I recently organised a trip for some of my clients with mobility issues to Amsterdam and Brussels and it struck me how perfect these cities can be for a stress-free, highly accessible trip for those who are disabled. Holidays to these two European capitals are full of photo opportunities, quirky attractions and captivating culture which, with a bit of planning by a specialist travel company like ours, can be accessible to all. |
Here is the itinerary I’d recommend for a week-long break to these two fascinating cities.
Four Nights in Amsterdam
I suggest letting my team book you into the modern, stylish DoubleTree, Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station for your stay in the city – it’s one of our favourites. This centrally located hotel (which we have personally tested to meet our high accessibility standards) is a great choice for anyone with disabilities and many of our clients have given us great feedback about it.
With its 25 double mobility rooms with grab rails, wheel-in showers, shower chairs, wider doors and a raft of other accessible features, the hotel really does its utmost best to look after guests who are disabled. Holidays in the DoubleTree feel special thanks to its features including a SkyLounge rooftop terrace with bar and live music, stylish décor, and an excellent onsite restaurant.
Seeing the Sights
While the main sights in Amsterdam are largely accessible, you may encounter some difficulty getting to them due to areas of cobbled streets and a small number of bridges which are not yet wheelchair friendly. You can avoid all these issues, of course, by letting us arrange a beautiful canal cruise around the city for you. The boats have ramps for wheelchair users and audio guides, and they’re a great way to see the sights without worrying about how to get from place to place.
Other key accessible sights to check out are:
• The I Amsterdam Sign and Museumplein • The Rijksmuseum • The Van Gogh Museum • Vondelpark (with its Picasso sculpture ‘The Fish’) • Basilica of St. Nicholas
All of Amsterdam’s museums provide wheelchair access, except the Anne Frank museum.
On to Brussels
In the capital of The Netherlands’ neighbour, Belgium, I would suggest staying at the Novotel Brussels off Grand Place Hotel. On my last visit I was impressed by its reduced mobility rooms, wheelchair access throughout, accessible bathrooms, and a range of reduced mobility facilities. It is also right in the heart of the city, just a short distance from the iconic main square and the Royal Palace, making it easier to get around.
While Brussels can present a challenge to those with mobility issues, with its cobbled streets and ancient buildings with lots of steps and no lift access, it can still be a great place to visit if you’re disabled. Holidays to the city for those with mobility issues just require a little bit more planning, so let my expert team put together the perfect Brussels package and take the stress out of seeing the sights.
• Grand Place – Okay, there are a lot of cobblestones, but the uncomfortable journey will be worth it to drink in the atmosphere at the beating heart of the city. • Manneken Pis – You won’t believe how many tourists bustle around this two foot statue of a boy having a wee! But it is a great selfie opportunity. • Mont des Arts – All three levels of this beautiful embankment are wheelchair accessible and give great views of the city. • Atomium¬¬ – The focal point of 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels is now an icon of the city and worth taking a look at, although access inside is limited.
I’d suggest starting your dual-city break in Amsterdam. We can include either a flight or a train journey into your holiday package; the Eurostar train goes to Amsterdam (you will need to change trains twice and the journey time is around five and a half hours), and a flight with a reliable airline will take around one hour and 15 minutes.
The flight time from Amsterdam to Brussels is only 45 minutes, but I’d advise to go for the fast train option, which will take one hour and 51 minutes. Former clients found this a very agreeable mode of transport which allows you to appreciate the view of the countryside from your comfortable seat at the same time!
Returning from Brussels to London we can arrange a direct Eurostar with no changes, which will get you to Central London in only about 2 hours. Or we’ll book you a flight with a flight time of one hour and 15 minutes – whichever option you choose, you will be back in the comfort of your home within no time.
There is so much to discover in these beautiful cities! This short break will probably leave you with an appetite to come back for more now that you know how inviting they can be to visitors who are disabled. Holidays to Brussels and Amsterdam are always popular amongst our clients, so let us help you explore these beautiful capitals of North-Western Europe.
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in disabled holidays across the world for individuals and groups who are travelling with a handicap. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.
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