Budapest for disabled visitors
In recent years, Budapest has made great strides in ensuring that both the capital’s residents and any tourists with disabilities and special needs can plan their time in the city without any hindrance. Whether using public transport or having step-free access to tourist attractions, it is now easier for everyone to enjoy a trouble-free day.
In Budapest, parking places reserved for persons with disabilities are close to the entrance of the establishments and marked with a wheelchair symbol. Parking is free of charge, but displaying the parking card is obligatory. Most public transport, that is the bus and tram lines, has step-free access for those with reduced mobility. All stations on the city’s newest underground line (M4), which went into operation in 2014, can be reached by lift, including the two stations connecting the two banks of the Danube, Gellért and Fővam Square. But why highlight these two stations? They had already won one of the most prestigious international architectural awards the year they were constructed, so it’s worth including them on a sightseeing tour of Budapest.
The expanding selection of step-free hotels and restaurants is due to the awareness with which many new investments are planned, but many of Budapest’s historic buildings also welcome wheelchair users or other visitors with reduced mobility, and are now equipped with lifts, ramps and other barrier-free solutions.
The list of such historic buildings should start with the two most grandiose, St Stephen’s Basilica and the Parliament, both boasting lifts enabling visitors with disabilities to admire their majestic interior spaces. There is also step-free access to the Buda Castle District using the popular Sikló funicular or the lifts in various places. The same goes for the splendid Castle Garden (Várkert Bazár) at the foot of the castle hill, where culture meets nature, and which also makes an excellent event and conference venue.
To name just a few more examples, Margaret Island, a green oasis on the Danube (with its conference and thermal hotels), the area around Heroes’ Square, including the museums at its edges, the Budapest Zoo and the Széchenyi Thermal Bath all have step-free access.
Although visitors are not yet able to visit all the capital’s sights barrier-free, the long list of experiences and locations that are now accessible to everyone demonstrates a shift in attitude; moreover, the possibilities are continually expanding.
With some careful preparation, it’s easy to plan an obstacle-free day, whether in a small group or at a spacious location suitable for hundreds of people. Besides the city’s dozens of accommodation options and restaurants, you can also plan events at unusual venues such as Budapest’s largest event boat, the breathtaking Central Market Hall or the eye-catching monumental building on the Danube bank, the Pesti Vigadó.