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6 Reasons Why City Breaks Are Perfect For Wheelchair Users

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.

6 Reasons Why City Breaks Are Perfect For Wheelchair Users pinterest graphic showing Emma in her wheelchair sitting beside a Red Telephone Box in London.

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.

Emma sitting beside the Virgin Train at Glasgow Central Station before heading to London for an accessible city break.
Waiting to board the Virgin Train from Glasgow to London

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.

Emma sitting in a beach wheelchair on the beach in Barcelona admiring the stunning view.
Relaxing on Barcelona beach in the beach wheelchair and admiring the view

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 our 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 day’s 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.

Emma posing beside a London red telephone box and infront of Tower Bridge.
Posing next to a red telephone box and in front of Tower Bridge in London

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.

Emma in her wheelchair exiting a wheelchair accessible tram in Vienna
Exiting the accessible tram in Vienna via the wheelchair ramp

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 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.

Emma in a gallery within London Tate Modern
Inside an exhibition gallery at London Tate Modern

6. Its 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).

Emma enjoying a wheelchair accessible Easy Barcelona Walking Tour of the Gothic quarter with her tour guide Maria-José Anía.
Enjoying a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona with Maria-José Anía

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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You might also enjoy
Top 4 Wheelchair Accessible Things to do in Paris
3 Days in Vienna: Ultimate City Guide to Vienna for Wheelchair Users
7 Top Tips for Wheelchair Users Visiting New York City

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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4 Responses

  1. I like city breaks because there are so many attractions a relatively short distance away from each other. So you can see a number of attractions in one day. I’ve just come back from Amsterdam and I ran out of time to see everything I wanted to, as I underestimated how much there was to see. But it gives me a reason to go back.

  2. I’m not a full-time wheelchair user but i do have mobility issues. I am visiting cardiff in july as i’ve heard it has great accessibility. There are lots of things to keep me busy with my two boys but Also nice parks to Chill in, all within a relatively small area. I will update you afterwards with how it goes 🙂

    1. Emma l also use wheelchair mobility challenges and live in Cardiff great city to get around by wheelchair need anymore into let me know Tom

    2. That sounds lovely Emma – please let me know how you get on visiting Cardiff in July. I can’t wait to find out 🙂

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