Latvia! It’s Luna the traveling pooch’s third new country visited in 2019 (and then visited again in 2020). It’s off the beaten track. It’s ringed by sandy beaches and pine forests. And its capital is a cute little cobbled patchwork surrounded by a sprawling city along a river.
Should you visit Latvia? I vote yes. Our beach adventures and adorable country inns were a lovely vacation.
And how will Latvia be if you’re traveling with a dog in tow?
The answer is that Latvia is one of the most pet-friendly places we’ve been so far. Read on to learn more.
From hostels in Riga to elegant guesthouses along the coast, I didn’t have any trouble finding accommodations that would take a small, well-behaved dog.
I was occasionally surprised at the dog fees we encountered, so if you’re booking something in Latvia, make sure you ask about fees up front (one place would have cost me about $40 per night for myself and an additional $30 per night for Luna, which was rather shocking).
Are restaurants, cafes, and shops dog-friendly?
Yes! Luna and I were on a walking trip along the coast from Riga all the way up into Estonia. We stopped in numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops along the way and not a single one had a no-dog sign or a problem with us. In fact, most places offered her water and one cafe came over after I fed her and offered to wash her bowl (which I carry with me).
In Riga, we even ate at one of the best restaurants in the country. At first, they were a little unsure when I asked about her, but ultimately they decided to let me bring her and they put us in a nice corner table (which is nice because she can tuck herself under the table and away from any shuffling feet). After that experience, I’d say if you’re doing any fine dining, ask ahead just in case.
Hiking trails and beaches
Trails and beaches were overwhelmingly dog friendly. I only came across one no-dogs sign on the beach and it seemed to be for a short stretch that was part of a little resort area.
Luna rode Latvian trains several times – once in her dog backpack with her head free and once in her Sleepypod, which is full-coverage and generally people don’t seem to know she’s there. In an enclosed carrier, she traveled for free. In her backpack and/or on my lap, I had to pay a baggage fee for her (about 60 cents on hour-long train trips from Riga).
One thing to keep in mind is that even though buses are generally dog-friendly within the country, they won’t allow you to take your pooch on a cross-border trip to Estonia. So if you’re heading to Tallinn, you’ll need to find a non-bus option (the train is what we went with) or you’ll need to stop in Valga (the border town), walk across the physical border and re-board another bus.
Now, to you: Have you taken a dog to Latvia? What was your experience? Anything I left out?