Barcelona: Amongst the Most Welcoming Cities for Disabled Travellers
Booking disabled holidays in Europe has never been easier with Barcelona offering wheelchair accessibility in many areas
Choosing a European destination that accommodates disabled travellers can be challenging. From cobblestone streets to hilly landscapes, stairs that go on for days and the narrow doorways of ancient, historical buildings, disabled holidays can seem at first like a pipe dream. The good news is that not all cities are created equal when it comes to accessibility, with Barcelona rising to the top as one of the better ones.
If you want to visit Barcelona as a disabled traveller, make sure to book well in advance! The city’s popularity causes hotels to be fully booked quickly.
For a medieval city, Barcelona is surprisingly flat and for the most part lacks the cobblestone streets of most European towns, even within its city centre. Known as the Gothic Quarter, the city centre is perfect for exploring. Smooth pavements allow for ease of movement for wheelchairs or anyone requiring the aid of a walking stick or cane, and many shops offer a level transition from the street into their stores for a trouble-free shopping experience.
There are some mild hills in the Gothic Quarter, but most are too small to limit wheelchair use. The steepest hills are around the Barcelona Cathedral, so this area might be avoided, as well as the northeast part of the city centre near the Parc de las Ciutadella, where some of the original cobblestone streets can still be found.
Outside the City Centre
City streets outside the Gothic Quarter are broad with wide sidewalks and plenty of room for both pedestrians and wheelchair users to be out and about.
Disabled holidays to Spain wouldn’t complete without a beach day! Barcelona offers wheelchair access at local beaches, with ramps from the sidewalks to the sand and wooden paths leading to the water.
There are many hotels in Barcelona that cater to guests with disabilities, even in the city centre - which is rare in many European cities that feature older buildings that were not designed with an eye on the disabled. Holidays to Barcelona are unique in that they offer a number of modern accommodation options with flat access entrances and details such as roll-in showers. Accommodations should be booked well in advance through our team of specialised disability travel specialists to ensure a room with the needed amenities is available during the desired time of travel.
Barcelona’s public transportation system is pretty good in accommodating people on disabled holidays. Buses are wheelchair accessible with the appropriate ramps and many of the metro system’s entranceways feature elevators that allow easy entry to underground trains. Wheelchair accessible taxis are another option for getting around Barcelona, especially to places where public transit may not be available. Again, our team of accessible travel experts can help you book these taxis in advance for optimal peace of mind.
Barcelona also offers wheelchair accessible bus tours of the city - an amazing way for anyone to be introduced to a new city and take in many points of interest in a short period of time.
Pre or Post-Cruise Destination
Many people book their disabled holidays with us in the form of Mediterranean cruises that leave from Barcelona. Step-free access from the dock at the Moll Adossat/Muelle Adosado pier and the wheelchair accessible shuttle from town to the ships make accessing a cruise ship from here a breeze. This makes Barcelona an ideal destination for spending some added vacation time prior to or following a cruise holiday, too.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in disabled holidays across the world for individuals and groups who are travelling with a handicap. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.