Pet Friendly Holidays – Am I Barking Mad?

Pet Friendly Holidays – Am I Barking Mad?

14/08/2017 Off By Helen Bryson
Puppy Minnie the Maltese

Okay, I confess I am a complete animal lover and I refuse to leave my fur baby at home when I want to soak up the sun (or the rain) – I’m completely barking mad, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

After my children left home and started their “grown up lives”, I needed some company and what is better company than a pet by your side? So now I have a little maltese dog called Minnie that I take everywhere with me – it’s cheaper than bringing the kids!

Minnie the Maltese

So after years of family holiday planning I had it down to a tee… then I needed to start all over again and learn how I could take my pets with me on holiday, or at least one of them at a time. This was like a whole new world to me from pet passports to new vaccinations, most of my friends thought I was mad wanting to bring them with me but there is great advice on taking your pet abroad online.

Obviously taking your pets on holiday with you can limit you to certain destinations but at this stage I just wanted to soak up some summer sun and experience a little bit of a different culture when I venture beyond the comfortable UK. You would be surprised with the amount of hotels and apartments that allow pets, so you have a wider choice than you think. Remember to take your pet into consideration when you plan your holiday, somewhere that they won’t overheat or find it difficult in. I checked with my vet first!

If you are as animal obsessed as I am then here are some of my top pet friendly destinations abroad:

Dog Friendly Beaches

France, St Cyprien

There are so many pet friendly holidays to France with Brittany Ferries, it’s my top choice for travelling with my second children. A perfect place to soak in the summer sun with options for bringing your pets. It is right on the coast of Southern France near the border to Portugal – with possible day trips available for you and your pet! Hotel Le Belvedere was quite a basic hotel but I really enjoyed my stay here with the village just a short walk away. This was definitely more of a relaxing pool and beach holiday for me.

Paw Prints in the Sand

Portugal, Algarve

Although the ferry may take some time getting there it is definitely worth it when you arrive. Brittany Ferries have great offers on sailings and accommodation in the Algarve but most importantly they are part of the PETS travel scheme which allows your pet to travel safely within other member EU countries without undergoing quarantine. Check the PETS travel scheme compliance checklist to make sure that your pets passport is up to date. An upside to taking the ferry over means that if you really wanted to you could bring the car as well. This was not my first time in the Algarve, I had been many moons ago with my children (and no dog), so this time it was nice to have a relaxing break away with not a water slide or inflatable in sight!

Dog Friendly Beaches

Spain, Santander

I didn’t think I would find many 5* hotels that allowed pets when I first started my search, but I was happily surprised to find this little gem amongst the mix, in the stunning area of Santander in Spain. However the the 5* Hotel Real does have more rules set in place with animals, which I was understanding about – not everyone in a luxury hotel wants animals around. To book a stay here your dog has to be under 10kg and they are allowed in the public areas of the hotel – the size limit is a bit restricting for some dog owners but thankfully my pup was good to go. We really enjoyed our holiday here, we went when it wasn’t too warm for both us and the dog. I would definitely revisit this hotel – maybe without Minnie next time!

If you don’t see yourself taking the journey across the water and you feel safer on home turf with your pet then you will not be stuck for beautiful pet friendly holidays across the UK. Before exploring options in Europe I took a lot of ‘staycations’ in the UK to get used to travelling with animals and although I hate to admit it, they were definitely better than some of my trips abroad.

UK Animal Friendly Breaks

Cosy Dog Friendly Cottages


Starting in the North, Scotland has some beautiful spots for you and your furry friends to explore. I usually book with when I can because they have some of the best locations and pet friendly accommodation. One of my favourite places to go is the Isle of Skye because of the beautiful scenery and walks which all of us enjoy, a complete escape away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You will be spoilt for choice as there are plenty of pet friendly hotels in Skye to choose from.

Sea Front Cottage Holidays


Just as in Scotland you’ll not be stuck for somewhere to find the perfect holiday with your pet, whether you want a seaside location or somewhere right in the heart of the English countryside. My favourite holiday in England with my pooch (before the cat came along) was to Dorset, with the beautiful shoreline to walk along in the evenings and a bustling haven of farmers’ markets for fresh produce. We stayed in a dog friendly cottage (again!) – there is something nice about a cottage on holiday because you can feel right at home.

Beautiful Cottage Surroundings


And last but not least on the mainland we have Wales, a place of beauty and for us it was a holiday of sheer seclusion. A trip which consisted of lots of hill walks, country strolls and board games (with friends, not my dog) at night by the fire – bliss! We stayed in a beautiful little cottage in Llandrindod Wells which was like stepping right back in time, with old-fashioned shops and Victorian styled buildings as well as a beautiful landscape surrounding our accommodation.

Up to now I’ve only been brave enough to venture across Europe with pets in tow but I’m aiming for a long-haul at least once, but for now I’m happy with weekend trips in the UK and summer holidays across the rest of Europe.

What I’ve learnt about travelling with my dog is that there is so much more to explore by foot than we all think and that a walk is sometimes all we need – no wonder dogs love them so much!