Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Seville, Spain - April 2015

The Airline and the Airport

At Gatwick Airport North Terminal, all is well facilitated for disabled passengers with lifts, escalators and disabled toilets.  The member of staff at check in was very helpful and easy to understand and security offered us a queue skip.  The flight was operated by British Airways, and my Communicator Guide and I boarded the plane via a walkway.  I was offered a one-to-one by one of the stewardesses, where she briefly showed me where the life jackets and oxygen masks were.

On arrival at Seville Airport, we disembarked the plane through a walkway.  The airport is quite small but is well facilitated for disabled people.

At the Hotel

Hotel Derby is around twenty minutes from the airport by taxi and is in a perfect location for sightseeing.  However, this hotel is not accessible for wheelchair users with five to eight steps up to reach the reception area.  There are two lifts and our rooms were located next to each other as I requested upon booking.  My room was very comfy with plenty of space, and the bathroom had a bathtub and shower in one with grab rails for support.

Getting Around

Seville is a very compact city with all the major attractions within walking distance from each other. The hotel was a short fifteen minutes’ walk from the Cathedral.  Some pavements are quite worn and narrow, making it an issue for mobility.  However, sticking to the busier parts is the easier option; it’s the small, quiet streets that are a bit problematic.

There are buses and trams available but we did not use them during our trip.


The Cathedral was the first of sights to see on the list.  This Cathedral is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, boasting 11,520 square metres in area.  There was a fifteen minute queue outside and concessions were provided where disabled and companion get in free.  I was offered a wheelchair, which I politely declined.

The Cathedral is flat to roam around with plenty of space, but can be quite busy near the main altar. The Giralda Tower which stands at 104 metres is climbable with thirty-five ramps and then it’s another seventeen steps to the top.  The ramps are quite steep and the path is narrow with people passing you in the opposite direction.  At the top, there are panoramic views of the city.

Real Alcazar (Royal Palace) is a World Heritage site, boasting some of the most beautiful gardens in the world.  This attraction provided free admission for disabled and companion, there was security control which seemed to be a bit tight.  Some of the palace is accessible for wheelchair users, but the beautiful gardens prove a challenge as there are quite a few steps in various places.  The steps are difficult to see as they have old colours with no easy markings to recognise.

La Maestranza, Seville’s famous bullring, a tour was required and my communicator guide and I were allowed in free of charge.  Part of the tour didn’t seem accessible for wheelchair users as there were several steps up to the seating section to view the bullring.  However, to see the museum is mainly flat.  

Watching bullfights was said to be accessible by the tour guide.  When purchasing tickets, you need to inform them that you are disabled and they will allocate you to a disabled bay.  I have emailed the bullring twice asking for more information on disabled access but I am still awaiting a reply.

Torre del Oro (The Golden Tower), which is located by the Guadalquivir River, is a historic battalion with a small naval museum.  However, this attraction is not accessible for wheelchair users, with several steps to enter the museum.  There were no concessions provided and the walk up to the top consisted of ninety-three spiral steps.  The steps are wide enough for two people going in opposite directions but there is a handrail only on one side with a few hazards in the way of the handrail.

Plaza de Espana (Spain Square) is a beautiful attraction built in 1928 to host the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.  This incredible architectural landmark is located on the edge of Maria Luisa Park.  The Plaza de Espana is open to all, no admission charge is required.  Regarding disabled access, this attraction is partly accessible for wheelchair users; there are bridges to cross the canal which have steps.

Eating Out

Bar Eslava (Calle Eslava, 3, 41002 Sevilla, Spain)

This was perhaps one of the finest Tapas restaurants ever.  The food was absolutely divine some of their dishes included; egg on boletus cake, scallop on seaweed, ribs with rosemary honey glaze and stewed pork cheeks.  This restaurant is partially accessible with a small step up to enter.  It is rather narrow to get to the eating area, but it appeared to be wide enough for a wheelchair.  As this restaurant was quite small, I didn't notice a disabled toilet.

Grupo Spala (Calle Imagen, 8, 41003 Sevilla, Spain)

This is a café / bar located near Hotel Derby with two very friendly waiters.  It was fully accessible with a disabled toilet and had adequate lighting.

There were a few other fairly good tapas restaurants in the area with reasonable access; however, I don’t think they had a disabled toilet.  Tapas food is rather quick and I didn’t spend long in the restaurant.


To sum up, the disabled access in Seville is quite poor.  The city has a rich array of historic buildings which can’t be changed but it’s the reasonable adjustments that aren’t in place. If Seville wants to attract more disabled tourists they need to address this issue now.