When it comes to wheelchair-friendly travel, certain cities in the world have made exceptional strides in becoming disability friendly, and in so doing, creating cities for all.
From broad sidewalks, accessible public transport and easy access to public attractions, here are our pick of the seven most wheelchair-friendly cities on the globe.
With all of its buses, many metro stations and the majority of the city streets offering wheelchair-access, Barcelona is considered one of the most accessible cities in Europe. Travellers can expect to see adapted pavements and pedestrianised tree-lined roads, with the majority of tourist attractions also offering disabled access. Possibly most exciting for those with reduced mobility is the several kilometre stretch of city beach that has a wheelchair-accessible promenade and many walkways down to the water, not to mention the accessible changing facilities and a free assisted bathing service during the summer.
Filled with ornate palaces and traditional architecture, the historic city centre of Vienna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Regardless, the city is surprisingly accessible and contemporary.
The majority of the town’s cobblestones have been sliced in half for a smoother finish, allowing for wheelchair access with curb drops for easy manoeuvring around the streets and pavements. The tram, bus and metro systems all offer impressive accessibility, as do the city’s museums, galleries and other tourist attractions.
Denver, Colorado, USA
Nestled in the Rockies of Colorado, the city of Denver is one of the best cities in the US for those with restricted mobility since it is relatively flat. With a focus on wheelchair access, the city offers a wide range of recreational and cultural activities, especially for differently-abled people. It also boasts a fully accessible metro transportation system and an invaluable door-to-door paratransit service.
In recent years, the German capital has invested substantially in turning the city into a highly accessible and barrier-free environment for all. In 2013, Berlin won the EU City Access Award, receiving special praise for its remarkably accessible transportation system. The majority of theatres and museums in Berlin are structured in a way where one can be easily mobile, just like many of the restaurants and bars.
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Tel Aviv, Israel
The eclectic city has made great strides in recent years to become fully accessible to people with disabilities. Almost all of the city’s intercity bus lines can be accessed by wheelchair and offer various technologies for the visually impaired, including bus stations that announce upcoming buses and line numbers over a speaker system. Stringent construction codes also ensure that all new buildings must offer wheelchair access, and almost every store and restaurant in the city is equipped with ramps.
Seattle, Washington, USA
Possibly one of the most impressive cities in terms of its disability aid efforts, Seattle’s transportation system has been accessible for close to 40 years and offers discounts to wheelchair users. There is also a paratransit service that transports commuters anywhere within city limits and a rideshare program for the disabled, with specialised maps to guide folks through the most accessible routes of the city.
Singapore is leading the way when it comes to accessibility for those with disabilities. The city is known for being immaculately clean and modern, with streets and pavements well-maintained and dropped curbs and smooth surfaces everywhere. The majority of tourist attractions are entirely wheelchair accessible, and thanks to the incredibly efficient Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) system, disabled travellers are guaranteed a fully available, barrier-free experience of the city.
Feature Image Credit: Vdk.de
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