Everyone enjoys going on holiday – but it’s easier for some than others. If you use a wheelchair to get around, for some of the time or always, you need to research the accessibility of locations. The surrounding area and terrain is of upmost importance, and you’ll want to know the hotel can cater to all your requirements.
In addition to picking up the phone and talking to someone, this guide to travelling with a medical condition suggests using Google’s Street View to get a feel for the local area – if there are any shops or other facilities, and whether you’d be able to get around with ease. But to help you decide where to start your search, I’ve done my bit too, and handpicked some top holiday destinations for wheelchair users:
If you’re after a bit of sun, Tenerife is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for disabled travellers. With a bit of online research, you’ll be able to find an adapted hotel or apartment to suit. There are walkways, roll-up paths to many beaches, as well as accessible toilets and changing rooms. For example, the municipality of Arona – covering the southerly resorts of Los Cristianos, Playa de las Américas, Las Galletas and the Costa del Silencio – has won an award for its accessible beach facilities.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
In the Netherlands’ capital city, they take the accessibility of public buildings, public transport and parking facilities very seriously. The aim is that visitors with various forms of disability can experience Amsterdam in a similar way as anyone else.
Of course, the city is well-known for the prevalence of locals and tourists travelling around by bicycle, or via the canals – and this is something disabled travellers can also enjoy, the Official portal website of the City of Amsterdam explains. They cite canal cruise operator Blue Boat Company’s use of wheelchair lifts and Star Bike’s specially-designed bike as great examples how disabled visitors can get around.
With a beautiful, flat promenade stretching five miles along the beach, Almeria is a great destination for those using wheelchairs. Plus, there are plenty of park benches for your group to have a rest, and take in the scenery. You could stay in one of the hotels along the front, where you’ll always be near dozens of restaurants and bars. It’s an easy choice for anyone looking for a summer holiday to re-charge the batteries.
When most people head to the UK, they focus on the capital city – London. But the rest of the country has much to offer. Up in the north, Manchester’s centre was largely rebuilt in the late 1990s and now it enjoys wide, step-free pavements, as well as easy access into most shops, bars and restaurants. Indeed, it’s known for great nightlife – and this isn’t something you have to miss out on. Check out this list of disabled access bars in the city, including an amazing rooftop bar with views over the city.
Of course, no list of accessible destinations would be complete without mention of Florida – the world’s most popular destination for those with mobility problems. Key attractions, beaches, camping spots, hotels and resorts, restaurants, and state parks – all have provisions for disabled travellers. For example, adaptive wheelchairs are available so you can go across the sand and all the theme parks provide special parking facilities. At Disney World, you can access the Magic Kingdom using the monorail, accessible for wheelchairs – so there’s no reason to miss out.
Heralded by the Lonely Plant as the most accessible city in Asia and one of the most accessible cities in the world, Singapore should be near the top of your must-visit list. The city boasts infrastructure with stepless access to most buildings and no shortage of kerb cuts. From its street food hawker centres to its marvellous zoo, disabled travellers can enjoy the majority of Singapore without worry.
Despite the city centre being medieval, there are relatively few cobblestoned and inaccessible areas – including in the popular Gothic Quarter area. This means the city offers a much smoother ride than many other European destinations. Even the beach has disabled access, with ramps onto the sand and wooden paths leading all the way to the water. For a wheelchair user, it offers the perfect balance of a city break with the opportunity to chill out on the beach – all without worrying how you’ll get around.
Have you visited any of these destinations? Share your experiences with us, or feel free to add some more accessible destination suggestions ideal for those using a wheelchair.