More than just to keep you company or as a fashion statement: domestic animals have been considered true members of the family for many years now. Surprisingly, Italy is one of the most pet-friendly nations in Europe, with a total of more than 60 million domestic animals in the country. (The UK is not far behind with 51 million pets, shared between 26% of the population). From big to small, from the never-tiring playmate to the eternally faithful, dogs continue to be one of the favourite pets for Italians, although they have not quite overtaken the fish population, that have silently swum their way to reach a total 30 million.
The loving bond between owner and pet often risks some strain over the summer season, when the idea of a well-deserved break not only risks our animals quality time with us but also their health. From June to September the number of abandoned domestic animals can peak at 35%, filling the cities (and tragically the motorways) with abandoned cats and dogs, a situation that can - and should - be easily avoided.
There are in fact hundreds of properties that have opened their doors to pets, even dedicated entire spaces and activities to dogs of every size ... hostels and budget hotels included! With a bit of flexibility, and a clear sense of your civic responsibility (of course, the owner is responsible for the dog, not the other way round) and respecting the basic rules, here are the places where you can enjoy your holidays with your dog by your side!
1. Meininger Hostels and Hotels
Meininger means quality ... and quantity! With properties scattered across the whole of Europe, from Berlin and Copenhagen to Amsterdam and Rome, the Meininger Hostels and Hotels receive all their guests with a generous welcome ... regardless of their paw (or leg) count! For only 10 euro per animal a day, you can spend your holidays relaxing with your dog; the only requirement is that you stay in a private room (yes, hostels have private rooms... did nobody tell you?) and you keep it on a lead in the common areas, to guarantee all guests can enjoy their stay.
Photo of: MEININGER Hotel Berlin Central Station - Berlino
2. Backpacker Panda
Travelling internationally? Your dog also deserves to see the wonders that the world has to offer! Most airlines (Alitalia, Lufthansa, Vueling or KML, to name a few) are more than happy to welcome your dog onboard, and depending on its breed, it can be in the cabin or the hold.
If you want to admire the bright colours of India this summer, the Backpacker Panda hostels are for you. The majority of the properties in this chain (which boast the title of the 'cleanest hostels in India') will let you sleep next to your dog: just be careful when you enter the kitchen and always have it on a lead... the smell of the Indian dishes can really be irresistible!
3. DJH German Youth Hostels
If you want to visit Germany like a true backpacker then you have to spend at least a night in the DJH hostels. Cologne, Munich, Berlin, Füssen, Kiel: from guided tours of the city, games rooms, bike excursions and dormitories with private bathrooms, you can be sure that your pet can be with your during every special moment of your holiday! And that's without forgetting the fact that all the German Youth Hostels are centrally located, in the heart of cities or just a stone's throw away from public transport.
4. A&O Hostels and Hotels
Another hostel and budget hotel chain that has really reached the heights of hospitality in the major European metropolitan areas. Here, your dog is not just there to accompany you, but is a true protagonist! You can bring up to 2 dogs with you, for a total of 10 euro a day (5 euro per dog). In return for the royal treatment, your canine friends will receive, you just have to follow two rules: book a private room (dog allergies are common after all!) and make sure that they eat their meals in the common areas!
Photo of: A&O Salzburg Hauptbahnhof
5. Italy is the queen of pet-friendly locations
Italy wins the prize for the most welcoming country for domestic animals for 2018. At the Hotel Bella Capri your dog can enjoy the Neapolitan sun and cuisine with you, while at Meet Garda Lake Hostel the doors are fully open to your furry friend.... the perfect location for a day of excitement at Gardaland along with your dog (on a lead, of course!). And you can't forget Milan, where at the Koala Hostel Milan your dog (or was it god?) will finally find his home away from home!
The properties reported here were selected via communication with managers that were not verified directly by the editorial staff, thus we assume no responsibility for the validity or reliability of the information here contained.
Cover Photo: @kirstinwhitingg