Hi Guys,We are purchasing a house in Abruzzo as

09/29/2023 - 14:12

Hi Guys,

We are purchasing a house in Abruzzo as a second home with a view we will stay for a month at a time as we would like to drive down from the UK. Calais, Reims, into Switzerland route. We would like to bring our two dogs with us and would welcome any tips. 






I'll kick off the responses.

My tips are :-

  1.  Take your time on the trop down and back.  We do our trip, with dog, yo the Lake Maggiore area with 3 overnight stops ' so that daily travelling time is no more than about 5 hrs driving time.  (Easy on both the dog and us, rather than bashing down 2 nights and getting there totally knackered.)

   2.  Sort out dog friendly hotels that allow dogs in the restaurants.  It pays to email hotels to clarify what you want.

   3.  Stop every 2 hrs or so to give the dogs, and you, a break of at least 30 minutes.  Take them for a walk.

4.  Avoid Basel, by popping into Germany from Mulhouse  and take the autobahn that loops past Lorrach into Switzerland. 

   5.  Buy the Swiss motorway Vignete in the Services at Bad Bellingham - not online in UK

   6. Enjoy the trip - make it part of the holiday,  rather than jut the means of getting to your place, and back to UK. 


Good luck




If you want a toll free route from Calais to Switzerland, the following route isn't that longer timewise than the autoroute one 

Calais, up towards Dunkirk and into Belgium  and on to Luxembourg. Fill up with fuel on the motorway before you leave Luxembourg as its the cheapest on the route.  On down to Metz and Nancy.  (All motorway from Calsis thus far)

On to Mulhouse (mainly dual carriageway) then into Germany to bypass Basel and into Switzerland. (You can also buy the vignette at the border).

Hotels in Switzerland can be expensive  and the cost of wine with meals there is eye watering,  but we often stay in Beckenreid at the hotel Seerauch.  I believe they accept dogs.  Lovely lake views.

We also always use the Hotel La Paix in Bapaume as our first/last stop from/to Calais.  They have 3 ground floor bedrooms and let us hire one  when we have the dog with us (book direct with them and stress the dogs ). We use the ground floor bedrooms as they do not have a lift to the upper floor  and our old dog doesn't like stairs.

Hope this helps.

Unfortunately Alan has beaten me to it and said everything I would have said except I don't have dogs. I travel to western Tuscany and the trip out is always a highlight. The trip back to blighty is nice but always feels harder! It must be uphill.  We do it in 2 nights but we are thinking of doing it in 3 nights for the return trip to do a bit more French sightseeing.

We use basically the same routes as Alan via northern France and Reims or a northern variation via France, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, etc which is only 15 miles longer, faster but a bit dull. Yes fuel in Luxembourg.  We cross over to Germany near Colmar as we love the town and it means we can enjoy more miles on the stretches of the no speed limit German motorway. Yes, always buy the vignette before entering Switzerland and yes avoid Basle.

We don't stop in Switzerland to avoid having to get Swiss francs. Toilets are free in Switzerland at motorways rest halts with room for dogs and they tend to be quieter but you pay for toilets at motorway service stations.

Our summer route is usually via Besancon, Gran San Bernard pass and along lake Geneva as so scenic, quieter but slower.

If you plan doing the trip regularly then consider getting a motorway tag either one from France or Italy. One tag covers several countries other than Switzerland. Otherwise you can use a debit or credit card to pay the tolls to avoid messing with cash.


Hi alan,

No we haven't travelled with them since Brexit. As I understand it animal passports are no longer valid, they need an animal health certificate containing vaccines, chip numbers etc and also a tape worm tablet no more than 5 days before returning to the UK

Getting out of UK with dogs is expensive - typically about £200 or so per dog  and involves a fair bit of "to-ing and fro-ing" with your vet. 

I strongly recommend you talk to your vet ASAP, to get a handle on what you are required to do, (it's a right pain in the proverbial)

I'd recommend using Eurotunnel, as they are simple to deal with when it comes to pets  which stay in the car with you on the trip through the Tunnel, which only takes a short time.

Getting back is relatively simple, and cheap - cost us about €30, you need a vet to do the worming, and fill out the paperwork required by UK border staff. The only small problem can be that the pills have to be given to the dogs no more than 5 (I think) days before your channel crossing time, and at least 24 hrs before.

Our vet would give us the tablets, and date the paperwork 3 days before the crossing, to allow for possible travel problem with the drive back.  (NOTE - this is not actually legal, but you know what Italians are like! )   

But don't get it dated to close to your crossing time, we saw someone stopped from going on the train as the staff at the pet check in said it wasn't possible to drive from the vets to the terminus in such a short time. 

You can, of course arrange a vet nearer the channel  but it must be at least 24hr before the crossing, so a Calais vet would be a problem


When you get to your place in Italy, its worth asking if the local Office will issue you, as a home owner, with European Pet passports for the dogs - much cheaper than UK paperwork. 

Unfortunately,  where we are, they only do it for Residents..

Hi, we managed to get both our dogs Italian pet passports but it was only possible with my wife's Italian residency.

I initially tried with all my property deeds , letter from the commune etc. I even got as far as confirmation of the vets appointment before I received a follow up email stating no residency, no passport.