Getting a pet is a lot like having kids. The responsibility can bog you down and restrict your freedom to travel spontaneously or travel at all. The alternative is to travel with your dog. Europe is a great place to travel with pets because dogs are an important part of the culture and lifestyle in most major cities. Berlin is one such city, where pets are just an accepted part of every day life. If you’re thinking about traveling to Berlin with a dog, here is everything you need to know.
Is Berlin dog-friendly?
Voted Germany’s most dog-friendly German city in 2011 and 2012, Berlin is extremely accommodating to our furry friends and their owners, making a trip to Berlin with a pet fairly easy to pull off. Unlike other “dog-friendly” cities in Europe that have very little for dogs to actually enjoy (like Vienna), Berlin has an abundance of large parks where they can run around open fields, nature, and even gardens.
Though your dog may not be welcome inside a museum, the good thing about tourist attractions in Berlin is that many of them are in the open air like the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. Berlin Tiergarten, which is like Central Park in New York, is one of the best dog-friendly parks as its close to many of the city’s important landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. And that’s just one of the public parks that make Berlin so green.
Between long walks around different neighborhoods and historical sights, you’re more likely than not to be able to take your dog with you to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is especially true if you go when it’s warm and beer gardens and terraces are open around town. Many places will even offer your dog a bowl of water, though it’s always a good idea to bring your own bottle to keep your dog hydrated. Berlin is huge and you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
Though you might be surprised at the fancy places that will let your dog in, it’s never a bad idea to look for some cafes and restaurants in advance. You can check restaurant reviews, which sometimes indicate in passing whether establishments are dog-friendly. More often, it’s easier to identify places that are NOT dog friendly by checking for signs like “Hundeverbot” or “Hunde verboten.” But I’ve done the research for you, so you have at least a few spots where your pup can dine with you.
Riding Berlin’s public transportation with your dog
True to its dog-friendly nature, Berlin allows dogs on all forms of transportation including buses, trams, the U-Bahn, and the S-Bahn. On all public transport, as well as the stations, dogs must either be inside a carrier or bag or leashed and muzzled. If they’re in a carrier, they travel free of charge. If they’re taken on board on a leash, you must buy a reduced-fare ticket for them. However, if you’re riding on a 24-hour pass or a monthly ticket, you can bring the dog on board for free. Very few dogs on public transport are actually muzzled, though it is the law.
Whether on public transport or on the city’s sidewalks, dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than one meter long. In parks, the leash can be two meters long. Dogs can only be unleashed in public in designated dog exercise areas in various parks around town. Parks with a dog exercise area include: Humboldthain, Tempelhofer Feld, Mauerpark, Volkspark in Friedrichshain, and Grunewald.
Pet-friendly activities in Berlin
There is a lot you and your pup can do together in the center of Berlin as main tourist attractions are often surrounded by grassy squares. The Lustgarten park that sits in Museum Island in the center of the Berlin Cathedral and the surrounding museums is a great place to picnic and hang out or simply just take your dog for a walk. From there, you can walk down the large boulevard Unter den Linden, which offers a ton of shopping for humans and a ton of trees to pee on down the center median.
This boulevard leads you directly to Brandenburg Gate, which is one of Berlin’s most iconic sights. The Reichstag Building with its glass dome is just around the corner and though you can’t go inside the Reichstag with a dog (or without a reservation for that matter), you can hang out on the large grassy park in front of it, Republic Square. Note that dogs are not allowed around the maze-like columns of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is also in the area.
A nice stop for both you and a pup is around the Spree. Spreebogenpark, in particular, which sits between the Reichstag Building and the main train station offers 6 acres of green space with easy trails, lawn chairs to hang out on, and many popular summer events.
If you’re visiting the Berlin Wall and the famed East Side Gallery, your dog will have a chance to run around the parks that lie behind the graffitied sections of the wall at the parks on the Spree such as de Park an der Spree. You can also visit the cultural center, Holzmarkt 25. The artsy bars and food stands that make up the village make for an interesting and unique backdrop for your dog’s vacation.
There are several massive green parks where you and your dog can have a peaceful time out in the open air and they will have plenty of space to roam and enjoy the nature. The largest and most central is the Tiergarten, which is just behind Brandenburg Gate. The park is actually so massive because it used to be a hunting ground. Nowadays it’s full of lengthy trails, memorials, ponds, and statues. It’s picturesque; it’s relaxing, but more importantly, it has a beer garden, so you and your dog can have a rest and refreshment after all that walking. Cafe am Neuen See has a ton of long tables around the lake.
Volkspark in Friedrichshain is another large park where your dog can run through trails among the trees and chase ducks around the pond. This park also has several gardens, monuments, and statues.
Further out of the tourist center of Berlin, you and your dog can enjoy Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport which has several dog exercise zones where they can be unleashed. As you can imagine, the size of an airport and its accompanying runway makes for a lot of walking, so take a lot of water and beware that there is very little cover from the sun.
Adjacent to a sports field and a concert hall, Mauerpark is another grassy park that rests on the former border of East and West Berlin. If you’re staying in the trendy area of Mitte north of the Spree, this may be the largest park nearby with a leash-free dog zone.
These are just some of the biggest parks in Berlin (and not all of them), but there are tons of smaller parks, squares, and plazas with lots of greenery to take Fido for a walk.
If you want to sightsee from the Spree with your dog, you’re in luck. Stern + Kreis and Reederei Riedel both allow dogs on their river cruises. Stern + Kreis only allows dogs under 5 kg, though you may be able to take a larger dog on board at the discretion of the crew. Their trips range from 1 to 3 hours, taking you on different routes through the historical city center, the 7 lakes of Berlin’s lake district, or down to lake Müggelsee. Reederei Riedel allows any size dog as long as they’re muzzled. They also offer a reasonably priced city sightseeing cruise.
Though Zoo-Berlin in Tiergarten does not allow dogs, if you’re willing to trek a little further out, you can take your furry friend to Tierpark. For the safety of your dog and the animals, they should be kept on a short leash and may not be allowed everywhere in the zoo. Nonetheless, in addition to being a large and entertaining park for your dog, both of you have the opportunity to see polar bears, leopards, and giraffes.
Where to eat and drink with your dog in Berlin
Cafes and breakfast restaurants
Many dining establishments in Berlin allow dogs, though cafes are the most likely to be pet friendly. Here are some that you and your pup can enjoy together:
Though it seems like a pretty nice atmosphere, your dog is welcome at this brunch restaurant and will probably be offered something to drink.
With several locations around Berlin, you can enjoy a hearty cup of coffee and a small selection of dishes with your dog anywhere in the city.
Doesn’t just allow dogs but has special treats for them.
Dine-in restaurants for lunch and dinner
German tapas and dog friendly… What’s not to love? They hand you a beer the second you walk in and a bowl of water for your pup.
This extremely bright Italian restaurant is located in Volkspark am Weinberg, so logically they allow the pups who are at the park to dine at the restaurant as well.
Located just a short walk from Brandenburg Gate, you and your pup can enjoy Berlin-style beers and traditional German fare at this restaurant.
Whether you’re visiting for a cocktail or dinner, your pup can come along.
As long as there’s outdoor seating, your dog would be able to go almost anywhere people go to drink, like the beer garden at Tiergarten for example. But here is a short list of bars that expressly allow dogs.
Dog sitting in Berlin
If you do have a non-dog friendly activity planned in Berlin, like a concert or a wild night out at Berghain, you can find experienced dog sitters on Pawshake. Once you register, which is free to do, you can browse sitter reviews, contact them with your sitting request, and book your preferred one directly.
Vets in Berlin
If you find yourself needing an emergency vet while in Berlin, Tierarzte im Notdienst and Tierarztpraxis Bärenwiese make house calls 24 hours a day. You can also visit Tierarztpraxis Rödiger, which is open 24 hours a day.
You may also be able to go to an emergency clinic that is not open 24 hours a day but has weekend or late-night hours. You can browse a list here.
With all this information, you should be able to visit Berlin with your dog without a care in the world. Woof woof! Or as they say it in Deutsch, wuf wuf.
Get the GPS-guided version of this and other Berlin guides on GPSmyCity here.