Visitors with reduced mobility will find a whole range of options at their disposal in Germany. From accessible accommodation to outstanding leisure options, all sorts of places offer step-free access and plenty of space and convenience.
Accessible for visitors with reduced mobility
Germany offers a wealth of cultural and natural experiences, even within a small area. Whether you’re into visiting museums, going shopping, hiking or cycling, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll soon notice that everything is set up for your needs in many places.
Lots of places try to ensure universal access. However, it’s often the case that historic buildings were not constructed with accessibility in mind, and cannot easily be converted due to heritage protection constraints. That’s why you’ll find that wheelchair users, for instance, often won’t be able to use the main entrance to a building; instead, there will be a side entrance without steps and doorway wide enough to pass through. There are all sorts of initiatives and options for visitors with reduced mobility, and not only in cities, but also in outdoor locations like national parks, nature parks and biosphere reserves. You are advised to find out about the set-up in advance.
Accessible accommodation options are constantly increasing in number. Care beds are provided as standard in care hotels or can be arranged on request. More and more accommodation providers are offering accessible sleeping options so that groups of people with reduced mobility can enjoy suitable accommodation.
Holiday suggestions for visitors with reduced mobility
Visitors with reduced mobility can enjoy unique and outstanding experiences all over Germany.
Enjoy the sweeping forest views and landscape from one of the treetop paths, which are step-free and have a maximum 6 % gradient. You can also explore nature with ease on wooden plank pathways or in all-terrain vehicles.
Sail across lakes and rivers in a stepless tour boat or houseboat. Or head out in a beach wheelchair to enjoy the relaxing sound of the waves from an accessible beach chair.
In the cities, top-class cultural institutions and architectural highlights are just waiting to be explored. Enjoy the unique vibe when tradition and modernity meet.
You could also combined your trip with a visit to a trade fair. Large trade fairs focusing on rehabilitation/assistive technology often take place in Germany, such as REHACARE in Düsseldorf or REHAB in Karlsruhe.
Our partners in the cities and regions will also be happy to provide you with specific options for your perfect holiday. Read more at Accessible travel destinations.
Finding wheelchair-friendly places with Wheel map
The online map on wheelmap.org helps you find information about the accessibility of facilities and toilets. Data is limited to the basic information about step-free access and the provision of a toilet for people with disabilities, but thanks to open source mapping, it covers almost everywhere.
Wheel map.org is an initiative by the Berlin-based association Sozialhelden e.V. – a German idea with a potential impact beyond national borders.
Search for wheelchair-accessible sites at your holiday destination here:
Go to online map www.wheelmap.org
Practicalities for visitors with reduced mobility
We have put together a special section containing practical information for you, so that you know what to expect in Germany before you decide to travel and can plan your stay and everything you need while here with ease.
Here’s an extract from this section, with the top entries for visitors with reduced mobility:
In most cases, assistance with using public transport is available in Germany. You can find more details at Getting there and around accessibly.
Assistance is also available on site. Volunteer guides can be booked for some city or museum tours. Just ask!
Do you want to use care services during your time in Germany? Then check whether these special services are available when selecting your accommodation. Care services can be booked directly in “care hotels”, while other types of accommodation work with local care services or can put you in contact with people in the local area. Get in touch with the places that you're interested in staying at and inform them of your needs.
Providers of special assistance services can provide your with guides and carers for your entire trip. Doing a bit of research can really pay off!
People with disabilities and/or their carers are granted free or reduced admission to many places, including museums, theatres, famous sights or parks. Lots of places offer discounts for city tours and public transport. In most cases, you will just need to show proof of disability. German citizens with disabilities have a special pass for this purpose. If you have a similar document issued by the authorities in your country, you’re advised to bring it with you. Do enquire about discounts if they're not specifically mentioned in the list of prices!
If you require specific aids on site or need to get your own aids repaired during your time in Germany, you can contact a German specialist whenever the need arises.
Healthcare supply stores make a good first port of call for people with reduced mobility. Some healthcare supply stores work with hotels to provide aids and even care beds, as required. In the event of a minor faults with your wheelchair or walking frame, the local bicycle shop may be able to help.
Please note the following in order to use your electronic devices correctly. In Germany, the mains voltage is 220 V. Type F sockets (grounding-type plugs) are standard. Type C (Euro plug) is commonly used for devices with protective insulation and low power consumption. Hotel bathrooms usually have shaver sockets that can also take British and US plugs. Please bring any extension cables, adapters or power supply units with you.
Deutsche Bahn has put together some information specifically for passengers with reduced mobility.
Deutsche Bahn information for passengers with reduced mobility
For more information, see Getting there and around accessibly.
In Germany, toilets for people with disabilities are particularly plentiful in public spaces and in facilities that are specifically geared towards visitors with disabilities. Unfortunately, they're not yet universally available, so before taking a tour, you should find out the location of the nearest disabled toilet. Our partners provide useful information (see Accessible travel destinations), tourist information available on site, or the online map wheelmap.org.
Many public disabled toilets can be accessed independently and free of charge with a Euro Key. This is another brainchild of Germany! The CBF Association first came up with the idea in 1983 in Darmstadt. The Association remains the contact for ordering keys today: simply send them an email with proof of your disability (pass or medical certificate) at and you’ll receive the key at cost price. If you have any questions, you can contact the Association via the following details:
Telephone 0049 (0)6151 / 8122 – 0
People with reduced mobility in Germany
According to official figures, there are around 8 million people with disabilities in Germany, which equates to roughly 10% of the population. The overwhelming majority of these people are classed as disabled due to reduced mobility. These figures are based on the number of people who have applied for a severe disabilities pass. When applying, they are required to state the type and degree of disability. However, there is estimated to be a much higher number of unreported cases, one of the reasons being that far from everyone who would be eligible for the pass actually applies. Germany has an ageing population, so these numbers are rising sharply.
Due to the high and growing number of people with reduced mobility in Germany, there is now a heightened awareness of their needs among society at large. This is leading to improved and creative solutions in the recreational sector. Foreign visitors can reap the benefits of this, too. Care hotels are springing up, specially geared towards the needs of older people who are experienced travellers and still want to get out and about. Many places now have step-free access, simply because more and more visitors rely on it.
Of course, this development is also the result of the tireless work of countless associations for those affected and support groups within Germany, such as the Sozialverband VDK e.V. and BAG Selbsthilfe. Some associations play an active role in shaping tourist offerings by running their own hotels or tour operators.
For a legal point of view, there are now stricter requirements that mean that new buildings and converted building now have to be accessible.