Getting away for a few days at the end of a long week can be an essential antidote to work related stress. And there’s no shortage of fantastic destinations worth visiting. If you’re a wheelchair user, however, then you might find that certain places are a little tricky to get around. Historical buildings are often built without the needs of wheelchair-users in mind (especially those built prior to the adoption of the wheelchair). And cobblestone-paved city centres can be nightmarish to get around on wheels.
Fortunately, there do exist towns and cities that have been successfully adapted to the needs of those of us who can’t walk. An excellent guide comes in the form of the EU’s Access City award; lets look at a few of the winners here.
The American capital, as you might expect, is steeped in history; but that doesn’t mean it can’t cater to modern demands. The paths have been widened steadily over the years to accommodate chairs, and the metro system is a famous example of disabled accessibility done right.
The most recent winner of the EU’s coveted award is Breda, in Denmark. One of the measures taken here is to flip all of the cobblestones and slice them widthways to create a much flatter surface. Drivers on public transport undergo mandatory training in disability awareness, and even the more affordable hotels are wheelchair-friendly. As such, you’ll end up spending less on taxi fares and fancy accommodation.
Lyon is a part of France that takes accesibilty very seriously indeed – especially for tourists. There are hearing loops, high-contrast relief maps, and even specialist advisers on hand at the tourist office in Place Bellecour. Disabled visitors will also be able to enjoy specialised access to the city’s museums, at special rates. At the Museum of Textiles and Decorative Arts, you’ll even get a chance to handle the materials in question!
Chester stands out among UK cities for its wheelchair accessibility, which just goes to show that there’s no need to compromise, even if your town is as steeped in history as this one is. You’ll even be able to access the famously-vertical ‘rows’, from the shopping arcade in Eastgate Street. If you’re travelling with a wheelchair in tow in the UK, then it’s worth considering disabled-friendly vehicle hire, of the sort offered by Allied Mobility.
Sweden has been famously ahead of the curve when it comes to wheelchair accessibility. Gothenburg scooped the EU’s prize in 2014, and nearby Boras won the following year. As such, the area can count itself among the world’s most wheelchair-friendly tourist spots in the world. The city’s tourist board provides comprehensive guidance for wheelchair-bound visitors, which can be studied here.