? Public and some private railway companies in Switzerland do allow large dogs onboard as long as they wear muzzles and the owner pays for their transport ticket.
As a dog owner, you have to buy them children’s tickets (which are 50% off the regular prices) – in some cases, there are even “dog tickets.” If you plan to do a lot of train travel, you can buy a day pass for dogs, which is 25 CHF.
Exploring the Swiss Alps got a lot more exciting when I brought Puppygak. Every mountaintop and its gondolas/funiculars/cogwheels have their own policy for furry companions – from free rides to 10 CHF tickets, and even a 4-day Jungfrau Pass for 30 CHF!
Be sure to check the rules and regulations of each private transport provider before embarking on your Swiss adventure with a four-legged friend.
Dog–Friendly Accommodations in Switzerland
Switzerland has plenty of pet-friendly accommodations for travelers with dogs. Whether you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast, an economical hotel, or a luxurious spa resort, there are lots of options available.
On the other hand, finding a pet-friendly hotel is often more complicated than it should be. Many charge extra fees that aren’t always clear upfront – and which can range from 5 to 30 CHF per day!
It is important to research whether the accommodation allows dogs and if there is a fee (and how much it is) before booking it as not all hotels allow pets inside (or they may have restrictions on size, breeds, etc.).
Many of the pet-friendly accommodations in Switzerland provide amenities for your dog, such as comfy beds, water and food bowls, waste bags, and more. Some even have special perks like spa services! However, do not rely on that and ask beforehand.
Before booking a place to stay with your dog, make sure to read all the rules and regulations before arriving. But don’t hesitate to bring your furry companion along on your Swiss adventure – they’re sure to love it!
CAN I BRING DOGS TO THE RESTAURANTS IN SWITZERLAND
There are plenty of pet-friendly restaurants and bars that you can take your four-legged companion to. Many restaurants in Switzerland have outdoor seating areas where you can bring your furry friends and enjoy a meal or snack together, but even indoors you can bring your dog!
There are also several dog-friendly cafes around the country (e.g. Dog-E-Café in Zurich) where you can share a cup of coffee and a bite while your pet enjoys some special treats. Some restaurants even offer special menu items for dogs, so make sure to ask when making reservations.
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR DOG VACATION IN SWITZERLAND
When traveling to Switzerland with a dog, there are certain supplies you need to make sure you bring along in order to ensure your dog stays safe and happy while exploring the country. Also, Switzerland is quite expensive, so you might want to avoid shopping. Here is a list of some of the necessary supplies that I always pack for my travels:
- Leash – A leash is a must-have when traveling with a dog in Switzerland.
- Dog bed – Depending on your dog, a dog bed is essential for your pup’s comfort. Make sure to bring the right size and type of bed for your dog.
- Toys/treats – Bring along some of your pup’s favorite toys or treats to keep them entertained during your travels.
- Dog food – Don’t forget to bring enough food for your dog, as well as an extra bowl for meals and water.
- Medication – If your dog needs medication, make sure to have it with you, so you do not need to pay a visit to the vet first.
- Vet records/emergency contact info – Make sure you have all of your pup’s vet records and emergency contact information with you while traveling in Switzerland. This will help if your dog takes sick or needs medical attention.
- A muzzle is essential so your dog can travel with you on public transportation.
- With Puppygak’s “carry-on” and dog-backpack, I make sure the journey is stress-free for both of us. I use the “carry-on“ mostly when I travel in cities. And I take the dog-backpack when we hike. If the hike is more challenging, or it gets too hot (which my pup does not like), I put him in the backpack and carry him every once in a while.
- I also have Puppygak´s own towel, so there’s no need to worry about muddy paws – as I do not want to use a hotel towel or my own to dry him up.
These are the main items I make sure to bring along whenever I travel.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON A SWISS VACATION WITH A DOG
Overall, traveling to Switzerland with a dog can be a highly rewarding experience. Anyone looking to explore the country and make unforgettable memories should consider bringing their pup along for the ride.
Plus, with all of the pet-friendly lodging, restaurants, and attractions available in Switzerland, it’s easy to find places for your dog to enjoy, too!
Always remember to double-check that facilities are pet-friendly prior to booking and bring identification for your four-legged friend. With some careful planning, your dog can enjoy a Swiss adventure from the comfort of their leash!