Travelling with Pets

From Calais to Slovenia on a pawsome adventure!

There’s so much for your pet to discover in Europe, from Germany to Italy and even as far as Slovenia!

Where’s the farthest destination you’ve travelled to with your pet? Bloggers behind World Wide Walkies Jackie and Mark and their four Cavapoos have explored as far as Slovenia, all in one caravan and here to inspire your next adventure.

When I arrive in Calais, I love the sense of freedom – a whole WORLD within reach. You could drive to Outer Mongolia if you wanted to.

Our plan was a little more modest. We Brits love France, yet there is so much on our doorstep. So, with our caravan (that we’ve named Kismet) and Les Quatre Cavapoos, we decided to explore Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia before cruising home via Italy. In fewer than 1000 words, I can’t give the low-down on these wonderful countries. However, I have picked out some highlights for you!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Where in Germany: Franconia, Bavaria
Drive from Calais: 767.1km / 7h 39m

Fairytale city I was promised; fairytale city I got. Rothenburg is truthfully THE most beautiful place I have ever visited. Who needs Disneyland when real places like this exist? My hubby was right when he said; “We have reached the Kingdom of ‘Far Far Away’!”

Rothenburg is one of the most beautiful places we’ve travelled to.
Rothenburg is one of the most beautiful places we’ve travelled to.

There are 42 towers on the medieval walls surrounding the town (42 - the answer to Life, the universe and everything!). We walked the walls with the dogs and were treated to beautiful views of the Tauber valley. It was 27°C at 9am but thankfully, the walls and gardens were gloriously shady.

If, like Wizzard, you ‘Wish it could be Christmas Every Day’ then Rothenburg is for you. It boasts the largest Christmas Village in Europe, which is open all year round! We had our photo taken with the larger-than-life wooden toy soldier outside the Christmas Village (above).

Of course the dogs went down a storm as usual, Germany is very dog friendly and our four-legged friends were allowed on trains, subways and into most restaurants (with some restaurants and shops even bringing your pets some water).

The Saxon Swiss National Park

Where in Germany: Saxony
Drive from Calais: 990.7km/ 10h 32m

On the border with and continuing into the Czech Republic, The Saxon Swiss National Park is definitely a destination to get on your bucket list! In Germany (like France) dogs aren't often allowed off lead in National Parks. In the Saxon Swiss, however, the Tourist Information will tell you routes and areas where dogs can run free.

The stunning Bastei Bridges towers 194 metres above the Elbe River.
The stunning Bastei Bridges towers 194 metres above the Elbe River.

There are 1200km of well-marked walking trails on the German side. The ‘Malerweg’, or ‘Painters’ Way’ is a long-distance walking route through the area where certain parts are dog friendly.

A Julia Bradbury Walk takes in many of the must-sees, like magnificent castles at Hohnstein (home of puppetry), Königstein Fortress and Bastei Bridge, which is built into the rock – there’s plenty to see in the area! To connect with nature, there are many curious ‘Lord of the Rings’ landscapes; walk in the ‘Lost World’ of Uttewalder Grund, hike the glorious Polenztal Valley or see whether you think that the fabulous sandstone rock formations towering above the River Elbe compare to those in Monument Valley!

Colditz Castle

Where in Germany: Saxony
Drive from Calais: 880.8 km/ 9h 16m

We’ve seen the film, played the board game and now – we have sat in the famous prisoner’s courtyard in Colditz Castle. It was amazing to actually visit such an iconic place where the dogs were allowed in the castle and on the guided tour too. It was a lovely, cool walk through the forest from the campsite to the castle; passing through a dilapidated tier garden.

Dogs were allowed both in Colditz Castle and on the guided tours.
Dogs were allowed both in Colditz Castle and on the guided tours.

There are 1000 years of history in the walls of Colditz Castle so there is a lot to discover, but the few years of WW2 dominate. My favourite exhibit was a collection of watercolours and excerpts from the diary of William Faithfull Anderson, a prisoner of war in Colditz from 1940-1945. It was a really personal story. I particularly loved his painting of the prisoners relaxing in the courtyard and his description of “a human sundial” chasing patches of sunlight around!

The Most Beautiful River in the World

Where in Slovenia: Western Slovenia
Drive from Calais: 880.8 km/ 9h 16m

There are plenty of off-lead walks near our campsite in Slovenia.
There are plenty of off-lead walks near our campsite in Slovenia.

The moment we entered Slovenia, my jaw dropped. (It only re-clenched again as we descended the many hairpins of the Predel pass!) At 1156m, all we could see from the top of Predel were the bright, white limestone peaks of the Julian Aps soaring into the air over deep chasms of emerald green, far below. The pyramids were once faced with limestone so that they shone out in the landscape; this was more impressive.

I took the dogs for an evening walk from Camp Soča (a dog-friendly campsite we stayed in). As I turned the corner from an unassuming little path, I thought I had been transported to paradise. The river Soča wages the hefty claim of being ‘The Most Beautiful River in the World.’ As the track opened out and I was greeted by the deep turquoise waters of the river bordered by golden shallows, edged with pale beaches and pure white stones where the river emerged from a steep gorge with walls like polished alabaster, I was not inclined to disagree!

I hope that this has given you some inspiration to explore a little further from home. The Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) and the Castle Road (Burgenstraße) both take in Rothenburg. ‘SLOVEnia’ is the tag line for the Slovenian Tourist Board. If mountains, lakes, caves and castles float your boat, you will truly LOVE it!

There’s a world out there for your pet to explore! Feeling inspired? Start your next pawsome adventure with your pet by booking your tickets with us early and taking advantage of the best prices.