THE BEST WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS
Travelling with a disability requires a little extra research to ensure that your trip is everything you’ve dreamt of, without limiting the access you have to enjoy every moment of your holiday. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best wheelchair friendly holiday destinations along with some top tips for travellers so you can jet off and relax without hesitation.
From culture to cuisine, the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona offers everything from striking architecture to authentic tapas and with the majority of metro stations and all buses accessible for wheelchair users, travelling around this city comes with very little obstacles.
Running through the heart of the city is the popular boulevard Las Ramblas; the street is completely flat making seeing the sights a breeze for wheelchair users. Travellers with a mobile disability can also skip the queue at many of Barcelona’s famous attractions like the prestigious Sagrada Familia. If you’re hoping to soak up the sun whilst you’re visiting the city, there are plenty of wooden ramps placed along adapted beaches to ensure wheelchair users can easily enjoy the sandy shores of Barcelona too.
For popular things to see and do in the area, take a look at our guide to Barcelona.
Food, fashion and fine art, oh and not to mention winner of the Access City Award 2016, Italy’s Milan is increasingly improving accessibility for people with mobile disabilities so that everyone can experience the cosmopolitan cool of this ultra-chic city.
To truly embrace the undeniable beauty Milan has to offer, head to the breath-taking Piazza del Duomo that sits in the centre of the city. Many museums are fully wheelchair friendly so from art to culture there’s something for everyone to explore; don’t miss Da Vinci’s Last Supper which is permanently on display at the Santa Maria Della Grazie Church. For foodies, take your pick from risotto to pizza and indulge in the delicious delights of Italy at one of the many restaurants and bistros. As a city that actively promotes Universal Design standards, Milan is becoming an ever-popular choice for those travelling with a wheelchair.
LOS CRISTIANOS, TENERIFE
With an inviting year-round climate, the Canary Islands are certainly a favourite for holidaymakers wanting to soak up the sunshine. The area of Los Cristianos on the southern coast of Tenerife is a favourite for disabled travellers thanks to a wide variety of wheelchair friendly hotels ready and waiting to welcome you.
Upon arriving in Tenerife, both of the islands airports are fully equipped with the necessary facilities to make travelling with a wheelchair hassle free including lifts, ramps and dedicated parking. Los Cristianos itself is a picturesque paradise with palm-lined promenades and the glistening waters of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding striking sandy beaches. With a lively nightlife scene too, mobility needn’t be an issue with many modern bars and restaurants designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
Germany as a country is committed to promoting barrier free travel for everyone and of all the areas to explore from Munich to Frankfurt, it’s Germany’s capital Berlin that really stands out after being awarded the title of European Access City of the Year by the European Commission in 2012.
A treasure trove of culture, Berlin is a must for history lovers that want to experience a true taste of classical Europe. Whether you choose to admire the architecture of the city or visit the glorious gardens of Tiergarten, travelling around is without complication thanks to services like Deutsche Bahn – a dedicated mobility hotline to help everyone board a train. Visit between May and September when the whether is just the right balance between hot and cold and discover this incredibly accommodating city. Or if you want to experience the magic, plan your Berlin holidays during winter and discover one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.
5 TOP TRAVEL TRIPS FOR WHEELCHAIR USERS
1. ENSURE YOUR WHEELCHAIR IS IN GOOD WORKING ORDER
Before you travel, check your wheelchair is in good condition to avoid any issues whilst abroad. If you’ve not had your chair serviced in a while, this is the perfect time to get it checked over so you can travel safe in the knowledge that your wheelchair won’t suddenly break.
2. CHECK OUT THE LOCAL TRANSPORT
So you’ve found a hotel or resort that is wheelchair friendly and you’re all set to book; before you do though, be sure to look into the local transport options available to ensure these are designed for wheelchair users.
3. HAVE A FEW KEY PHRASES SAVED
If you’re travelling to a destination where you’re unfamiliar with the language or there will be few people speaking English, have some key phrases written down or saved on your phone so should the need arise to speak to somebody about wheelchair access, you’re already prepped with the words you need to communicate effectively.
4. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR PERSONAL NEEDS ARE COVERED
With a range of mobile disabilities, the needs of each individual can vary from person to person. Double check that your hotel offers all the adaptations you need to relax without worry; from ramps and lifts to grab bars and wider bathrooms, contacting your travel provider or hotel to find out more information will settle any pre-holiday concerns.
5. ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH
It goes without saying that the more research you do before a trip means you’ll be fully prepared and aware of what to expect when you arrive at your destination. By reading reviews and checking directly with the airline and your accommodation, you’ll eliminate any avoidable hurdles so you can switch off and relax.