Google+ PetsVentura® : TRAVEL IN EUROPE WITH A DOG OR A CAT USING THE RAIL SYSTEMS

TRAVEL IN EUROPE WITH A DOG OR A CAT USING THE RAIL SYSTEMS





Get with your dog to Calais or Boulogne by car, using either a ferry from Dover or Eurotunnel from Folkestone, using a cheap 'day trip' ticket. Both Eurotunnel and ferry companies allow dogs under the PETS travel scheme, if they remain in a vehicle.

Book online at Eurotunnel, P&O Ferries or SeaFrance (to Calais) or low-cost operator www.speedferries.com (to Boulogne). Boulogne is closest to Paris. Once dropped off at Calais Ville, Calais Fréthun or Boulogne station, your friend can return to the UK, whilst you head to Paris and beyond by train, as dogs are allowed on normal French Railways trains, and on trains from Paris to Spain, Italy, Switzerland. You can check Calais/Boulogne-Paris train times & fares at either www.raileurope.co.uk or www.voyages-sncf.com.

Take a normal domestic UK train to Dover (dogs go free of charge), a ferry across the Channel, then a domestic French train to Paris. See the London-Paris train+ferry page for train and ferry times and fares. Most ferry companies do not allow foot passengers to take pets, only motorists. However, P&O Ferries will now accept cats or small dogs with foot passengers under the PETS travel scheme, as long as the dog has the appropriate veterinary cover and documentation, and is carried in an approved PDSA carrier at all times whilst on the ferry.

Stena Line allows foot passengers to take cats and small dogs in containers or larger dogs if you book an on-board kennel, on their Harwich-Hoek van Holland ferry route linking Essex with Holland. Call Stena Line for more information, on 0870 5 455 455. The Harwich Hook of Holland route is good for destinations in the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, though not as handy for France, Spain or Italy. See the Netherlands page for train connections from London to Harwich and from Hook of Holland to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Then use the all-Europe online timetable at http://bahn.hafas.de (English button upper right) to find train times from Rotterdam or Amsterdam onwards, as almost all trains carry dogs once you're across the Channel. After booking the ferry with Stena Line, onwards trains from Hook of Holland can be booked by calling Deutsche Bahn's UK office on 08718 80 80 66 (lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday).

Some other ferry companies take dogs in kennels. Superfast ferries (www.superfast.com) carry dogs in kennels or in your cabin for £20 each way from Rosyth (Edinburgh) to Zeebrugge in Belgium, for onward trains to Brussels and beyond. Check Brittany Ferries & www.poferries.com for ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao & Plymouth to Santander in Spain, as these ships also carry dogs in kennels.

A company called MiniMoves (www.minimoves.eu) can transport your dog from your home in the UK and meet you at Paris Gare du Nord (or other chosen point in Paris). You can then travel onwards across Europe with your dog. Expect transporting your dog from London to Paris to cost from £895 one-way.

From Calais, Paris or Hook of Holland, you can take a dog or cat with you on almost all trains across Europe, sometimes free, sometimes for a small charge. In sleeping-cars and couchettes on overnight trains, you can generally only take a dog if your party occupies all the berths in a compartment.

  • To France: Dogs can be taken on all French trains. Small dogs (under 6Kg) placed in containers not exceeding 45cm x 30cm x 25cm pay no more than 5.10 euros per journey. Larger dogs on leads pay half the 2nd class full fare (even travelling in 1st class). You can buy tickets for your pet at the ticket office.
  • To Italy: You can take dogs on the sleeper trains from Paris to Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Verona & Venice for a charge of £10 each way, as long as the accompanying passengers occupy all the berths in a compartment so you don't impose your animal on any other passengers sharing the same sleeper or couchette. Dogs are also carried for a £10 charge on the daytime Paris-Milan TGVs, with small dogs/cats in pet carriers travelling free.
  • To Spain: Dogs and other domestic animals may be taken to Spain on the overnight train hotels from Paris to Madrid or Barcelona for a charge of £56 each way, as long as the accompanying passengers occupy all the berths in a compartment. Also check Brittany Ferries & www.poferries.com for ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao and Plymouth to Santander in Spain, as these ships carry dogs in kennels.
  • To Switzerland: Dogs (on lead or in a container) are carried for a charge of between £26 and £36 each way on the Lyria TGVs from Paris to Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Basel & Zurich, Guide dogs go free.
  • To Germany, Austria, eastern Europe & Scandinavia: Dogs are carried on City Night Line sleeper trains (for example, Paris-Munich, Paris/Brussels-Berlin, Cologne to Prague, Copenhagen, Vienna) if accompanying passengers occupy all berths in the compartment, for a charge of 30 euros payable on board the train. On the Brussels-Cologne Thalys trains, dogs on a lead travel for a £22-£29 charge, small dogs or cats in carriers and guide dogs go free. See the relevant country page, select from the menu on the left.

To buy tickets or get more information about train travel with pets, you can call these agencies:

  • Rail Europe on 0844 848 5 848 (lines open 08:00-21:00 Mon-Fri, 09:00-18:00 Sat, 10:00-17:00 Sun) to arrange tickets for Calais-Paris and Paris to Switzerland, Italy or Spain.
  • DB's UK office on 08718 80 80 66 (lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday) to arrange tickets via Brussels to Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, eastern & central Europe.

For up-to-date train times for almost any train journey in Europe, see http://bahn.hafas.de. The English button is towards the right, a few inches down from the top.

UK train times, fares & online booking: www.nationalrail.co.uk.

HAVE A SAFE TRIP!