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Budapest for the partially disabled

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London England
posts: 2
reviews: 5
Budapest for the partially disabled

I am taking my mother to Budapest for a long weekend in November. She uses a wheelchair although can walk for short distances and get up and down steps. Does anyone have any special tips/advice? I am alsos looking for a hotel (it does not have to be speciaily adpated, as long as the wheelchair can be got up into the bedroom) so any advice welcome

Thanks

Robyn

Budapest, Hungary
posts: 292
reviews: 67
1. Re: Budapest for the partially disabled

Robyn,

My advise is take a deep breath and get ready for some frustration in terms of getting around. Budapest, as most central European cities is VERY difficult for the disabled and even partially disabled.

Only the top hotels have decent access and even some of these aren't that good. Do a thorough search among the Marriott, Intercontinental, Sofitel, Meridien. Hilton and Kempinski and find out which suits you best. Most of these are within a short distance of one another and close to what most tourists come to see. Only the newest busses and a few of the older ones have handicapt access (these are well marked on front and back) and the underground is largely unusable with a wheelchair. When ordering a taxi, you can request a car large enough for her chair (am assuming its a folding type) to be stored in back. Very few of the museums, castle hill sites, eateries etc will be easy. Even where access is technically given, you will have to contend with uneven pavement, narrow bathrooms etc. The press lately has been full of stories about just how tough it is to get around in Hungary for the disabled.

Sorry to give a negative view but you should be prepared.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 2,147
reviews: 26
2. Re: Budapest for the partially disabled

I'm gonna disagree with the last poster...I think Budapest is much easier to get around than Paris, and as far as European cities go, it's not bad. Most of the Metra undergrounds have escalators both up and down. The trams and busses might be a challenge. Most of the mainstream hotels have elevators. The sidewalks are pretty smooth, and if I remember right, most of them ramp down to street level. It isn't as easy as the US, that's for sure, but it's 10 times better than Paris.

Arlington, VA
posts: 62
reviews: 1
3. Re: Budapest for the partially disabled

It is probably correct that Budapest is easier than Paris with a wheelchair if you're speaking of Metro access. Also, if you stay centrally located you can walk to plenty of destinations. However, not everyone with a wheelchair and a helper can negotiate the fast moving metro escalators, or get on trams or most buses. A light weight "transfer chair" type that fits of escalators might be a good bet if the helper is adept. While most of the red line Metro stations (but not Astoria, Blaha Lujza ter, Nepstadion or Pillango ) have escalators to street level other stations do NOT, or the escalators leave you one story down under the street level. However, only Astoria and Blaha Lujza are of any interest to tourists on the red line. To wit::

Red line:

1. End of line at Ors Vezer tere (to which you go if you want to take the suburban RR to Godolo "Castle") is essentially at street level. However, to get to RR must cross streets because steps down to mezzanine crossing below intersection are too long up/down for most wheelchair users. So, is hard to get to IKEA or RR but not impossible (good luck if there's snow) but easier to get to shopping mall.

2. Going west, toward Buda, next station with escalators (as I recall) is at Keleti Station but only up to mezzanine level. At many other stations the escalators end at one level below street, leaving one flight of stairs to street level exits. Can't recall if there is an escalator from mezzanine up to Keleti RR station - I think NOT).

3. After other unfriendly stops comes Deak ter, with escalators up to mezzanine level, AND then to street level, on the west side of street (near Le Meridien & Kempinski and Vaci ut shopping etc). This is the central transfer station in Pest and so escalators in mezzanine go down to the blue line metro platform. But escalators do not go all the way to old "yellow" metro platform, as I recall, here or at virtually any other yellow line station from one end to the other yellow line stop but steps are one story and not so bad depending on disabled person's stamina.

4. Next is Kossuth ter on red line & that stop is near Parliament & ethnographic museum, etc. Escalator goes all the way to street level!

5. Next stop is on west side of Danube - Batthyany ter. Escalator to mezzanine (same level as suburban HEV RR), plus a short 2d escalator to plaza on street! 6. Next, Moszkva ter stop has the long escalator to top. This is transportation hub for buses and trams on which the center doors have bar removed to ease access for disable but it is a big couple of steps up. To get to Var (Castle) Bus (easy to get wheelchair on the bus) to Castle Hill, walk through end of plaza opposite of exit from redline and go up the street just past where the steps are that you'll see from the station exit. Also the relatively small bus to the chairlift (closed for the season?) has very easy wheelchair access - relevant only if you want to get to Szepilona or Remi's restaurants, or see a bit of the more suburban residential Buda Hills.

6. Final station escalator goes to top of plaza outside of Deli RR station (to which there is no further easy access by wheelchair - but you're unlikely to need to go there).

Since the Astoria station is so close to Deak, one can walk (the great Dohany u. Synagogue is nearby, )

Blue line metro, as best as I recall the folowing are of sometourist interest:

1. Klinikak has good escalator to street level.

2. Next stop with escalator to street level is Deak (as is noted above).

3. Next stop (continuing northbound) is Arany Janos and the escalator is to street level.

4. Next stop is Nyugati RR station. Escalator goes to the plaza under street level. When coming off escalator bear right to nearby ramp to street level, or straight into the small shopping center (where the supermarket is) and take the escalator up one level, or go left 180 degrees off escalator and take the long stroll (the interim escalator to the RR station may also be working) to the West End City Center shopping mall & Hilton hotel, and take the escalator up . After that, good luck as you head north on the blue line to the rest of the stations (but why would you)!

One problem for the wheelchair user is the frequent major intersections that can be negotiated only by going down steps to traverse the plaza under the intersection and go up the steps on the other side. An example is at the end of the Vaci u. pedestrian sopping street from Vorosmarty ter (near Deak metro) south to the Great market. To continue the entire length requires going uder the street that comes from the Erzsebet bridge. However, one can detour a block or two toward the Danube and then go under the bridge near the Roman ruins and come up the other side and get back to Vaci!

Don't be discouraged, with this guide to the Metro (and judiciously using reputable taxis that you call from you hotel) you and your mother can have a great time!

Budapest, Hungary
posts: 292
reviews: 67
4. Re: Budapest for the partially disabled

Didn't remember anyone asking if easier than Paris. All of Europe is harder than the U.S., while some cities in Switzerland, Scandinavia and parts of Germany are not bad as well. Escalators do not mean handicapt access as most people cant simply pop in and out of c chair to get on an escalator There was just a report on local about just how many of the handicapt access lifts in Budapest are actually out of order (essentially all of them in the train stations) . Its a common issue in this part of the world, so nobody on their way here should expect an easy time if getting around if they use a wheelchair.

Hope it all goes well though.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 2,147
reviews: 26
5. Re: Budapest for the partially disabled

Frank,

The OP stated that his/her mother can walk outside of a wheelchair. He/she is also from England and probably has a better idea of how accessible paris is than the US. There is a world outside of the US and not everyone uses the US as a standard of comparison. By European standards, I think Hungary is very accessible, however, I stated that by US standards they have quite a way to go.

London
posts: 8,331
reviews: 104
6. Re: Budapest for the partially disabled

Have a look at these sites:

http://www.motivacio.hu/english.php?level=4

talkingcities.co.uk/budapest_pages/essential…

budapestby.com/tourist_information/disabled_…

budapestby.com/general/frame_disabled_travel…

budapesthotels.com/touristguide/disabled.asp

www.bkv.hu/angol/mozgaskorlatozott/index.html

It sounds like there are a number of organisations, that might be really useful for you to contact in advance.

7. Re: Budapest for the partially disabled

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