logo

Is Croatia Dog Friendly? A Guide To Travelling With A Pet & Dog Friendly Beaches In Croatia

If you are planning a trip to Croatia with your pet or pets, congratulations! Not only are you on your way to one of the most beautiful, friendly, and relaxed places in the world, but you’re doing it in great company. We at Hvar Away are passionate animal lovers and we encourage other pet owners to visit Croatia, which is full of proud dog dads, cat moms, and everyone in between. Compared to some parts of Western Europe, Croatia is a bit less permissive of pets, but compared to the United States, it is much more welcoming.As with any destination, a little preparation goes a long way towards creating a great experience for pets and pet owners alike. To that end, we’ve gathered some key information and insider tips below to ensure that you and your beloved animal have a fun, stress-free visit.

Getting Here: Travelling To Croatia With Dogs

Before you can revel in Croatia’s sunstruck shores and glorious peaks, you have to get here! Fortunately, there are multiple modes of transit that have well-established pet policies.

Car

For many pet owners, road will be the easiest way to get to and from Croatia. Your dog is in one of his or her comfort zones. Pit stops and walks can happen whenever the mood strikes. There are no fellow passengers to be bothered by pet hair, barking, or other animal behaviour.

While your four-legged (or feathery or fishy) friend may be king of the road, you must still take careful notice of Croatian requirements for transporting pets across national borders, or else face serious consequences. All animals must have an EU Pet Passport or certificate validating a third-country equivalent. They will also need a veterinary card with an appropriate schedule of vaccinations, a microchip, and proof of identity. These requirements apply to all other means of travel, as well.

Dog leans from car window

Air

For travellers from the UK, US, Germany, France, and many other countries, air is the most practical means of getting to Croatia. Different airlines have a range of policies regarding animals on board, so be sure to check all of the carriers with which you are flying to confirm that they can accept your pet and have safe, well-developed procedures for dealing with animals.

Often itineraries to and from Croatia either begin or end with a flight on Croatia Airlines, the national carrier. Croatia Airlines has a fairly dog friendly policy. They support three basic scenarios:

  • Registered service dogs are allowed in the main cabin for free, provided that they are properly muzzled. The muzzle requirement does not apply to animals who support deaf, paraplegic, or blind individuals.
  • Each traveller may bring a single small cat or dog into the main cabin, so long as the animal stays inside an appropriate carrier. Note that for return travel into the UK, small animals can only be transported in the hold (not in the cabin) – this applies for all inbound air travel to the UK.
  • Each traveller may stow multiple small animals or one larger animal in the baggage hold. Again, the pet needs to be housed within an appropriate container with adequate food, water, and ventilation.

Except for service animals, there are additional fees for all of these arrangements. Anyone travelling with animals must book their flight in advance by phone, so that they can review all of the particulars with an airline representative. In addition, certain cat and dog breeds are restricted from travelling on Croatia Airlines. None are outright forbidden, but depending on size and breed, your pet may not be allowed to travel. Take a look at Croatia Airline’s full pet policy here.

Cat gazes from plane window

Rail

Croatia’s railways, run by HŽ, are currently pretty dilapidated and slow, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (couldn’t help ourselves!): in partnership with the European Union, Croatia is investing a massive four billion euro in overhauling its rail network over the coming years. Even now, international rail lines tend to run more comfortable and timely trains. If you decide to indulge in the romance of rail travel, your pet will probably be able to join you. Here are the three basic classes of pets allowed on board:

  • Service animals and rescue animals – no muzzle needed, but owners should be prepared to present documentation.
  • Small animals (up to 30 cm in height) with adequate cages can sit on owners’ laps.
  • Larger animals are welcome so long as they have muzzles, short leashes, microchips, and vet cards. Owners must buy a ticket for these pets – they cost 50% of a normal ticket.

Animals described as “dangerous” in their vet cards will not be allowed to board. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and reimbursing the rail company for any damage that the pets may create. Finally, passengers travelling in a sleeping car with a large pet must rent out the whole sleeper car, not just one bed.

Bus

Bus is the diciest mode of transportation with pets, as it is up to the driver’s discretion whether to admit a pet or not. On local buses, pets – with the exception of service animals – are almost never allowed. For long distance buses, small pets in a carrier usually board, but there is no way to know in advance. Service animals are, as usual, an exception. People who require service animals are entitled by law to bring them on buses.

Ferry

If you are planning to go to one of Croatia’s many beautiful islands, you will almost certainly need to take a ferry to get there. Formally, dogs and other pets are only allowed on deck. In practice, animals sit with their owners inside the ship in the off-season months when the cabins are less crowded and hectic. Follow the lead of what you see other pet owners doing, and always be respectful of ferry personnel if they ask you to move your pet.

Dog waits

Where To Stay With Dogs And Pets In Croatia

Croatia has a wide variety of pet-friendly accommodations. There are designated camping sites in the countryside, for example. Some even have special amenities such as dog showers and pet food for sale.

If you are looking for a more comfortable experience than camping, hotels are least likely to accept pets, so renting a villa or apartment is your best option. Villas, of course, offer more space for pets, including outdoor areas. Hvar Away has a filter to highlight pet-friendly properties and we have a well-developed policy for pets of all kinds. If you are having trouble finding a property that works for your dates, just contact us and we will try to find a solution for you.

If you are shopping for a rental beyond Hvar, we recommend reaching out to individual property owners to check if your pet might be welcome, rather than using pet-friendly filters. On platforms like Airbnb, many renters describe their rentals as “no pets” to head off problems with certain breeds or irresponsible owners. They may be willing to host you if you can show that your animal will handle an unfamiliar environment without creating damage.

Cat and dog

Where To Eat With Dogs in Croatia

Are Croatian dog friendly? Yes, Croatians love their pets. They also love their time “on coffee” – catching up with friends on an outdoor terrace in the summer months. You will often see dogs sitting calmly with their owners, watching the world go by. What you won’t see as often is pets inside a restaurant. This is generally frowned upon, so don’t be surprised if the waiter or waitress politely asks you to leave Fido by the door. If you are uncertain of a restaurant’s policies, it never hurts to call ahead. Many dining establishments have courtyards that provide some protection from the elements without being fully covered. This can be a good compromise for dog owners when it gets a little cooler outside.

If pet ownership has persuaded you to go vegetarian or even vegan, there are an increasing number of options for you in Croatia’s dining scene. While the country’s cuisine is traditionally meat-centric, most tourist towns and larger cities now have at least one restaurant offering high quality alternatives. On Hvar, Fig, Nook, and Masha all offer menus that are all or partly PETA-approved.

Where To Go With Dogs In Croatia

Croatia is graced with endless hiking trails, gorgeous dog friendly beaches, and lively public promenades. All offer great terrain to enjoy with your dog. Hvar in particular is a paradise for outdoor activities. Just be on the lookout for any signs that say “no dogs.” While locals sometimes disregard these warnings, you do so at your own risk, and at possible risk to others. These signs are usually placed in areas with a high volume of foot traffic or where children play, so be aware of your surroundings and conditions that could possibly stress your dog or provoke an unpleasant interaction. Usually these issues are less present in the off-season, between September and June.

Soggy dog post-swim

Dog Friendly Beaches In Croatia

We know Croatia's reputation for offering some of the most stunning beaches in the world. But which ones are the best for enjoying with your four-legged friends? Given Croatia's popularity as a beach destination, as you would expect, there are strict regulations in place to maintain the high standards of its beaches. Some may prefer a beach experience without the presence of dogs, which is precisely why we've compiled a selection of the finest dog friendly beaches in Croatia, ensuring you and your furry companion can enjoy a vacation without worries.

Podvorska Beach, Crikvenica

Why is Podvorska Beach a bark above the rest? It's not just a beach; it's a pup's paradise! Crowned as Croatia's premier dog friendly beach, it goes all out for our four-legged friends. Dog showers, water stations, shaded tents, and benches – they've thought of everything. It's a haven where tails wag freely and humans bask in the joy of seeing their pets blissfully content.

White dog running in from the water at Podvorska Beach

Hold your biscuits because Podvorska doesn't stop there! Brace yourselves for the pièce de résistance – the first-ever dog café. Awards adorn this innovative spot, where your canine companion is treated like royalty. Ice cream, chips, and yes, you read it right, beer – all crafted with dogs in mind.

Kvarner Gulf

Welcome to Kvarner, the gulf found between mainland Croatia and the Istrian peninsula, and a haven for beach enthusiasts and their furry friends! First up is the canine paradise that is Kijac Beach on the mesmerising island of Krk. Kijac Beach boasts a postcard-perfect seascape that will leave you and your furry companion in awe. Let your dog roam freely, splash in the waves, and make lasting memories in this dog friendly utopia, which includes amenities like showers to wash off sandy paws and restrooms for those necessary pit stops. Easily accessible from the picturesque town of Njivice, this 300-metre stretch of shoreline is a true gem.

Redagara Beach, also on the island of Krk, is a charming micro beach, offering a secluded escape from crowds. This dog friendly beach is small and enclosed, ensuring a safe environment for your furry friend. The beach attracts normal beachgoers seeking tranquillity, but everyone is aware that it's a dog-friendly spot, allowing your dog to roam freely. The area features beautiful trails and shaded spots away from the beach for shelter during hot summer months. However, it lacks amenities, so plan accordingly by bringing your supplies and drinking water.

Drone shot looking at Redagara Beach with surrounding forest

Redagara Beach

Slightly further north, located between Opatija and Ičići on Croatia’s mainland, is Punta Kolova Beach, another dog friendly beach with a few more amenities. Accessible by strolling along the Lungomare promenade and identifying the "dogs allowed" sign, this pebble beach offers shallow waters for a refreshing dip with your pup. Natural shade surrounds the beach, providing a comfortable spot to relax away from direct sunlight. The beach is equipped with a freshwater hose for post-swim rinsing and refilling your water bowl, along with trash cans to maintain a clean environment.

Istria

Situated at the tip of Croatia's Istrian Peninsula, Pula is a coastal city renowned for its sheltered harbour, picturesque coastline adorned with beaches, and the remnants of ancient Roman structures. The Pula region is a highly dog friendly destination in Croatia with numerous dog friendly beaches, including Saccorgiana Cove, also known as Zeppelin Beach. Nestled in a natural cove, the beach features the typical Istrian pristine sea waters. With its unique composition of large rocks and a central gravel strip, a substantial portion of Saccorgiana Cove is exclusively dedicated to dogs.

Zlatne Stijene, translating to Golden Cliffs, is a dog-friendly beach situated very close by in nearby Verudela. This untamed and scenic beach, requiring a bit of agility to access due to its natural landscape, provides a serene getaway away from the crowds. It's an ideal location for a refreshing swim with your dog, especially if you're lodging in southern Istria.

Our personal favourite dog friendly beach in Istria: Kamenjak Beach – one of the OG pet-friendly spots in Croatia. Tucked away in the Park Suma Kasteja, this beach not only provides a chill spot for humans but is also a tail-wagging haven for our four-legged friends with shady spots and trails. The dog beach at Kamenjak is wide, shallow, and perfect for some wet and wild fun with your dog, be it splashing around or a game of fetch in the water.

Sunbathers relax on Kamenjak Beach

Kamenjak Beach

There's a dog shower at the nearby campsite to wash off the salt water and parking is just a casual 5-minute walk away. Additionally, an on-site restaurant allows you to replenish while enjoying the company of your dog.

And here's a bonus – not too far from Kamenjak is Arena 99 Glamping, the ultimate spot for fancy camping in Croatia. They welcome pets, complementing Istria’s commitment to providing a comprehensive and inclusive travel experience for both two-legged and four-legged guests alike.

Dalmatia

In mainland Dalmatia, there are two official dog friendly beaches. The first is Kašjuni Beach in Split, renowned as one of the finest beaches in Split. A special enclave, discreetly positioned behind a hill and rocks, forms a secure area exclusively for dog swimming. While modest in size, this section of Kašjuni Beach ensures pet owners can closely monitor their dogs while soaking in the awesome vibes of the surroundings. Heads up, though – no amenities here, so pack up with all the doggy essentials and plenty of water.

Duilovo Beach, the second officially designated dog friendly beach in Split is conveniently located downtown. With its pebble-covered shore, Duilovo Beach offers a safe and enjoyable experience for dogs, inviting them to stroll comfortably and take a refreshing dip. The provision of tents for pups provides a shaded retreat from the sun. Parking nearby, showers on the beach to wash off the sea salt, and a friendly vibe with lots of dogs and people – it's the ultimate spot for your pup to splash around, catch some rays, and maybe make a few new furry friends!

In north Dalmatia near Zadar, you will find Privlaka, an easily accessible and well-maintained dog friendly beach, providing wooden umbrellas for additional shade. Notably, the beach is a departure from typical Croatian beaches… Privlaka Beach is all sandy! The perfect experience for dogs fond of soft sand and gentle sea waves.

Seaward facing view of Privlaka Beach with sunbathers relaxing under wooden parasols

Sandy Privlaka Beach

Privlaka Beach is also distinguished by its gradual and shallow sea entrance, which is ideal for dogs not yet so adept at swimming. Note that the beach lacks amenities such as showers and changing areas, and there is only one trash disposal point – so make sure to pack accordingly.

Whizzing down to Southern Dalmatia, Mandrač Beach is an excellent choice for dog owners seeking a serene destination for their canine companions while travelling in a famously enclosed, non-green city. Positioned in the Lapad area, this petite, pebbled beach features calm and pristine waters and is encircled by a protective stone wall. Mandrač Beach has limited natural shade, so don’t forget to pack your umbrella. Despite this, we love Mandrač as Dubrovnik’s most dog friendly spot, providing the opportunity to relish a day by the seaside.

Last but not least, we land on Hvar, the most enchanting island in all of Dalmatia (okay, maybe we’re biassed). But there is no denying that Zaraće Beach, positioned at the base of the quaint village sharing its name, is not just one of Hvar’s best dog friendly beaches, but one of the most delightful in all of Croatia. Just 6km out from Hvar Town, this captivating bay is encircled by rugged cliffs, creating a visually stunning landscape. We think the island’s best sunsets can be viewed from here. For your canine companion, the beach offers an expansive area to frolic along the shoreline freely. Adjacent to the beach, a couple of restaurants provide sustenance and refreshments, the most highly rated of which is Gego's.

An empty Zaraće Beach with crystal clear waters and enclosing cliffs in the background

Zaraće Beach

Important Services For Dogs And Pets In Croatia

Veterinarians

Most towns and islands have a local veterinarian. Here is a list of registered vet clinics throughout the country of Croatia. If you have a bit of time to check, it is always a good idea to check a vet’s reputation in your local expat group. For prices, you can use the price list of the University of Zagreb’s animal care centre as a reference.

Pet Sitters And Dog Walkers

Croatia does not have a large community of pet sitters and dog walkers. If you think you might want to go on a date or outing without your pet, your best bet is to ask your host. Ideally, you would ask before you book your lodging, so that you can understand what their capabilities are. At Hvar Away, dog walking and pet sitting is one of the concierge services that we can arrange for our guests with some advance notice.

Dog with a stick

Pet Salon

Shaggy companions need spa days, too! Fortunately, pet services are becoming more common in Croatia. Most towns will have a few salons or at-home providers who can get your fluffy friend back into shape. Just google “salon za kućne ljubimce” to find options in your area.

Cultural Differences Regarding Pets in Croatia

Croatia more or less shares the attitudes towards pets that you are likely to find in the United States or Western Europe. That said, it is a more rural place than those countries, and attitudes towards animals reflect that fact. Dogs, for example, are often understood to be working animals, used for hunting and protecting property. For that reason, you should not assume that other dogs are friendly or harmless. This is particularly true if you encounter a dog out in the countryside while hiking or cycling, but it can also be true in town. As in other places, not all pet owners are as responsible as one would like, and sometimes people walk large, dangerous dogs off leash. If you have a small dog, don’t be afraid to pick him or her up when you encounter those situations.

Happy dog at the beach

You are also sure to encounter stray cats if you are visiting Croatia. Like squirrels or other city-living animals, these cats are wild. Locals appreciate their ability to keep pest populations under control, but be careful not to touch these cats or allow your children to play with them. They can carry disease and are much more aggressive than house cats.

Finally, be aware of other wild animals if you are visiting Croatia with a pet and spending significant time in nature. There is a species of snake here which can be quite poisonous, and wild boar are a real consideration. In town, there is a type of caterpillar that forms long “parades” in the spring. It is called the pine processionary moth. While somewhat amusing at first glance, these caterpillars are quite a nuisance. Their fuzz contains chemicals that are very irritating and even poisonous to animals and small children. Keep a close eye on your pets when these critters are in season.

Recommended Croatia Travel Articles

Discover More
Croatia Good For Family Holidays

Is Croatia Good For Family Holidays? 5 Reasons Why

Croatia's long coastline is particularly attractive for families, with its crystal-clear waters, pebble beaches, and plenty of water sports and activities to keep everyone entertained.

Croatia's Most Overhyped Destinations

Is Croatia Worth Visiting? Two Most Overrated Destinations

Croatia is an incredible place to vacation, with stunning and diverse landscapes, delicious cuisine, and thousands of years of dramatic history. All of these endowments, however, have led to an influx of tourists in recent years, particularly to a few well-known spots.

Where Should I Stay on Hvar

Where To Stay On Hvar? A 2024 Guide To The Island

You have a Mediterranean vacation on your mind, and you’ve heard good things about Hvar. Maybe you even visited long, long ago – for a wedding, yacht week, or a family holiday. But you are not quite sure how it all works...

Hvar: 3 Incredible Itineraries

Things To Do In Hvar: 3 Incredible Itineraries

Hvar is small, but it doesn’t lack for things to do. Although the entire island is just three-fifths the size of Prague and has less than 1% as many residents, Hvar feels bigger than it is. There are so many facets to the island that you could spend a lifetime here (like us!) and still only scratch the surface.

Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Family Holiday in Croatia

How Not To Travel Croatia: 5 Mistakes To Ruin Your Vacation

We explore how to spoil a family holiday on Hvar with 5 foolproof strategies to quickly make yourself and your children miserable.

Frequently Asked

Frequently Asked Questions: Essentials For Hvar Away Guests

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive from visitors to Croatia on a wide range of topics.

Join The Hvar Away Community

Make sure you are the first to hear about our newest villas on Hvar, keep up to date with the latest island happenings, and win in our exclusive competitions.

Laptop, pool, and sun