Scandinavia continues to draw tourists from around the globe. This shouldn’t be surprising, given its combination of rich culture and epic natural landscapes. Aside from these obvious draws, the region is also making it practical for a more diverse range of tourists to visit. This is through a continued commitment to accessibility. Learn more about touring Scandinavian countries with a disability – it’s an accessible region.
The changes being made here are the result of key public and private collaborations. In essence, Scandinavian businesses and governments recognize the provision of accessible options as a human right. The result is that more facilities and resources are available to people that live with a range of challenges.
So, what should you know about touring Scandinavia with a disability? Let’s look at a few key aspects and how to make the most out of them.
Scandinavian countries are often considered to be among the most committed to ensuring visitors and residents alike have equal access to services and experiences. However, it’s important to the success of your tour not to simply assume that resources will always be in place. After all, some historical buildings or areas of outstanding natural beauty may not have had the necessary adjustments made. A little planning before you leave can help you avoid issues.
Research the accessibility of potential Scandinavian accommodations. While many hotels in this part of the world offer specialized rooms and services, it’s important to make certain that these are in line with your individual needs. Some Scandinavian countries have services that can help you narrow down your search in this regard. For instance, in Denmark, there is the God Adgang (Access Denmark) service. This allows visitors to search for accommodation providers that meet high accessibility standards. However, it’s still important to reach out to individual providers if you have less common needs that require additional assistance.
It’s also worth planning your itinerary with your accessibility needs in mind. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to forgo spontaneity or adventure. Rather, consider what tools you may need for each part of your trip so you can arrange them beforehand. For instance, in Sweden, some hotels provide assistive technology that allows guests to engage in activities such as horseback riding. Arranging these elements in advance can cut down on the time you spend waiting to obtain them, extending your ability to explore what Scandinavia has to offer.
Travel resources throughout Scandinavian regions are often more accessible, as governments have made this a priority. A good example of this is Sweden’s national objective for disability. This places a shared responsibility on government and public agencies to ensure people with disabilities can fully participate in society. Therefore, you’ll usually find that the public transportation facilities that enable you to get around cities, such as trams and buses, will be designed with assistive facilities.
That said, it’s important to make certain that accommodations are in place with key forms of transport. If you’re flying or taking a ship to a Scandinavian country, the provider may have assistive elements for you while you’re on board. However, it may be necessary to seek assistance embarking and disembarking. In most cases, this will be the duty of the individual airlines or shipping operators and it’s important to inform them of your needs ahead of time. Though, Scandinavia has some options for assistance for your travel by train within the region. For instance, train stations in Denmark offer help with getting on and off the trains and handling luggage.
If you’re taking a more independent approach, a road trip touring around the Scandinavian countries can be a great way to see the epic landscape. You should, however, check that your car hire or sales company can provide the right vehicle modifications that suit your specific accessibility needs. This may involve a wheelchair ramp or extra height if you’re using a power wheelchair. It can also be worth researching government grants for modifications beforehand if you live in Europe and plan on retaining a vehicle in the long term. This can also make future trips around Scandinavia more practical.
Scandinavia certainly has no shortage of incredible activities. To get the most out of these, it’s important to consider which are either already suited to your needs or have adaptation possibilities. For something more relaxed, the Old Town in Stockholm and Denmark’s Amalienborg Palace have both been adjusted to improve overall wheelchair access. You’ll also find that many of the popular museums, such as Stockholm’s ABBA museum, the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, and Oslo’s Nobel Peace Center all keep high standards of accessibility.
If you’re for something a little more active, there are plenty of options here too. Kayaking around the Norwegian fjords and reindeer safari tours in Finland are frequently undertaken by people living with mobility challenges. You can also hire adapted snowmobiles and skis at resorts in both Norway and Sweden.
That said, it is important to understand that each person going on these outdoor activities — whether hiking Norway’s Nigardsbreen glacier or exploring Iceland’s ice caves — is expected to take personal responsibility for their safety. Make certain that your wheelchair or walking aid is designed for the terrain you’ll be visiting. You’ll also need to get your specialized equipment to difficult outdoor locations. If you have a power wheelchair or mobility scooter, investing in a hitch-mounted carrier can help ensure your device can be carried by a range of vehicles. Though, it’s important to make certain this is both measured to fit your device and lightweight enough to avoid going over the vehicle’s tongue weight.
Accessible Region: Touring Scandinavian Countries With a Disability – Conclusion
Scandinavian countries continue to be committed to making touring more accessible to visitors. Many hotels have adaptive rooms and other elements available, though it’s important to perform a little research to check if your specific needs are supported. Public transport in Scandinavia is designed to be accessible, but you may need to arrange assistance on planes, ships, and trains. There are some incredible indoor and outdoor activities available, too. Nevertheless, it’s important to ensure you can gain and utilize adaptive equipment. With a little additional planning beforehand, you can make the most of what Scandinavia has to offer.
Touring Scandinavian Countries With a Disability, written dedicatedly for Daily Scandinavian by Ainsley Lawrence. Ainsley is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She is frequently lost in a good book.
Other articles by Ainsley Lawrence you might like to read:
The Coworking Culture in Scandinavian Countries
How & Why to Startup a Business in Sweden
Examining the Gender Pay Gap in Scandinavian Countries
Feature image (on top): © Pro Bus