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Dog outside Hjo church.

Photographer: Marcus Helmer Gustafsson

Dog friendly vacation in Hjo

An idyllic small town with a bit of everything!

For Inez, a 4-year-old Golden Retriever, swimming is a matter of course! So, what could be better than Hjo and Lake Vättern as holiday destinations? Inez and her owners, Marcus and Johan, can have a fun, relaxing holiday - and swim to their hearts’ content, of course. Their favourite place to swim is the long beach promenade, where she and many other of her dog friends think it’s a great place for a swim. “It’s so popular that Inez has actually escaped from the garden where we stayed in Hjo, and ran down to take a dip,” says Marcus. But what does a dog really want to do on holiday, apart from swimming, and what should you keep in mind when travelling with your four-legged friend?


Johan and Marcus, who live and work in Gothenburg, like to seek out Sweden’s more peaceful places in their free time. They like places that offer a bit of everything, nestled among forests and nature. That’s why Hjo is a good option - “there’s a little bit of everything here”. They have visited Hjo several times with Inez, and usually like to take long walks. “It’s just so nice to walk around among the wooden houses and along the cobblestone streets, it really is an idyllic small town.” 


Activity tips 

Inez, who also loves being in the woods, likes to stay in Hjo Stadspark, in the nature reserve along the Hjoån valley, or in the open-air area up on Högaliden, says the couple. “But it’s important that Inez is welcome even when you’ve got other things to do like shopping, coffee and so on,” adds Marcus, who goes on to say that, last year, they bought dog ice cream from Moster Elins for Inez’s birthday. “More like that! The last time we were in Hjo, we had coffee at Guldkantens Café, where she got to taste some homemade dog cakes. Very cute, and very popular.” The couple think that the most important thing to do before a holiday is to ensure that places are dog-friendly. You must know in advance if your accommodation accepts dogs, where dogs can stay at these places, and which restaurants, cafes and shops are dog-friendly. “We love second-hand shops, for example, so it’s great that Needful Things in Hjo welcomes Inez in.”  




What to pack when you travel with your four footed friend 

But what to pack? For Johan and Marcus, food, a food bowl, and dog treats are first on the list. After that, they pack a water bottle that can be turned into a bowl, doggie bags, a towel and a harness with a light. “We normally have a tennis ball with us, and Inez usually wants to bring her stuffed animal, which we’ve named ‘the baby’,” Johan says. So with their bags packed, their research done, Inez’s ball and ‘the baby’ along for the ride, the holiday can begin. Perhaps in the idyllic small town of Hjo?


Facts Inez 

Age: 4 years old
Family: owners Marcus and Johan
Lives: Gothenburg, but born in Skåne
Favourite film: the latest version of The Lion King
Favourite pastime: swimming and being in the woods
Favourite place at home: the sofa
Other: loves getting up to mischief
Favourite thing: her stuffed animal, ‘the baby’