Planning your next vacation: Barcelona, Spain

After our article on accessible wheelchair travel destinations, we thought we’d take another helpful look at popular accessible destinations across the globe. If you’re looking for some vacation planning inspiration, then let us present for your traveling consideration…


Barcelona, Spain

Home to classic architecture, historical sites and world-famous food, Barcelona is a romantic and family-friendly destination that stands out from other European cities due to its accessible nature — the city has even received a 5-star Sage accessibility rating. Flights to Barcelona are also relatively cheap and the city boasts a wide-variety of wheelchair-accessible hotels and lodging.


Why should you visit Barcelona?

First and foremost, they have a Museum of Chocolate. Case closed.

But in all seriousness, while many European cities are built around medieval city centers which maintain their hard-to-traverse cobblestone streets, most of Barcelona is flat. For disabled tourists, the famous gothic quarter has been smoothed out and has almost no cobblestones, so it’s easy to get around to the shopping, tapas and other attractions.


World-famous attractions

Barcelona doesn’t slouch when it comes to famous tourist hives. From the Picasso Museum to Sagrada Familia, there’s no shortage of breathtaking sites. Striving to make these sites accessible for all visitors, Barcelona offers wheelchair accessible tours you can book in advance to skip the lines. You can also schedule a private tour to see the Spanish countryside and visit Montserrat Mountain. (below)

The first landmark many travelers identify in Barcelona is the magnificent Las Ramblas Boulevard. This beautiful and sprawling mall features local shops, live performances, artists and endless dining options. The mall is generally flat, but does feature a slight downhill slope moving toward the sea. For wheelchair visitors, you may want to start at Plaça de Catalunya (a large square in central Barcelona) and continue downhill toward the Christopher Columbus monument near the water for an easier day. Be sure to stop at the La Boqueria market too. This sprawling city market features the best fresh food the city has to offer.


Accessible beaches

The beaches in Barcelona extend for miles and feature a wheelchair accessible promenade for scenic views. Some beaches even have accessible boardwalks that extend into the ocean with amphibious lifts. The promenade extends for miles along the beachfront and offers many accessible restaurants to choose from, making for a wonderful stroll during sunset.


Trains, buses and taxis, don’t fret!

While there are accessible metro stations in Barcelona, several of the most important Metro stations for tourists do not have elevators — making it not as reliable of an option as the buses, all of which are equipped with wheelchair ramps.


Pro tip: the #14, 59 and 91 buses go down Las Ramblas, one of the most famous boulevards in Spain. If you’re booking a taxi from the airport, try Transport Adaptado, though public transportation from the airport to downtown takes 20 minutes.


Keep in mind that most of the popular sites within the city are not within walking distance of each other. Familiarizing yourself with bus routes will certainly come in handy when you’re planning your trip.


When to visit?

Finally, the best time of year to visit Barcelona is in November. The temperature drops notably, averaging about 62ºF during the day and as low as 46ºF at night, making for a pleasant day of sightseeing. Due to the change in temperature, the city attracts significantly less tourists, making for an easier time navigating the sights and smaller lines to wait in at popular locations.


From the international jazz festival, to the autumnal foliage change and stunning Barcelona Zoo in Parc de la Ciutadella (Citadel Park), November is a great month to take in the sights and sounds of Barcelona culture. Not to mention the city-wide celebration of All Saints’ Day (November 1), when flower vendors line the streets to sell floral displays and people eat cakes all day to celebrate their loved ones. One of the traditions of All Saints’ Day is to eat “castanyada,” which are hot toasted chestnuts that come wrapped in newspaper that help keep you warm in the brisk Barcelona streets.

To make the most of your trip, visit Barcelona’s accessibility website and figure out what sights and activities most interest you. If you need help planning the trip, Accessible Spain provides everything from accessible hotel accommodations, transportation, city tours, adapted vehicle hiring, shopping and daily itineraries with local expertise to bring you the best Spain has to offer.