My husband and I will end a fabulous Cruise this October with a three day stay in Barcelona. I have some health issues and have difficulty walking long distances and walking up stairs. Are there any resources available to help me plan the Barcelona portion of the trip so that we can get the maximum enjoyment out of our travel to Barcelona within the limitations of my health? I am looking for resources that will indicate options that are easy walking or no climbing - tours that cater to older adults who have physical limitations - We certainly don't want to get home from the trip disappointed that we didn't see various sites only to learn that there were accommodations for older adults of which we were not aware.
See some general tips and links that may be useful at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning/travelers-with-disabilities. When booking your hotel, be sure the elevator serves the ground floor (or room is on the ground floor); in some older buildings, the elevator starts at the "1st floor" (up) or higher. Advance reservations will help you reduce standing in lines at la Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum, and some others. Since Rick's guidebook doesn't address accessibility, I would also check the web sites of any museums that interest you. In some buildings that don't have a public elevator, staff can escort you to a service elevator (which may be a further walk from the main entrance but better than stairs).
Walking distances weren't so much a problem for us this past November, but stairs sometimes were. The Picasso Museum, which we really enjoyed, started with a long flight of stairs. At the top, a museum attendant let us know that they did have a nearby staff elevator, and if we let them know, they'd be happy to give us a ride back down when we were done. I'm not positive, but believe the museum may have even had some wheelchairs that may have been for temporary lending to visitors. Some museums and other sights had more seating areas for taking a rest than others.
Sagrada Familia has seats in the center and along the walls that let you admire the interior without lots of standing or walking. You can even take the elevator up and down one of the towers, if you don't want to do the ride up/walk down option. Ask at sights and they may be able to offer more mobility assistance than you'd think.
Our hotel (Denit Hotel, recommended by Rick Steves) was great for calling us a cab, but we were also able to find them waiting at the curb, too.
Sagrada Familia....check on its web site re handicap accessibility. I was there last fall, but did not require the use of an elevator or lift. There is a long series of steps from the outside, but I think there must be either a ramp or lift somewhere on the property. Do get the tickets on line before you go. This should permit you to basically walk right in without a line. Go to the head of the entrance booth. The long line is for those purchasing tickets. The short, or no line to the right is the one you will use. As for the towers, I would not even think of going up them. There will be a timed entrance on the ticket should you go, but there are about 8 or so (maybe more) steps to get to the elevator. And when you get to the top, there is nothing you can see from the elevator level. You must then walk up, and then walk down a series of steps back to the elevator level at the top.
The Church of Maria Del Mar would be a better choice than the Cathedral to visit as well. Only a few steps to enter it and the interior is in many ways superior to the main Cathedral I believe.
Hotels..>Be sure there is an elevator from the ground floor to your floor level. And, their first floor is in fact our second floor here in the states.
The Picasso museum -- ask for the lift, otherwise a very long series of steps.
Most restaurants seem to be on street level. The Las Ramblas is definitely street level as it is a street. Well worth the visit and there are benches along most of the route. The La Boqueteria, open air market is one half block off, and would be interesting. There are food stalls and chairs at them where you can eat and sit as well. It is on one level, but crowded.
You might check out the facebook site Barcelona Blond..a young girl, but she knows a lot about the city and may have more information...drop her a note!!
I wasn't specifically looking for it, and maybe I don't recall correctly, but it seems to me that, heading up the series of steps leading to the Sagrada Familia tower elevator loading place, I saw a lift that appeared to be a wheelchair-access lift for getting up to that loading spot as well. The tower elevator isn't huge, so there's not room for a wheelchair and a whole lot of other people at the same time, and in a wheelchair, one wouldn't get the full "tower" experience, but it might still be a possibility if someone was really keen on going up. I didn't take note of any extra steps or other things at the top that might interfere with a wheelchair, though.
Note that the Ramblas, while it doesn't have stairs, is inclined, as it descends from Plaça Catalunya to the sea. If you have trouble with inclines (my father did, even more than with stairs), be careful.