Good day to all! As planned, today’s Disabled Travelers blog will visit Stockholm in today’s post as part two of my upcoming European odyssey. The city of Stockholm is home to over 20% of Sweden’s population and is spread across 14 islands on a very wide area. Handicapped travelers might expect some trouble navigating under such conditions, but as the second-most-visited city in all of Scandinavia, Stockholm is a model of modern excellence for travelers of all kinds.
Four commercial airports serve the Stockholm area, and their exact location can be confusing. If you are using budget airlines, beware of Stockholm-Skavsta, which is a full 60 miles south of the city itself. While all Stockholm area airports have mobility impaired access and other useful features for the hard-of-hearing and visually impaired, it can be difficult finding wheelchair taxis or other transport to get to the city.
Following are the airports and their pages for travelers with disabilities:
Arlanda (23 miles north)
Bromma (about 5 miles west)
Skavsta (60 miles south)
Västerås (70 miles west)
According to the official Internet gateway of Sweden, there’s a far-reaching plan to improve accessibility and become the most disability-friendly European capital by 2010; unfortunately, that article is from 2006! So let’s see if they accomplished their goal … the official Stockholm visitor site has a useful access guide to the city, and also issues manuals to business owners about how to improve access. The Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, one of the country’s leading handicapped organizations, has good news about public transport and assistive devices. Services, wheelchair accessible attractions, and walking tours operated by volunteers are discussed on this page.
Sweden is one of the few major European economies that still maintains its own currency separate from the Euro. This makes things a little bit more complicated if you’re traveling through multiple countries, but it also means that the typical tourists’ budget stretches a little further here. If you’ll be staying a while, there’s no reason not to aim for top of the line hotels in central Stockholm, convenient to rail services.
TVTrip showcases over 80 wheelchair accessible hotels in the area. Hotels Stockholm Online is devoted to area hotels, and the Radisson Blu Viking is one of the city’s top-rated and most central hotels, located only a short distance from several historic landmarks. Also check out the Intercontinental Grand Hotel and Courtyard Stockholm. On the flip side, beware of budget hotel chains offering accommodations for only 1-2 people per room, which are fairly common in the city and do not offer enough space for wheelchair users. There are also many hostels not equipped to service visitors with special needs.
For info on wheelchair accessible attractions, browse Things to See in Stockholm. A complete access guide is available at Accessible Sweden, which has information on wheelchair accessible cruises through the Stockholm Archipelago, among many other enchanting sights and tour options. Cultural sites, events, and festivals are covered by the Kulturforvaltningen Access Guide. Also read the fairly recent blog post Stockholm With a Wheelchair for some street-level perspective.
That’s it for Stockholm, at least until I visit there in person and follow up! In our next post we’ll be following my itinerary with a visit to Krakow, the second largest city in Poland. We may also stop over in Warsaw, the capital, for a little while. After that, my trip returns to some great places we’ve seen and done before here on Disabled Travelers: Dublin and London — so it’ll be about time for a quick review. From there, I’ve got some more Western European destinations in mind, and a few more “small countries.” Adventure on!