There is nothing more relaxing than being surrounded by lush countryside or crystal clear beaches. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like the buzz I get from being in a new city and being in the midst of the hustle and bustle of city life. My heart will always beat for a city break over a relaxing/beach holiday. There are many reasons why people love city breaks and for wheelchair users, they can be the perfect getaway for a couple of days. Here are some of my reasons why city breaks are perfect for wheelchair users and why your next accessible holiday should be a city break.
1// It’s only a short plane or train journey away
Living in the UK gives us the best opportunities to visit other European cities quickly and easily either by train or plane. It would be crazy not to take advantage. Perfect if we need to get away for a few days. Scotland to London will take you around four hours by Virgin Train, which I recently did and really enjoyed. Flights from the UK to Paris, Barcelona and Berlin will take around two to two and half hours, which is amazing. Short plane journeys may also be a more practical option for wheelchair users, especially if like myself, moving around and going to the toilet on the flight is impossible. Much more needs to be taken into account when embarking on a long journey and you can read my tips on how to survive a long-haul flight as a wheelchair user.
2// You get the best of both worlds
A typical beach holiday may not be the first choice for wheelchair users. Sand and sea aren’t really a great match for our wheelchairs. Inaccessible hotel pools can also put a dampener on the holiday. What is there left to do? That’s why city breaks are a fantastic choice. They can often provide the best of both worlds. You will enjoy all the culture and excitement of a city and the relaxation of a beach holiday if you want to take it easy some days. Barcelona is a great example of this with its accessible beach and promenade as well as all the things to see and do as I mentioned in my accessible city guide to Barcelona.
3// Respite without too much commitment
We all need a break from time to time, but it can feel like a lifetime waiting for that summer holiday to come around for two weeks in the sun. However, city breaks are ideal for breaking up the year and still allow us to escape for a few days to unwind and recharge the batteries. I always come back from a city break feeling refreshed and ready to get back to the daily routine. Sometimes all that’s needed is a couple of days respite especially if committing to a longer break is more tricky due to medical or care needs. You can also plan your city break for any time of the year depending on the weather in your chosen destination and based on your preferences i.e cooler or warmer temperatures.
4// Accessible streets & public transport
Cities have a high population and attract millions of visitors every year. For this reason, you are likely to find that the streets and public transport are reasonably wheelchair accessible. Dropped curbs and flat pavements are also highly likely to be found around the city. Of course, depending on where you go there may be cobblestones. Hopefully, the cobblestones are only in certain areas so you will still be able to get around without straining your wheelchair suspension too much. If you need a break from all that wobbling around, you can hop on a tour bus or public transport and take in the sights. If you are visiting Paris then I highly recommend you check out Another Paris – the wheelchair accessible tourist train tour. It was unique, accessible and so much fun.
5// City breaks broaden the mind
Travelling provides so many opportunities to experience different cultures. I believe this is more so with city breaks as there is nothing more exciting than getting out and about to explore the area by visiting the main attractions, local hotspots as well as the hidden gems. You are likely to find museum accessibility to be very good and possibly even free or reduced admission for disabled people and a companion.
6// It’s versatility and adaptability
The great thing about a city break is the versatility. They can work around any budget and individual preferences. If you don’t want to travel too far from home or prefer to take your own wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) then a UK city break can be a great option too. Otherwise, European city breaks are a fantastic alternative. With countless things to see and do you can base your city break around your needs, interests and requirements. You can fill your days with as many things as possible or as little as you want. We loved the easy walking tour of the Gothic Quarter with our amazing tour guide Maria-José Anía (pictured below).
Why do you love city breaks? Do you have any city breaks planned for this year? What cities would you love to visit? Let me know in the comments.
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