So you’re traveling with your dog to the Greek Islands by ferry?
WOOF, let me first bark that traveling with your dog to the Greek Islands is easier than you think! Exquisite beaches, dashing coastlines, and paw-lickin’ Mediterranean food are more than enough to get my tail wagging for some “blue and white” beauty. If you’ve already sniffed out my post on dog travel in the capital city Athens, you know that Athens can be quite dog-friendly despite its noticeable stray dog (and cat) population (well, throughout the country as a whole :(). As the birthplace of Western Civilization, Athens is undoubtedly one intriguing place to visit. But when it comes to dog travel, the Greek Islands WIN over my little Yorkie heart on so many grounds. The Greek Islands are cleaner, more chill, and less densely populated. ARF, and did I mention those breezy beaches? I mean, who doesn’t want to bum it up with their furry ones while gazing at the serene sunset over the Aegean Sea? ARF, ARF! *Bark Translation = ME, ME!
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*For simplicity, the gender of the word “dog” will be in the masculine form (“he” or “him”) throughout this post.
Besides taking a ferry from Athens to an island of your choice, you can also fly with your dog. However, not every single island has an operating airport. If you are just looking to island-hop Greek’s most popular islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete, then yes – air travel is certainly a viable, faster option as most airlines accept small dogs in the cabin for a fee. Nonetheless, I believe there’s no better way to experience Greece than to hop on a ferry or two and cruise around the neverending bluish Aegean Sea, in which its geographical significance played an undeniable role in ancient Greek history. Over the last few years, I’ve set my alpha paws in Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, and Naxos – all by FERRY! So WOOF, I’ve become quite the expert Greek ferry dog traveler.
Sniff out my tips and info on traveling with your dog to the Greek Islands by ferry:
BOOK IN ADVANCE
Due to my small size, I’ve always been able to hop on the ferry for FREE. Some ferry lines may charge a small fee to transport dogs (regardless of their size), but it’s usually NOT a problem to travel with your dog to the Greek Islands by ferry. Regardless of the size of your dog, remember to book your tickets in advance – at least a few days before departure. Since my humans and I had the luxury of time, we stayed in Athens for several weeks before slowly making our way to the Greek Islands. Hence, we didn’t secure our reservation with the booking agent at the Port of Piraeus until 2 days prior. If you are on a strict itinerary, then you may want to look into online bookings ahead of time (although the seats rarely sell out). We took the subway from our apartment in the city center to Piraeus, which took no more than 20-30 mins.
Always arrive at the port at least 20-30 minutes before the departure time! Although the ferry staff have never asked my humans for my paperwork (e.g. health certificate or pet passport), I suggest keeping it easily accessible just in case. Since you’re required to leave heavier baggage at the luggage storage area as you enter the ferry (located downstairs/bottom level), you should pack all your dog’s essentials in a carry-on. Remember to pack bottled water and an adequate supply of food and treats 🙂 along with his to-go bowls, leash, harness, toys, and a blanket – whatever he needs for the journey. And yes, food and water ARE allowed onboard.
If you are traveling with a large dog, you may need to muzzle him as indicated in most guidelines (always check for the latest information). Although I haven’t seen a single muzzled dog, I think it’s best to play it safe by at least bringing along a muzzle. Large dogs may also need to be kept in the outside kennel area where you have to attend to their well-being and ensure they have enough food and water. Due to the scorching hot summer heat that Greece is notoriously known for, I do NOT approve traveling with your dog during peak season a.k.a. the summer months (if you must leave him outside locked in the kennel area).
INSIDE THE CABIN
Without any special status, I rode in-cabin using my usual plane carrier. I also walked out of my carrier for frequent breathers and water or food breaks without any condemnation. Generally speaking, the ferry staff members are not bothered by dog travelers. I didn’t explore too far away from our assigned seats, but I was allowed in most common areas including the dining area. My human and I also hung out quite close to the refreshments stand without any issues.
YOUR DOG’S WELL-BEING
Check on your dog at least twice every hour to ensure he’s comfortable, cool, and hydrated. While strategic water intake is KEY to prevent accidents, dehydration can be extremely dangerous. It is imperative to find that balance for the sake of your dog’s well-being. Don’t forget to feed your dog a light meal on trips longer than 2 hours.
Even though ferries aren’t nearly as strict as planes, your dog should still have some level of carrier training before traveling by ferry. Get my carrier training tips HERE.
OVERALL DOG-FRIENDLY EXPERIENCE
I am happy to bark that my experience on Greek ferries was PAWsitive and dog-friendly! Since I rode inside the cabin, I felt comfortable and at ease being next to my humans the entire time. I had access to clean water, delicious food, and yummy treats! No motion sickness and no strange looks or rude remarks (from staff or other passengers). I snored my way through most of the trip. So yes – traveling with your dog to the Greek Islands by ferry IS A GO!
On the Greek Islands:
Yep, Greek Island beaches are ultra dog-friendly! I’ve never been asked to leave or given nasty looks. WOOF-HOO! Just remember to pick up after your dog’s poop to keep the beach clean for everyone.
THE STRAY SITUATION
The sight of stray/feral dogs and cats is painfully inevitable no matter where you visit in Greece. Because the interaction between your dog and a stray or feral animal may be unpredictable, I recommend keeping your dog at a safe distance from strays. If you’re like my human whose heart melts for animals in need, you may find yourself going around the island every single day to feed these poor, neglected souls who many have been abandoned and abused by humans. If you choose to do so, please leave your dog at the hotel for safety reasons.
THE DONKEY SITUATION
Besides stray dogs and cats on the Greek Islands, you may also come across donkeys who are enslaved and beaten to haul tourists and their luggage, especially in the most famous Greek island of Santorini. I beg you to please do NOT support such animal abuse. As long as the demand exists, donkeys will be abused and exploited for tourism. Find out other ways to help animals while traveling:
Hope you enjoy all my tips and info on traveling with your dog to the Greek Islands by ferry! Regardless of which Greek Island you choose to visit, I bark with an upright tail that you and your precious dog traveler will have a PAWsome time!
Want more of my wet nose escapade to the Greek Islands? Watch my video by pressing PLAY with your furry paws:
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob