7 best wheelchair-friendly city trips

24. 02. 2021

7 best wheelchair-friendly city trips

Choosing the best destinations for wheelchair-friendly trips is not an easy job, but luckily, this is not due to the lack of options. What makes the decision hard is the growing offer of phantastic options for wheelchair-bound explorers!

To make the choice at least a bit easier for you, we have narrowed down our selection to the top seven wheelchair-friendly trips. The ideas are so varied we are confident everyone will find something to their taste and enjoy amazing trips in different disabled-accessible cities around the globe.

Washington, D.C. (USA)

We definitely had to include Washington, D.C. on our list as the capital of the United States boasts a number of wheelchair-friendly activities. Washington, D.C. is also very easy to get around, as its metro system is pretty much the best in the country. You can also simply explore the city in your wheelchair so make sure it is fully charged! In case you did not take it with you for some reason, renting a scooter or a wheelchair is easy, with many providers offering daily, weekly or monthly rentals. So what can you do if you are lucky enough to spend a day in Washington, D.C.?

Start your day by having breakfast at your hotel or in one of the numerous cafés near the Potomac River. Then hop on the Washington Metro which is known as one of the most accessible transportation systems in the world. No trip to Washington D.C. is complete without seeing the National Mall, home to the Lincoln Memorial, so this is where you want to get off. From there, you can easily continue your tour to the Smithsonian Institution’s museums. Do not forget to admire the United States Capitol. There is simply so much to take in!

After all this, you can enjoy your lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill, a wheelchair-accessible restaurant offering classic American cuisine. What makes this place a great choice is its location - only a stone’s throw from the White House grounds. Once you have had something to eat, check the White House as well and try to spot the President himself.

Spend the rest of the afternoon in the International Spy Museum boasting a large collection of espionage artefacts. In the evening, it should not be difficult for you to find the perfect spot for dinner to wind down after a busy day. Luckily, D.C. offers so many accessible accommodations and eateries that you could stay and eat in a different location every day.

Seattle (USA)

Regardless of its hilly layout, Seattle is known as one of the most disabled-accessible cities in North America. Check out this amazing tour around the city we have put together for you:

Spend an easy morning at your hotel and then get ready to enjoy the sights. Good news – the majority of them are fully accessible. First, take a taxi, bus or a Link Light Rail (all wheelchair-friendly) to the Space Needle. This is the city’s iconic observation tower which is simply something you have to see and experience if you are in Seattle! There are wheelchair accessible restrooms and the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle is very wheelchair-friendly – a perfect spot for getting something to eat!

After lunch, check the lively waterfront Pike Place Market and the 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel. Later, grab a coffee at the original Starbucks at 1st & Pike Place not far away to end this amazing day in style.

Barcelona (Spain)

Barcelona is one of the most accessible cities in Europe. All of its buses, most of its metro stations and a significant part of the streets are wheelchair-accessible. Definitely good news if you are planning to visit this breathtaking city!

To make the planning easier for you, we have put together some ideas that will help you have an amazing day in Barcelona:

Spend the first part of the day exploring the must-sees: start with Park Güell, then move to the Sagrada Família. Wheelchair users not only jump to the front of the queue for attractions such as this amazing cathedral, they also get in for free (make sure you book your tickets in advance, though!). Finish the first part of your tour in La Rambla, a large boulevard which runs through the heart of the city centre. This area is full of restaurants and eateries, so you can take time to enjoy paella and other Spanish culinary delights.

Enjoy free entrance to the Sagrada Família on your wheelchair-friendly tour around Barcelona.

After lunch, explore the famous Mercat de la Boqueria. Then comes the highlight of your tour – the city beach, stretching for several kilometres! It has a wheelchair-accessible promenade as well as walkways down to the water. Have a drink or dinner there in the evening and admire an amazing sunset!

London (England)

London is definitely a must if you are looking for wheelchair-friendly trips abroad. It represents one of the most wheelchair-accessible destinations full of sights that will definitely keep you occupied. Additionally, travelling around the city is easy as all the iconic black taxis (as well as buses) are wheelchair-accessible. If you are trying to get around more economically, a quarter of Tube stations have step-free access. In case you want to check which stations are wheelchair-friendly in advance, simply consult the TfL (Transport for London) website.

Regardless of which mode of transport you choose, it is going to be easy to visit royal landmarks like Buckingham Palace. The palace offers step-free access through a private front entrance so you will be able to see the Changing of the Guard ceremonies without hassle.

Once you are done rubbing shoulders with the Queen, grab a taxi and check out Big Ben. Or even better – get off at the London Eye and enjoy a panoramic view of Big Ben and many other sights around you. The glass-enclosed capsules are step-free and wheelchair-friendly so the only thing you have to do is to muster up enough courage to embark on this giant Ferris wheel.

Afterwards, you definitely deserve some lunch. Giraffe with its riverside location on London’s Southbank, close to the London Eye, is a popular choice, with step-free access. You can also find food markets in the vicinity so you will definitely not be hungry!

Once your belly is full, move up to the City of London to admire the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Finish your day with a drink at Sky Garden, an accessible garden offering 360-degree uninterrupted views across the City of London. Access to the 35th floor with a wheelchair is available so make sure you do not miss out on an amazing sunset over London while enjoying a well-deserved drink.

Vienna (Austria)

If you are a history and culture geek, visiting Vienna should be your top priority! Even though we mostly imagine this city being full of cobblestone streets that make it pretty difficult for wheelchair users to travel around, this is luckily not the case. Most of the compact Old Town’s cobblestones have actually been removed or replaced to make them smoother, while curb drops are standard.

Much like Washington, Vienna boasts a wheelchair-friendly public transit system with 95% of U-bahn and S-bahn stations being completely accessible, meaning you should not experience any trouble travelling around the city.

So what to do in Vienna? In the morning, visit the Spanish Riding School, home to the famous Lipizzaner horses. You can enjoy watching a training every day at 10 am – a simply remarkable experience. Wheelchair seats can be purchased by phone or email and should be booked in advance.

What to do next? No trip to the Austrian capital is complete without stopping at Stephansplatz in the heart of the city. Enjoy rolling by cathedrals, monuments, souvenir shops and many restaurants with level entry access.

After lunch, it is time for another round of culture. Visit the Schönbrunn Palace with reduced admission and free admission for a person accompanying a blind/vision-impaired visitor or a wheelchair user. All display areas enjoy barrier-free accessibility via ramps or lift so get ready for an exploration of the Palace and its gardens. Enjoy a drink at the Schönbrunner Schloßcafé or one of the many cafés and restaurants within the grounds before returning to your hotel for a well-deserved rest!

Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, is definitely worth a visit. It is the winner of the Bronze Access City Award 2015 and the Silver Access City Award in 2018, which means it should be a breeze for you to get around the city. The European Commission also awarded Ljubljana with the coveted Green Capital of Europe title for 2016.

Find a hotel in the city centre (which should not be too difficult) and start your day at the Dragon Bridge, one of the many bridges in the city. Then roll alongside the emerald Ljubljanica river until you reach the Prešeren Square with the statue of Slovenia’s most recognised poet France Prešeren. From there, the possibilities are endless since you are basically in the very centre of everything. Roll across the Triple Bridge into the old part of Ljubljana and grab lunch in one of the many restaurants by the river.

After lunch, take the funicular up to the Ljubljana castle which is free for people with disabilities and a companion. Enjoy an amazing view over the city and make sure you snap some photos.

Once you get back, stop at the award-winning Butchers’ Bridge, which allows wheelchair users access to boats. Finish your day with a lovely boat ride and experience the city from another perspective.

In case you have more time on your hands, check out a longer city break in Ljubljana, one of the amazing wheelchair-friendly trips we offer, and visit some other places in Ljubljana and Slovenia with no limits!