-by Philip Scott
am a big advocate of winter vacations and particularly for families with young kids. It is a great way to escape home for a short break, while getting into the festive spirit at the same time. Europe is the perfect place for a winter break as it is not too far from home and there are a handful of charming, picturesque cities which come to life over the holidays.
Europe is home to a few wonderful Christmas markets, which all have a unique and magical atmosphere. Here are a few of the best, where measures have been taken to ensure that wheelchair travel is as simple and stress-free as possible.
The Grote Markt – Bruges, Belgium
This fairytale-esque city has an electric atmosphere during the winter months and it has a superb Christmas market which runs from November 18th through to January 1st. A pretty ice-rink lies in the centre, which is surrounded by cosy wooden chalets selling many different festive items. The city centre is largely flat, but many of the streets are cobbled so wheelchair travel is possible, but not smooth in certain areas.
Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark
You are sure to get into the festive spirit by heading north to Copenhagen, which becomes a winter wonderland in the run-up to Christmas. You may well get some snow here too! The world-famous Tivoli Gardens are a must visit, with a spectacular Christmas market taking place between November 19th and December 31st.
The market is bursting with festive cheer as you stroll along cosy chalets selling their handmade items, roasted almonds and homemade doughnuts. Around every other corner you might just bump into entertainment shows, glittering decorations or even a Santa’s grotto. The market also has easy access for wheelchairs and disabled facilities throughout.
Charlottenburg Palace – Berlin, Germany
Berlin has many great Christmas markets, but Charlottenburg is the most impressive. The palace and surrounding area are all lit up beautifully, the countless stalls and chalets sell all kinds of items, and there is an open-air winter restaurant. This creates a brilliant and fun atmosphere which you and your kids are sure to enjoy.
Ramps are available so that the tents can be accessed and there is an accessible toilet at the western entrance.
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square– Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is another picturesque European city that has a few markets to choose from. The Old Town Square market is held in the heart of the city and has an enormous Christmas tree, dozens of stalls and live music. Watch your kids go all excited stroking the animals whilst admiring the impressive surroundings, with the iconic Church of Our Lady before Tyn overlooking the square. The market is all level and has easy wheelchair access.
5 minutes down the road is Wenceslas Square. Here, you can let your eyes be dazzled by the bright decorations, shop for handcrafted goods at the wooden huts, taste delicious food that’s freshly cooked, and have a local beer – all under the shadow of the large Christmas tree which dominates the scene. Wheelchair travel is also made easy at this market.
These winter markets, which are amongst my personal favourites for accessibility, are sure to get your family in the festive spirit. In addition to the markets, these cities all have plenty of great sights and activities to keep you entertained. To find out about accessibility and wheelchair travel in these cities, give me a call today – and Merry Christmas!
About the Author:
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in wheelchair travel across the world for individuals and groups travelling with a disability. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks, 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.