Travelling by ferry with a dog in Europe

Ferry with a dog

Travelling with an animal by ferry in Europe

Is there a ferry ticket for your dog and how to book it? Can I take my dog on a ferry? Will he or she be in a kennel, with you, in your vehicle (if you travel with your car or like us, in a campervan)? Which ferries allow dogs on board? Are there any special precautions to take, paperwork, vaccines?

Travelling to Europe with a pet, these were all the questions we asked ourselves during our european roadtrip by van with our dog, Huaca and unfortunately, there is not 1 single answer. You’ll find below all the information you need to know.

Travelling by ferry wih a dog in Europe, all you need to know.

11 ferries, 8 different countries, 9 ferry companies in Europe, for a total of 93h of travel by ferry!

These are the various ferries taken during our roadtrip in Europe in 1 year and a half (except small internal ferries as in Norway, free for your pet in general). So here is a summary of our different experiences to help you prepare your future ferry trips with your dog or pet.

Here below you’ll find:

  • 1/ Things to know before taking the ferry in Europe with your dog.
  • 2/ Ferry by Ferry, the differences we faced.

Map of the ferries we took in Europe with our dog during our roadtrip.

1/ Generalities to know before taking the ferry in Europe with your dog

1.1/ Book a ferry for a dog in Europe

First of all, there are no rules …
According to the companies, and even within the same company, each trip may be different. You should certainly think… “What a good start!”. But don’t worry, it’ll be ok … we always found a solution to take the ferry with our dog in Europe.

On internet, we advise you to first look at a comparator, like Directferries for example … these sites are quite easy to use. Add the number of people, the animal and the vehicle, if there is a vehicle. From time to time, it is very clear to know if the animal is counted or not.
Below the trip’s details, you can see a special tab “Animals” which often specifies the conditions of travel for your doggie.

Booking a ferry for a dog, Pets' details for a travel in ferry with a dog in Europe on direct ferries.

Once you have seen the companies that operate on the route you want, and if the mention of the animal is not clear enough, you can go on the website of each company! Look for the general conditions, or better, the special page “travel with a dog / dog in ferry …” when it exists.
This is an example for 1 company in particular (which accepts animals inside, very rare !!!).

Travel with your dog by ferry in Europe, how to book for a dog on internet.

If you really do not find the information you need, we advise you to make a phone call to make sure you can board your pet. Personally, we only had to do it twice, generally the information written on Directferries are clear enough.

1.2/ Special rules for travelling by ferry with your dog in Europe

Normally, to take the ferry with your dog in Europe, there are some imperatives:
– Rabies vaccine, microchip and European passport (with updated vaccines).

However, on most of the destinations we tested, we were not asked for anything. No verification, whether passport, microchip …

The only authorities that checked us before taking the ferry are Ireland and England. We even had a certificate of good health done less than 2 days before the ferry to Ireland, as it was recommended and we wanted to insure our trip!

You need your dog'seuropean passport to take a ferry in Europe with an animal.

1.3/ Our advices to take a ferry with a dog in the best conditions

  • Leash and muzzle:

Apart from the electronic chip and the European passport, you are normally obliged to keep your dog on a leash and with a muzzle. As our dog is barely 10kg, we have the muzzle in the bag in case of control but do not put it to her (we were asked just once to show that we had a muzzle).

You need a leash and muzzle to take a ferry in Europe with your dog.

  • Boarding the ferry with a dog:

With an animal, we are normally required to arrive the 1st for boarding. Except for Ireland, where they really checked Huaca’s papers as soon as we arrived, we never needed more time than a normal car. But as a precaution, we always arrive 1 hour before boarding.

  • Travelling in a kennel:

If your dog has to travel in a kennel, we advise you to bring him his cushion, a bowl (which adheres to the ground), and a t-shirt with your smell. Kennels are usually cold (with metal floor) and if you don’t give water to your dog, nobody will.

Huacz, our dog, travelling in kennel by ferry in Europe.

  • Poo & Pee: when nature is calling?

In general, there are dedicated places on the boats for the pets to do their business. If it’s not the case, it’s on the outside deck. In any case, you will need to pick up his poops and if possible spill a little water on the pee. Just to say, on the 11 ferries we took, it is still metal floor … so we hope that your dog is not like ours. She can only do her business on soil, grass or sand, so she hold it in during the all crossing (up to 31h) …

  • Make you dog run:

As for any long trip, try to walk your dog out before the ferry. A good walk just before the ferry to tire your dog and make him do his business.

2/ Details of each of our ferry trips with a dog in Europe

We mentioned prices “just for info”, because depending on the season, anticipation or promotional offers, prices can vary from single to double (or even worse).
Prices are for 2 adults, 1 campervan (less than 2m20) and 1 dog of average size / 10kg).

Taking a ferry with a dog in Europe, all you need to know.

  • 2.1/ Ferry France-Ireland

    • Company: Irish Ferries
    • Start/arrival towns: Cherbourg-Rosslare
    • Global price and duration: 175€ and 18h
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: mandatory in kennel (40€) with 3 slots of 10/15 mins to visit and walk your dog (with someone staff of the boat).

Example of ferry's kennel inside the boat, when travelling by ferry with a dog in Europe.

  • 2.2/ Ferry Ireland-England

    • Company: P&O Ferries
    • Start/arrival towns: Dublin-Liverpool
    • Global price and duration: 151€ and 9h
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free inside your car.
  • 2.3/ Ferry England-France

    • Company: DFDS
    • Start/arrival towns: Dover-Calais
    • Global price and duration: 114€ and 1h30
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free inside your car.

Sometimes the dog can stay into your car during the crossing on the ferry.

  • 2.4/ Ferry Finland-Estonia

    • Company: Viking Line
    • Start/arrival towns: Helsinki-Tallinn
    • Global price and duration: 109€ and 2h30
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free but only on the outside deck.
  • 2.5/ Ferry Continental France – Corsica

    • Company: Corsica Ferries
    • Start/arrival towns: Toulon-Bastia
    • Global price and duration: 135€ and 10h
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free and accepted inside / public spaces (except restaurants).

Ferry that allow dogs on board for a travel by ferry with a pet.

  • 2.6/ Ferry Corsica – Continental France

    • Compay: Moby
    • Start/arrival towns: Bastia-Nice
    • Global price and duration: 143€ (including a cabin adapted to pets – with 2 beds and 1 shower) and 7h
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free but only on outside deck or Charged with a cabin adapted for animals (prices change).
  • 2.7/ Ferry in Croatia <> Brac (Croatian island)

    • Company: Croatia Ferries
    • Start/arrival towns: Split-Supetar
    • Global price and duration: 28€ (fixed price for a one way trip) and 1h
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free but only on the outside deck.
  • 2.8/ Ferry in Greece <> Naxos (Greek island)

    • Company: Blue Star Ferries
    • Start/arrival towns: Piraeus-Naxos (Naxos island in Greece)
    • Global price and duration: 140€ (one way trip) and 6h
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free but only on the outside deck or Charged with a cabin adapted for animals (prices change) but not available on every Blue Star’s boat.
  • 2.9/ Ferry Greece-Italy

    • Company: Minoan Lines
    • Start/arrival towns: Patras-Venice
    • Global price and duration: 220€ and 31h
    • Price and pet’s travel conditions: Free but only on the outside deck where there is also a free kennel (but hot during the day, and fresh the night, noisy and windy…). Or Charged with a cabin adapted for animals (prices change) but not available on every Minoan Lines’ boat.

Example of a kennel on the boat’s outside deck. Sometimes the cages are in a closed room on the deck or into the boat.

Ferry's kennel on the outside deck of the boat when travelling by ferry with a dog.

>> In any case, we have always been able to take the ferry with our dog, Huaca, without having to change our plans (well not too much). So, we hope this information will be useful for you to travel by ferry with your pet in Europe.

Do not hesitate to write us a little message if you found this information useful or if you need clarification.

Wishing you a good trip with your 4-legged friend!
And if you plan to travel with your pet by plane, here is our article on flying with a dog.
And here an article to help you find your next destination with a dog!

One Comment

  1. […] Travelling by ship within or to the EU with your pet is relatively easy as there are many pet-friendly ferry companies around the continent. When boarding the ferry with your furry friend, make sure to arrive in advance in case authorities need to check the documents for your pet. Furthermore, if you are travelling with a dog, they may be required to stay in a ship kennel. For more info on pet-friendly ferry companies from the UK to the EU, click here, and for more info on those within the EU, click here. […]

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