Our first Dog Friendly Holiday to Switzerland!
At Dog Furiendly we LOVE it when dog owners break the barriers to experience new countries with the dog. Our Explorers the Golden Brothers, Skye and Oscar certainly know how to do just that, travelling all the way from Glasgow to Switzerland. They’ve kindly put a guide together on how they booked a dog friendly holiday to Switzerland.
Where to Start
When we joined our family in May 2015, they vowed that they would always take us on adventures.. and here is where our journey begins!
Our friend had went on a holiday to Switzerland with his family in March 2016, and we thought we would love to do this, this sounds really cool! So we started to look into how we would go about it and began to planned our dog friendly holiday to Switzerland in September 2017.
We had no idea where to start when it came to us travelling outside of the UK, so we took a trip to our vet who explained the whole process. We needed to have the rabies vaccine and organise for our pet passports to be filled out, so we started this process in June 2017 so that we would be ready to travel in September.
We researched areas that we would like to visit in Switzerland. We looked at how dog friendly places were (we found it hard to find information on this, but as it turns out there are very few places that are NOT dog friendly).
We looked at various different hotels, apartments and villas in Switzerland. We planned our route. We looked at how we could break up the journey from Glasgow to Switzerland (and visa versa) so that we were not stuck in a car for two days. We looked at things to do while we were there…it seemed like the list was endless, but we were sure that it would all be worth it in the end!
As well as sorting out stuff here with the vet, we also had to find a vet in Switzerland near where we were staying so that we could visit them between 5 days and 24 hours before we travelled back into the UK , to get our worming tablet and our clean bill of health to travel back home.
Once we had gathered all our information, booked our accommodation and travel, got all our documents together – insurance details, microchip details, vaccination book – and we had received our pet passports back from the vet, we were ready to go!!
And now it’s time for an Adventure
We set off bound for Folkstone on 3rd September. This journey, according to google maps was 7hrs 50 mins (460 miles). We have been used to travelling a lot with our family up north and around Scotland , and we are VERY good in the car and sometimes the humans wonder if they have left us behind because we are that content, but this will be the longest trip we have done to date! We decided that we would stop off at a few service stations to stretch the paws and the legs (4 and 2) then carry on our journey heading towards the Eurotunnel.
The Holiday Inn at Folkstone is Dog Furiendly, (and you are even allowed to join the humans for breakfast). We arrived around 10pm, just in time for a few hours sleep before we were off to catch the Eurotunnel across to Calais in the morning.
The Eurotunnel, if you have never travelled on it before, is fantastic, and the only way we would travel across to Europe. You and your human stay together in the comfort of your car for the short 35 minute crossing. You need to check in at the Eurotunnel Folkstone between 2 hours and 45mins before your scheduled shuttle train. They have dedicated pet exercise areas to let us stretch our paws and burn off some steam before continuing on our journey.
Once across the Channel… Bienvenue en France!!
From here we continued on our journey to Switzerland, with only another 10hr and 30mins (575 miles to go!) until we reach Täsch – our penultimate destination.
We stopped off at a few service stations along the way for breakfast and lunch, to stretch the legs and to get some fresh air. We were counting down the miles, and the journey had been long but we were so excited to see what our dog friendly holiday in Switzerland had in store for us, and we knew it would be worth it.
Finally around 9pm – later than planned due to a Sat Nav error – we arrived in Täsch where we had to park up, empty our car of dogs, bags and people and catch the train to the Zermatt – the car free town. (The train from Täsch to Zermatt takes around 12mins)
What an adventure that was… but we were so excited to see what the week would bring!
We are in Zermatt
We had a great nights sleep in our Dog Furiendly apartment – Backstage Hotel Apartments – and woke up in the morning to the most perfect view directly out at the Matterhorn
Breakfast in the apartment then was time to go and explore this beautiful town. There are lots of little shops down the main street, and lots of restaurants, most of which are dog friendly. We are used to most shops in the UK not being dog friendly, so this is a pleasant surprise. We felt like everywhere we went we were asking “are the dogs allowed in?”
Our first stop of the dog friendly holiday in Switzerland was a cable car trip up to the Matterhorn Glacier on a cable car. Dogs travel free on the cable cars, but the humans must pay!
We took three cable cars up to the highest point, the Matterhorn Glacier (3883m) the highest we had ever been. Unsure if the altitude would effect us, we walked slowly and calmly around the top, but once we saw the snow they was no stopping us from playing and rolling around in it. (It would appear that we weren’t effected by the altitude, but we were kept calm most of the time anyway)
There are lots of lovely walks around this area, and we were hoping to be able to get out on a few of them while we were there. We had 5 days in Zermatt – but one would be spent out of town as we need to visit the vet in the near by town of Visp. Throughout the 4 days in Zermatt we explored the the 5-Seenweg (5 Lakes Trail) – with fantastic scenery, crystal clear lakes, alpine wildlife and delicious food in the Alpine restaurants. We walked through Gorner Gorge, on a wooden walk way between towering cliffs. We walked across a suspension bridge and down through a beautiful little town called Furi – on a walk called Hangebrukenweg. We walked the Gourmetweg, a mountain path which leads past numerous mountain restaurants with global reputation, through the towns of Sunnegga, Findeln and finally back into Zermatt.
- The 5-Seenweg is a class of its own among the hikes in the Zermatt mountains. The trail leads you past the lakes of Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee. This walk is approx 9.8km long and takes roughly 2hrs 50mins (not including time spent staring in awe at the scenery)
- The Gorner Gorge is a place of exceptional natural beauty. The wooden walkway takes you deep in between the high cliffs, and above the waters of the Gornervispe.
- The Gourmetweg is an easy walk that is approx 5km long, and takes roughly 1.5hrs (not including eating time and time spent staring that the scenery!) It is mostly down hill, and the highest point is 2290m. The trail is open all year round, allowing you to see the Alpine wildlife on the Oberer Hohenweg.
In Switzerland each region has its own rules regarding being off lead, most state that in towns and villages dogs must be on the lead and controlled. But they are allowed off the lead on mountain trails, providing that it is outwith flora and breeding season.
And now it’s off to the Vets
We had to visit the vet to get our worming tablet and get approved to travel back home to the UK. We found a vet in Visp, Animal Kleintierpraxis, and we had made an appointment to see them 2 days before we were due to get the Eurotunnel back from Calais to Folkstone (we booked this appointment before we left the UK). A clean bill of health, a worming tablet each and significantly lighter pocket for the humans later. We were now on our way to spend the day in Interlaken, and get the cablecar up to the Jungfraujoch – The top of Europe.
The train ride from Interlaken Ost up takes 2hours. The two of the three humans had already did this trip, one around 17 years previous and one around 8 years previous. The train ride up has spectacular scenery, it is just breathtaking. And when you get to the last station, the views around you of the Alps and Aletsch Glacier are beyond this world. But the trip itself is very expensive, and unlike the cable cars in Zermatt, dogs are charged at half fare for this journey.
We spent a few hours at the top, but compared to the twice before – it has changed and now we would say that this is not worth the journey or the money. But it was a good day spent with the family, and even though it is expensive it is another dog furiendly adventure to share.
Our time in Switzerland is over for this year
It was a fast 5 days, but now that we have travelled here, spent time here, experienced this type of holiday, and we know that it is completely do-able, we would definitely book for longer next year.
We had the long journey of 10 hours back to Calais to catch the Eurotunnel back across to the UK, then the relentless journey from Folkstone to Glasgow. Arriving at the Eurotunnel in Calais, the pet passport scheme was so easy really put our minds at ease about travelling again next year. We simply arrived at Calais 2 hours before our shuttle, and first went to visit the Pet Reception to get their passports checked and microchip scanned.
After that, we were good to get back in the car and travel home. We travelled from Glasgow to Zermatt and home again over 9 days. We travelled around 2200 miles, with four days in the car. This was our first dog friendly holiday to Switzerland and our humans were extremely proud of us, how we took to it all and how well we travelled!
What would we do differently next time?….
We would possibly leave earlier and get an earlier Shuttle across so that we could stay in France and maybe cut some time of the journey on the Continent. We would definitely stay longer in Switzerland. 2 days travelling either side, you need approx 6/7 days in your accommodation. Other than that we absolutely loved our dog friendly holiday to Switzerland. Switzerland is a stunning place and is super dog friendly, more than we ever expected.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about our adventure to Zermatt, we loved sharing it with you all. Until our next adventure, Skye and Oscar.