Germany

Dog-Friendly Germany: Travelling in Germany with a Dog

No doubt about it, Germany is one of the most dog-friendly countries that I’ve visited, even amongst European countries. In Germany, dogs tend to be a normal part of society. It’s not uncommon for people to even take their dog along to work. However, dogs are also held to high standards of behaviour in Germany, to make this possible. Taking your dog to behaviour classes is quite common.

So, if you’re heading to Germany, make sure your dog is similarly well-behaved, but know in advance that he’ll be welcome nearly everywhere. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting dog-friendly Germany with your dog.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links.

Looking for more dog-friendly countries in Europe? Check out my list of the most dog-friendly countries (in my opinion)!

Dining Out in Germany with a Dog

In Germany, most restaurants and cafes allow dogs, both inside and outside. However, there are some exceptions. Many kebab shops (quite common in some cities) don’t allow dogs inside. I was also surprised when trying to have burgers for lunch in the western city of Trier, that both burger restaurants we visited didn’t allow dogs inside. If in doubt, traditional brauhaus restaurants and small cafes are your best bet.

There’s also one unfortunate exception to this rule: the wonderful German bakeries found everywhere throughout the country. Bakeries in Germany are usually quite large, and often include cafe seating and excellent sandwiches for eat-in or take-away. They’re also usually the best spot to have a quick coffee or buy a take-away one.

However, dogs are nearly always not allowed, with a sign at the door translating as “I must remain outside”. The one exception is that in train stations, where many bakeries are just a counter with no walls and doors, dogs are fine at the tables.

Dining in Germany with a dog: Dog on a status of a dog

Yes, this brauhaus in Wittenberg certainly was dog-friendly!

Shopping in Germany with a Dog

Dogs are nearly always allowed in shopping malls in Germany, and many types of shops. Just always check at the entrance for any no dog signs. The main exception are grocery and other food stores, plus the bakeries as mentioned above.

Shopping in Germany with a dog

Dogs are allowed in more shops than just pet stores in Germany

Taking a Dog on Public Transport in Germany

No matter if you have a small dog or a large dog, I can’t think of any form of public transport in Germany where you can’t bring your dog along. As public transport reaches nearly every corner of Germany, this means it’s possible to travel easily without a car.

The main train operator in Germany is Deutsche Bahn. Click here to read the Deutsche Bahn pet policy (unfortunately and surprisingly, only in German). Here are the key points. On trains, small dogs in a container travel for free. For larger dogs, they require a reduced fare ticket for 2nd class, plus to wear a leash and muzzle.

Additionally, if buying the excellent value regional or Germany-wide weekday and weekend tickets, while children travel for free, dogs not travelling in a carrier are counted as an extra passenger. So if there’s two of you and a dog, you need to buy a ticket for three people. When writing the names of the passengers on the ticket, write “Hund” instead.

Sometimes on outings with our small dog, we didn’t take his carrier (as we didn’t want to carry it all day). In that case, we bought a ticket for him too, but based on the comments from a few ticket inspectors, we probably could have got away without paying for him.

When it comes to public transport, dogs are definitely fine to join you on local trains, metros, trams and buses. However, the pricing policy differs between the different cities.

In most cities, dogs not in a carrier require a reduced fare ticket. But in at least one or two of the cities I’ve visited, all dogs travelled for free. In Berlin, dogs not in a carrier generally require a reduced fare ticket. But if you buy yourself a day ticket, you can bring your dog along for free.

Dog on public transport in Germany

Sitting on a lap while on the tram in Berlin

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Germany

Most, but not all, hotels in Germany allow dogs to stay. (In my research into pet-friendly hotels in European cities, 70% of hotels in both Berlin and Munich allow pets.) Generally you’ll be charged a fee starting from around €8 per night.

There’s usually no issue taking them along to the restaurant or bar with you. Although most hotels I stayed at in Germany provide you with a door-hanger saying “dog in the room”, meaning you could have a dog-free meal as well. While leaving your dog alone in the room for the whole day would probably be frowned upon, generally there’s no rule stating you’re not allowed to leave them alone.

"Dog in the room" door-hanger

A typical dog door-hanger

Some dog-friendly hotels around Germany that I recommend:

Arcona Living München (Munich)

A few kilometres from the centre of Munich, this 4-star hotel is modern and comes with amenities including a fitness room, sauna, free laundry room and restaurant. We stayed a week to recharge over the New Year period (and get in some workouts despite the snow falling outside!) I recommend asking for a room with a kitchenette (including a coffee machine).

Check the latest prices and availability on Booking.com

25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin

It was a bit pricey the weekend that we were staying in Berlin, but I’ve heard great things about multiple branches of this hip hotel chain, including that it warmly welcomes canine guests.

Check out the latest prices and availability on Booking.com

Hotel Theophano (Quedlinburg)

This historic town in the centre of Germany may be tricky to reach by public transport. (We experienced a longer than usual journey, after our train split in half and we were in the wrong section!) But its streets of half-timbered houses, with a castle towering above, will certainly charm you. Hotel Theophano is located directly on the main square, in an historic building. The rooms are charming, yet renovated, and quite spacious.

Check the latest prices and availability on Booking.com

Dog-friendly hotels in Germany

Schnitzel relaxing at the Hotel Theophano

Mövenpick Hotel (Hamburg)

This unique hotel is situated in the middle of Schanzenpark, making it so easy to walk your dog morning or afternoon (or both!) That park is also popular with other local dog owners, so your dog will have plenty of opportunities for play.

Read more about the Mövenpick Hotel in Hamburg

What about Airbnbs you may ask? Due to legislation restricting the rental of entire apartments on Airbnb in many cities (to keep rental prices affordable for residents), whole house Airbnbs at an affordable price aren’t as common as in many other parts of Europe. If you can’t up your budget, instead look at shared room options. Outside of the main cities, where this ruling doesn’t apply, you’ll also find more options.

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Germany

Germany offers up plenty of sightseeing opportunities where your dog can join you. Dogs are allowed in most outdoor spaces. This includes gardens surrounding palaces and castles, unlike is often the case in France.  

Like most other countries though, the majority of churches, museums, and castles in Germany don’t allow dogs to accompany visitors inside. There are exceptions made at some small museums, generally with small dogs being allowed to be carried (in particular during the off-peak season). And there was one famous church in Germany we visited on a cold winters day that allowed us to carry our dog inside, although I won’t name which one!

For a wide range of sightseeing recommendations, check out my list of dog-friendly things to do in Germany.

Dog-friendly sightseeing in Germany

Strolling through the city of Lübeck on a winter’s day

 

Dog outside a church in Germany

Although this was as close as Schnitzel could get to the interior of Cologne Cathedral

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Germany Dog-Friendly Travel

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Chrissy
    October 19, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Love your post! I’m seriously considering taking my shih tzu Francis to Germany with me for Christmas. I was thinking Nurnberg and Black Forest areas for a full Christmas experience (we live in Hawaii), for maybe 10 days or so (and for that reason am well aware and up to date on all entry/exit requirements for health certificates, etc!). It’s great to know taking the train or bus between locations will be a breeze, but was wondering if you had any insight into whether cities or smaller towns were more or less dog friendly? Would small dogs be permitted inside museums/castle tours if they were in a carrier? Did you make it to any ski lodges?

    • Reply
      Shandos
      October 22, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Sounds like an amazing trip Chrissy! In Germany, I’d probably say cities and towns were equally dog-friendly. Although in cities you’re more likely to see other people taking their dogs with them to restaurants and cafes. Unfortunately, usually small dogs even in a carrier aren’t allowed inside museums and castles. There are some exceptions, but nothing I know of in the Nurnberg and Black Forest areas. It’s always worthwhile asking, as we did get unofficial permission a few times – usually only if the museum is not busy and they can see your dog is well behaved. Neither my husband or I ski, so we didn’t look into ski lodges, but I’m sure there’s plenty of options. Also, I recommend the Christmas Market in Ulm – model trains, live animals in the manger, great food selections, and not as busy as some of the more popular markets like in Munich and Cologne (not ideal for dogs). Wishing you all the best!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 10, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Hey
    Just wanted to add that I was recently allowed to carry my mini dachshund into the Lichtenstein Castle

    • Reply
      Shandos
      January 11, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Sarah – Thanks so much for sharing! The castle looks gorgeous, I would love to visit next time we’re in Germany.

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