Having been in Stockholm now for almost three months, I’m beginning to realise that the city and the country are indeed quite dog friendly. Initially, in one of my earlier posts, I hadn’t been very convinced but now I’m a happy convert. Almost every other household in Sweden tends to have a pet, mostly dogs and cats, with a smattering of birds, rabbits and maybe some exotic animals at times!
Stockholm is one of the greenest cities I’ve been to. It’s dotted with parks and open spaces even in the city centre. Whilst dogs are allowed in all these parks, they have to be on a lead at all times. This was a big point of contention for me in the beginning. However, they are allowed to go off-lead inside the dog parks. And there are tons of these all around. Most of the big parks have a small dog park/area inside which is fenced off. You just need to look for ‘hundrastgarden or hundrastgard‘.
The large number of these parks all around the city have assuaged me some what. I’ve also come to realise that you can let your dog off-lead depending on the situation – for example, if you are alone in the park, or in a less-visited section of the park. Basically, anywhere you think your dog will be safe and in your control.
Where all are dogs allowed
- Public transport – dogs are allowed on all buses, metro, trams and ferries in Stockholm. However, they are allowed in certain section only such as the back of the bus, or specific carriages on the metro. These are clearly sign-posted with a dog sticker.
- Private taxis – Taxi Stockholm has a ‘traveling with pet’ option in their extras section. With other companies, it’s good to call and clarify when traveling with a dog.
- Restaurants/cafes – almost all restaurants and cafes with an outdoor area will allow dogs. However, a large number also allow them inside. Just ask! Everyone speaks English so don’t worry. If a place doesn’t allow dogs, it will usually have a sticker on the door. But when in doubt, just ask.
- Shopping centres/shops – well-behaved dogs are allowed inside shopping centres and non-food shops. Again, look for the ‘dog not allowed’ sign on the entrance to be sure.
- Food & grocery stores – dogs are not allowed in any place selling food items.
- Parks & nature reserves – as mentioned above, dogs have to be on a lead in all of the city’s parks except in the dog parks. In the nature reserves, dogs have to be on a lead between March & August. At other times, please check on the specific reserve’s website under rules/regulations.
Best dog parks in Stockholm – Mia’s favourites
1) Drottningholm Palace Park
Yes, read it right – the palace park tops our list of favourites! The Drottningholm palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. However, the parks and grounds are open to the public all year around. What makes this place so special and our number one in Stockholm is the fact that on the grounds, away from the formal gardens and the palace, is a small haven for dogs. There is a small island, popularly known as the dog island, where dogs are allowed to run free!
The island can be accessed by bridges, which are located on two sides of the island and have gates on either side so that your pooches can stay in. Once on the island, the dogs are free to do what they please. Mia went straight into the lake for a swim. Nothing more pleasing to the eye than a happy dog!
Our second favourite is the dog park located inside Vitabergsparken in Södermalm. Having visited a number of dog parks in the area, we prefer this one because it’s quite big compared to the others. It has some big boulders for the dogs to run upto and you can also walk all around them to the other side. Makes for some fun hide & seek games! The doggy area is right next to one of my favourite cafes – Kajas, which of course is pet friendly. So after a nice run in the park, you can wind down with some cool beers or milkshakes at the cafe.
The dog-park at Tantolundens is not great. It’s big and flat but with no shade or cover on a hot day and with little or no grass whatsoever. It’s not the dog-park that we like but the entire park itself that’s a favourite. We like walking along the different paths and have managed to find some sections that are not very busy, allowing Mia to run free and explore off-lead.
From Tantolundens, it’s possible to walk down to the water/lakeside and carry on along the waterside. There are a few bars along the way if you fancy a tipple. A must visit here is Skrovet which is Mia’s preferred hangout as well!