New research from comparethemarket.com evaluates 38 of Europe’s capital cities from a traveller’s perspective to determine which are the most accessible for tourists with limited mobility and other impairments.
The comparison site looked at accessible accommodation, attractions, airports and whether they have the Access City award and an ongoing accessibility campaign.
When it comes to travelling with a disability, there are multiple ways the travel experience can be improved, such as improving access to tourist attractions and hotel accommodation
The research reveals that the most accessible city in Europe is Luxembourg, with 18.56% accessible accommodation available, 33.33% accessible attractions, a fully accessible airport, an Access City award and an ongoing council campaign for accessibility.
5 most accessible cities in Europe
- Luxembourg, Luxembourg
- Berlin, Germany
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Oslo, Norway
- Bern, Switzerland
5 least accessible cities in Europe
- Chisinau, Moldova
- Kiev, Ukraine
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Tirana, Albania
Luxembourg won third prize at the Access City Award 2019 due to actively raising awareness of disabilities to reduce the stigma behind them and overhauling public travel, making the city open and welcoming to everybody. The city authorities coined the term “specific needs” in order to change the language and attitudes when it comes to disabilities, approaching accessibility with the philosophy of “design for all”, to ensure that everyone can visit comfortably.
The least accessible city of those researched is Chisinau, Moldova. When it comes to the city’s accommodation options, only 3.17% provides ease of accessibility. The percentage of tourist attractions which are wheelchair accessible is even lower with not a single attraction providing access. Chisinau has never been given a top three ranking in the Access City awards and there is no clear effort to make the city more accessible for all.
The lowest ranking cities for accessible accommodation are Kiev, Ukraine and Zagreb, Croatia, which both have only 1.83% of their accommodation as wheelchair accessible.
The research looks at accommodation, airports, awards, attractions and available information from official sites.
Note: some cities were excluded due to a lack of accurate available data, such as Andorra la Vella, Nicosia, Vaduz, Monaco, San Marino and Podgorica.
Accommodation – the percentage of listings that had accessible rooms with wheelchair access, according to TripAdvisor.
Attractions – the percentage of tourist attractions at Get Your Guide which are wheelchair accessible.
Airports – Does the city’s major airport’s website have detailed information for disability and wheelchair access, as well as special assistance and mobility assistance?
(There may have been sites with accessibility pages buried deep, but if we weren’t able to find them after a thorough search we deemed it wouldn’t be helpful to tourists.)
Access City – Whether the city been the recipient of a top three ranking in the Access City Awards, who recognise exemplary effort in making cities more accessible for all. This can range from raising awareness of specific disabilities and creating safe environments to introducing ease of access points to buildings.
Tourism Website – We assessed, or tried to assess, whether the official city tourism website offered clear and detailed information of efforts to make the city more accessible for all, according to their official tourism website.
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