Nothing – nothing – soothes the soul like crisp country air, brisk walks and dogs. But indulging in the holy trinity can be tricky when searching for accomodation – not all properties allow pooches. Our favourite pet-friendly hotels in Europe don’t just provide alternative kennel options, they roll out the red carpet for Rover… and you. Animals are wonderful companions in both life and travel, so make extra-special memories with them in these delightfully hushed hideaways.
1. Schwarzer Bock: Ansbach, Germany
When traffic is thick as treacle and tourists come in stampedes, city trips can be tough on dogs. Ansbach is different – blending a heady combination of quiet historic city life and Franconian countryside. Real inn and guesthouse Schwarzer Bock has positioned itself as the perfect pet-friendly hotel in Europe for exploring the dog-friendly beaches in the Franconian lake district or simply taking a ‘walkies’ through the city’s romantic Margraves Gardens. Your hosts – the Fuhrmann family – hunt the very venison you dine on in their 11th-century restaurant themselves. They’ll even invite you and your four-legged friend along with them. Modern-meets-medieval guest rooms are beautifully decorated and conveniently equipped with Wi-Fi, minbars, iPod docks and a flat screen TV. For the non-humans, there are snug dog beds, feeding bowls and dog food on request. They’re even welcome in the pub.
2. Sieraków Manor: near Krakow, Poland
Finding superior pet-friendly hotels in Europe is tricky enough. Finding pet-friendly hotels that literally welcome your furry companion with a biscuit? Next to none. Your hosts at Sieraków Manor make you and your pet feel like royalty, offering cosy beds, bowls of fresh water, tasty snacks and even a special menu for four-legged friends (we recommend the pork goulash). Animals and humans alike love the location – everything is closeby and everything is beautiful. Draped by the Wieliczka Foothills, your pet has the freedom to run and climb and play, before sleeping like a pup or kitten in your charming English-style guest room. It’s this dedication and hospitality to animals that’s gained Sieraków a Dogosfera Certificate, meeting the organisation’s specific requirements to make cats and dogs feel at home and cared for.
3. Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel: Powys, Wales
Old-fashion retreat Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel pulls out all the stops for tail-wagging travel buddies. Straddling the border of England and Wales, you’ll have a world of woodland walks right at your feet (or paws). “People arrive here on a Friday night completely stressed out, but by Sunday morning they never want to leave,” says the hotel’s owner, Audrey Hunter. It’s true: from the Shropshire valleys to the private spa baths, this is a stay that gets to work on your soul before you even reach the front door. The green-drenched oasis is especially desirable in summer – book a room in the adjoining Coach House and savour a glass of bubbly in your very own patio area, with your very best four-legged friend.
4. Gregans Castle Hotel: Ballyvaughan, Ireland
Shelly and Lady are two resident cats at Gregans Castle Hotel, often found lazing by the fire or wandering the perfectly preened gardens. Your hosts – as you’ve probably guessed – are animal lovers, which means pets are always welcome with you during your stay. Inside, expect a homely warmth. Open fires, candlelight, antique furniture, an award-winning restaurant and buckets of Irish hospitality. Some of the ground floor rooms even have garden access, so your pooch can play in the blissful Irish country air. The 18th-century manor house sits on the Wild Atlantic Way, with views that stretch from the Burren National Park to Galway Bay. Writer J.R.R Tolkien has stayed at Gregans – the Burren’s unusual beauty is also said to have influenced fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.