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Senior-Friendly International Travel Destinations

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A great playwright once said, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." This quote stands out in many areas of life, but to the consummate traveler, it hits home. The urge to see the world doesn't disappear when you get older, but your ability to easily do so could be hindered. Fortunately, there are several vacation spots that make it easy for senior citizens to keep on keeping on.

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Canada. The huge Gothic church, Notre-Dame Basilica, along with the Montreal Biosphere and other impressive sites play a large part in bringing over 9 million tourists to the city every year. And if you or a loved one needs a city focused on ensuring senior citizens enjoy themselves, Montreal undoubtedly stands out.

Seniors who use walkers, canes or wheelchairs won't have to worry about taking handicap-equipped vans everywhere thanks to the several wheelchair-accessible stations the city offers. In fact, there are numerous stations that offer elevators in addition to other features for those who need help getting around, and fortunately, they're located all over the city.

You'll also find that many popular attractions are wheelchair-friendly. The fine arts museum, botanical garden and a variety of the city's spectacular cathedrals are all wheelchair accessible. Cari Masala and Phuket are some of the great accessible restaurants in Montreal, and the city's Days Inn and Travelodge offer handicap facilities.

Rome, Italy

Cities whose main attractions are ancient buildings aren't friendly for the handicapped or elderly with mobility issues. Rome, however, fought hard to break this mold. Most of the city's hotels are fully accessible to those in wheelchairs or who have difficulty walking. Additionally, sidewalks around the city are now equipped with wheelchair ramps.

When planning your trip, keep in mind that mobility scooters are available for hire if you need one. This is perfect since all public transport, from buses to metro, are accessible by scooters and wheelchairs. The Hotel Palacavicchi and the Mirage & Halifax provide great amenities for the elderly and disabled, and restaurants such as Pepper and Flavio al Velavevodetto have plenty of room for those who need more space to maneuver around.

Berlin, Germany

Cities all over the world work to become more accessible to the elderly and handicapped, but very few of them gain international recognition for doing so. In 2012, though, the European Commission awarded Berlin with the title of Access City of the Year. Sure, most of the galleries and museums are accessible to those with mobility issues, but the city offers so much more.

Berlin has set a goal to be 100 percent accessible by the year 2020. This is a tall order for "The Grey City," but it seems one goal they're set to accomplish. City sidewalks were constructed wide to allow easy movement for individuals with mobility issue, and while their taxis leave something to be desired for those in wheelchairs, their public transit accessibility score from Wheelchair Travel is almost perfect.

For lodging, the Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz has 60 accessible rooms for those with mobility issues. For a fun night out, Carambar is a restaurant and lounge with handicapped parking, a wheelchair lift and wheelchair accessible toilets.

Stockholm, Sweden

Berlin may have received the award for Access City of the Year, but Stockholm came in a strong second. City planners had pedestrian crossings equipped with contrast markings and access ramps, both of which make senior citizens' commutes easier, and regulations were passed that required hotels to become accessible and cater to those with visual, mobility and other impairments.

In addition, subway access for seniors doesn't require going across town to find a station with a ramp. That's because all stations have an elevator for those who cannot easily manage stairs. And considering the numerous city apps available for Stockholm, even elderly visitors with auditory and visual disabilities shouldn't have an issue getting around.

Femtopia and The Plant are both great Stockholm restaurants for those with mobility issues, and the Mornington Hotel prides themselves for having rooms geared toward the disabled.

Cruises to Anywhere

Going on a cruise could very well be the best choice for a senior citizen who wants to travel extensively without running into mobility issues. Looking into the best cruise ships for people with disabilities is the first step you should take in planning this type of vacation. Every cruise line has ships that focus on accessibility, so you'll never run out of destinations to choose from.

In addition, river cruises are among the best travel options if you or an elderly loved one suffers from extreme mobility issues. This is because you can enjoy the view of some of the most beautiful cities in the world, from Budapest to Vienna, while relaxing on the deck of a luxurious cruise ship. And for seniors who are able to disembark, it's fun to enjoy the accessible areas of numerous cities along a cruise's route.

Getting older might make us slow down, but it surely doesn't have to stop us. Cities throughout the world have recognized the need for accessible transit, attractions and other amenities, and this is making it easier for senior citizens to travel. There's no doubt, though, that the aforementioned municipalities are blazing the trail. (Be sure to check out our other travel resources for senior travelers)

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Jun 03, 2016