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Age Co Mobility's Worldwide Attractions Accessibility Guide

28th March 2022

The world is full of amazing, iconic attractions; the type of locations that jump instantly to mind when you think of a certain country. These are the sites that take pride of place on the bucket lists of would-be travellers all around the globe. Each continent has its fair share of iconic attractions, pulling in a healthy dose of tourism for the nations in question, and in this guide, Age Co Mobility takes a tour around the world, highlighting five of the most popular attractions from each continent and letting you know how accessible they are.

The guide also compares each continent against each other, to determine which continent has the most accessible iconic attractions.

So, if you are putting your global travel wish list together but want to know if it’s suitable for a stairlift or wheelchair user, and which continent is best suited for those with physical disabilities, this guide is the perfect starting point.

Jump to continent

REVEALED: Which continent has the most accessible iconic attractions?

The study revealed that Europe has the most accessible iconic attractions in the world with the top five attractions (Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, Louvre, Sagrada Familia and Stonehenge) scoring 31 points from a possible 40, just beating North America (30) with the Australia/Oceania continent rounding off the top three with 21.

As you would expect due to the nature of the continent, Antarctica is home to the least accessible attractions in the world and scored just one point, while Africa’s top attractions were the second-least accessible with six points and South America (12) and Asia (15) home to slightly more accessible attractions.

Of all the 35 iconic attractions the research looked at, the most accessible attraction of all was the Louvre in France as it offered all 8 of the accessibility factors the study looked at. Other highly accessible attractions were the Sagrada Familia, Yellowstone National Park, Walt Disney World and the Sydney Opera House, which all offered 7 of the 8 accessibility factors that were looked at.

Methodology

Utilising Google’s recommendations for top attractions in each continent in the world, we researched how accessible each location was by looking at eight different accessibility factors, such as if it has an accessible entrance or disabled toilets available. Each attraction received a score out of eight (1 point for ‘yes’, 0 points for ‘no’). Each continent was then given a total accessibility score out of 40, through which the continents were then compared with one another.

The accessibility factors that the research looked at for each attraction were:

  • Accessible entrances
  • Lifts available
  • Accessible toilets
  • Reduced ticket prices
  • Assistance dog welcome
  • Accessible parking
  • Carer tickets
  • Wheelchairs available

Note: When taking in the findings of this research, it should be noted that certain attractions by their very nature are more accessible than others and some continents’ most iconic attractions are of this variety, such as Antarctica and Africa, with their large number of spectacular but rugged and wild outdoor attractions. And while some attractions might not tick typical accessibility boxes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that visiting these locations with a disability or limited mobility isn’t possible.

Read on to learn about each continent’s most iconic attractions.

Europe

 

Eiffel Tower

Location: France

The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most iconic attractions, instantly recognisable as a symbol of Paris, France. With Paris being known around the world as a city of romance, the Eiffel Tower, its most famous landmark, has likewise become synonymous with romantic sentiments. Millions of visitors every year flock to the tower, looking to enjoy its incredible views across the city from high above or even to just get a photograph of this special location.

Visiting the Eiffel Tower is a must when in Paris, even with the busy crowds, especially if you can enjoy it with someone special. Rhonda, from the blog Travel? Yes Please!, has visited the Eiffel Tower herself and described her excitement:

“We loved our visit to the Eiffel Tower! It’s an amazing structure that’s beautiful to look at night and day, near and far. Even though this was my second time seeing the tower, it still took my breath away when it first came into view. In fact, the first batch of photos I took of it are blurry because I was shaking from excitement!”

Those with disabilities who visit the Eiffel Tower are encouraged to let staff know about their disability so that they can be served more quickly and are able to enjoy wheelchair access via a lift to the first and second levels. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Eiffel Tower accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Colosseum

Location: Italy

The Colosseum in Rome is an attraction that features on many a person’s bucket list. This ancient structure is a remnant of the famed Roman Empire, a place of entertainment for Roman citizens where they would watch gladiator contests and executions. It is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built and while it might not live up to its former glory today, it’s still a magnificent spectacle and an impressive location to explore for yourself.

Adam, from the travel blog, As Adam Goes, has visited the Colosseum during his time in Rome, and loved the experience: “Seeing the Colosseum in person was one of the best parts of my trip to Italy. I always wanted to see it because of my strong interest in history, and I got my chance in July 2021. Yes, it’s very touristy, but honestly, you become so lost in the rich history of the Roman empire that the tourists disappear.”

The Colosseum has a step-free entrance, elevator, and mostly flat areas inside so visitors with accessibility needs can look forward to enjoying this incredible attraction for themselves. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Colosseum accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - Yes
  • Wheelchairs available - No

The Louvre

Location: France

One of the most famous museums in the world, the Louvre in France is an iconic attraction in terms of appearance, let alone the treasure trove of majestic art pieces located inside. It is the world’s most visited museum, thanks to its instantly recognisable glass pyramid entrance and being the home to the likes of the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Located in the Louvre, which dates back to the 12th century, there is immense history and glorious architecture to go along with the exquisite art on display.

Kasia, from the travel blog, Kasia Writes, has been to the Louvre herself and shares her love for this wonderful attraction: “I don’t think it’s possible to see all of the Louvre Museum in one day. To fully appreciate and take in all the priceless art housed here would take a lot longer than that. I’ve been here twice now and still feel that I haven’t seen it all. Of course, if you’re an art lover you will want to come back again and again.”

In terms of accessibility, the Louvre is a massive winner, being a museum that is truly accessible to all, and includes free entry for visitors with disabilities and a person accompanying them, with free wheelchair hire also available. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Louvre accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - Yes
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Sagrada Familia

Location: Spain

The Sagrada Familia is one of the most exquisite and spectacular churches anywhere in the world. This pure feat of genius is located in Barcelona and designed by the master Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Construction started back in 1882 and it is still under construction today, which highlights the immense ambition of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece. This Roman Catholic Basilica and UNESCO World Heritage Site has been stunning visitors over the years with sublime facades and monumental interiors that truly have to be seen to be believed.

Sagrada Familia is very accessible to those with limited mobility or disabilities, featuring an accessible entrance, disabled toilets and reduced ticket prices for those with disabilities, however there is no accessible parking. There are lifts to the towers, but these are only reached by steps, however, visitors can still enjoy the basilica’s beauty from the ground floor. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Sagrada Familia accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available – Yes (though there are steps to reach the lifts)
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Stonehenge

Location: England

Stonehenge is unquestionably one of the UK’s most iconic locations, an ancient site of mystery and intrigue that has captured the imagination of people the world over. Located on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, Stonehenge is a prehistoric ring of standing stones; it is thought that Stonehenge was constructed between 3000 BC to 2000 BC and was used as a burial site. Scholars also believe it had other uses too, such as a ceremonial site and a place of religious pilgrimage. However, Stonehenge is wrapped in mystery, which certainly adds to the allure of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stonehenge is a very accessible location to visit and has been found to be the most accessible attraction in the UK. While being located on a grassy surface, it is flat, with universal wheelchair access, accessible toilets, wheelchairs available to borrow, and disabled parking. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Stonehenge accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - Yes
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

READ ALSO: What is the most accessible attraction in the UK?

North America

 

Statue of Liberty    

Location: USA

The Statue of Liberty is a national treasure of the USA and is one of the most recognisable statues in the world. Every year there are millions of people from across the globe that visit the attraction in New York Bay, which is a symbol of freedom, inspiration and hope.

Designed by Frenchman Édouard de Laboulaye and created by the French sculptor Bartholdi to commemorate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the recent abolition of slavery in the U.S, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

Claudia Tavani, the writer behind the travel blog My Adventures Across The World, said: “Even people with limited mobility can visit the Statue of Liberty. Wheelchairs are available free of charge on Liberty Island, and there are elevators going up to the Pedestal. There is no elevator to get to the Crown. Service animals can access all areas of the park except the Crown.”

Despite its age, the Statue of Liberty is an accessible attraction and has lifts available to take visitors with limited mobility up the statue as well as accessible toilets and wheelchair hire also being available. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Statue of Liberty accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Golden Gate Bridge

Location: USA

Regarded as one of the seven modern wonders of the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most famous landmark. Opened in 1937, the bridge faced many problems during its build including fog, treacherous tides and strong winds.

The bridge is over a mile long and crosses the strait of the Golden Gate from San Francisco's Presidio to the Marin headlands. The bridge took over 10 years to plan but was built in just four years and its iconic twin towers reach over 700 feet into the air.

The Golden Gate Bridge is accessible to wheelchair users as there are pavements that are accessible along the bridge and during daylight hours skateboarders and roller skaters are not permitted to use them. There is also accessible parking available at the visitor centres and accessible toilets. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Golden Gate Bridge accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available – No
  • Accessible toilets – Yes (at visitor centres)
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes (at visitor centres)
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Yellowstone National Park

Location: USA

Yellowstone became the first national park in the US in 1872 and today it is one of the most visited parks in the world. The crowds are drawn to its unique geological and hydrothermal features as well as its incredible wildlife.

There is so much to see and do in the national park with 1,100 miles of trails and around 500 geysers, including the Old Faithful Geyser which is known for its regular eruptions.

Renee, a travel blogger and photographer who runs the Renee Roaming blog, said she loved the Old Faithful Geyser during her visit:

“Upper Geyser Basin is the busiest area of the park, and for good reason! Here there is ample parking, a gas station, lodging, a variety of food options, and access to many hiking trails.

“It is also home to the famous Old Faithful Geyser, which was first discovered in 1872 and named for its long history of predictable eruptions. This is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the park and can get very busy. I recommend visiting it in the early morning or later in the evening when it will be a little quieter. You can see the estimated time of the next eruption on the board at the nearby visitor centre.”

The accessibility of Yellowstone National Park is impressive and it is the most accessible attraction in North America as it offers all the accessibility factors the study looked at, including accessible parking, wheelchair hire at visitor centres and accessible toilets. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Yellowstone National Park accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - Yes
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Walt Disney World

Location: USA

Walt Disney World is the world’s most famous entertainment resort complex and is located near the cities of Orlando and Kissimmee in Florida.

The resort, which opened back in 1971, includes theme parks and water parks such as Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. There are also more than 30 themed hotels in the resort, camping resorts, golf courses, an outdoor shopping centre and other entertainment venues.

Patty Moliterno, the writer behind A Mother’s Random Thoughts, has previously spoken about her love of the resorts you can stay at in Walt Disney World.

She said: “I have stayed at all but two Walt Disney World Resorts. And even though there are two that I have not stayed at, I have still seen the rooms at those resorts and visited, walked around, and eaten at the restaurants. I can say that my hands-down favourite resort is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. I love how I feel as I walk around the resort. It gives me the feeling of travelling somewhere exotic. I love the attention to detail, the restaurants, and the Dole Whips!”

With an average annual attendance of over 50 million, it isn’t a huge surprise that the Walt Disney World Resort and its theme parks have been built with visitors who suffer from mobility impairments in mind. As you will see from their accessibility guide they offer lots of facilities and of the 8 factors we looked at, Walt Disney World Resort offered an impressive 7 of these. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Walt Disney World accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

CN Tower

Location: Canada

The CN Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and has been the jewel in the crown of Toronto’s skyline for over 40 years. At one time it was the world’s tallest freestanding structure, standing at an impressive 553.33 metres high, and today over 1.5 million people visit the tower to take in the stunning views of the city and enjoy its other attractions.

Kasia, the blogger behind the travel blog Kasia Writes, talks about the amazing views you can enjoy from the tower. She said: “With multiple viewing platforms, you can get some pretty impressive views of Toronto at 553.33 m (1,815 ft 5 in) above ground. Depending on the weather, you can catch a glimpse of the city in different elements. Bathed in sunshine, glimmering with night lights or shrouded in fog. I’m not sure which is my favourite, but I definitely enjoy them all.”

The accessibility at CN Tower is very good as the tower offers six of the eight accessibility factors that were looked at, including lifts, wheelchair hire and accessible toilets. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

CN Tower accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - Yes
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Australasia/Oceania 

 

Great Barrier Reef

Location: Australia

The Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Queensland in Australia is one of the most important and beautiful natural features on our planet. People flock from all over to experience the world’s largest coral reef system for themselves, providing the most incredible scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities. Comprised of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands across 2,300 kilometres and providing a vital and unique ecological habitat for different species, the Great Barrier Reef is definitely one of the most iconic locations in this part of the world.

Sofie, from the travel blog Wonderful Wanderings, has been to the Great Barrier Reef, and advises visitors to plan ahead when choosing which tour company to go with: “This may well be the only opportunity in your life to explore this marine temple, so it’s worth planning ahead. You don’t want to be wasting time on the day picking and choosing! The thing to remember is that whatever you decide on, you will have the experience of a lifetime.”

The Great Barrier Reef is an accessible location despite it being a natural ocean feature and a boat ride away. There are tour companies that cater for those with disabilities and limited mobility, with special wheelchairs that can take visitors under the water to see the reef. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Great Barrier Reef accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes (accessible boat trip)
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Sydney Opera House

Location: Australia

When one thinks of Australia, the Sydney Opera House comes quickly to mind, with this uniquely designed performing arts venue being an icon of the Sydney landscape. Located in Sydney Harbour it is one of the world’s most famous buildings, considered a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture and visitors can look forward to a tour of this grand location, sit down for a meal or drink, and, of course, take in a world-class show.

Terri, from the travel website Mum’s Travel Blog, has been on a tour of the Sydney Opera House, and described how it works: “We had a lovely guide called Steve who was a wealth of information and great engaging personality too. The great thing about these tours is that whilst you have a live guide you are also given a power pack and headset, so you are not trying to struggle to hear your guide and he is not having to shout at visitors the whole time. It also means the guides can still quietly feed you information when we enter the backs of various theatres if there are rehearsals going on.”

If you want to enjoy the Sydney Opera House yourself, limited mobility or other disabilities won’t stop you. The Sydney Opera House is very accessible, with accessible entrances, alternatives to stairs, reduced ticket prices, wheelchairs available to borrow, and even a tour tailored to those with access needs. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Sydney Opera House accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Uluru

Location: Australia

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is one of the most famous rock formations in the world, located in Australia’s Northern Territory. It is a large sandstone formation and sacred place to the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people based in the area. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. People love to visit the area to see Uluru for themselves and enjoy the wonderful walks and photography opportunities the park offers.

Julie, from the blog, Have Wheelchair Will Travel, has been to Uluru, sharing that some of the experiences available are fully accessible, and commented on the sunset viewing platform: “The accessible platform is a wonderful vantage point to appreciate the size and grand nature of Uluru. It’s definitely worth popping this on your itinerary as a photo opportunity stop. There is a gentle incline from the accessible parking area to the lovely timber ramped platform. There are spacious stand-alone disabled toilet facilities near the car park.”

As Julie indicates above, Uluru has a surprising level of accessibility in all, and you can take a quick look at some of the accessible information below.

Uluru accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Bondi Beach

Location: Australia

For those looking for amazing beach experiences, there is perhaps nowhere more iconic than Bondi Beach in Australia. Australia is synonymous with sun and beaches, and with Bondi’s white-sand crescent aesthetic set under perfect blue sky and glorious sunshine, it’s not hard to see why. With great waves for surfers, safe swimming in its ocean pool, laid back cafes, local pubs, and coastal walks, combined with its access to the amazing city of Sydney, Bondi Beach is the stuff holidaymakers dream of. Just don’t forget the sun cream.

Bondi Beach takes pride in being accessible for everyone, making it possible for anyone who wants to access the beach with its wheelchair ramp, level access promenade, accessible toilets, disabled parking, and beach wheelchairs available. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Bondi Beach accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices – No (no charge for visiting the beach)
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets – No (no charge for visiting the beach)
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Milford Sound

Location: New Zealand

Milford Sound in New Zealand is recognised the world over as one of the planet’s leading attractions. New Zealand is home to the most breathtaking natural scenery and Milford Sound is a perfect example. This amazing fiord in the southwest of the South Island boasts the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak, rainforests and spectacular waterfalls, and also is home to seals, penguins, and dolphins. Boat tours of Milford Sound are among the most popular ways of experiencing this special location, led by experienced local guides for the most unique of excursions.

Wheelchair users will find a boat tour of Milford Sound very possible, with the terminal being wheelchair accessible with disabled parking, and with accessible cruise boats available for your tour, providing excellent wheelchair access. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Milford Sound accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - Yes
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Asia

 

Angkor Wat

Location: Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the northern province of Siem Reap in Cambodia. It was originally built as a Hindu temple in the 12th century and is believed to be the largest religious monument in the world. By the end of the 12th century, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple and although it is no longer active, it is the most popular attraction in Cambodia.

Unsurprisingly considering the temple’s age and history, the attraction is not very accessible to visitors in wheelchairs or those with a mobility impairment as there are not any suitable paths or accessible parking in the area. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Angkor Wat accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Taj Mahal

Location: India

The Taj Mahal is a jewel in India’s crown and is one of the most impressive examples of Muslim art in the world. This mausoleum of white marble was built in Agra from 1632 and 1648 after Mughal emperor Shah Jahan ordered for it to be built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Mrunmaiy Abroal, the travel writer behind the Wheelchair Wanderer blog, spoke about her visit to the attraction and why she loved her day: “Visiting the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, has been on my bucket list for quite some time. There are multiple ramps across which make the Taj Mahal campus accessible for wheelchair users. Although I had a great time wheeling around, I think there is still scope for improvement in making the monument accessible.”

Although the Taj Mahal was built back in the 1630s, it is wheelchair accessible to those who suffer from a mobility impairment - it has wheelchairs that are available to hire and accessible entrances too. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Taj Mahal accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - No - parking located 1km away
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Forbidden City

Location: China

Sitting in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, covers an area of around 150,000 square metres and is surrounded by a moat that is 3,800 metres long and 52 metres wide – making it the world’s largest imperial palace. There are more than 900 buildings within the Forbidden City and many of these are open so that the public can go and explore them.

As it is one of China’s most well-preserved and largest heritage sites, it is not a surprise that the Forbidden City is the most popular single-site tourist attraction in the country. As well as the stunning architecture, it is home to the best collection of Chinese artefacts in the world with its collections spanning thousands of years.

Despite its age, the access to the Forbidden City is good with the attraction offering six of the eight accessibility factors that were looked at. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Forbidden City accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - Yes
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Great Wall of China

Location: China

When it comes to iconic attractions around the world, they don’t come much bigger than the Great Wall of China, literally and figuratively. The Great Wall is China’s most famous landmark and one of the most towering feats of human engineering in history. This series of fortifications dates back to 220 BC with most of the wall you see today stemming from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it was erected in China’s historical northern borders to protect the nation from nomadic peoples. It’s a truly spectacular sight and well worth a place on any traveller’s bucket list.

While the Great Wall of China is an ancient structure and not designed with accessibility in mind, steps have been made to make it accessible. There are sections of the wall that can be visited by wheelchair users, including lifts to allow visitors up to the wall. Not all of the wall is accessible for wheelchair users but those with limited mobilities can certainly enjoy this special location. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Great Wall of China accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices – No (only for over 60s)
  • Assistance dog welcome - Yes
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available – No

Grand Palace

Location: Thailand

The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand is a stunning complex of buildings and it has been the official residence of the Kings of Thailand since 1782. The Grand Palace is used for official events and royal ceremonies and is divided into several quarters, featuring temples, pavilions, gardens, and courtyards. It is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions being open to the public as a museum while still remaining a working royal palace. One of the most important buildings of the Grand Palace is Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist temple and a certain highlight of any visit to this part of the world.

In terms of accessibility, those visiting in a wheelchair will find that they can enjoy general access to the palace grounds but that some of the temples will not be accessible with steps at the entrances. There are accessible toilets on site and wheelchairs available to borrow for those who need them. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Grand Palace, Bangkok accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes (for general access but not for some temples)
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

South America

 

Machu Picchu

Location: Peru

Machu Picchu in Peru is easily one of the most incredible attractions in South America. This majestic Incan citadel high up in the Andes Mountains is a breathtaking sight. Far from your typical tourist attraction, Machu Picchu is the remnants of a former civilisation, built in the 15th century before being abandoned. Reaching Machu Picchu is an adventure in its own right thanks to its mountainous location, but once there you will be treated to magnificent architecture, finds of enormous historical importance, and the most epic scenery imaginable.

Singing Machu Picchu’s praises, Lucie and Martin from travel blog Laidback Trip, share: “Both our trips to Machu Picchu were incredible. We believe that visiting Machu Picchu was one of the best things we've done in South America. It doesn't happen that over-hyped and overly visited places often (at least to us) live up to the expectations. Still, Machu Picchu not only lived up to our expectations, it completely exceeded them.”

As you might expect by the nature of this remote attraction, Machu Picchu isn’t particularly accessible to those with physical disabilities. It’s not impossible to experience it in a wheelchair, and there are discounted tickets available for visitors with disabilities, but help will be needed to experience the attraction. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Machu Picchu accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Iguazu Falls

Location: Argentina and Brazil

Iguazu Falls, located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and a truly incredible sight. It is possible to visit the falls from both sides of the border, being part of a national park in both Argentina and Brazil. You can enjoy trails, helicopter rides, and a train journey as ways to experience the falls. For an encounter with the magnificence of nature and the most phenomenal photography opportunities, Iguazu Falls is definitely one of South America’s premier attractions.

Jenna, from the blog, The Jenna Way, has been to Iguazu Falls and compared it favourable to visiting Niagara Falls in North America saying: “I have visited Niagara Falls before and I was a little disappointed. Particularly at the commercialism surrounding such a natural wonder. However, my visit to Iguazu Falls was completely different. I was blown away, and it was even more incredible than I had imagined it would be.”

While Iguazu Falls is a wild, natural attraction, efforts have been made to make it accessible for those in wheelchairs, with accessible entrances throughout the Argentina side, accessible toilets, and accessible paths. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Iguazu Falls accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Torres del Paine National Park

Location: Chile

If you are a fan of national parks and exploring nature, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile could very well already be on your to-do list. It is known for its spectacular views, towering mountains, and various other mesmerising geographical features. It is also home to rare wildlife such as the guanacos – a relative of the llama. This is a nature lover’s paradise and the perfect location for those seeking an active adventure.

There are many ways to experience this awesome location but Daniel, from the travel blog Destinationless Travel, opted for the W Trek and highly recommends it: “The Torres del Paine W Trek in Patagonia is one of the most famous hikes in the world – and for good reason! It is absolutely breathtaking from beginning to end.”

Due to the sheer ruggedness of this mammoth national park, it’s not an accessible location for those with limited mobility. However, it has been done before, and there are reduced ticket prices available for those determined to experience it for themselves. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Torres del Paine National Park accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - Yes
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Uyuni Salt Flat

Location: Bolivia

The Uyuni Salt Flat in the Andes of southwest Bolivia is the largest salt flat anywhere in the world. It was once a prehistoric lake but ultimately dried up, leaving behind this desert-like, 11,000 square kilometre landscape of striking white salt rock formations. It’s an incredible sight to witness, looking almost otherworldly in appearance, and has been used for movie settings like Star Wars for such reasons. When covered with water, the Salt Flat becomes the world’s largest mirror and is home to beautiful pink flamingos.  

In terms of accessibility, Uyuni Salt Flat is a wild, outdoor location and thus doesn’t possess the facilities of a museum, for example. However, there is wheelchair friendly transportation to the location available and the surface itself at Uyuni Salt Flat is wheelchair accessible. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Uyuni Salt Flat accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - Yes (transport to the salt flat is accessible)
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Christ the Redeemer

Location: Brazil

When it comes to Brazilian attractions and icons of South America, the conversation can’t be had without Christ the Redeemer, a towering statue of Jesus Christ situated high above the city of Rio de Janeiro. Constructed between 1922 and 1931 and perched on Corcovado Mountain, it is 30 metres high and has become a cultural icon for Brazil and a beloved symbol of Christianity the world over. It was even voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Christ the Redeemer’s mountainous location isn’t necessarily an obstacle to those with disabilities. To access the statue, you must go by van or train, and there is an escalator up to the statue itself, with disabled toilets available. Take a quick look at more accessibility information below.

Christ the Redeemer accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - Yes
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Africa

 

Kruger National Park

Location: South Africa

Africa is synonymous with stunning wildlife and at Kruger National Park, you can visit one of the continent’s largest animal preserves. Home to lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo, the park provides a truly special wildlife experience. Situated in South Africa, Kruger National Park is known as the country’s most exciting safari destination so if you ever wanted to witness Africa’s most sublime wildlife first-hand, this is the place to do it.

Erin, from the travel blog, Sol Salute, has been to Kruger National Park multiple times, sharing: “We’ve become quite obsessed with South Africa’s oldest and largest national park, spending 10 total days on safari there. And I have a sneaking feeling we’re far from done with this game park. Every time I get a flight alert for South Africa, it takes every ounce of my willpower not to cancel everything and plan the third safari in Kruger.”

National parks aren’t necessarily the most accessible locations to visit. However, Kruger National Park has made efforts to make itself accessible. There are specialist disability tour operators that visit, all the entrances in the camps to restaurants, shops, and receptions are ramped, and guide dogs are welcome. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Kruger National Park accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - Yes
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome -Yes
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - Yes

Mount Kilimanjaro

Location: Tanzania

When it comes to iconic mountains, Mount Kilimanjaro is certainly up there. Located in Tanzania, this iconic African attraction is the continent’s highest mountain and the tallest free-standing mountain anywhere in the world. The mountain is extremely popular both with experienced hikers and first-timers. Getting to the summit is considerably easier than other major mountains around the world and as a result, attracts a great deal of tourism. For those looking to dip their toes into mountain hiking, Kilimanjaro is an obvious choice.

The nature of Mount Kilimanjaro clearly doesn’t lend itself to accessibility for those with physical disabilities. Locations like this require strenuous effort to climb but that doesn’t mean those with other disabilities and special needs can’t attempt the summit themselves. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Mount Kilimanjaro accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome -No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Victoria Falls

Location: Zambia and Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world, found on the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is renowned for being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and while it might not be the tallest waterfall in existence, it does boast the world’s largest sheet of falling water thanks to its combined colossal height and width. As a result, a trip to see the falls for yourself is not something you are going to forget any time soon.  

Nicole, from the travel blog, Adventures of Nicole, has visited Victoria Falls on her own journey through Africa: “Victoria Falls is beyond impressive, called Mosi oa Tunya locally, meaning the smoke that thunders. It’s also an incredibly unique place - never did I ever think I’d have to wait for a police officer to escort me back to camp from the bar because of elephants roaming the streets in town (true story!).”

Victoria Falls is accessible to those in wheelchairs, especially from the Zimbabwean side, with a good path that runs along the entire length of the falls. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Victoria Falls accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available – Yes

Giza Pyramid Complex

Location: Egypt

Is there any attraction more recognisable in the world than the pyramids of Giza in Egypt? The Giza Pyramid Complex is one of the most popular bucket list destinations in the world, drawing in travellers from all over, across the centuries. Also called the Giza Necropolis, the site includes the famed Great Pyramid of Giza, two other large pyramids, and the endlessly photographed Great Sphinx of Giza. Built between 2600 and 2500 BC, the complex has fuelled imaginations the world over and is a site of extraordinary historical importance.

Sadly, the Giza Pyramid Complex wasn’t constructed at a time when accessibility was considered for those with disabilities, making it a challenge for some. However, the pyramids can certainly be enjoyed from the outside and you can get up close to the amazing Sphinx. Just don’t expect to find accessible entrances or toilets at the site. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Giza Pyramid Complex accessibility

  • Accessible entrances – No (but you can enjoy the pyramids and sphinx from outside)
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Serengeti National Park

Location: Tanzania

When one thinks of Africa and its spectacular wildlife, the name Serengeti comes instantly to mind. Located in Northern Tanzania, the Serengeti incorporates approximately 30,000 square kilometres of land, including the amazing Serengeti National Park. Home to massive herds of the most majestic animals, such as zebra, wildebeest and gazelles, the park sees the world’s largest annual overland migration. Lion conservation plays a big part in life at Serengeti National Park, with more than 3,000 living here. All of which means Serengeti National Park plays a crucial role in Africa’s ecosystem and protecting planet Earth’s animal population.

Seeing Serengeti National Park in person is a truly special experience but it does pose obstacles for those with access needs, after all, this is true wilderness. However, if you are comfortable in a vehicle, you can experience the park through incredible drive-in safaris. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Serengeti National Park accessibility

  • Accessible entrances – No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Antarctica

 

Vinson Massif

Location: Ellsworth Mountains

Vinson Massif is the highest peak in Antarctica and is one of the most popular attractions on the continent. The mountain is 660 nautical miles from the South Pole and it was discovered in the 1950s by U.S. Navy aircraft.

The peak is now a popular destination for Antarctic exploration and after it was first climbed in 1966 by an American team led by Nicholas Clinch, more than 1,400 climbers have attempted to reach the top of Mount Vinson.

Being one of the most remote mountains on earth, it is unsurprising that there are no accessible facilities at Vinson Massif. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Vinson Massif accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Blood Falls

Location: Victoria Land, East Antarctica

As the name suggests, this is a waterfall where the water that pours from it is blood-red. It is a five-story waterfall and the water streams out of the Taylor Glacier in the McMurdo Dry Valleys.

The reason the water is red is a fascinating one as approximately two million years ago, a body of water containing an ancient community of microbes was trapped below a thick layer of ice with no light or free oxygen and little heat. This trapped lake has high salinity and is rich in iron and it is this that makes the water red.

Being located on a glacier, it isn’t surprising that Blood Falls is not accessible to visitors with mobility issues. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Blood Falls accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Mount Erebus

Location: Ross Island


Mount Erebus is the second-highest volcano in Antarctica, standing at a height of 3,794 metres. It was discovered by Polar explorer James Ross back in 1841 and has since been visited by many explorers and adventurous travellers.

Mount Erebus is located on Ross Island, which is in the western Ross Sea, and it is the southernmost active volcano in the world. Despite being home to an active lava lake, there have only ever been minor eruptions, although scientists have said there is evidence to suggest it has had larger eruptions in the past.

Many cruises to the Antarctic don’t make it down as far south as this, but those that do often stop at Ross Island. Although there are some cruises that travel down this far, due to Mount Erebus being an active volcano, it is not set up with accessible facilities and it doesn’t offer any of the accessibility factors the study looked at. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Mount Erebus accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Paradise Bay

Location: near Lemaire and Bryde Islands on Antarctica’s west coast

Paradise Bay is a harbour near Lemaire and Bryde Islands on the Antarctic Peninsula’s west coast and it is surrounded by some spectacular frozen landscapes and it’s waters are home to whales and penguins.

Paradise Bay is one of only two harbours in Antarctica that is used as a stop for cruise ships and the only way you can get here is via a boat. There are also two scientific research bases located here and from here visitors can check out the ice floes by getting onto inflatable boats.

Cory Lee, a wheelchair user and travel blogger who runs the Curb Free With Cory Lee blog, has visited Antarctica and Paradise Bay and he spoke about some of the sights he saw: “We cruised through the Gerlache Strait, which had more icebergs than I have ever seen, and Paradise Bay. It was surreal to see so many icebergs, but our ship’s captain did a perfect job of getting us through some interesting areas. Luckily, despite the many icebergs, we didn’t have to fight over who could fit on a floating door in the water (à la Titanic).”

Although the cruise ships that travel to Paradise Bay are accessible to wheelchair users and those with mobility issues, due to the nature of the destination being such a wild region of the world, it isn’t very accessible and only offers accessible entrances as a result of the accessible cruise ships that dock at Paradise Bay. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Paradise Bay accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - Yes
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets – No (there are accessible toilets on the cruise ships)
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Cuverville Island

Location: Errera Channel

Located at the entrance of the Errera Channel is Cuverville Island, a rugged island that is home to a large colony of gentoo penguins. There is estimated to be over 6,000 breeding pairs of penguins, which makes it the largest rookery in Antarctica and has seen it recognised as an ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Area’ by BirdLife International.

Cuverville Island is renowned for its spectacular and rocky scenery, but this landscape is not accessible to visitors who need to use wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Take a quick look at more accessible information below.

Cuverville Island accessibility

  • Accessible entrances - No
  • Lifts available - No
  • Accessible toilets - No
  • Reduced ticket prices - No
  • Assistance dog welcome - No
  • Accessible parking - No
  • Carer tickets - No
  • Wheelchairs available - No

Iconic attractions around the world and their accessibility

Hopefully, you have enjoyed this tour around the world, looking at some of the most iconic attractions from all of Earth’s different continents, while also providing some insight into their level of accessibility.

While Europe’s iconic attractions are perhaps more traditionally accessible than most, it’s great to see the efforts made by some of the more rugged, outdoor attractions around the world to make these locations accessible where possible. Hopefully, the level of accessibility of the world’s most famous attractions will only continue to improve in the future.

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.