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Hills

Europe has cities that are completely flat, super steep, and everything in between. Check the accessibility ratings page or topographic map below to get an idea of where the flat parts of Europe are. Some flat, larger cities in Europe include London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Bruges, and Copenhagen.  During medieval times, cities were built on hilltops to protect the people from neighboring towns and “barbarians” such as the Goths and Visigoths. These medieval towns can be quite steep and include great tourist destinations such as Toledo in Spain, Rothenberg in Germany, and Les Baux de Provence in France.  Another famous tourist destination is the result of a different approach to protecting the people from the barbarians….Venice was built on dozens of islands!

The steepness of hills varies across Europe and so does the steepness of manmade ramps. Many (but certainly not all) entrances into buildings have ramps to get around steps. These ramps can be slight slopes similar to standards in the United States (particularly in the UK) while some ramps can be quite steep to get up a couple of steps

The rating system that I use to describe slopes is below:

5 Star Sage Flatness – Completely flat. I can sit in my wheelchair without my brakes on and I’m not going anywhere.

4 Star Sage Flatness – Small slope. Level 4 slopes are ADA-level steepness or less. (The ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, requires that ramps be 12 ft long for every 1 ft tall). I can go up level 4 slopes without needing to rest, although if I do it a lot during a day I will have sore shoulders.

3 Star Sage Flatness – Medium slope.  These slopes are steeper than an ADA-level slope but can still be done by someone in a wheelchair without help. I definitely break a sweat going up one of these hills but can do it without having to stop to rest.

2 Star Sage Flatness – Severe slope. This is the steepest category of slopes. Most of these require someone to help push me up the slope. I can get up some of them by myself, but I will have to stop and rest frequently.   Hills with these slopes are mainly present in cities built during medieval times on hilltops such as Edinburgh, Prague, and Toledo.

1 Star Sage Flatness – Steps. Hills this steep aren’t paved and instead have steps.

Topographic Map of Europe

Topographic map of Europe

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