Dog-Friendly Greece: Travelling in Greece with a Dog

On my recent travels around Europe with my dog, Greece was the final country that we travelled to. It was mid-September and the perfect way to end our European travels, with some beach time on various islands and the mainland, enjoying the long Greek summer, along with our pup. However, Greece isn’t the most dog-friendly country in Europe, plus can be difficult to reach, so I’ve put together some tips for if you’re planning on travelling in Greece with a dog.

Don’t forget to protect your dog from Leishmania if visiting Greece during the warmer months. Read my post to find out more and preventative steps.

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Travelling in Greece with a dog

Travelling to Greece With Your Dog

The first thing to organise is getting to Greece with your dog. We looked into travelling to Greece by train, but there’s not the best train connections to Greece. There is a train from Sofia to Thessaloniki currently running, which was previously cancelled for a few years, although a section uses bus instead. The train from Belgrade to Thessaloniki was recently cancelled, with no date for it being reinstated. And then there’s still a 5 1/2 hour train trip from Thessaloniki down to Athens. (I recommend checking The Man in Seat 61 for the latest updates.)

flying to greece with a dog
Taking in the view of Athens

If you’re travelling with a small dog, instead I recommend flying into Athens with your dog in the cabin. This is what we ended up doing. The great thing is that Aegean Airlines allows dogs in the cabin, and you can simply add your dog when booking your ticket online. Pets up to 8kg are allowed in the cabin, with a charge of €50 internationally or €20 domestically during the off-peak season (€10 more over the summer). Aegean Airlines can even give you a cardboard pet carrier at their domestic airports! Check out their pet policy for more details (and a photo of their pet carrier), plus details on flying pets in the hold.

Click here to book with Aegean Airlines

If driving to Greece, be aware that unless you drive into Greece from Bulgaria, many of the countries in the Western Balkans are not part of the EU, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, FYR Macedonia and Albania. This means that you need to be aware of the individual requirements for each country, plus for re-entry into the EU.

For some of these countries, you require a rabies titre test to re-enter the EU with your dog (click here for more information, plus a link to the list of countries). I recommend having the rabies titre test done before leaving the EU (which means no waiting time applies) and having it recorded in your EU pet passport. However, I’ve also heard reports that often checks aren’t done for dogs. But it’s best to be fully prepared, in case they are.

Otherwise, the standard EU rules apply for dogs travelling to Greece directly from other EU countries.

Dining Out in Greece with a Dog

Sitting on a restaurant terrace with my dog

For the majority of the year (and especially the tourist season), the weather in Greece is ideal for outdoor dining. As such, it’s probably better to dine outside with your dog, rather than ask to eat inside. I didn’t see any locals dining inside with dogs, so I don’t think it’s that common, especially outside of Athens.

At one cafe in Delphi, we asked to sit inside as there were no outdoor tables, and they allowed us, but only just inside the door. However, a pizzeria near our apartment in Athens had a sign stating it was dog-friendly, so there are some dog-friendly places around. Keep an eye out or ask nicely!

Taking a Dog on Public Transport in Greece

Generally in Greece, dogs are only allowed on pubic transport if they are small and carried in a carrier bag. We took our small dog multiple times on the metro in Athens without any issues. Dogs are allowed on the metro in Athens if they weigh less than 10kg and are in a carrier under 50 x 40 x 70cm in size, with no fee charged. Your dog should already be in its carrier bag when entering the station. It’s great that the metro services both the port of Piraeus and the airport, although a surcharge applies for airport tickets.

We also took the bus on Santorini and encountered similar rules. Actually, the first bus we boarded allowed us on board with our dog on our lap. However, when we went to board a second bus, it was insisted that our dog was in a bag. We ended up buying a cheap beach bag to get our dog back to our hotel, where our proper pet bag was located. Unfortunately, there were no rules listed online or at the bus stop, and even our hotel owner who had dogs didn’t know what the rules were! If in doubt, always take your dog in a carrier bag.

An alternative to public transport? A dog I spotted on a motorbike in Athens!

If you are travelling with a larger dog, they are not as often allowed on public transport and the rules are more complex. I recommend checking out this page. If getting around Athens, it is possible to instead use a “pet taxi”. Check out i-pet taxi and Athens Pet Taxi (use Google Translate to translate from Greek to English). Regular taxis often don’t permit dogs inside, but it is up to the driver.

Looking to travel to the Greek Islands by ferry? Read my post about how to get to the islands, whether flying or on ferry, plus my recommendations on getting around on the islands.

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Greece

pet friendly hotels in Greece
Our dog-friendly studio on Mykonos

While travelling around Greece, we had no issues finding dog-friendly accommodation options. We stayed in a mixture of hotels and Airbnbs, both on the Greek Islands and the mainland. However, there are many hotels in Greece that don’t allow dogs, with only 20% of hotels in Athens listed as dog-friendly on Booking.com in my recent survey of dog-friendly hotels in Europe. It’s good if you can be flexible. On the plus side, at each of the hotels we stayed at, we were not charged extra for our dog. In fact, both our hotels on Mykonos and Santorini had resident dogs that we also met.

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Greece

As close as Schnitzel got to the Acropolis in Athens

Unfortunately, when it comes to sightseeing, there isn’t much in Greece that is dog-friendly. One of the top attractions for most visitors to Greece are the multitude of archaeological sites, whether it’s the Parthenon in Athens, or other renowned sites like Delphi and Olympia. However, unlike in Italy where nearly all archaeological sites allow dogs, dogs aren’t allowed in any of the archaeological sites in Greece.

The “no dogs” sign at Olympia archaeological site

This was true at all the sites (about 10) that we visited, with a no dogs allowed sign usually displayed at the entrance. Strangely, the same rules don’t however apply to the many stray cats at most sites, and the stray dogs at some of the sites!

In Delphi, there was no sign at the smaller part of the site allowing free entry, and I thought I had found an area where dogs were allowed. However, as soon as I walked down to the ruins of the temple, a staff member came over to tell me that dogs weren’t allowed there, too. So, if you’re planning on visiting archaeological sites in Greece, make sure you can leave your dog somewhere, or else take turns to visit.

Exploring Meteora with our dog

So, what dog-friendly sightseeing can your dog do in Greece? At the famous cliff-top monasteries of Meteora, dogs are welcome to join you at the view points and for hiking. Just keep your dog on a leash, due to the huge drop-offs. Plus if you visit inside any of the monasteries (I recommend visiting at least one or two), take turns to wait outside.

Waiting to take our cruise past Mt Athos

We also took a boat cruise past the monasteries in the autonomous region of Mt Athos. While it’s necessary to apply to visit, and women and children are strictly forbidden, everyone is welcome to take a cruise along the coast line. I checked in advance whether our dog was allowed on our cruise boat, and was given the okay. My other recommendation if you’re heading to Greece with your dog is to spend some time at the beach.

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Greece

The quiet beach near our Airbnb on Corfu

Technically, dogs are allowed on all beaches in Greece, just as humans are also allowed on all beaches, even ones that appear private in front of hotels. However, make sure you’re courteous with taking your dog to the beach. Ideally choose a quiet stretch of sand, keep your dog on a leash if it can’t be controlled by voice, and clean up after it. If your dog wants to go in the water, try and stay well clear of other bathers. As summer is very hot in Greece, I recommend visiting early in the season or at the end of summer. When I visited Corfu in mid-October, the water was still lovely and warm.

A Final Note on Stray Dogs and Cats in Greece

No matter where we went in Greece, there were stray cats everywhere. Whether on the islands, in Athens, or at the many archaeological sites, there was always some stray cats nearby. This includes when dining outside at restaurants. If your dog is not a fan of cats, with mine eager to chase any that he sees, keep your dog on a firm leash, or try to distract them. Stray dogs weren’t as common, but are also an issue. We didn’t have any problems with the stray dogs, but if your dog has an issue with stray dogs, be wary.

We did however have an issue with a stray cat on the island of Santorini. While wandering the narrow laneways of Oia, the popular sunset town, we turned around a corner and a cat launched itself at our dog. It was with a kitten, and according to locals, it was probably getting in first after having had issues with local stray dogs. Our dog ended up with a minor tear in his ear, as well as a few scratches (and more on the legs of my husband). Luckily there’s plenty of vets in Greece, including multiple on Santorini, and after the vet patched his ear and we had a few chilled out days, our dog ended up healing fine. While this could have happened in any country, it’s still a warning for the greater likelihood when there’s so many stray cats.

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19 thoughts on “Dog-Friendly Greece: Travelling in Greece with a Dog”

  1. Thank you for this information. I am planning to go to Greece with my dog and I would like to visit some places, but as you mention, most of those places don´t allow dogs inside. Could you recommend me what to do or where to leave my dog?
    Thank you for this very useful post for dog lovers!

    Reply
    • Lizbeth – great to hear about your plans! It’s tricky to work out what to do. There were a couple of places where we stayed for awhile and could leave our dog in our apartment. But not all dogs are happy with this, and some places specify this is not possible. We had been planning on taking turns visiting some other places (while the other stayed with our dog), but while we were in Greece in October it turned cold and rainy for a few days, and it was safe to leave our dog in our car during our visits. But always be very careful about this, and this is not possible with the warm weather in summer.

      Reply
    • Lizbeth, I am an other Dog lower… And I plan to go for all October to Greece with my Honey-Hope 9 years old Teckel… I read this blog and I find it very useful… Thank you to Shandos… for her advises…

      Reply
  2. Dear friend,

    Thank yoy for the article, true and informative. Not only Greece is not dog-friendly, but it is rather the complete opposite. So make a difference as tourists or visitors and complain about abuse and absence of animal welfare laws. Maybe you can make a difference!

    Reply
    • Definitely Greece is not as dog-friendly as many places, and the situation could improve. Wishing the best in campaigning for improvements!

      Reply
      • Thank you thank you for all this info. Do you know if you can get away with bringing a dog in a backpack carrier to Delphi and other no dog areas?

        Reply
        • Unfortunately, you probably can’t. I tried to visit the non-ticketed area at Delphi along with my dog (which had no signage), and I was told by a security officer that my dog wasn’t allowed. I didn’t have my dog in a backpack, but they seem to be quite strict, so doubt a backpack would make any difference.

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        • Thank you for this information. Very helpful! Am going to spend the winter in the penepolese, let’s hope not swamped with cats! Did you find the vets reliable there?

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  3. Thank you so much for this information. My husband got a job in Switzerland and we’re here for three years with our two small dogs. I want to travel with my two dogs all around Europe and have been considering staying in Greece for a month. But that doesn’t seem like it will be as easy as Italy where we traveled in a month with no problems.

    Reply
    • Yes, unfortunately Greece is not as dog friendly as Italy, although it’s easier with small dogs or if you have your own car. I found it frustrating that I could visit the ruins of Greek temples in Italy with my dog, but not in Greece!

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  4. Thank you for all this information on Greece. We’ve been living here for more than two years now (our dog is also a dachshund) and I still figure it out.
    For example now im searching for ferries to Santorini and Mykonos but I will most likely opt for slower bigger ones, as I dont like the idea of kennel section on speed boats.
    With archeological sites, unfortunately it is the case. Sometimes, however, you get an exception, so its always worth asking. This way we were allowed to visit Mycenae last October. I asked if we can take our dog with us in the bag and they say, ok (actually my husband was smoking near the entrance with our dog next to him while I asked – they said ok to dog in the carrier bag, but not to smoking, ahahahaha =)
    Beaches around Athens (private ones, where you pay to enter) are not dog friendly in general, public beaches, are ok.
    However pretty much anywhere outside Athens, even private beaches and beach bars are totally ok with dogs.

    Reply
    • Thank you Marika with your tips! I wish we had known this when visiting Mycenae, although we had some rain during our visit (in the cooler months) so I think our pup was happy to be left behind. And we also preferred the larger ferries after some rough seas when we were on the speed boat.

      Reply
    • I have traveled with a dog for almost 2 months in Greece. Our dog is medium size and not so people friendly. We traveled both on mainland and also on the islands.

      Avoid fast ferries where you can not stay on open spaces on deck as the dog will end in a rather uncomfortable cage. On the route from Paros to Mykonos I was allowed to sit inside close to the WC and have the dog with a mouthpiece all the time.

      On the public bus from the new port to the town center I was also allowed to take the dog inside the bus.

      Old local people on the beach don’t like the dogs in the sea water and will let you know that with many greek words :).

      In general on all the beaches we could take the dog and the same on all the restaurants with outside tables.

      We had our car so apart from a few busses and ferries we did not interact a lot with public transport.

      Our experience in Greece with a dog was better than expected. We are in the second year we travel with a dog here.

      Reply
  5. Dear Shandos, thank you for all your information about travelling in Greece with a dog. I have a small Cockerpoo (5kg) and did not think of anything when I booked the flight for my son, me and the dog but the more I research, the more I feel that it might be better to keep the dog home. We ae planning to travel to Porto Heli, being in a resort most of the time, and I was thinking of taking 2 additional days in Athen before we return but dogs seem to be super unwelcome, at restaurants and all sightseeing spots, plus its super hot : ( I wanted to enjoy some nice dog-days-summer-vation at the beach but I wonder if you recommend me rather to fly with my son only, since its only for 9 days… I thought it might be a good test to fly, since she ist still 1 year old… Looking forward to hear what you think. Best wishes // Yayo

    Reply
    • Yayo – I think it comes down to the time in the resort and whether she will be welcome there. I haven’t been to Porto Heli, so I don’t know for sure, but we enjoyed our time on Santorini when we just hung around our resort and walked to the local beach. With Athens, the main issue is she can’t come with you to the Acropolis and other museum sites. It probably also depends on how she deals with the heat, which you probably don’t know as she’s only a year old. It’s hard to know what to recommend!

      Reply

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