Winter is the perfect time to plan an escape from the winter monotony at home and enjoy a European city. Whether you’re looking for something warmer along the beach or want to fully embrace the freeze of the snow, have an accessible winter getaway in one of these European destinations to fulfil your dreams.
These 5 European cities are perfect to escape to in winter, as they offer plenty of wheelchair accessible activities. From visiting the beach, exploring the shore, or experiencing the awe-inspiring natural landscape, you’ll have no shortage of things to do.
A few on this list give you a warm place to take a break from the cold, while others embrace the snow with amazing destinations that have a geothermal spa, beautiful cityscape, and museums to learn about the local history.
You may not be familiar with Tenerife, but it is Spain’s largest Canary Island and is home to amazing beaches, in addition to its tallest peak, Mt. Teide. For a winter destination, this is perfect for a beach vacation, as Playa Las Vistas is a wheelchair accessible beach. This location is warm throughout the year and is a popular beach destination from the months of December to March.
Wheelchair accessibility at Las Vistas includes a wide promenade for easy access, as well as a deck on the beach, so you can be on the beach without dealing with the sand. There are also beach wheelchairs and amphibious wheelchairs that float, so you can explore the beach and even get in the water.
Beyond the beach, Tenerife has a variety of wheelchair accessible activities, from visiting museums that explore natural history and art to photo opportunities with local architecture and connecting with nature through national parks and hikes. There’s even an accessible excursion to visit the tallest peak to tour the volcano with the use of a guided driving tour. The city is accessible as well with opportunities to shop and for a break, rest in the public park located in the centre of the city for a fun garden experience.
Gibraltar is a territory of Great Britain that shares a border with Spain and is at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula. This location makes it a great European city destination because of its weather, year-round climate, and amazing natural landscape.
As a destination, Gibraltar is most known for The Rock of Gibraltar, which is a large limestone rock formation at the tip of the peninsula. This is a very popular location, as it’s a sight to see and document with photographs. Most people will scale or walk up the rock, as driving is not allowed, but wheelchair users are permitted to hire a taxi or service to drive them to the top. You may also want to hire a tour through the Gibraltar Taxi Association, which will give you a two to four-hour tour of the rock and the city.
Beyond the rock, there is a lot to do in the small city, from exploring caves and tunnels to shopping and dining. Other popular excursions include visiting the cathedral, the marina, and the beach.
If you’re looking for a cold European destination with lots to see and do while surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, Oslo just may be the place for you. The winter months are typically cold and the temperature hovers around freezing, especially in January and February, but there are so many amazing things to see and do here regardless of the weather.
Visiting during the winter is cold in Oslo, so the best way to learn about the city as well as the history is through visiting the range of museums within Oslo. The Viking Ship Museum celebrates the history of the vikings, in what is now known as Norway. Exhibits include excavated pieces of viking ships to a full ship that was preserved whole. The Fram Museum showcases the Norwegian explorers that sailed to the Arctic, and the Oslo City Museum highlights the cultural history of the area along with the city’s development over time.
A great European city to visit any time of year is Reykjavik, Iceland, where there are unique experiences to be had throughout the year. The winter months are cold, but above freezing usually and there are amazing opportunities to connect with the location and the natural landscape here.
One of the coolest things to do in Reykjavik is to visit the Blue Lagoon. This is a geothermal spa 15 minutes outside of the airport, which makes it the perfect place to relax when you arrive or to stop before you leave. The natural spa experience can start with a soothing soak and a facial or become a custom spa treatment session if you’d like. The Blue Lagoon is very wheelchair accessible with adapted bathrooms, changing rooms, and ramped entry into the water itself. Visiting the Blue Lagoon is a must for any trip to Iceland, as it’s a completely unique experience.
Another great European city to escape to this winter is Helsinki. The city is beautiful during the winter months with fresh fallen snow coating the buildings and landscape. It’s an amazing place to take a driving tour of, especially when you first arrive. Not only is it beautiful, but it also gives you a great opportunity to understand the city’s layout and document places that catch your eye to visit later.
Helsinki is definitely a city to explore even though it’s cold! Bundle up and enjoy the parks, along with Sibelius Monument, a very popular tourist attraction. Another fun destination is Suomenlinna sea fortress, which requires a quick accessible ferry ride to visit the island. Touring the island with a guide gives so much insight into the location. Don’t let the cold weather and chance of snow stop you from enjoying the city, as it’s a must-see and is actually a ton of fun in the winter months.
These European cities are the perfect destinations to escape to in winter, as each of these 5 are wheelchair accessible and provide unique and fun opportunities to explore a new place. Whether you’d like to relax at the beach or visit a spa or learn about the local culture, these cities have plenty of opportunities to break up your long winter and give you a fun destination to visit. Most of these destinations embrace the cold and offer a new way to both approach the weather and enjoy the season.
Browse more of our accessible blog posts:
- 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.