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Thursday, August 14, 2014 (read 1026 times)
Spain's Most Accessible Citiesby Jessica
Best Cities in Spain for Accessibility
In a bid to make European cities more accessible to everyone, the European Commission now has an ‘Access City Award’ to encourage cities to provide better facilities for those that require help in accessing public transport, landmarks, etc. Since the Award’s inauguration in 2010, Spanish cities have featured heavily not only in the winners’ list, but also in the list for those that are exceptional within a certain field. Here are just four of the best cities in Spain for accessibility, but the list goes on!
It would be very easy to not consider Avila a suitable destination for tourists with reduced mobility due to its age and status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, however, Avila is one of the most accessible cities in Spain. It won the Access City Award in 2011 thanks to its comprehensive forward-thinking plans for accessibility that strove to implement access to the city’s tourist attractions and infrastructure. For example, visitors can rent wheelchairs and hearing devices from the Visitor Centre, and part of the old wall at the Gate of El Puente has been fitted with lifts and ramps ensuring wheelchair access. The Palace of Los Verdugo, the Cathedral and Basilica of San Vicente have also got wheelchair access, while many other sites across the city have larger, more obvious signs and the International Symbol of Access by the entrances so visitors know which places have adequate provision.
A city in Navarra, Pamplona is a very popular tourist destination, not least because of its bull-running festival that takes place in July each year. This city received a special mention from the European Commission for built environment and public spaces, thanks to its management of modernizing and making accessible older monuments. The old Citadel has been renovated with ramps and lifts for wheel-chair users, while the tourist information comes in large print and there is access to information in Braille upon request. All of the renovations have been done with the intention of maintaining the historic beauty of the city. There are still more plans to build more lifts and accessibility ramps, making Pamplona very popular with all kinds of tourists.
Winning special recognition for Transport and related Infrastructures, Malaga City has done a lot in recent years to make the city much more accessible. It is a city that is often overlooked in favour of the beach resorts further along the coast, but the city itself more than holds its own and is well worth a visit. The focus of its accessibility improvement over the past few years has been on transport in particular, although the city has made huge progress for all those with disabilities. There are more than 10 suggested routes for those with special requirements that take visitors to the most accessible major sites, while staff in the Tourist Offices has been trained in Sign Language for those that need it. La Cala and El Candado beaches also have extensive provision for those with reduced mobility, and all of the museums in the city have texts in large-print and Braille, as well as facilities for those with reduced hearing.
As one of the most famous cities in Spain, if not the most famous, in recent years Barcelona has undergone work to improve accessibility. The whole city has many ramps that are wheelchair friendly, and while there is only one line on the metro that is fully-accessible, many buses have adequate provision while taxis are also a cheap and easy method of transport. Many of the tourist attractions, such as the Casa Batlló to name but one, are tactile, have audio guides, Braille texts and wheelchair access making Barcelona one of the most accessible cities in Spain.
Although Spain has a large number of ancient cities that may appear inaccessible due to their intricate monuments and abundance of hills, the country is really working to hard to improve provision; so don’t be put off! With more and more access being developed and appearing every day – and not just in the aforementioned cities – now more than ever is the best time to make that trip!
Keywords: cities in spain,spanish cities,best cities in spain,famous cities in spain,travel wheelchair
Posted In: Culture