4 Beautiful Palaces in Europe to Visit with Your Dog

In Europe there’s no shortage of beautiful palaces that human visitors can visit, walking through endless processions of richly decorated rooms and enjoying gardens that are still beautiful to this day. But if you’re travelling with a dog, your options are more limited.

I firstly realised this when wanting to walk with my dog through the gardens of Aranjuez Palace in Spain, and we were faced with no dog signs plus the occasional guard to enforce the rule.

And once again when visiting Versailles, I was hoping to take my dog with me when I visited the formal gardens (I had previously toured the interior). But at Versaille, dogs are only allowed in the grounds around the canal, far away from the palace, and not in the gardens proper.

However, there are some amazing palaces that it’s possible to visit with your dog. In the majority of these cases dogs are allowed within the formal gardens and beautiful parklands of the palaces. Usually on a leash, naturally. But there’s also one or two palaces I’ve discovered where small dogs can also be taken inside. Add one of these palaces to your next trip to Europe with your dog!

Dog-Friendly Palaces Europe

Chenonceau Chateau, Loire Valley, France

One of the most beautiful chateaus in the Loire Valley (one of my favourite regions of France), Chenonceau is also one of the most distinctive. Part of the chateau is built over the River Cher, the river running under its archways. Originally it was just a bridge, but when Catherine de Medici needed to add a ballroom for her legendary parties, it was built above the river.

Chenonceau, France
Chenonceau’s construction is very unique

While it’s possible to drive up to many other chateaus with your dog in the Loire Valley (such as Chateau Chambord, although a parking fee is charged), the car park for Chenonceau is located a short walk away. Luckily then dogs are free to join you for the visit.

Dog at Chenonceau Palace
Schnitzel making himself at home at Chenonceau
Walking with our dog at Chenonceau
Walking around the gardens at Chenonceau – dogs of all sizes welcome!

In fact, there’s plenty of signs in the carpark imploring visitors not to leave their dogs in their cars during hot weather, stating that it’s pet-friendly in both French and English.

Carpark signs at Chenonceau
The signs at the carpark of Chenonceau makes it clear it’s pet-friendly!

Even better at Chenonceau, if your dog is small enough to be carried, it can join you in touring the interior of the chateau.

Inside Chenonceau with a dog
Exploring the interior of Chenonceau with Schnitzel in my arms

Water bowls were provided when we visited at the entrance to the chateau, with another offered when we sat down at the cafe for ice creams. Just be warned this chateau is very popular, so the interior can get crowded in summer and on sunny weekends.

Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden

While most visitors to Stockholm will see at least the exterior of the Royal Palace, as it lies in Gamla Stan, the “old town”, I recommend making a trip out to Drottningholm Palace.

Dog at Drottningholm Palace
A beautiful Summer day at Drottningholm

It’s easily accessible from the city centre via 20 minutes on the metro and a 5 minute bus trip (with dogs allowed for free on both, just look for the dog allowed carriages on the metro and sit in the back half of the bus). Alternatively, take a boat trip and arrive via water.

The water at Drottningholm
With a water frontage, it’s possible to arrive at Chenonceau by boat

While it’s possible to buy tickets to view the interior of the palace, plus the Chinese Pavilion and the Theatre, it’s free to wander the grounds, and this is what we did with our dog. Part of the formal garden is chained off, as the Palace is still lived in by the royal family. But everywhere else both human and dog visitors were free to roam.

French garden at Drottningholm
Behind Drottningholm Palace is a large garden in the French style
Chinese Pavilion, Drottningholm
Head to the other end of the park to see the Chinese Pavilion
Entrance stairway at Drottningholm
Don’t miss taking a quick peak at the entrance stairway of Drottningholm, although dogs must be left outside

It’s a popular spot with local dog owners too, partially as one of the islands in the English Garden is an off-leash dog park. (Look for the island with the gates at the end of the bridge, near the Gothic Tower.) Unfortunately it was a hot day when we visited, and the island doesn’t have much shade, so we didn’t make use of it for long.

Off-leash dog island at Drottningholm Palace
Within the English Park at Drottningholm is an off-leash dog “island” – the perfect addition for a dog-friendly day-out!
Sign at the off-leash dog park, Drottningholm
The sign at the entrance to the off-leash dog park

Parks and Palaces of Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany

Germany has no shortage of castles and palaces scattered around the country, but one of the grandest has to be the palaces at Potsdam, once a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser until 1918. In the expansive Sansoucci Park, just outside the small city, there’s not just one but four palaces (Sanssouci Palace, Orangery Palace, New Palace and Charlottenhof Palace).

The New Palace at Sanssouci
The grand and imposing New Palace at Sanssouci
Sanssouci Palace
Fit for a spoiled Dachshund!
Sanssouci Palace up close
At the other end of Sanssouci Park is the playful Sanssouci Palace

While unfortunately dogs are not allowed inside the palaces, it’s fine for your dog to join you to wander through the park and view the palaces from the exterior. They have all been built over the centuries in different styles, so are fascinating to view. Don’t also miss the delightful Chinese Tea House.

Forests of Sanssouci
Strolling through the long forested paths of Sanssouci
Dog at the Orangery Palace, Sanssouci Park
Schnitzel checking out the Orangery
Chinese Tea Pavilion, Sanssouci
Don’t also miss the Chinese Tea Pavilion

If travelling from the centre of Berlin, purchase a day ticket so that your dog travels with you for free (otherwise a reduced fare ticket is required for dogs not in a carrier). The train takes about an hour, then catch the regular buses to the various stops in the park.

Lednice Park, South Moravia, Czech Republic

Tucked away in the southeastern Czech Republic, Lednice Park has a fascinating history. While currently in the Czech Republic and right next to the Austrian border, this park once belonged to the royal family of Liechtenstein, until they lost the property during World War II.

Their principal palace was in the nearby town of Valtice, but I prefer the whimsy of the neo-gothic Lednice Chateau and its surrounding park, which was used as their summer palace.

Chateau Lednice
The 19th century Chateau Lednice was the summer palace of the Liechtenstein family

While Lednice Chateau itself does not allow dogs inside (and is closed over most of the winter to human guests as well), the surrounding formal gardens and parks are freely accessed to all, year-round, including dogs on a leash.

Lednice Chateau with a dog
Checking out Lednice Chateau with Schnitzel
Lake in Lednice Park
A large lake lies at the heart of the extensive Lednice Park

When I visited in late October, while the formal gardens were no longer at their best, the extensive English parklands and lakes were beautiful to stroll through, especially with leaves changing hue into a kaleidoscope of colours. The park is 45 minutes drive from Brno, plus only 75 minutes drive from Vienna.

Dog in Lednice Park
Schnitzel dressed for the chilly late Autumn weather
Walking in Lednice Park
Walking on the main path around the lake
John's Castle, Lednice Park
If you’re up for a longer walk, head to the mock ruin of John’s Castle

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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Dog-friendly palaces in Europe

6 thoughts on “4 Beautiful Palaces in Europe to Visit with Your Dog”

  1. What beautiful spots! I really hope to be able to travel through Europe with my dog one day. My partner and I are looking into the logistics of a working holiday visa and bringing our dog along too. Your website has been such an amazing resource! Thank you!

  2. Hi Just came across your site…how exciting!!! I’m taking my little friend with me to Spain first to Spain to Marbella but I have to go cross the tunnel first from the UK then get on a plane down to Andalucía as there are no flights that take dogs in the cabin at all into Europe from UK. This is because
    I havent got the time to drive all the way down and back as I only have 12 days and it is a long drive..
    So then i am planning to drive over to Munich mid October through to Poland then Czech Republic back through Hamburg and Hanover into Netherlands down through Belgium and back via Calais. You have truly inspired me!! Rufus has already had all his rabies jabs and has his pet passport ready…. and next year if all goes well i want to drive up through Sweden into Norway may/June 2019…… thank you so much……its just me and my dog so a little daunting…
    Susanne and Rufus.

    • Hi Susanne and Rufus,
      That’s amazing to read about your upcoming adventures! I wish you and Rufus an awesome time and would love to hear more! And while I travel with my husband, which makes travelling with a dog a bit easier, there’s plenty of other women I know travelling alone with their dogs, so I’m sure you’ll be fine. I’ll be adding some more posts about our travels with a dog in Czech Republic, Poland and Scandinavia soon, hope they can help. (We also did a road trip through Sweden and Norway, camping in a tent, which Schnitzel loved!) You’re also welcome to join the FB group I started recently: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dogfriendlytravelrtw.
      All the best,
      Shandos & Schnitzel

  3. Hi !! That’s so funny ! I was looking about information to travel in finland with my dog and I see you blog… I also have a blog to travel with dog : caroandcosomos.ch ! where are you from ??

    • Thanks for sharing Caroline! I’m from Australia, but as you can see I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe travelling with my dog.


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