Travel, Older Adults and Accessibility

A recent article in enRoute magazine entitled 3 European Cities for Travellers with Limited Mobility brought to light the growing number of tourist destinations that offer accessible holidays. The cities listed in the article include:

‘Ever since hosting the Summer Paralympic Games in 1992, Barcelona has continued to improve its facilities. With 100-percent-accessible buses, elevators and ramps at many metro stations and silky-smooth streets for wheelchairs, Barcelona is a shining example of how accessible a city can be, making it a beacon for the rest of the world.’

‘Although Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities, its attitude to accessibility is surprisingly modern. It hosted the 2004 Summer Paralympic Games, an event that saw many historic heritage sites become accessible for the first time. While ancient cobbles make some of the roads tricky to navigate, Athens has the most accessible metro system in Europe, with an elevator at nearly every station.’

‘Paris is becoming more disability-friendly every year. A flat city with smooth sidewalks and regular wheelchair-accessible buses, the City of Love is relatively easy to navigate, and most of the top tourist attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, have wheelchair access.’

Another good example of an accessible tourism destination is the United Kingdom. Open Britain ‘allows you to create the perfect holiday for you, tailored specifically to your access requirements, whether this means wheelchair access or just having good lighting’. The site covers everything you need to ‘make the perfect accessible holiday in the UK’ with topics ranging from travelling with medicine to accessible countryside trails. There’s even an option for locating accessible grass-roofed lodges, farm cottages and log cabins available for holiday rental. With captioned theatre devices there is no need to miss out on some of the best theatre in London because of auditory challenges. If you are colourblind using the London underground map can be a challenge. The Colourblind Tube Map is a free app that compensates for several types of impaired vision.

Closer to home, Canadian Paraolympian and philanthropist Rick Hansen has introduced an online tool called planat access matters. This tool allows users to ‘post and search access reviews of buildings around the world. Accessibility is rated from a mobility, sight or hearing perspective.’

Do you have a favourite accessible holiday destination or ideas about how destinations or travel can be made more accessible? We’d love to hear about it.


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