The Best Destinations Around the World for Disabled Travellers
Holidays require an extra level of planning and preparation when you have a disability, but don’t let that stop you from traveling. The extra research will be worth it when you’re seeing the sights and learning about a completely different country. There’s nothing quite like experiencing a destination for yourself, but hopefully, our guide will help you narrow it down.
Barcelona is reasonably flat and the roads and pavements are smooth, so it’s ideal for wheelchair users who fancy a European city break.
The best way to travel around Barcelona is by bus — 100% of them are wheelchair-accessible. Short on time? Book a guided tour designed especially for disabled visitors.
You should be able to see most of Barcelona’s best-known sites trouble-free. The Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudi, is open to wheelchair users, offers audio guides in different languages, and has tactile materials for blind visitors to help aid their experience. Enjoy the exhibits and marvel at the unique structure of this unfinished building.
Gaudi’s influence is everywhere. Head to La Pedrera, one of his houses, which won an Accessible Tourism Award for its interactive exhibits. There are tactile displays and magnifying glasses for the visually impaired, lectures using sign language for the deaf and hearing impaired, and guides are available in both audio and braille format.
Walt Disney World, Florida
Almost everything at the resort is accessible and suited to guests of all ages, making it the perfect family-friendly holiday for Disney fans with disabilities. There’s plenty of room for wheelchair users to make their way around the parks and you can also travel via the free tram.
Disney Special Services can help with anything you might need, providing audio description devices, braille guidebooks, and sign language interpretation. Service dogs are also welcome and can be rested at the many break areas dotted around the resort.
When it comes to rides, disabled guests or their carer(s) can speak to staff and schedule a return time similar to the waiting time in the queue.
Singapore’s accessibility has seen something of a boom in recent years, with ramps and lifts being installed all around the island, and some buses and taxis having equipment for wheelchair users on board.
Despite its small size, the island has plenty of diversity and there’s a lot to see and do, from parks and beaches to museums and shopping centers. Singapore Zoo has wheelchair-accessible pathways and allocated viewing areas so disabled guests can enjoy the exhibits and shows, and although service dogs aren’t allowed on the premises, staff are able to make arrangements for hearing/visually impaired visitors to tour the zoo.
To see the city from above, make your way to the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck and look over the parks, gardens, and architecture that make up Singapore’s stunning cityscape. Accessible lifts will take you up to the 57th floor and service dogs allowed to accompany you.
Finally, don’t forget to try the local food — Chinese, Indian and Malay-inspired dishes are common, with elements of different cuisines often put together to create a fusion of flavours.
Wellington, New Zealand
With all its hills, you wouldn’t think Wellington be easy to explore, but it’s surprisingly simple to make your way around New Zealand’s capital. Most buses and trains are fully accessible and there are even wheelchair spaces on the cable car, allowing you to avoid the steps and enjoy an afternoon at the city’s beautiful Botanic Gardens. You can even hire a mobility scooter for up to four hours free of charge.
To discover more about New Zealand’s history and culture, head to the Te Papa National Museum. There’s parking for disabled guests and service dogs are welcome — you can also call ahead to reserve a wheelchair or mobility scooter. All their private guided tours can be adapted for visitors with special needs and there are guided sensory tours for visitors with visual impairments.