Culture accessible to everybody in Spain
There are more and more initiatives in Spain that guarantee a cultural tourism which is accessible to all. Adapted routes, specialised services, adapted facilities and accessible guides are now a reality in Spain. Here are some of the options among Spain's main cities and monuments for disabled persons.
Discover Madrid with its adapted guided tours
Never before has culture in Madrid been so accessible. There are guided tours held at certain times which are adapted for people with disabilities, either physical, visual, mental or auditory. Visit Madrid's 'art triangle' in a wheelchair, without worrying about architectural barriers, discover the Gran Vía with signing guides, explore the historic 'Los Austrias' area with voice-amplified guides, or experience the traditional Christmas celebrations to the full... all this is possible thanks to these special routes. If you want to take part, you just have to sign up in advance at the tourist office.
Furthermore, major museums such as the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía National Art Museum have accessible facilities. However, if there is one museum designed especially for disabled persons, this is the Typhlological Museum, where, amongst other activities, you can use your hands to explore major monuments such as the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Alhambra in Granada and the Aqueduct in Segovia.
Barcelona and its most accessible areas
Two of the most accessible cultural areas of Barcelona are the Gothic Quarter and the Modernism Route. The former is in the old part of Barcelona, also home to the Cathedral, which is accessible to persons with reduced mobility. On the Modernism Route you can enjoy the works of Gaudí with buildings such as La Pedrera and the Casa Batlló House. Furthermore, you can visit the Sagrada Familia and Güell Park, both accessible. These four sites have the UNESCO World Heritage designation and the first three have tactile models to enhance your visit.
Another interesting location in the city is Montjuic Park, in southwest Barcelona, along with the Catalonia National Art Museum, which has disabled access. There is a stunning view of the city from the top of Montjuic Park. You can still enjoy the view if you have reduced mobility, thanks to the adapted cable car. In Barcelona there are also audio-guides available for the main routes and monuments.
There are more and more cities in Spain with routes which eliminate architectural barriers. This is the case of Zaragoza, with an itinerary taking in monuments that are fully accessible to persons with reduced mobility, such as the basilica of El Pilar , the main symbol of the city, and the Lonja building. Others, such as the cathedral of San Salvador, are accessible but require a companion for visits.
The case of Valencia is similar. Here there is a route which includes the monuments along the old course of the Turia River, and other routes around the historic centre and avant-garde Valencia, with a visit to the City of Arts and Sciences. This is accessible and has free wheelchairs and electric scooters available.
Salamanca has designed a route for people with reduced mobility in its old town, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Here, ramps and lifts mean you can visit the Casa de las Conchas, the Clerecía building, the city's cathedrals and the University, as well as its emblematic Plaza Mayor square.
Accessible monuments not to be missed
There are many initiatives that guarantee universal access to Spain's cultural sites. Special mention should be made of those in operation at certain monuments. This is the case of Avila's city wall. Its most recent refurbishment included points of access for persons with reduced mobility. In fact, Avila was highlighted as an example of accessibility at the 'International Tourism For All Congress' organised in Spain by the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT).
Another interesting option, especially given the initial complexity of ensuring accessibility for people with reduced mobility, is a visit to prehistoric caves. You can do this, for example, in northern Spain, in the Region of Cantabria, at El Soplao Cave and the Altamira Museum, an exact copy of the original cave.
There are many accessible cultural options available, and these are becoming increasingly common. The aim is to eliminate any kind of barrier, and to this end many cities have prepared routes and guides taking in the establishments best adapted to each requirement. This is true in cities such as Seville, Ibiza, A Coruña and Santander, amongst others. For more information, remember to contact the tourist office at your destination. Then you'll be ready to enjoy culture to the full.
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