It’s increasingly important for cities to try to cater to visitors with disabilities, but which cities are the most accessible?
It’s estimated that around 1 billion people around the world live with some form of disability, so it’s more important than ever that cities are made as accessible as possible so that they can be enjoyed by all.
From disabled parking spaces to making sure that visitor attractions, hotels and restaurants are accessible, there are lots of measures that can be taken.
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But which of the world’s most visited cities can claim to be the best for visitors with disabilities?
Our mortgage experts have ranked the 20 most visited cities in the world on the following factors to find out:
Hotels that are wheelchair accessible
Restaurants that are wheelchair accessible
Things to do that are wheelchair accessible
City centre car parks with disabled spaces
Accessibility information on tourism website
1. Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Taking the top spot as the most accessible city is the Irish capital, Dublin. The city is home to many historic buildings such as Dublin Castle and St Patrick’s Cathedral, but it’s also very wheelchair friendly.
Dublin had one of the most accessible airports of the 20 most visited cities and also has a very high number of disabled parking spaces, with 74% of city-centre car parks having disabled spaces.
2. New York City, United States
New York is one of the most visited cities in the world and an important commercial, financial and cultural centre, but it’s also very friendly for wheelchair users.
As well as JFK being a very disabled-friendly airport, NYC also has the highest percentage of hotels that are wheelchair accessible, with 36%.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Joining New York in joint second place is Amsterdam, scoring highly across the board for accessibility.
Many of the city’s attractions, including boat tours of the canals, can be accessed by wheelchair users, with Amsterdam Schiphol also being one of the most accessible airports in the world.
Hotels that are wheelchair accessible - New York City (36%)
Many hotels now offer accessible rooms that are made easier for disabled guests to use, with special features such as wider doorways and lowered desks, as well as lifts and ramp access.
The city with the highest percentage of these accessible hotels is New York, where just over a third of hotels are wheelchair accessible.
Restaurants that are wheelchair accessible - Florence (51%)
All three of the cities with the highest percentage of wheelchair-friendly restaurants are located in Italy, a country known for its incredible food.
Florence had the highest percentage overall, with just over a half of the restaurants in the Tuscan city being accessible by wheelchairs.
Things to do that are wheelchair accessible - Berlin (43%)
Berlin has a number of things to see and do that reflect its turbulent history, such as the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate.
A lot of these can be accessed by visitors in wheelchairs, with 43% of the city’s attractions being labelled as wheelchair friendly.
City centre car parks with disabled spaces - Los Angeles (96%)
By far the city centre that has the highest percentage of car parks with disabled spaces is Los Angeles, where 96% of parking lots in the city centre have disabled spaces.
The top 20 most visited cities in the world according to Euromonitor International's Top 100 City Destinations Index 2021 were analysed on the following factors, with each city being given a normalised score out of ten for each factor, before taking an average across each of the scores.
Accessible hotel rooms
The number of hotel rooms listed on Tripadvisor that have ‘wheelchair access’ listed under the amenities filter, as a percentage of the total number of hotels listed.
The number of restaurants listed on Tripadvisor that have ‘wheelchair accessible’ listed under the restaurant features filter, as a percentage of the total number of restaurants listed.
Accessible tourist attractions
The percentage of attractions listed on Get Your Guide that are marked as being ‘wheelchair accessible’.
Accessible car parks
The percentage of the 50 car parks closest to the city centre that have disabled spaces according to Parkopedia.
Whether the city’s biggest airport offers each of the following, according to the airport’s website:
Facilities for the hard of hearing, blind, and partially sighted
Self-identification programme for hidden disabilities
Whether the city’s tourism website has detailed information for disabled access. Full sources for the airport accessibility and accessibility information sections can be viewed here.
James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC.
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.