Disabled Access in Prague
First, a little about me so you can put my comments into context. If you want to know more, read the tab “About Me”
I am an incomplete paraplaegic, injured at T7/T8. I walk short distance with crutches, can climb steps (but i need assistance if they are high), and my wheelchair has hooks to carry my crutches when I am not using them. I am a 57year old woman living in New Zealand. I am very fit and my upper body is strong.
First the negatives:
Prague is not wheelchair friendly. If you have excellent wheelchair skills and can negotiate kerbs you will face gutters that are five or six inches deep, and there are few kerb crossings. Your best bet is to use side roads and wheel along the road. The Old Town is flat, but across the Charles Bridge, some hills are quite steep, so a wheelchair user will need to be strong.
Often landmarks and attractions are described as wheelchair accessible but there are always at least one or two steps. The funicular and Petrin Tower, for example are described as accessible, but the slope up to the funicular is at least one in eight. Then there are two steps to the first carriage. It’s possible to wheel to the tower and take the lift half way up, but coming back to the funicular there are about eight steps to the nearest carriage.
Some of the trams are low and have a button that a wheelchair user can push to alert the driver that the ramp is needed. However, only once did the driver step outside to put the ramp out, but that may have been because we didn’t want to risk the tram moving off without us so my husband manoeuvred me and my chair on board. The older trams have very high steps that I was able to climb using my crutches.
If you are less skilled in a wheelchair, like me, you will need a strong helper. If you can use crutches, and have a strong helper, most of Prague becomes accessible.
And if you stay in the Old Town there are some easily accessible attractions:
The Old Town Square with its astronomical clock is often described as the prettiest in Europe. It has lots of good cafes from which to watch the world, and zillions of tourists, go by. It’s entertaining to watch all the cameras up in the air as the hour strikes. It’s especially entertaining to watch at night when all you can see is the clock and hundreds of led screens!
Its an easy and pleasant wheel across the Charles Bridge.
There is a ramp down to Kampa Island which has a very nice park, views over the river and cafes. It’s a good place to have a picnic.
There is a lift up the Old Town Hall to the top where there are some great views.
It’s an easy wheel through the Havel markets where you can buy fresh produce and the usual tourist stuff as well as some very nice art.
It’s an easy wheel to Wencelas Square where all the modern shops are.
There are concerts every night at lots of different venues … the Mirror Chapel, the Mozart Cafe (it has a lift), St George’s Basilca …
If you’re not prepared to wait for a low tram that us wheelchair accessible, use a taxi- they’re not that expensive because Prague is compact
There are accessible toilets at the Prague castle near St Vitus, near the Charles Bridge on the Old Town Side, and on Kampa Island.
The room in my hotel was described as a disabled room, but there were no bars in the shower or toilet, I could barely reach the shower hose when standing, and there was no seat in the shower. The room could be accessed from the garage rather than the front door where there were eight or more steps, but there were two steps up from the garage!
Everyone in Prague seems to assume that someone in a wheelchair will have a helper, and that one or two steps are no barrier.
Other than that, Prague is worth the effort and having to rely on a helper just so you can see this picturesque city and experience its incredibly talented musicians.