Is Estonia dog-friendly?

by gigigriffis
Luna in Estonia

It’s 2019 and Luna the traveling pooch has been traveling the world full-time for almost seven and a half years.

This year, she has already conquered three new countries (and is about to add a fourth to the list). And one of those countries? Pretty, bog-dotted, northern, tech-haven Estonia.

So, what is it like to travel in Estonia with a small dog? Is it hard to find apartments? Are most places dog-friendly? Can you take your pooch in restaurants?

Here’s a breakdown of our experiences…

Dog-friendly accommodations

We didn’t have any trouble finding housing with a small (5 kg) dog – both in Airbnbs and hotels. We also had some offers from longer-term places, so even though we chose to stick with Airbnbs, I think it’d be pretty easy to find long-term housing with a pet in Tallinn.

Are restaurants, cafes, and shops dog-friendly?

Yes! I took Luna into cafes, restaurants, and shops all the time and I was never asked to leave. Many places even have dogs welcome signs on their doors. If you’re concerned about a particular restaurant, call ahead (I think restaurants appreciate the heads up anyway so that they can put you at a table in a corner or along a wall so that your dog doesn’t get stepped on).

Hiking trails and beaches

We didn’t run into any no-dog signs on hiking trails in Estonia. And, in fact, we saw other dogs fairly frequently on the bog and forest trails we explored. As for beaches, I didn’t see any signs on the remote beaches along the southwestern coast, but I did run into one on the main beach in Parnu.

Keep in mind that Estonia does have some bears and, I believe, wolves. I kept Luna on leash anytime we were in a wildlife area, including the pine forests along the coasts. 

Dog-friendly transportation

In Tallinn, trams and buses are pet-friendly. Technically, you are supposed to have them muzzled on public transit, but in practice the locals don’t seem to follow this rule (I only saw a couple dogs muzzled and they were bigger dogs).

I carried Luna in my lap on trams and in her dog backpack on buses and didn’t muzzle her (that just feels yucky to me since she’s never bitten anyone) and never had a problem.

The one thing to keep in mind, though, 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. So if you’re planning to head down from Estonia into Latvia, for instance, you’ll need to pick a non-bus transit option (I chose to take Luna by train, carried in her backpack, and didn’t have an issue).


Now, to you: Have you taken a dog to Estonia? What was your experience?

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