Zurich Switzerland Disabled Access Review
By John Sage
Cobblestones and hills make Zurich disabled access difficult for some wheelchair users and mobility scooter users, but there is still plenty for disabled visitors to see and do. Beautiful churches, guild houses, and lakeside views make Zurich an enjoyable stop during an accessible European vacation.
Zurich is quite charming but also small enough that you can visit it in a couple of days before moving on to your next destination. I recommend a minimum of one and a half days.
- Day 1 – In the morning, take a train from your previous destination (possibly Munich, Interlaken, or Salzburg). Spend the afternoon at the Swiss National Museum learning about the history and culture of the country. Enjoy an evening out in the Old Town
- Day 2 – Take an accessible Zurich walking tour in the morning. After lunch, take an accessible boat ride on Lake Zurich. Spend the rest of your day visiting churches and other museums. Spend your evening in the Old Town.
Before you arrive in Zurich, be sure to book your accessible walking/rolling tour in advance. If not, you may encounter some steep hills and steps by joining a last-minute group tour.
Best Aspects of Zurich Disabled Access
Beautiful historic city that can be enjoyed from the sidewalk and streets – Much of what makes Zurich an attractive destinations for tourists are the buildings and neighborhoods themselves. Walking/rolling around the city provides for some great photo opportunities.
Some trams are accessible – Zurich has two types of trams. The newer ones have flat wheelchair access and are shown below.
Sidewalk ramps – Zurich disabled access includes sidewalk ramps at many of the street intersection. Wheelchair users can use these ramps instead of having to go up and down curbs. Examples near the Zurich train station are shown below.
Few severe cobblestones – While some areas of Zurich have many cobblestones, few of these cobblestones are what I would call “severe” cobblestones which are uneven and difficult for many manual wheelchair users. The photo below shows an example of severe Zurich cobblestones.
Short distances in old town – Zurich’s old town is possible to visit on foot, by wheelchair, or by mobility scooter. Most of the tourist attractions are located between the Zurich train station and the lake. One of the main streets, Bahnhofstrasse, is approximately 1.2 km long (0.75 mile) and shown in the map below.
Some accessible public toilets – Zurich wheelchair access includes some public toilets that are wheelchair accessible. The accessible public toilet shown below is located near the Rathausbridge.
Easy train connections to Lyon, Munich, Salzburg, Interlaken, Milan, and Venice– Zurich is quite centrally located in Europe. By booking direct trains or booking trains with one or two changes, disabled travelers can easily reach destinations in Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and beyond. Some popular locations are shown in the map below.
Most Challenging Aspects of Zurich Disabled Access
Steep hills in Zurich Old Town – Wheelchair access in several areas of the Zurich Old Town is made difficult by some steep hills. These include areas west of the Limmat River (shown below on the left) and areas east of the Limmat River (shown below on the right).
Not all trams are accessible – Wheelchair access on some Zurich trams is poor. The older trams have two steps to enter and a metal handrail in the middle of the doorway. To save time, before your trip you should determine which tram routes you want to use to visit tourist sights and whether or not they meet your accessibility needs.
Cobblestones in many parts of city – Many parts of the city have cobblestones. The size and unevenness of the cobblestones can vary. A couple of examples are shown below.
Some river boat docks have stairs – Boat and lake cruises are popular for many visitors to Zurich. Unfortunately some boat docks on the river have stairs. A boat dock on the west side of the river is shown on the left, and a boat dock on the east side of the right is shown on the right.
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