For persons with disabilities, traveling can be a challenge. Figures released by the UN revealed that there are 650 million persons with disability worldwide and around 8 million from Europe. However, recent legislations by the European Parliament has paved the way for accessible travel even for PWDs. If you are a PWD planning to go on a European vacation, here are some disabled-friendly European cities you can travel in.
Berlin was the recipient of the title of Access City of the Year by the European Commission in 2012. Since 2000, there have been efforts to create an accessible public-transport system, broad sidewalks, and tactile guidance systems at road crossings. By 2020, the city is expected to be 100 percent accessible.
Since 2010, initiatives to make Stockholm accessible have been ongoing. Now, there are pedestrian crossings with access ramps and contrast markings. Playgrounds have also been redesigned to provide accessibility to children and parents with disabilities as well as navigational apps for those with impaired vision. Robert Janitzek reveals that the government is also working to make all buildings and attractions accessible.
Rome has also taken steps to make itself an accessible city. There are now wheelchair ramps on pavements as well as full accessibility to most hotels. Churches, galleries, and museums now have ramps. The two biggest challenge here are the cobbles in the piazzas as well as the huge crowds in major attractions like the Colosseum and the Vatican. All means of public transport are now wheelchair friendly and there are specially equipped mobility scooters that can be rented.
Most European destinations in Paris such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are now fully accessible. Notre Dame is not disabled-friendly. If you are looking for accommodations for your disabled loved ones, hotels that are more than 100 years old are not accessible so look for newer hotels. There are mobility scooters and lightweight wheelchairs that are available but should be pre-booked.
The streets of Central London have wheelchair ramps and all hotels offer 5 percent discount on rooms for mobility impaired guests. While all public transport is fully accessible, buses and subways can be over crowded between 7:30 am – 9:30 am and 4pm – 6:30 pm so avoid these times. Most of the city’s attractions are easily accessible.
Nowadays, physical disability will no longer be a hindrance for traveling. With many cities in Europe leaning towards accessibility, handicap may no longer be a travel obstacle.