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What are the rules on taking your pets on holiday in Spain?

The Local Spain
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What are the rules on taking your pets on holiday in Spain?
Rules on taking pets on holiday in Spain. Photo: Leon Liu / Unsplash

Deciding whether to take your furry friends with you or what to do with them while you're away on holiday can be difficult. Here's everything you need to know about the rules on travelling with pets in Spain, as well as some alternative options.


The Spanish love to have pets. There are in fact approximately 13 million of them registered in the country and around one-quarter of all Spanish households have one or more.

Ninety-three percent of these are dogs while six percent are cats. The other one percent includes smaller animals in cages.

In fact, there are even more pets in Spain than children under 15. 

But what happens when you go on holiday in Spain, what do you do with your fuzzy companion?

What are the rules on taking them on public transport, to beaches and campsites and what are your options if you can't take them with you?



Dogs are usually not allowed on most beaches in Spain during the summer months, except for specific beaches designated for them.

The rules on the exact dates that dogs can and can’t access certain beaches change depending on the region of Spain and even the specific beaches. Make sure to research ahead of time, depending on where you’re going. The information can usually be found on the website of the local town council.

For example, in Barcelona, dogs are not allowed on the city beaches between May 1st and September 26th. On Puerto de Santa María beach in Cádiz, dogs are not allowed between June 1st and September 30th, while in the Granada province, many beaches don’t allow dogs between July 1st and September 30th.

The website Viajar con Perros is a good resource to find designated dog beaches across the country.

If you are planning a beach holiday, you will need to decide what to do with your dog while you’re sunning yourself on the sand or make sure that your accommodation is not too far from a dog-friendly beach. Perhaps you and your family will need to take it in turns, while someone goes into the countryside with the dog instead.

Leaving them in a swelteringly hot car, tent is of course not an option while you’re out enjoying the beach. If you leave them in a hotel room, you should make sure the air conditioning is on and that you don't leave them alone for more than a few hours.

READ ALSO: Renting in Spain when you have a pet: What are my rights?

Travelling in Spain with your pet

Of course, the easiest option when travelling around Spain with your pet is to have your own car or rent one. Just make sure that the rental company is aware you will be taking your pets in the car and if they allow it.

Remember, if you are hiring a car, you’ll need to make sure you bring an appropriate pet carrier or crate so that the animal is secure and cannot disturb the driver.

Travelling by car also means that you can stop along the way if your pet feels sick, needs to relieve itself or needs to stop for a drink.

Those who don’t have the option of travelling by car have the option of going by train instead.

Renfe states that on AVE and long-distance (Larga Distancia) trains, you can travel with your pet as long as:

  • It’s a dog, cat, ferret, but not poultry
  • It does not weigh more than 10kg
  • It always travels inside a cage or carrier, with a maximum size of 60x35x35 cm
  • Only one pet per person allowed
  • Your ticket allows travel with a pet

The pet ticket is free if you travel with a Premium ticket, in a Preferential or Grand Class bed or a Grand Comfort Seat. For basic tickets, you can travel with your pet for an additional €20.

Dogs larger than 10kg and up to 40kg can travel on certain AVE trains on the Madrid - Barcelona, ​​Madrid - Málaga, Madrid - Alicante and Madrid - Valencia lines only. 

If you’re travelling by long-distance bus, you will need to check the rules of the bus company ahead of time. There’s usually not much space on buses, so this may only be possible with very small pets.


READ ALSO: How can I travel with my pet from Spain to the UK without it going in the hold?


Going on a camping holiday is a good option for pet owners, typically offering lots of outdoor space.

Many campsites are pet friendly, even offering facilities such as dog parks for your furry friends too.

Looking on the campsite’s website or phoning them to find out if pets are allowed should be your first point of action.

Be aware, not all campsites will allow all types of pets. For example, some may not permit certain dog breeds or dogs over a particular size.

Pet-friendly hotels

If you’re not planning on camping, finding the right type of accommodation for you and your pooch is essential for a successful holiday with your pet. While not all hotels in Spain are pet-friendly, there are many that are.

Hoteles Mascotas is a good resource, as is Red Canina. You can also check pet-friendly hotels as a search function on popular accommodation such as


What to do with your pet if you can’t take them on holiday with you?

If the location you’re planning on going to won’t allow pets or it would simply be unfair to take them with you because they wouldn’t enjoy it, you’ll have to find pet care options.

Those who have cats may have it a little easier. You can ask a friend or a neighbour to look in on your cat every day to feed them, clean out the litter tray and give them some love.

Dogs on the other hand need a lot more attention and need to be taken on walks at least twice a day. If possible, you can find a friend who is willing to take your dog to their house to look after them while you’re away.

If this isn’t possible, your best bet is to find nearby pet hotels, dog kennels or catteries that will look after your pet. These can cost between €12 and €25, depending on what type of kennel you opt for.

A third option is to get a house/pet sitter who will essentially live in your house for free while you’re away, but in exchange will have to carry out particular tasks for you such as looking after pets and watering your plants.

Rover is a good one specifically for pets, where you'll pay for the services from pet lovers. 

A few other options include Trusted House Sitters, Mind My House and Luxury House Sitting. Sometimes you will have to pay a small membership fee to advertise.


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