5 Unusual Destinations To Add To Your Bucket List This Year
The great British explorer Sir Richard Burton once said, “The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” While the UK remains one of the most accessible places in the world, many wheelchair users are desperate to spread their wings and explore far-off destinations. Wheelchair users no longer have to sit back and miss out on great travel opportunities, thanks to the world becoming more attuned to the growing need for accessibility. Although some of the biggest tourist attractions in the world, such as the London Eye and Versailles Palace have been touted for their accessibility, a number of somewhat more unusual destinations are also bidding wheelchair users a warm welcome.
The Canadian Rockies - Canada
When thinking of the Rocky Mountains, it is only natural that hiking is one of the first things that comes to mind. While hiking is indeed the most popular way to explore the region, it is not the only one. The Rocky Mountaineer’s luxury train experiences allow wheelchair users to sit back and enjoy the exquisite sites of the imposing mountain peaks, sparkling lakes and breath-taking landscapes from aboard a glass-domed train car. A number of multi-level coaches are completely wheelchair accessible, with special assistance being made available at all stops. Couple the exquisite views with a host of accessible attractions and accommodations, and the Rockies may well become a favorite destination among travelers who are wheelchair-bound. Next time, instead of heading to urban tourist hotspots such as the Toronto or Ottawa city centers, head to the mountains instead.
Multanomah Falls – Oregon, USA
As ambitious as visiting a waterfall in a wheelchair may sound, it is fairly easy to do, especially if you find yourself in Portland, Oregon. The 620ft-high Multnomah Falls are perched on the steep walls of the striking Columbia River Gorge, which is known for its beautiful collection of waterfalls and comfortable, paved walkways. You can access the double Multonomah Falls with your car via the Historical Columbia River Highway before making your way to the wheelchair-friendly deck that is located underneath the renowned Benson Footbridge. Apart from offering visitors spectacular views of the falls, the deck also has its own accessible amenities that include a restaurant and restrooms.
The Old Town Of Corfu - Greece
If you are a getaway, look no further than the popular Ionian island of Corfu. With its white-sanded beaches, crystalline waters and old-world charm, it's not hard to see why the island is among the most popular tourist destinations for wheelchair users. Twenty of the island’s beaches are equipped with floating wheelchairs, while one boasts a solar-powered Seatrac system, and another two have very well maintained wheelchair ramps. Despite the beaches being a beautiful attraction, it is the Old Town of Corfu that holds the greatest appeal for many visitors. While Athens may be the more obvious choice for tourists, the town, which is 80% wheelchair accessible, lies scattered with ancient churches, fortresses, and even a palace. There is also an abundance of quaint restaurants, cafes, and other eateries where you can indulge in some of the best Greek cuisines imaginable.
Sugarloaf Mountain – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If you are in search of adventure, look no further than Rio de Janeiro. While the countless steep mountains, lush forests, and packed beaches may not seem very accessible, there is one tourist hotspot that is completely wheelchair-friendly – Sugarloaf Mountain. Rising 396m above the harbour at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf Mountain attracts tourists with limited mobility from all across the globe. Large, super-modern glass cable cars launch from the lower Morra da Urca Mountain, taking occupiers up the steep mountain slope that affords them spectacular views of all of Rio including a distant profile of the Christ the Redeemer statue.
The Amazon Rain Forest – Brazil
The Amazon Rain Forest offers what is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging adventures for wheelchair users. While accessible rainforest tours are still not commonplace by anyone’s standards, there are a number of options currently available to adventurous spirits. Although you may not be able to swing from the tree vines, off-road wheelchairs will enable you to travel on some of the easier-to-access jungle paths, spotting wildlife such as toucans, glass frogs, Jesus lizards, and kinkajous. The Amazon sports a very unique ecosystem, making any effort made to experience it first-hand very well worth it.
Traveling the world is of immense benefit to the soul. With accessible travel adventures becoming increasingly commonplace, wheelchair users no longer have to miss out on the simple pleasures life has to offer.