Monday, October 29, 2012

Barcelona in a Wheelchair

Excellent weather
Original work by Antonio Gaudí
Natural beauty

Barcelona, Spain was our most favorite city [besides Edinburgh] in Europe. It is not only a beautiful beach city, but the most wheelchair accessible city I have been to in Europe so far (including metros, buses, sidewalks), even offering designated wheelchair friendly beaches. We stayed at Barcelona Urbany Hostel that was very close to a stop for our hop on hop off bus (very convenient).

There was so much to see and do.  Some of my favorite things were visiting the naturalistic artwork of Antonio Gaudí: La Pedrera, Casa Batlló (not all accessible. cool old lift to get to get to the top), Parc Güell (what a perfect place to go for a long walk, but windy incline for wheelchairs), and especially the Sagrada Familia. I was extremely impressed with the futuristic designs of these structures, including accessibility for the most part. My favorite destination was the Sagrada Familia, which is an unfinished cathedral by Gaudi. We were awed by such beautiful, intricate stained glass. The light shining through from the beautiful Barcelona sun just rainbowized the whole cathedral with such vibrance. I also thought the statues were really cool looking with the narrower, almost cartoony features as opposed to other statues that are meant to look more realistic. Wheelchair accessibility was an added bonus (although there is not an accessible lift to get to the top. You can make it in the lift if you can walk up a few steps to it) and we got in free (talk to the attendants at the side gate, don't wait in the line)!

On top of La Pedrera- limited accessibility
Sagrada Familia. Just imagine how much more grandiose this would be if it were finished...

Stunning stained glass of colorful light

The food in Barcelona was absolutely delicious. The big thing in Spain is tapas which are little appetizers that offers a great variety of seafood, paella, drinks, which is perfect for tourists who want to try a little bit of everything. Though, everything was just a bit pricey when converting the euro to the dollar...but that's expected in Europe so just avoid the headache and anxiety don't do the math. Rationalize all the way that you are being just like everyone else and pay it. The food is so worth it!
Tapas: sausages, mussels, and batatas bravas around Las Ramblas
AJ about to devour his prey: paella
I loved the very kind and friendly people who were so helpful to us. The night before our trip, I burned my feet while taking a hot shower (I tend to burn my legs a lot without knowing, and the water in Scotland gets scalding hot really fast)! I woke up with two huge blisters, the size of my palm but there was not much we knew to do about it and had to head to the airport at the crack of dawn. Well, while at one of the bars in Barcelona, one of my huge blisters popped and I panicked. I felt we needed to see a doctor right away to prevent an infection. We only had an address in our travel book and no sense of direction to read our map. People were so willing to help us read the map along the way and get us to where we needed to go. I was so thankful.

The culture of ciestas was a bit inconvenient as a tourist looking for food during certain hours, but it also gave us an opportunity to slow down a bit and relax.

I couldn't get over how wheelchair accessible Barcelona was. That definitely was perfect on my wheels. The metro was wheelchair accessible at just about every stop (finally!). The weather couldn't be any better. AJ and I talk about going back almost everyday since getting back to Edinburgh, especially during cold and rainy days. We definitely recommend Barcelona!

A bit of Barcelona:


  1. Hi Martina! I'm Emmely, I'm 17 and from Belgium and I have Duchenne muscular disorder. I can't walk long distances and use a wheelchair for them. This year I went to Paris with my school. That wasn't a great experience. It felt not good that my classmates had to help me and push me forward all the time. (I don't have much strength in my arms so I can't push myself) Some of them didn't want to puch me or did it because they had to. Next year we're going to Barcelona. I don't know if I should go. But when I read you review of Barcelona, that it is so wheelchair accessible and how a beautifull city it is. I realise that I really want to go there. I'm happy that I found your blog. It gives me strength to see the positive things in life. I like to travel and you made me realise that I can still travel, even with this desese. It's not over. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Emmely! So were you able to go to Barcelona? If so, what was your experience? I hope it was wonderful!!