What’s the first thing coming up on your mind, if I say Austria? Probably: Vienna, Salzburg, Mozart, waltz, mountains, Christmas markets and, of course, Sachertorte! In conclusion, a lot of reasons to visit this small country, rich in fascination and history. But is it also accessible to who has “special needs”? the answer is yes, starting from public transport.
Whether you pick airplane or train to get there, Austria will welcome you in fully accessible airports and railway stations, also thanks, in many cases, to huge interventions made in these last years to make them suitable for both motoric and sensory disabled people needs. Urban public transport is almost totally accessible, both in Vienna and Salzburg, that was awarded at the most accessible city in Europe back in 2011: buses equipped with lowered platforms, to help passengers hop on (in addition to the standard ramps allowing passengers on wheelchair to hop on and off), are the standard everywhere; almost all subway stations are equipped with elevators and paths for blind passengers. Do you prefer moving using a private car? For disabled people, many city parking areas are free, showing the appropriate symbol on the car windscreen.
The commitment to ensure the highest accessibility standards also expands to museums and touristic attractions. Do you want to live the atmosphere of Vienna during the era of Princess Sissi? The magnificent Schönbrunn realm is equipped both with steps-free accesses and elevator and offers the chance to benefit, upon request, from touristic tours suitable for your specific disability. Do you want to visit the Belvedere? Disabled people and their companions can benefit from discounts on the entrance ticket, tactile paths for blind people and reserved elevators. And the same is valid for many of the most famous museums, both in Vienna and in Salzburg.
But Austria is also among the countries which contributed more to the classical music history. Why don’t you take the chance to attend a concert of the Wiener Philarmoniker (they also play for free, once a year, in front of Schönbrunn castle) or to visit the houses where lived geniuses of the calibre of Beethoven and Mozart, without forgetting about Schubert and Haydn? In many cases, those buildings are accessible also to who has a reduced mobility and guide-dogs for blind visitors are always welcome.
Would you like to taste the local cuisine (and its very well-known patisserie)? A lot of restaurants, cafés and nightclubs are fully accessible to disabled people as well. And, should you be passionate for Christmas markets, you’re in the right place: in Austria, you’re only spoilt for choice, among so many options.
Enjoy your holiday!