Munich Disabled Access Review
By John Sage
Munich, one of my favorite cities in Germany, offers disabled visitors royal palaces, outstanding art museums, Gothic churches, beer gardens and so much more.
With generally flat terrain and mostly paved (rather than cobbled) streets, wheelchair users and mobility scooter users will find Munich disabled access better than many other European cities. Nevertheless, some accessibility barriers do exist: long distances between some tourist attractions, few accessible hotels in the old city center, and limited accessibility public transportation routes between the tourist sights.
Best Aspects of Munich Disabled Access
Many sights are within walking/rolling distance of each other – Munich has numerous accessible attractions worth visiting and many of them are located in the old city center. The old city center is defined by the remnants of the old city wall indicated by the blue line below. The East-West blue line is the main pedestrian shopping street called Neuhauserstrasse which is 1.3 km (0.8 miles) in length.
Inside the old city center you will find the many tourist attractions including Odeonplatz (shown below on the left), Viktualienmarkt (shown below on the right), the Residenz, and Marienplatz.
Much of public transport is accessible – Tram accessibility is generally good (photos of the wheelchair ramp shown below), and many of the metro stations have elevators (although you should check that they are operational at your destination station before getting on the train).
Lack of hills – Wheelchair users, mobility scooter users, and any other travelers with mobility issues will appreciate that Munich is generally flat.
Modern buildings – Most of the buildings in the city center were bombed in WWII. Consequently, the rebuilt buildings are a positive feature of Munich disabled access. An example is a side entrance with a wheelchair ramp leading to a flat entrance at the door into the Frauenkirche church (shown below).
Most Challenging Aspects of Munich Disabled Access
Cobblestones in Munich – Several streets in the Munich city center have cobblestones. Some are severe (like the ones shown in the upper left) while others are milder (shown in the upper right and the lower left). A potential additional obstacle are the tram tracks that cut through some of the cobblestones (shown in the lower right).
Public transportation in old city center – Inside the old city center, there are few buses for disabled visitors to use. Additionally, the metro lines which lead to attractions outside the city center could have elevators that are out of order which would cause problems for disabled passengers. In Munich, I find myself wheeling my manual wheelchair around town more than other cities.
Some tourist sights require transportation to reach – Two of the main tourist sights, the Nymphenburg Palace (shown below on the left) and the Dachau Concentration Camp (shown below on the right) are located on the outskirts of town and require accessible transportation to reach.
Lack of accessible hotels in Old Town – Inside the old town, there are few hotels with accessibility features like space on both sides of the bed (shown below on the left) and roll-in showers (shown below on the right).
Finding accessible restrooms in Old Town – Finding accessible restrooms in the city center can be difficult and time consuming. This example shown below was located near the old town hall and required sending someone up the stairs to get a key from the staff to activate the wheelchair lift up to the lobby level.
This accessible restroom at the new town hall required a Euro Key or assistance from the bathroom staff to open the wheelchair gate.
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