Relaxing vacations are great for unwinding and taking things slow, but for adrenaline seekers, there are plenty of wheelchair accessible experiences in Europe. Wheelchair users and others with mobility limitations will find the following 5 activities exciting and enjoyable. From a hot air balloon ride over a volcano to dog sledding, scuba diving, paragliding, and even skiing, there’s an adventurous activity in Europe for everyone no matter their accessibility needs.
Hot air ballooning in Catalonia
Catalonia is a region of Spain where the capital city is Barcelona. This location is a beautiful destination for a range of vacations, from relaxing to finding your own adventure. A great adventurous outdoor activity is hot air ballooning over a volcano and it is accessible through the company Vol De Coloms in Santa Pau. This specific hot air balloon ride soars over the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone National Park, providing amazing views of the volcanoes below. The ride itself lasts a couple of hours and offers beverages on board.
This wheelchair accessible ballooning experience was fairly simple. The balloon basket itself has a door that opens like a gate, giving access to the interior without having to climb over the side of the basket. Wheelchair users need to be lifted into a seat inside of the basket, either with the assistance of staff or through the use of a sling if you choose to bring one. The seat inside of the basket has a seatbelt, along with a remote to raise the seat once the ride has begun. This allows the user to view over the edge of the basket.
Husky dog sledding in Finland
Finland is quite the experience in winter, as the temperatures are very cold and the snowy landscape makes it the perfect destination for an adventurous vacation. Taking an adaptive husky-safari offers you the chance to explore dog sledding life in real time, complete with the natural landscape and weather. The company Matrocks Oy uses an adaptive bus to visit the location where wheelchair users are lifted into sleds and taken on a 1km dog sled ride. Some wheelchair users may need to be supported or balanced in the sled by another person.
This wheelchair accessible experience is split into two parts, the adaptive bus ride to the location, which is fully wheelchair accessible, and the dog sledding itself. Visitors will need to navigate the weather from the bus to the sleds, which means tackling the cold and navigating snow in the wheelchair. Once at the destination, wheelchair users are lifted into the sledge for the ride. The cold and weather during your visit may impact how you interact or enjoy the ride, but it is an adventure of a lifetime and is worth the snowy setting.
Paragliding in Iceland
Tandem paragliding is an amazing way to take to the sky and explore Iceland from above. The view provides great opportunities to take photos and experience a unique adventure. The company, True Adventure, has strived to “take accessibility to the skies” and offer a tandem paragliding experience to allow anyone with mobility impairment the ability to experience the same freedom and calm paragliding provides. The technology was created by this company, focusing on the experience of paragliding, paired with the ability to keep those with mobility impairment feeling free and secure while in the air.
This wheelchair accessible experience is very compliant, as the entire experience was designed for wheelchair users. There is a transfer required, from the wheelchair to the Flying Chair, which is a lounge style wheeled chair with space on the back for the paraglider to ride with the wheelchair user. There is a pod harness, which supports the rider and keeps them warm, which is an issue for both the location, the altitude, and using a pod helps keep everyone comfortable.
Scuba diving in Malta
Scuba diving is a great opportunity to get into the ocean and explore beyond the beach. It’s a fun way to interact with the natural environment and learn about the local wildlife, along with the perfect opportunity to take photographs and get a good workout in. The wheelchair accessible experience of scuba diving can be completely accessible, depending on your situation, as there are several companies that include disabled Scuba Diving as part of their offerings. Diving in Malta is a fun way to get your feet wet and try your hand at a new experience.
The Dawn Diving Training Academy is a certified diving centre in Malta that is also a Disabled Divers International (DDI) centre. This location offers a range of classes and courses to help get your certification in scuba diving and on your way to exploring the ocean. Dawn Diving works with first time divers, as well as experienced and skilled divers to work with you to reach the certification you’re aiming for. Typical classes start at the diving centre and move to the outdoor launch, where you can receive assistance with your wetsuit and carrying gear down the ramp to reach the water.
Adaptive skiing in Switzerland
Lastly, and one of the more well-known adventurous activities in Europe that is totally accessible, is skiing in Switzerland. Skiing can be adapted on almost any mountain, but the opportunity to ski in Switzerland in the Alps is an amazing experience. Skiing is a popular activity in Switzerland and for those looking to get out in the snow and on the trail, there’s a perfect opportunity with the Ski2Freedom Foundation and Mountains 4 All.
This wheelchair accessible experience is accessible when working with a company like Mountains 4 All because they are connected to many resorts and tourist offices to provide visitors with a skiing experience. They also know that everyone’s needs are unique and specific, so they offer a range of Inclusive and Accessible Mountain Experiences, allowing you to find the right package that fits your needs and provides the excursion you’re looking for.
Now you can plan your next adventurous vacation with some destinations and activities in mind. Whether you’re looking for cold weather extreme sports to warm weather excursions that take you deep below the ocean or high above the clouds, there are adventurous activities in Europe that are accessible for everyone.
Browse more of our accessible blog posts:
- Why Scandinavia May Be the Most Accessible Region in the World
- 5 European Cities to Enjoy an Accessible Winter
- How to Prepare for Travel During Covid-19
- 7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Visiting 7 Continents as a Wheelchair User
- Helsinki accessible travel guide to disabled friendly holidays
- 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tenerife in a Wheelchair
- 3 Accessible Christmas Markets That Will Spark Your Holiday Spirit
- 3 Accessible Holiday Destinations for Winter Sun
About the Author:
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.