Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Budapest, Hungary December 2009

During my visit to the city of Budapest, there was no evidence of disability awareness with any signage of the international disability symbol. So from my experience, the Hungarian capital has got a lot of work to do to make itself a much more easily accessible destination.

The Airline and the Airport

When boarding Malev Hungarian Airlines at Gatwick, the attendants were very good in assisting me to my seat as they guided me by the hand. This is not the best method for sighted guiding, but I was very impressed by their awareness.

On arrival at Budapest Ferihegy Airport, Terminal 2B, steps had to be taken from the plane then onto a coach. The airport has facilities for disabled people, with disabled toilets and wheelchairs available on request.

At The Hotel

The Star City Hotel is located on the Pest side of the city, and has reasonable access for disabled people. There is a slope from the entrance, though a bit steep. There are two main lifts which can fit a wheelchair inside. However, the reception desk and the bar are too high for a wheelchair user to access. The bedroom was well spaced out and is easily accessible.

Getting Around

Unlike Prague, Budapest is not a compact city. Distances between attractions are very spread out and walking distances can be very long and tiring for disabled people.

There is a wide variety of transportation options in the city, the Metro (Underground) being the most convenient choice. However, this involves going down escalators which are quite fast moving, compared to the London Underground. Budapest has introduced a limited number of low-floor buses on central routes, some 'Localo' vehicles for suburban services and some wheelchair friendly vehicles.

According to The Budapest Times, all public transport routes and systems in Budapest need to be accessible to disabled people by 1 January 2010, according to the Equal Treatment Act which was passed in 1998.When I visited there were three months to go until the deadline. Budapest Public Transport Company (BKV) still has some way to go. Please click on the link below to read more about Budapest's improvements of disabled access on the transport network.

As the city is spread out, the best option to see all the major attractions is by coach. 'Budapest Sightseeing' runs for two hours around the city, with several stop offs. However, this tour is not accessible for those in wheelchairs as there is no lift on the coach. As it is a tour, different languages are available, but accessed through headphones, which is not easily accessible for the hard of hearing.


Many of Budapest's museums and monuments are not fully accessible for disabled visitors, although those scheduled for renovation in the near future will become wheelchair friendly.

Eating Out

In the city centre, there is a wide choice of restaurants; however, nearly every eatery has a step or two to enter, with no ramped access. Also, accessing the menu can be difficult for the visually impaired as there are no large print menus available. Most restaurants are well lit inside, which is highlighted as a good feature.

Bars and Nightlife

Typically, access to pubs and bars is the same as entering shops and restaurants where steps are in place with no ramped access. I visited two different bars, and from my perception the access was poor.

Disabled Toilets

Facilities for disabled visitors to Budapest are limited with disabled toilets virtually non-existent in the city. For more information on this matter, please visit, MEOSZ - National Federation of Disabled Persons' Associations at: