This is a guest post from Gigi Griffis.
The first time I traveled in Europe with my dog, it took my breath away.
Coming from the States, I was used to a culture where dogs were often persona non grata. Out walking your dog and want to stop into a coffee shop? Nope – no dogs allowed. Car broke down and you and your dog need to catch a bus home? No way. You’ll need to cough up the extra cash for a taxi.
But Europe? Europe is a whole different story.
Walk the cobblestone streets and you’ll see dogs everywhere. Snuggled up in cafes. Sleeping peacefully under chairs in fancy restaurants. Poking their heads out of shoulder bags as owners shop. Trotting alongside bicycles and rollerblades. Greeting the bartender at their owners’ favorite pub.
Europe is, in short, generally extremely dog-friendly.
And one country I particularly love is Switzerland.
Travelling to Switzerland with a Dog
The rules for travelling to Switzerland with a dog are similar to the rules for EU countries. To view the full list of requirements, check out the Swiss government website.
Dining Out in Switzerland with a Dog
In the States, the default is “no dogs allowed.” In Switzerland, it’s the exact opposite. You can assume your dog is welcome unless there’s a sign (or a bar employee) telling you otherwise.
Feel free to mosey into whatever eatery your heart desires, tuck your fuzzy friend under the table, and order up some traditional fondue.
A few favourite eateries along the way:
NENI Zurich, now at 25Hours Hotel Zurich Langstrasse (think falafel and artisanal ice cream)
The Hotel Oberland restaurant in Lauterbrunnen (where you simply must try the Trucker Rosti)
Taking a Dog on Public Transport in Switzerland
Think you’ll need to rent a car to get around Switzerland? Think again. Dogs are welcome on trains. Inside a dog carrier, they’re free of charge. Out on a leash and they’ll cost you a half-fare (so, half of whatever the train ticket cost is for a human).
Local buses are similarly dog-friendly in most cities (though it’s always a good idea to check city to city what the rules are) and will carry your fuzziest family member free or cheap.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Switzerland
It’s super easy to find pet-friendly hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, and accommodations all over Switzerland. When in doubt, just write and ask. In my experience, about 90% of the time, places say yes.
A couple places I’ve stayed with Luna include:
25Hours Hotel Zurich West – a gorgeous, quirky art hotel outside the Zurich city center. Dogs are welcome, but do ask first.
Camping Jungfrau Holiday Park – a gorgeous campground in Lauterbrunnen, which allows dogs in the campground, though not in the cabins or hostel.
Hotel Horner – a small hotel with shared bathrooms above the town’s most popular pub in Lauterbrunnen, where dogs are welcome (though you should ask before booking).
Hotel Schützen – a cute boutique hotel in the center of Lauterbrunnen with lovely views and a quieter location.
This gorgeous farmhouse in the heart of Interlaken, which rents rooms out nightly on Airbnb. Dogs are usually welcome, but always ask.
Swissotel Le Plaza in Basel, which is not just welcoming of dogs, but left us a cute little dog basket bed and dog bowls in the room.
Dog-Friendly Hiking in Switzerland
Dogs are welcome on hiking trails (I lived in Switzerland for two years and literally never saw a no-dogs sign in an outdoor space), so plan on taking some amazing nature walks (which is what Switzerland is known for, obviously).
Keep an eye out for leash signs. Some trails require dogs to be on a lead and some don’t. If you see signs that indicate cows are ahead, always leash your dog and give the cows a wide berth. The cows aren’t always friendly.
Going to the Vet in Switzerland
Forgot to bring your dog’s medication? Lost your luggage and with it a tube of flea treatment? Have a vet emergency? Switzerland’s vet services are top notch and many, many vets speak English.
In Interlaken, one good option is Tierklinik Interlaken, located at General Guisanstrasse 39. For other cities, I’d try Googling English-speaking vet [city] or asking around in Facebook expat groups.
Now, friends, to you: have you traveled to Switzerland with your dog? Any tips for fellow travelers?
Gigi Griffis is a world-traveling entrepreneur and writer with a special love for inspiring stories, new places, and living in the moment. In May 2012, she sold her stuff and took to the road with a growing business and a pint-sized pooch.
She’s the author of 11 travel guides, including Switzerland: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Hike, & How to Fit In, and you’ll always find her blogging at gigigriffis.com.
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19 thoughts on “Dog-Friendly Switzerland: Travelling with a Dog”
Awesome! I don’t have a dog but know a few traveling friends that do and it’s made me always keep an eye out for dog-friendly guides. Sharing this!
Thanks, it’s great to know you’ll be sharing!
Very helpful. We will be moving to Switzerland for a year to teach, and was afraid I would have to leave my little 9# girlie with a friend. Now, I know she can go with us. Thank you!!
Have a great time in Switzerland, it’s a beautiful country for humans as well as dogs!
Hi. I love this post! We are going to Switzerland this summer. We have a golden retriever we would like to bring. Wich cities did you find the most dog friendly? And did you hike the alps With Your dog? We would like to find a hike where he could go off leash. Thank you!
Best regards, Martha
Martha – thanks for your comments! We didn’t spend that much time in the cities, so can’t comment on which was the most dog-friendly. We did various hikes with our dog. On the shorter hikes, such as near Lauterbrunnen, we kept him on his leash, as there were people and livestock around. When we visited Jungfraujoch and went on a hike on the snow, we allowed him off leash most of the way (no cows around to disturb!) There is one canton in Switzerland where dogs are required to stay on leash (Schwyz, to the east of Lucerne). Otherwise, I would check the signs, plus be prepared to put your dog back on his leash if you encounter livestock, or other people.
Thanks for the tips. I also liked the Hotel de la Paix, at Museggstrasse 2, Lucerne, CH, 6004 in Old Town Lucerne. They were very dog friendly and gave me great tips about what activities could or could not include my dog. They even gave my dog and me free bus tickets.
Thanks for the recommendation Karl!
Thank you for this information.
Should I muzzle my Jack Russell for public transportation in Switzerland when on a leash?
Sorry, but I can’t find this information anywhere, and we only travelled with our dog on trains in Switzerland in his carrier. As it isn’t mentioned, I expect a muzzle is not required, but maybe check for signs at the train station and carry one in case.
Hi we are travelling to Switzerland in September and I can not find what the requirements are for us to bring our dog. Besides valid Rabies certificate is there anything else we need in order to enter CH problem free with our Bichon?
Gabriele – the requirements depend on what country you’re travelling from. At a minimum, such as if you’re travelling from elsewhere in the EU, your dog requires a microchip and rabies vaccination. However, there are some countries where a rabies titre test is required, plus additional documents. The government requirements are listed here: https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/en/home/tiere/reisen-mit-heimtieren/hunde-katzen-und-frettchen.html. In particular, use this online tool: https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/en/home/tiere/reisen-mit-heimtieren/online-hilfe-hunde-katzen-frettchen.html#par
depens on the zone of europe!!! french alps doesnt allow dogs in the natural reserve (dont allow a dog in the mountain… surrealistic!)
Thanks for sharing!
Great article! We spent a month last summer in Switzerland and brought our morkie Teddie. We have Swiss heritage and family there so we knew he would be welcomed warmly. We met many kids and locals at the parks because we had Teddie. We brought him all over: Lausanne on the lake in wonderful pet friendly Hôtel du Port, Montreux, Les Bains de Lavey, Wengen in wonderful pet friendly Arenas Resort Victoria, Mürren and the flower garden park, Zermatt and up the Gornergrat to see the Matterhorn, Bern, Zurich, Lucerne, Locarno and Ascona including the short boat ride over to the small gorgeous island Isole di Brissago. No hiccups, everything went perfectly and Teddie had some great stories and photos to share when back home in Virginia.
Thanks so much for sharing Melanie, it all sounds amazing!
I wonder if anyone can help as we are struggling to find a definitive answer. We are from the UK, with a border terrier, who will have an Animal Health Certificate. We are travelling to Italy in April 2023. We have travelled to France regularly via Eurostar and have found the process simple as long as both vets are careful to fill out the AHC properly. We’ve been caught out a couple of times with incorrect dates, so check before you leave the country. This time, we would prefer to travel via Eurostar, across Switzerland, to northern Italy. The issue is that Switzerland isn’t in Europe. Does the the Animal Health Certificate cover transit across Switzerland and back into Italy as theoretically we are leaving Europe (by going into Switzerland) and then back into Europe, when we go into France. The AHC usually only covers one trip. I’d be so grateful if anyone has experience of this. We are travelling with my elderly mother-in-law and the trip around the outside of Switzerland is much longer. With many thanks,
Eurotunnel, not Eurostar – I’m tired – sorry! Kate
It’s fine to travel into Switzerland using an EU pet passport, but I haven’t tried with an AHC. Usually pet papers are not checked when crossing into and out of Switzerland via road or rail, but I know it would be good to be 100% confident.
UPDATE: Looking at the Swiss government website, the certificate they link to appears to be the same as the EU pet health certificate, which implies you should be fine. If in doubt, I’d send an email to the Swiss authorities. Here’s the page: https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/en/home/tiere/reisen-mit-heimtieren/online-hilfe-hunde-katzen-frettchen.html#par