Walking Tours in a Wheelchair?

It seems an oxymoron that I did so many walking tours when in actual fact I cannot walk. However I found them a great way to see a city. They let you orientate yourself with your new surrounds and tell you the history and stories of places that you wouldn’t of otherwise known. They go into extreme detail and often go to places that are not  mentioned in a guidebook. They are also a great way to meet other travellers.

It took me a while to get the confidence to go on a walking tour. I thought the predetermined route would have too many steps, the guides wouldn’t be understanding, I would miss out on too much or I would hold everyone up. I did my first walking tour in Munich with a friend and I learned so much, so after that I did a walking tour in almost every place I visited.

A few tips;

  • Make sure you join the ‘free walking tours’. I did one walking tour in Nuremberg where I had to pay upfront and it was extremely inaccessible.
  • Talk to the guide before you start about what the tour is going to be like and they can advise you on whether it’s suitable or not.
  • Because the tour is technically free, if it is not accessible enough you can leave half way through the tour (just let your guid know)
  • Sometimes the guide will cross a road where there is no curb and guttering – don’t be afraid to break away from the group for a quick minute so you can find an alternative path
  • Because the tours usually stop a lot the pace is quite slow so it’s easy to keep up and there is usually a halfway point where you can rest.
  • I usually made sure I stayed at the front of the group close to the guide so they could see if I was struggling over a certain cobblestone street or kerb.
  • Don’t forget to tip your guide at the end – even though the tour is technically free they work on a pay what you think basis and this is often the main income source for most of the guides. In most of the walking tours the guides go out of their way to make sure you get the most out of it so its definitely worth the tip .
  • The best way to find them is to google ‘free walking tours’ in your current city. They usually run from a centre square or famous monument and often begin around 10-11 am. The guides are often holding a brightly coloured umbrella so are  not hard to miss.
  • Often the hostel will have information on a free walking tour and they may be able to help in regards to accessibility as well.

 

 

3 comments

  1. Jeanne

    I have been reading all your posts! I love walking tours – my favourite thing in the city but I find often the paid ones are more professional, better qualified. I think it is a bit unfair to extrapolate from one paid tour that they are all the same. Unlike the free ones, they are usually not part of a multi-national but are privately-owned, totally independent small businesses. (and I love Nuremberg as well!)

    Reply

  2. cdw_264@hotmail.com

    Hi Jeanne,
    Thanks for your comment. I think as a wheelchair user I preferred the free tours because if they were inaccessible I could just leave without having to pay up front. But that was just my feeling, I also only did one paid one so couldn’t really compare the two.
    Thanks so much for reading.

    Reply

  3. Amanda

    That seems very interesting, quite an adventure I would say for a person with disabilities. I am sure my son will not like this. But we would like to give it a try.

    Reply

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