In July 2023, I travelled to Barcelona with two of my friends for a much-needed holiday. We booked a package deal through Jet2 and flew from Leeds Bradford Airport to Barcelona, and I did something a little different this time – I chose to rent a power-chair in Barcelona rather than fly with my own. You can find out more about how this all worked and my experience with it in my recent YouTube video!
I was so impressed with Barcelona’s accessibility – from the ease of moving around the streets and travelling on public transport to the attitudes of the locals and genuine inclusion efforts everywhere we visited. So if you’re planning an accessible trip to Barcelona as a wheelchair user, here are three wheelchair accessible attractions for your bucket list…
The Sagrada Familia is absolutely stunning, and I feel privileged to have been able to see it in person. There are flights of stairs leading up to the towers once you’re inside, but other than that, there was level access throughout. I found most of the terrain very easy to navigate, and it was amazing to get up close to the colourful stained-glass windows and witness them filling the space with a rainbow spectrum of light. Getting around certain areas of the on-site museum was a little trickier, given there were cobbled surfaces and some steep slopes, but again, I could engage with most exhibits on the ground floor.
Disabled visitors should go to entrance C on Carrer de la Marina, where you will be given priority access to avoid the queues. I didn’t have to show proof of disability when we entered, but as this is listed as a requirement on the official website, I would advise carrying it with you just in case. If you struggle with mobility but don’t travel with your own mobility aids, there are also some wheelchairs on-site available to borrow.
Park Guell was right at the top of my Barcelona bucket list, and it didn’t disappoint. The vast outdoor space is full of unique structures designed by renowned modernist architects, and I found that I could immerse myself in much more of the area than I expected. There are paths and slopes throughout the grounds, and though there were some spaces that were mainly accessed via stairs, there was always an alternative access point. In these cases, you would approach the locked gates at the side of each exhibit, all of which were manned by staff. These friendly staff members were always quick to spot us when we wanted to come in, and they would unlock the gate so we could enter the same space as the non-disabled visitors, and leave again the same way once we were ready.
As you might have seen in my Barcelona vlog, we attempted to travel to Park Guell via Metro, which involved a twelve-minute walk from the nearest station. However, the route we were following featured many unexpected steep hills and flights of stairs, which were impossible for me to navigate as a wheelchair user. Based on my experiences, I would advise booking a taxi to take you directly to the door, or researching alternative Metro stops that may take longer to walk from but involve a more accessible route. Trust me, your future self will thank you for it!
Discovering Nova Icaria Beach was not only a highlight of my trip, but one of the best holiday experiences I’ve ever had. As you approach the beach, you’ll experience level access and wooden walkways that took you right down to the sand. From there you’ll spot a designated area reserved for people with limited mobility and/or additional needs. We weren’t quite sure what the etiquette was in terms of making yourself known or just finding ourselves a seat, but if you approach a member of staff, they will welcome you and ask you to sign a waiver form. From there, they can help you find a seat on the wooden platform, which had enough room to comfortably fit at least a couple of dozen people on there. The level access means you can keep your mobility aids right next to you, but there are also sunbeds available for anybody who might prefer to spend time on the sand.
There were also accessible showers and changing rooms nearby, and a spacious Changing Places toilet facility that was spotlessly clean. But the real showstopper for me was the beach wheelchairs. There were several of them available throughout the day, and staff were ready to assist disabled people to bathe in the sea – any time they like, and as many times as they wished to. You can find out more about my (amazing!) first experience of using a beach wheelchair in the sea in this Instagram Reel!
Barcelona is a wonderful holiday destination for disabled people, with plenty of wheelchair accessible attractions. Going anywhere with a disability is always full of challenges and barriers, but this trip really boosted my confidence with travelling abroad. To find out more about my experience of balancing chronic illness and multiple food allergies, relying on airport assistance during the journey, and renting mobility aids once we landed, you can watch my vlog from the trip on YouTube…
To find even more wheelchair accessible attractions, I highly recommend my friend Simply Emma’s Barcelona blog posts too. If you’re planning a trip of your own, I hope you have a wonderful time!