The 8 Most Accessible International Holidays For Travellers With Disabilities

Tripoto

When a reader wrote to me saying how my articles inspired wanderlust in her, I was overjoyed. Such emails and messages are not uncommon for me, but each one always leaves me feeling a tiny bit happier with my chosen profession of being a travel writer. But she had more to add.

For her, the initial euphoria of discovering a new destination through my posts always gave way to gloom and low spirits when she realised that this place too, like the others, was inaccessible to her. "You see, I am disabled," she said, adding, "No matter how much I want to wander, there are a lot of limitations on the places I can go to; much less go solo."

The joys of travel have been spoken about widely, so I won't get into it again. But wonderful adventures should be accessible to everyone, not just the able-bodied. So dear reader who reached out to me, this post is for you – 8 exciting destinations, all wheelchair-accessible, so you don't have to regret the chances you couldn't take.

(Note: I have tried to include useful information for travellers with all kinds of disabilities. However, guidance for wheelchair-ridden individuals is more easily available than others. Yet I have put together all that I could find for the visually impaired and those with hearing disabilities.)

Credit: José Manuel Romero

Photo of Barcelona, Spain by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Luc Mercelis

Photo of Barcelona, Spain by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Kah-Wai Lin

Photo of Barcelona, Spain by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Moyan Brenn

Photo of Barcelona, Spain by Himani Khatreja

Most travellers vouch for Barcelona on being one of the most wheelchair-friendly cities in Europe. The government takes the issue of accessibility very seriously and has imposed fines and put legal requirements in place to ensure that businesses and local authorities provide for people with mobility issues. The loos at the airport and all public buildings are clean and wheelchair-accessible. All metro stations have markings for the visually-impaired, though not all stations have elevators. The hop-on-hop-off bus and all others buses have ramps to take you to all popular attractions. Taxis are inexpensive and convenient to use. Mobility scooters can also be taken on rent to move around. Barcelona's streets have lowered footpaths for smooth wheelchair travel and all tourist sites are fully accessible.

Handy tips:

• Since all buses have ramps, stick to those instead of the metro, on which around 15 stations are still inaccessible

• Call Taxi Amic, which has around 45 vehicles for wheelchair users

• Las Ramblas, one of Spain's most famous boulevards, is mostly flat. Start at Plaça de Catalunya and go downhill towards the Christopher Columbus monument. Bus numbers 14, 59, and 91 will take you to Las Ramblas

• Book a wheelchair-accessible city tour in advance to see Barcelona on your time, and without having to stand in lines at public attractions

Credit: David Russo

Photo of Singapore by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Singapore by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Dickson Phua

Photo of Singapore by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Jaafar Alnasser

Photo of Singapore by Himani Khatreja

Not only is the modern island of Singapore disabled-friendly, its people are also very helpful and considerate. If you ever feel lost or out of your depth, consult a local. But you shouldn't have an issue commuting in the city. MRT train stations have one barrier-free entrance for wheelchairs, and elevator–service to all levels. Lifts at all stations have Braille plates. Almost half of the public buses are wheelchair-friendly (those with a blue passenger-in-wheelchair decal at the front of the bus) and bus captains are trained to help with boarding. Cab companies like London Taxi or SPACE taxi have a fleet that can accommodate wheelchairs. While older tourist attractions have not been tampered with for "heritage preservation", the new sites are mostly wheelchair accessible. Check each individual attraction's website before heading out.

Handy tips:

• All your questions about wheelchair-friendly buses are answered here

• If you plan on taking a cruise to the islands nearby, learn about accessibility here

• Some tourist attractions, such as Gardens by the Bay, have shuttle services to take you around

• Avoid rush hour on public transport and try to find out before hand where the elevators are at stations

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Dublin, Ireland by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Dublin, Ireland by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Dublin, Ireland by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Dublin, Ireland by Himani Khatreja

Charming Dublin is accessible to all kinds of travellers despite its archaic walkways, cobblestone streets and stone stairways. The city is mostly flat and committed to being disabled-friendly. Almost all shopping areas and tourist attractions are accessible. There is a lot of ease of access, for example most pavements have lowered kerbs making crossing over in a wheelchair, easy. Traffic lights give lots of time to cross and even have an audible tone for the visually challenged. Buses in Dublin are easy to board and de-board for wheelchair users, and even have signs saying how many disabled people they have helped till now. All buses stop if they see a person with a long cane, guide dog, wheelchair etc. Dublin also has an abundance of accessible accommodation to make your stay pleasant. Besides the city, however, it is the Irish people who will leave an impression on you. They are warm, friendly and always ready to help.

Handy tips:

• River Liffey is bang in the middle of Dublin, and makes for a great place for a wheelchair walk. And yes, it is very accessible

• The coastline of Dublin Bay is accessible, so when you need to get out of the city, stroll here for some fresh air

Abbeyglen Castle and Cabra Castle are two medieval-themed castles turned into hotels that are disabled-friendly

• The Sandemans New Europe – Free Walking Tours offers a completely wheelchair-accessible tour of North Side Dublin

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Sicily, Italy by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Sicily, Italy by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Sicily, Italy by Himani Khatreja

Credit: Pixabay

Photo of Sicily, Italy by Himani Khatreja

There was a time when most disabled travellers stayed away from Sicily. But after new laws were introduced, this seductive island in Italy is becoming more and more wheelchair accessible. Now most establishments have easy to access bathrooms and B&Bs have been refurbishing while taking into consideration the needs of the disabled. Most buses and trains can accommodate a wheelchair, though quite a few historical sites are inaccessible. Some tour companies such as Seable have on offer super exciting adventure options for challenged travellers. This includes harvesting and making Sicilian Olive Oil, a cable car ride to Mount Etna, Europe's highest and still active volcano, fishing and even scuba diving!

Handy tips:

• Trapani and Marsala are two very wheelchair-friendly towns

• Sicily is still getting the hang of being disabled-friendly. Be patient

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Tasmania, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Tasmania, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Tasmania, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Tasmania, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Australia’s southernmost region, Tasmania is popular for its biodiversity. But another aspect of this ruggedly-beautiful island that deserves the world's attention is how wheelchair-friendly it is. An organisation called Paraquad Association of Tasmania has been working very hard for the past several years to make sure disabled travellers have access to the natural beauty and services on the island. Their Wheelie Good Guide provides information on accessible accommodation, restaurants and tourist attractions on the island state. There's a bunch of activities disabled individuals can enjoy in Tasmania today, such as cable-hang gliding at Tahune Airwalk, having wildlife encounters at its various animal sanctuaries and a breathtaking wheelchair-accessible walk to Russell Falls.

Handy tips:

• Most restaurants, attractions and stores will be wheelchair-accessible. In case the entrance has steps, there will usually be a sign directing you to the side for access

Accessible vans are available for rent, but this should be done well in advance, because they get booked out early

Spirit of Tasmania offers accessible cabins with fully-adapted showers in cruises

• Tasmania's National Parks has many accessible trails. Find complete information on them here

Domaine A Stoney Vineyard is fully-equipped to deal with the needs of differently-abled individuals

Credits: Wikimedia

Photo of Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom by Himani Khatreja

Credits: geograph.org.uk

Photo of Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Wikimedia

Photo of Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Wikimedia

Photo of Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom by Himani Khatreja

A small town in Warwickshire, England, Stratford-upon-Avon is as accessible as it is spotless. The birth-town of English playwright and poet Shakespeare, travellers with mobility issues count it amongst the most accessible places in the world. Even though most attractions in the town date back to the 15th century, you still won't have any problem getting inside and roaming around. All tourist attractions and the town centre are easy to access and streets have levelled cobblestones, low kerbs and flat pavements making the whole town wheelchair-friendly.

Handy tips:

• This guide has routes and maps on the accessible areas of Stratford-upon-Avon

Canal and River Tours offer wheelchair ramps and access lifts on their boat

• There is free parking for the disabled outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Las Vegas, NV, United States by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Las Vegas, NV, United States by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Las Vegas, NV, United States by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Las Vegas, NV, United States by Himani Khatreja

Fun and gratification shouldn't be restricted, and the city of Las Vegas ensures that by keeping all its offerings accessible to all. The hotels do not disappoint in keeping its premises and rooms wheelchair-compliant. Casinos have ramps and walkways for a smooth entry and can accommodate wheelchairs when the need arises. Many even offer Braille and large-print bingo cards, and sign-language interpreters. Las Vegas Shows, an unmissable experience, offer hearing-impaired devices. To get around, all cab companies in the city have lift-equipped vans and you can even get wheelchair-compatible limousines and shuttles. Wide sidewalks line Las Vegas Boulevard and elevators located near the bridges can be used to access them.

Handy tips:

• Instead of getting your own wheelchair, you can rent one here

• Head to Fremont Street to zipline on your wheelchair

• Rent a wheelchair-accessible vehicle here

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Credits: Pixabay

Photo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by Himani Khatreja

Ask any differently-abled person who has been to Sydney, and she will immediately declare it as her favourite place in the world. As a country, Australia has worked hard to make itself completely accessible to everyone. And there is little you won't be able to do here, especially in Sydney. Tactile and braille signs are placed next to push buttons on pedestrian crossings in the city's local area. Accessible Sydney buses have ramps and provide priority seating and extra room inside. All ferries and trains are accessible, though some train stations have restricted access due to stairs. The best accessible attractions in the city are The Royal Botanical Gardens, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, the Blue Mountains, the Cableway, and a ferry ride to Manly Beach.

Handy tips:

• Use this map to find all accessible areas in Sydney

• Find a comprehensive list of things to do on this website

Know of more destinations to add to this list, let me know in the comments section below. Or write a travelogue about your latest journey, and enlighten travellers on Tripoto. 

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