Europe is full of fun places to visit regardless of physical ability. Check out these awesome destinations for lovers of snow and crisp winter air.
La Plagne, France
Is there a greater feeling of freedom than hitting the slopes? La Plagne is a skiing destination in the French Alps, and they’re experts on skiing with disabilities. The whole resort is equipped with ramps and disability friendly ski lifts, and they let you rent the very latest in equipment for skiers with disabilities. Take some handiski lessons and prove you don’t need perfect leg coordination to leave your siblings and friends in the dust!
Salzburg won the Access City Award in 2012, so it’s perfect for kids and adults with disabilities. Not only is there another disability friendly skiing area, Schladming-Dachstein, just south of Salzburg, but the city itself looks like it came straight out of a Disney movie! Try the hot springs and have some delicious caramelised almonds and Christmas cookies at the Christmas markets.
Disneyland, Paris, France
If Salzburg isn’t Disney enough for you, how about visiting the land of Disney itself? You’d maybe think that theme parks are best left to the summer months, but you’d be wrong! The park is all dressed up with lights and decorations, and lots of shows are unique to the Christmas season. The park has a lot of experience with visitors with disabilities, and you can get a special Priority Card to skip the long lines. Just remember to dress well, or you’re going to be the one who’s Frozen!
Norway is among the top countries of the world to anyone who loves winter and snow, and for those with disabilities, Geilo might just be the place to go. Rent a cozy cabin or stay at a resort, and when you’re ready for some action, book some lessons with one of their experts on skiing for the differently abled. Their website is in Norwegian, but we recommend you check out their point-of-view video of monoskiing, found here. Tempted?
Another option for fans of the Northern countries is Åre, Sweden – probably the best place in the entire country for skiers with disabilities. As with many of the previous skiing destinations mentioned, they’re part of the Ski2Freedom Foundation, so you’ll have no trouble finding someone to show you how to get the most out of the steep (or not so steep) Scandinavian slopes. Then when you’re back inside, heat up with some cocoa and waffles, or traditional Swedish meatballs.
Berlin is a great place to visit for all ages, and surprisingly easy to navigate even in a wheelchair. There’s even a unique app to help you figure out the best routes and attractions! Visit some of the 80 Christmas markets, or learn something at a museum. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re into dinosaurs, computer games or planes and trains!
We’ll swing right back around to the French Alps, with Avioraz, which was a pioneer in accessible skiing already back in the early nineties, and still offers equipment and talented instructors for those with different needs. When you’ve had enough of skiing, how about trying out the tropical waterpark Aquiaraz, or take a horse sleigh ride through the wintry wonderland?