Accesible Barcelona: Is the city well adapted for wheelchair users? Do musems in the city welcome blind and partially sighted persons? Are the beaches accessible for people with reduced mobility?
We know that every traveller has different needs, especially if you are a wheelchair user or you have any sort of disability.
Let us explain in this post why Barcelona is considered to be one of the most accessible cities in Europe.
Step-free pedestrian crossings
The public space (streets, avenues, squares…) is accessible for wheelchair users in a great proportion. To be exact, 94% of the total public thoroughfares have step-free pedestrian crossings. We must point out that the remaining 6%, which is not accessible, is in fact concentrated in a couple of neighbourhoods, located far from the center. The old town, for instance, and all the historical quarters, have no physical barriers.
Accessible public transport
Regarding the public transport network, the entire fleet of city buses is adapted for wheelchairs, included the Aerobus (shuttle bus to and from the airport): they all have an automatic ramp (which is activated by the bus driver, when necessary), and a reserved space for two wheelchairs or baby prams. The Metro network system is not entirely accessible, but a great majority of stations are. In fact 88% of the Metro stations are fully adapted, and they have lifts from the street to the station, and to the platforms. Also, the Tram network, that connects the east and west sides of the city, is fully accessible, and together with the Montjuïc cable car, they both have received the Universal Accessibility certificate.
Well adapted beaches
In Barcelona’s waterfront, there are more than 4 kilometers of beaches, all of them free of architectural barriers. Besides, during the summer season, Barceloneta and Nova Icària beaches, as well as the Fòrum bathing area, offer assisted bath for disabled people who can not access water independently. It is a municipal free service, with the support of Red Cross volunteers. From June to September, timetable for the assisted bathing service is available from 11am-2pm and 4pm-7pm on weekends and public holidays (during June and the second fortnight on September), and daily during July, August and the first fortnight of September.
Wheelchair travellers’ great experiences
Barcelona is a very popular destination among wheelchair travellers. Last year, for instance, Barcelona had the honour to welcome Hannah Cockroft, a British athlete holding several gold medals in the Paralympic games. She is now 24 years old, in fact she was born end of July 1992, just when the Olympic and Paralympic Games were held in Barcelona! She was really excited and enjoyed the city very much, included a sailing experience on the seafront of Barcelona in an adapted sailing boat.
And last March, this year, Emily Yates visited the city. She is an accessibility consultant and travel writer, “helping to lift all clouds of limitation”, as she introduces herself on her website.
Finally, here are a couple of videos about accessible tourism in Barcelona that we would like to share with you. The first one shows the experience of David Gabbai, a tourist with a great disability who has come on holiday to Barcelona several times. He is from Paris and travels with his assistant.
The second video is an institutional one, and is shown on the Home page of the website here, the official site informing about accessible tourism in Barcelona.
Some of our guides are well trained in accessibility and know how to get around in a wheelchair in Barcelona. More importantly, they´re the best guides in town! So do contact us if you have any specific access needs.