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Accessibility in Spain

We are in the early stages of planning a family trip to Spain with some of us having some mobility challenges. Walking, stairs, etc. are fine but just not too much of either.

We have a rough list of destinations Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Andalusia hill towns on our list. For now, I am looking for tips on if any of the must sees will be particularly difficult for someone with mobility issues? We are adaptable and willing to use trains, taxis, or rental cars to make the best of each place. If anyone has any guidance it would be much appreciated.

Posted by
3637 posts

Those hill towns can be quite vertically challenging, with little in the way accessibility . You may want to look at Cadiz as an alternative stop.

Posted by
859 posts

I have mobility issues (use a cane) and found the metro in Barcelona challenging. What looks like an easy change of lines on paper can involve extended walking underground from one line to another. Also if you can't get a seat the metro is quite rough and rocks around a lot. We found buses much easier to use in Barcelona.

Posted by
24823 posts

The Alhambra complex in Granada covers a lot of ground and is on the side of a hill. The mobility-challenged might want to limit their visit to the Nasrid Palaces, the most spectacular part of the complex, and perhaps the nearby Charles V Palace (museum). There is bus service up to the edge of the complex. I don't know whether a taxi would get you closer. Attempting to see the whole thing would take more than half a day.

Parc Guell in Barcelona requires some walking, and the entrance is quite some distance from the nearest subway stop. I don't know whether you can get closer by bus; a taxi might be smarter. I believe taxis in Barcelona are reasonably priced.

What time of year do you plan to travel? The heat in much of Spain--but especially in Andalusia--is often really brutal in the summer. That can be an issue for anyone.

The only place a rental car would help you would be the white villages in Andalusia. As already mentioned, they may be hilly enough to be a problem for your group. If they are not--or if you're willing to spend some time in a car in order to get the picturesque views from a distance, you might consider renting a car just for the drive between Seville and Granada. It's really not very practical to see a bunch of the villages by public transportation unless you have a lot of time and are willing to move from small city to small city, seeing one village from each base. [I see the last comment was inaccurate in its reference to "small city"; I meant to say that you can spend at least one night (might need two) in Ronda and take a day trip to Grazalema from there, and you can spend a night in Jerez for a day trip to Arcos de la Frontera. Arcos is doable from Seville but that requires a lot more time on buses than it does from Jerez. I'm not sure where you'd need to be based to accomplish a day trip to Zahara de la Sierra.]

Posted by
270 posts

We don't have mobility issues but were just in Spain. It's not as accessible as the USA, but I agree that you can work around a lot of situations. Seville and Cordoba are both kinda flat, although they have large pedestrian areas (Seville in particular) where you have to walk. Don't stay in the pedestrian Santa Cruz area as you may get lost some, adding to the walking. Plus your taxi has to drop/pick up outside the area. The Seville cathedral can be done quickly if needed and there are pews inside to sit and enjoy the ceiling/altar/some side altars. The Alcazar also didn't take too long, esp if you don't do a lot in the gardens. Cordoba's Mezquita didn't require that much walking/standing in my opinion.

Surprisingly, Ronda's main sightseeing area was very flat. Obviously you probably won't climb down to the bottom, but you can get spectacular views from the top very close to hotels and restaurants. Granada had a lot of hills and rough sidewalks in the Abacyn and getting to the Alhambra. But there are mini-buses that can take you to both areas. And the taxes are very inexpensive in Spain! Taxi in cities when you can. Madrid seems easy to navigate, although Barcelona is a bit spread out. Transportation may add up there due to the spacing between sights like Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell and Barceloneta beaches. But Barcelona's fabulous and shouldn't be skipped!