Welcome back to Disabled Travelers, friends! In our ongoing whirlwind tour of handicapped accessible travel in Scandinavia and Central Europe, we’re following my trail to a new destination today: Poland. This country is known for its exceedingly historic old cities, many of which retain flavor from the Middle Ages and beyond. As we all know, accessibility can be rough in towns that have been standing thousands of years, but we’ll be bold and check out Krakow today, with Warsaw to follow in an upcoming visit. Krakow’s Old Town, in the city center, is so beloved that it’s actually a World Heritage Site: remarkably, it’s the only UNESCO site to encompass a city center.
Krakow For the Disabled gives us comprehensive info on accessible museums and galleries, and also some good news about transport: most of Old Town is flat and level, intended for pedestrians, and thus fairly sound for mobility impaired access. According to the site’s statistics, almost 20% of Krakow’s residents have a disability of some kind. This is higher than the national average, and contributes to the proactive attitude that Krakow’s citizens take toward blending modern amenities into their historic home.
The city’s Tourist Information Centers distribute Braille-enhanced maps for the blind and several other useful items and services. Furthermore, a variety of sites have been retrofitted to accommodate wheelchair users: This includes the Wawel Royal Castle, Wieliczka Salt Mines, and Collegium Maius. For more wheelchair accessible attractions, plus street-level facts about parking, roll-in bathroom facilities, and plenty of accessible hotels, Cracow Online is the place to be. It links to several valuable maps, descriptions, and contact information for both accommodations and things to see. Cracow Aquarium also has full disability access.
Krakow Airport is your most likely bet to approach the city, unless you’re journeying by train from another nearby country. The airport maintains a range of accessibility features, which you can learn about at this official article. If you are traveling by land, you will want to learn more about the Eurostar high-speed train system that crisscrosses Europe. Its hub website is found here and general information on accommodations for service dog users, wheelchair travelers, and others is found on the Special Needs page.
More hotels? We’ve got more hotels! Start with this listing in a local web guide, then bring the search to ActiveHotels Poland. There’s also Octopus Travel, making its first appearance at Disabled Travelers. There are also several wheelchair-friendly listings at Hostel Krakow, though those with other needs may find it a little more challenging to meet them going this route. It can be a little bit difficult to find exactly what you want in the city, so also check out Hotels.com, which benefits from a huge database and has been building its accessible features listings lately.
Next time, the Disabled Travelers e-tour bus moves on to Warsaw; the capital and largest city in Poland, found on the legendary Vistula River. It’s also one of the “Global Cities” recognized as one of the most important economic and cultural centers in the world. Until then, adventure on!