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BARCELONA

Barcelona, Spain: Disabled Access and Travel

by Pablova Symonds

 

Travel opportunities, especially as a tourist, for those who have limited mobility are prevalent in some areas. Barcelona, Spain is one of Europe’s most accessible cities for disabled travellers. As of 2004, BBC Online reported that 85% of Barcelona’s buses were equipped for wheelchairs, while the city’s metro was being similarly adapted.

 

Beaches in Barcelona have also been made more disabled-friendly. The Nova Icária beach, for example, provides accessible changing rooms and boardwalks that reach all the way to the water. Red Cross volunteers stand ready to help with amphibious chairs.

 

Tourists will be happy to note that there are numerous tourist sites that are accessible by wheelchair or bus. For some terrific panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean, head out to Parc de Montjuic in the southwest of Barcelona. Disabled travellers may prefer to take the bus through the park since the pathways on the hill are quite steep and some of them lead to stairways. The park features a cable car that runs over the harbour. In off-peak seasons when there isn’t much of a crowd, the staff will oblige a wheelchair user by carrying them up a short flight of stairs to reach the cable car. This is only possible with a very narrow wheelchair, though, and you would need to purchase a return ticket since the exit at the other end of the line is not wheelchair-friendly.

 

Art lovers should visit the Palau Nacional in the Parc de Montjuic area. This huge art gallery is said to have the world’s largest collection of Romanesque art in addition to Gothic and Baroque exhibitions. The building’s front entrance has various platform lifts to scale the stairs in the foyer as well as a level rear entrance for easy accessibility in a wheelchair.

 

The Fundacio Joan Miro is a museum dedicated to the Catalan artist Joan Miro. The building is wheelchair accessible. On the roof, amidst the colourful sculptures, you can relax and look out on the city of Barcelona. Toilets for the handicapped can be found around the gift shops and restaurant on the ground floor.

 

Barcelona nightlife is not to be missed. A number of nightclubs offer disabled toilets and ramped entrances to cater to the wheelchair-bound. Some of these include La Paloma, which is very busy on weekends, Maremagnum, which is a tourist haunt, Bikini for live music, and Razzmatazz 2. Hotels, too, can be found with functions and features for disabled guests. A quick online search or a call to the preferred hotel’s front desk offers numerous options for disabled travellers to make the most of their visit to Barcelona, Spain.