Family holidays always require loads of planning. Everyone wants to see something different and do something different, and there are only so many days. Trying to work out plans that won’t bump up against impossibly long stairs, steep hills, or lakes that drop off too quickly adds another complexity. Here are some cities that disabled travelers say make great trips.
More cities in France get the nod than in any other country.
Grenoble is France’s most accessible town. It is truly flat, and its streets and walks are paved, not cobbled. All of its trams and buses are fully accessible.
The Paris Metro is challenging but the bus system is easily accessible. If you want to visit Montmartre, make sure someone is ready to help anyone with mobility limits, since that part of the city is very steep.
In Lyon, there is a small step at metro entries, but manual chair users say it’s easy to manage. A ramp assists power chair users. If you want to take the funicular to the Basilica of Notre Dame, both it and the basilica are accessible. Cobbles make the old town more challenging than the rest of the city.
Less familiar towns for holiday include Collioure and Montpellier, both of which are pleasant spots for families with disabled members.
Most travellers to the U.K. start in London so it’s good that London gets good ratings for holiday access.
London gets rave reviews from wheelchair users for easy access via the traditional black cabs. These are tall enough to sit in without getting out of a chair and have mini-ramps for access. Tube stations and trains are inconsistently accessible, and drop curbs vary around the city. Friendly elements in hotels and public restrooms include red alarm cords from ceiling to floor, making it easy to get assistance.
Old cities offer wonderful touring and certain challenges.
Florence is flat, compact, and has at least one step at the entrance of most shops and restaurants, plus uneven pavements. Manual chair users can get around, especially with a freewheel attachment. Buses have ramps for access that don’t always work. But if you’re willing to be carried up a step or two, friendly citizens are always willing to help.
Who expects a mountainous country to be accessible for vacation?
A disabled vacationer remembers his surprise on seeing a group of 16 youths in motorised wheelchairs on the first morning of his holiday in Bern. Is any further commentary needed?
Netherlands is flat, making it a great place for accessible holidays.
The world-renowned museums are accessible, although cobbled streets in much of the city and its hump-back bridges can be difficult to navigate without someone to push. A freewheel attachment is a big help on the cobbles. Book a hotel, not a house, because houses are too narrow to be made accessible.
Where do you buy your poppered vests/bodysuits?