The world’s most accessible cities for wheelchair users

The world’s most accessible cities for wheelchair users

Accessible cities make it possible for everyone to make use of public spaces under equal conditions. Likewise, allow them to access transport, leisure, culture, housing and other services.

Currently, there is no fully accessible destination, since the needs of each individual are wide and different. However, more and more cities are incorporating improvements for people with disabilities. In this week’s post we talk about some of them.

Berlin, Germany

The German capital boasts an excellent public transport network adapted for people with reduced mobility. Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe buses have folding access ramps and space for two wheelchair users. In addition, ferries, trams, lines and metro stations are accessible.
According to Visit Berlin, only the historic buses on line 218 and the rowing boat on line F24 are inaccessible. Although it is true that, occasionally, there may be lifts out of service at the stations (there is a website where you can consult this information).
On the streets you can find lowered sidewalks, accessible public toilets, adapted taxi services, reserved parking spaces and accessible tours. For all these reasons, it has established itself as one of the most accessible cities in Europe.
Many tourist attractions in Berlin have gradually removed barriers. You can download our free Berlin Accessible City Guide to find out more.

Milan, Italy

In 2016, Milan won the Access City Award (created by the European Commission to recognize cities that promote accessibility) for its commitment to the employment of people with disabilities and construction standards supported by universal design.

The financial capital of Italy continues to work so that all its spaces can be used regardless of the capacities of each one. Currently, there are accessible itineraries so that people with reduced mobility can visit places of interest without inconvenience. On the official website for the promotion of tourism in Milan, you can find out the details of these routes and find out more about the accessibility of the monuments.

Fifteen of the most beautiful churches in Milan have also led by example and adapted to the needs of visually impaired visitors. Thus, they have installed a “multisensory and multimedia panel” that helps to know the history of these religious buildings and allows them to be explored with other senses.

Washington DC, United States

As you would expect from the capital of the United States and the place where the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed, Washington DC is one of the most accessible cities in the world.
Citizens can move comfortably on public transport that has been adapted for people with disabilities. For example, subway stations have accessible parking spaces near the entrance, wide doors, elevators, priority seats, and emergency intercoms. There is also a paratransit service for those individuals who cannot use the train or bus independently.
The main cultural institutions of the city welcome all kinds of visitors. In addition, many apartments and hotels are adapted, making it an excellent place to live or visit.

Sydney, Australia

The oldest and most populous city in Australia has become one of the most accessible tourist destinations. World Heritage Sites such as the Opera House, Sydney Harbor and Harbor Bridge are discovered here.
The City of Sydney website includes an accessibility map that helps locate accessible bus stops, lifts, adapted public toilets, stairs, ramps, hospitals, information points and prominent accessible places.
All Sydney Ferries ships are suitable for people with reduced mobility, although some older piers still have stairs. You have the option to check which ones are accessible on the Transport for NSW website.
Other means of public transport are also adapted: intercity trains have accessible toilets; buses have wider aisles and lower floors; the trains have elevators or ramps to facilitate entry and exit.
More information on accessibility can be found on the official tourist site of Sydney. Pay attention because soon you will be able to download the Sydney Accessible City Guide for free on our website.

Paris, France

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, which is why it has worked to make most of its monuments and means of transport accessible. In our Paris Accessible City Guide we recommend what to visit.
Trams, regional trains and buses are the most comfortable means of transport to get around the city. On the website of the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) you can locate all the accessible lines and stations. In addition, at Travegali.com you have at your disposal a variety of hotels with adapted rooms where you can stay.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona won bronze at the Access City Award 2022 and has been internationally recognized for its universal accessibility. There is a firm commitment to guarantee the participation of people with disabilities in civic life.
The city’s public transport is a European benchmark in accessibility. As indicated by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona, the metro stations have been progressively adapted since 1992. There are only 12 stations out of 165 that are still not accessible.
The buses have been fully adapted since 2007. They have wide doors, an access ramp, two spaces reserved for wheelchairs and grab bars. Vehicles also accommodate other types of disabilities with braille or audible and visual warnings.
The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, the Pedrera-Casa Milà or the Park Güell are some of the spectacular accessible monuments that you can discover. In our guide you can discover more.

If you have visited any of these cities, share your perception of accessibility for people with reduced mobility. Of course, there are many destinations we have yet to mention. Tell us, which ones would you highlight?

Sources: Visit Berlin, YesMilano, Official Tourism Site of Washington DC, Official Tourism Site of Sydney, Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, Explore France, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona

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