Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Marbella, Spain - June 2018

Conducted by Lee Fiveash and Elizabeth Wharf

The Airline and the Airport

British Airways is one of the most competent airlines, in my opinion, with strict policies and lots of help for the disabled traveller.  Whether in a wheelchair or not, they are helpful, courteous and caring.  It is very important to make them aware of your disability before you travel, this will ensure the best possible transit with ease.  Please see the link below for more information:

We flew from Gatwick Airport, South Terminal; this is only a 35 minute drive from Sutton, Surrey, with easy parking and/or drop off facilities for disabled people.  There are lots of disabled toilets, with moving walkways and spacious lifts, its perfect. Please check out this link for further information;

We flew to Malaga International Airport; the flight was around 2 hours 25 minutes and was quite comfortable.  The Airport was big and spacious with plenty of disabled toilets, ramps and flat surfaces.  The special assistance at Malaga was very good, however, again please make them aware of your disability; I have provided two links for your perusal;

At the Hotel

We stayed at the Gran Guadalpin Hotel Banus, which is a five star and whilst this hotel had lots to offer by way of a Gym, Beauty Salon, outdoor pool and had a private beach.  I did not feel it was suitable for wheelchair users as there were not enough ramps, and lifts were small, rooms and bathrooms were not adapted.  The ramps that were in place, were wooden and removable, there were no concrete ramps.  These were wobbly and were not safe for wheelchair users, in my opinion.

On this occasion we stayed in a suite which was very roomy.  Our accommodation consisted of a large bathroom, nice sized bedroom, large area for eating and watching TV with the added bonus of a small kitchen.  However, it would be difficult to manoeuvre a wheelchair because of the amount of furniture in the suite.

Getting Around

There was a very long promenade going all the way from the hotel to the exotic marina of Puerto Banus.  This is where the rich and famous come to play and boy do they play!  This walkway was mainly flat and easy to judge but a wheelchair user may find it difficult in parts.  It took around fifteen minutes and was a lovely walk along the seafront.

Puerto Banus itself is well pedestrianised and easy to navigate, with lots of restaurants, bars and shops.  Here, you can grab a bite to eat whilst watching the luxury yachts come and go.

From Puerto Banus to Marbella, there is a stretch of walkway known as the Golden Mile, which is a long promenade, very wide and extremely easy for wheelchair users, great for a lovely evening stroll after dinner. 

Getting about is easy and there are plenty of buses, trains and taxis.  Transport is disability friendly and I have included a link here for you to look at;

Although we did not see any wheelchair adapted taxis in the resort, we were told you could order one.  There are plenty of taxi services and the hotel staff were very helpful and assisted us in getting a taxi.

The best way to get about in Marbella would be by public transport or taxi.  This was a built up area and parking would be difficult, even if you had a blue badge, you can use anywhere in Spain.  Bays are free to blue badge holders, but spaces are not as plentiful as in the UK.


Unfortunately, on this particular trip we did not go to any attractions.  However, I have included two links here for your perusal as there is a lot to see and do in this area:

Eating Out

We went to a few different places to eat in the evenings but none of these were wheelchair friendly.  Tables were cramped and close together and service was very fast.

We took a taxi to Benahavis, which was a small white washed village in the hills, from our hotel this took ten minutes to drive.  The typical Andalucian town was very pretty, but there were hills to navigate and small narrow cobbled streets.  The restaurants are plentiful with great food and beautiful views, well worth a trip, but this can prove difficult for a wheelchair user.

On another evening we went to San Pedro which was a larger town with lots of shops, restaurants and bars.  This was a hilly town with cobbled streets and would be difficult to manoeuvre a wheelchair. 

We went to the Old Town of Marbella on another evening; this was a charming white washed town with many shops, bars, restaurants and lots of street entertainers which added to the ambience of this quaint little town.  Restaurants were busy and did not have disabled toilets or any ramps.  Seating outside after dusk was lit up with large lanterns or decorative lighting.  The streets were all cobbled and this would prove difficult to get about for disabled people. 

Bars and Nightlife

Bars in Puerto Banus were not suitable for wheelchair users.  They were packed with punters; and none of the bars had disabled toilets or ramps in place.  Most of the bars unlike the restaurants did not have outside seating.


I would not recommend this location for wheelchair users; it does not have enough ramps and disabled toilets in place.  The resort of Marbella has been on the map for decades and tourism is rife.  However, proper planning needs to be addressed to make it a more accessible destination for disabled travellers.