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Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Messina/Taormina, Naples(Capri or Sorrento) in a wheelchair? Help!

Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Messina/Taormina, Naples(Capri or Sorrento) in a wheelchair? Help!

Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 05:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 136
Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Messina/Taormina, Naples(Capri or Sorrento) in a wheelchair? Help!

Hello all,

My husband and I have a cruise planned for the above mentioned places for next year and I'm hoping that some of you may be able to give me some guidance on some of these destinations. I am in a small, manual wheelchair (about 20 lbs) and cannot walk at all. More than 2-3 stairs is undoable and gravel and sand are quite difficult. However cobble stones, uneven terrain, and unpaved areas are not an issue.

Firstly, we normally don't do cruises in Europe - I really prefer to have more time to explore and really experience new places. We are choosing to do a cruise this time because we have wanted to go to Greece for years, but it is quite intimidating for me as I know that it is less accessible than most places we have travelled. I'm hoping to be able to do SOMETHING on the Greek islands and hopefully enjoy it enough to be able to visit for a longer period of time down the road.

Santorini - I know this will be extremely difficult. I've read that the cable car is accessible, but I am hoping that someone that has been there recently or knows it well might be able to describe the situation a bit better for me since everything I've read has been quite brief. At the top of the cable car would it be possible to walk around or are there stairs in every direction? Is a private driver an option? If a driver drove us to say Oia or some other town, would I then be able to get around or are there still stairs everywhere? I know that taxis are limited on the island so I'm just concerned that once we get to the top we'll be stuck. My husband can carry me up several steps, but certainly not flights at a time.

Mykonos - I've read that this is much more doable than Santorini. Any advice/suggestions? We don't really plan to spend time at the beach as we'd much rather use our limited time to explore the town.

Athens - I know the Acropolis is accessible (yay!!). Any advice/suggestions welcome.

Messina - We plan to go to Taormina here via taxi or private driver. In general, does Taormina seem relatively wheelchair accessible? Flat or hilly? I havent been able to find much information on the city in regard to wheelchair accessibility.

Naples - Here we are deiciding between Capri or Sorrento. I know that the ferries are accessible, but my concern is how much we will be able to see in either one of these places once we get there. If you had to recommend one or the other based on my needs, which would it be?

I want to add that I have travelled to quite a many places where people had warned me against visiting and ended up having no problems at all. I am quite mobile and we're pretty adventurous.

Just for reference, these are some of the places I've visited that were initially questionable, yet I ended up having no issues getting around...

Tuscan hilltowns(the only challenge here was that some of them were quite steep, but we made it work)
Cinque Terre (though not all areas of all the towns)

Thanks everyone!
Adoc86 is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I found this site - it might be helpful to you.


and a link to a TA thread on Oia with a wheelchair:


With a car, there are places to visit, but I'm sure you know that many places do have stairs that would make it impossible for you.
progol is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 08:17 AM
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The Acropolis was absolutely not accessible when I was there a couple of weeks ago.
RonZ is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 08:20 AM
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Aegina [for the beach] and Hydra would be workable day trips from Athens.
RonZ is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 08:21 AM
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ATHENS -- several suggestions/precautions. (1) I would suggest you stay on the SOUTH side of the Acropolis ... in a hotel on/just off the pedestrianized promenade there. Look at Airotel Parthenon. And of course, taxi direct to y our hotel from Airport is 35€ flat fee daytimes.
(2) Acropolis elevator -- Yes u are eligible plus your escort. BUT, it is vital to reserve ahead, then RE-CHECK. For fullest info, I recommend the Trip Advisor Athens forum http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum...ns_Attica.html In upper RH corner there is a lilk "Wheelchair accessibility" super info -- including links to EXACT procedure to reserve lift ... this is a good link with also advice on Museums by Nick_Arch, a friend AND an Athens architect! http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...ns_Attica.html - and an add-on from an experience of mine in 2010, when a travel companion broke her ankle on Day 1 in Athens! -- The Benaki Museum is VERY good for wheelchairs, smaller than others, very "well-edited" collection, elevators, NICE restaurant too.

MYKONOS - if u stay in Port town, no problem ... flagstone pathways in a Maze, throughout the town. Those huge cruise ships now have to dock at new pier way out from old portside so, stupidly, you will have to taxi from that pier to the town seafront, but from there on u are OK.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 08:29 AM
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I was disappointed with my day trip to Capri. The two towns were packed with people in the streets and this was in 2000. It would be busier now. There wasn't much to see except for lots of shops and restaurants.

Sorrento is small and you would not have a problem with a wheel chair. You'd need a driver to get you there as I believe there are steps at the train station. Again, there's not a lot to see in Sorrento but it's more charming than Capri.

If this were my trip I would visit the Archeological museum in Naples and then Herculaneum. I'm not sure of the accessibility of the museum but I remember a macadam slope down to the site at Herculaneum and then cobbles or macadam and mostly flat.
adrienne is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 08:42 AM
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I neglected to mention that the elevator was out of order a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully that was a temporary problem.
RonZ is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 08:44 AM
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Both Fira and Oia has a step here step there.
In Oia, the main rim street is usually flat with steps here and there. There is at least one section in the middle where one restaurant after another are located on downhill side where the main street also went several steps down then up. I hope that since it is a busy intersection with many people around, they would help you get across this section.

Mykonos - cruise ship can either dock at the far away pier or dock in front of the town then tendered. I don't know how they allocate the slots, but one day there were two boats at the pier and three more tendered passengers directly into Mykonos town. On days with this many boats, the town felt like walking through major subway station connection tunnels during rush hour.

Napoli - the downtown main streets, where you should keep your visit even if you are ambulatory, are flat. Sometimes I would have wished they had steps so those pesky Vespas would not try to mow me down...
greg is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 09:19 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Capri: The town itself is flat but as said above is shops and not much else. Interesting thing on the rest of the island are not wheelchair friendly. You may want to contact a few of the companies that do cruises around the island and see if they could accomodate you. I would think that the Blue Grotto is out due to the required transfers into and out of the rowboats from the sight-seeing boats.

Sorrento proper is flat enough but is usually seen as a base for trips elsewhere than as a destination. Herculaneum is feasible for the abilities you describe, but the Circumvesuviana train is not, so you would need a car and driver which is easy enough. If you can get adequate info from the Archeological Museum in Naples as to accessability, you shouldn't miss it.
Caliban is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 09:22 AM
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The problem with Santorni is getting from the cable car building to anywhere interesting. There are steps everywhere around that part of Fira so you'd have to have someone to help with the steps to get you down to where a car or taxi could pick you up. It's just about the least wheelchair-friendly island I could imagine.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Old Oct 7th, 2014, 06:07 AM
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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all of the advice.

Since everyone seems a bit underwhelmed with Capri & Sorrento (at least in regard to my circumstances) we think we're going to take a private tour of the Amalfi Coast, which will take us to Positano, Ravello & Amalfi.

Not really surprised by the responses about Santorini. Pretty discouraging, but it is what it is. I have found a private disabled tour in Santorini so that may be an option.

In Mykonos (we're on a smaller cruise ship) we are tendering so we should be arriving right in town and it sounds like it shouldnt be too bad from your comments.

Travelerjan - thanks so much for the links and info! Super helpful I didn't realize that I needed to reserve the lift!

RonZ- yeah, my worry is that the lift will not work. There are quite a few websites narrating visits to the Acropolis from wheelchair users, so I know that it can definitely be done. However it heavily depends on whether the lift actually works. Literally every.single.time I go to Rome the accessible lift in the Colosseum is not working. I am convinced that it has never been fixed in the interim. Otherwise its a huge coincidence and I'm just never meant to go on that lift

Thanks again!
Adoc86 is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2014, 07:55 AM
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The towns of the Amalfi Coast are known for their stairs. You may want to see if you can do a ferry or cruise along the coast for the views.
Caliban is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Positano will be a big problem for you, as the interesting part of the town winds down successive flights of shallow steps where there are shops, cafes etc. As you get nearer the beach, the steps are steeper. However, the porters have vehicle access to the beach hotels and you may be able to access the area that way.
Rubicund is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2014, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I think if you are on a private tour of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello then you will see many spectacular vistas from the road, and in Ravello, you will find quite flat and well paved areas where your wheelchair will be fine. Your driver might also be able to pull up right in front of a restaurant in Positano or Ravello that is accessible and has marvelous views.

It is not clear to me from your posts whether you are planning on any spending any time in Naples. If you enjoyed your stay in Rome overall, then in some ways Naples is similar but Naples has a much more chaotic traffic culture, with few "rules of the road" or the sidewalk observed, and lots of motorcycles zooming around pedestrians and no clear path to crossing a street, etc. You have to imagine the busiest parts of Rome and then multiply that by 100 and toss in a dash of recklessness to begin to get the picture. You could probably work around it, but you would need to do some research in advance to know where to stay and how to avoid the most chaotic parts of town.
sandralist is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2014, 04:08 PM
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I am guessing you already have this, but am passing it along on the outside chance you don't (noting too it was written in 2006, not recently)

sandralist is offline  
Old Oct 9th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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There is this website where you can ask a local in Santorini and other destinations using livechat http://www.triphelp.co.uk/
jakub is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2014, 05:47 AM
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Also try asking www.Santorinidave.com
Cindywho is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2014, 08:11 AM
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>>>>Sorrento is small and you would not have a problem with a wheel chair. You'd need a driver to get you there as I believe there are steps at the train station<<<<

>>>but the Circumvesuviana train is not,<<<<

These aren't accurate. The Circumvesuviana trains do not have steps. They are grade level so you only have the gap between the platform and train along with a slight elevation (few inches). There are some new and some old trains. The trains have a big area around the doors without seats so your chair would easily fit (the older trains have more space there than the newer trains). Some people stand there with their luggage especially if all the seats are full. As always, watch for pickpockets. Here is a picture I took on one of the newer trains that shows the space around the door. I will have to look for pics of the old trains and platforms.


As for Sorrento's station, it's also accessible. As you exit the train, there are stairs (4-5 very long - about the length of a couple of train cars), but look to your left and you will see the ramp that goes left and then back right (some people with heavy luggage will be rolling their luggage that way). After you take the ramp, as you exit the turnstiles, once again go to your left and not with the crowd (everyone else will be heading for more stairs down to the street). There is an elevator at the end there down to the street level. Very few tourists realize it's there. As you exit the station, it's a short block downhill to the main street in Sorrento (turn left on it too). A couple of blocks and you will be at Piazza Tasso in the old town. Once you get past the piazza, the side of Sorrento towards the sea is mostly pedestrian only with lots of little alleyways, shops, a park, etc.

I'm sure I have some old pics of the ramp/train platform in Sorrento along with some on the platform in Naples. I will look for those also. The Circumvesuviana is downstairs from the Naples trenitalia station. It should be accessible, but I've been there when escalators aren't working so you would have to check about the elevator.

Herculaneum and Pompeii are both on the Circumvesuviana train line Naples/Sorrento. Stops are Ercolano Scavi and Pompeii Scavi. While both sites would be easy to reach from those stations (Herculaneum is a few blocks downhill, Pompeii entrance is just across the street), I don't know how accessible those stations would be. I would think both having major tourist sites they would make some effort to have accessibility. You could ask in the office that sells the Campania Artecard (a museum/transport pass) in the Naples train station or the tourist office.
kybourbon is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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The new-ish pier isn't that far out of Mykonos town--10€ by taxi one way, our ship offered a bus, 8€ round trip. Benefit of the taxi, it takes you right into the heart of the little town, almost all of which is pedestrian.

Depending on how many ships are in port, you might want to give Santorini a miss, I stayed on the ship and had a wonderful day with gorgeous views of the caldera. My husband and friends who went in said it was an absolute scrum.

If Naples is part of the cruise, you will have many options of day trips offered by the ship, one of which is Sorrento. Our ship offered a one/day trip to Sorrento and Amalfi coast via wheel-chair accessible coach. Other choices on our cruise were Pompeii, drive along the Amalfi coast, Capri, etc. Not all suitable for wheelchairs, often because the coaches weren't equipped as opposed to the actual location. All shore excursions are rated by the ship according to the amount of walking, stairs, etc.

I can walk about 1/2 mile max and lots of stairs can be a problem so I plan ahead. Still, the silliest things can catch you out, one coach had a very high step to get in which was a bi$&h.

See what your cruise offers. Also check www.cruisecritic.com and join the roster (not the right word but memory fails) for your cruise, you can often find people who want to share a car and driver or who have tips on how best to see a particular place.

Hope all goes well.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2014, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Just looked at the station list for the Circumvesuviana. Ercolano has stairs and Pompeii Scavi is only accessible in one direction. The main station is Naples is not accessible (hard to believe), but the end of the line is which is only a minute or two from Centrale. It's the Naples Porta Nolana station. You can see the train line and the station on this map on the far right (green line).


If you wanted to do this and visit Pompeii, you would have to plan to stop in the direction of accessibility.

Circumvesuviana accessibility list.


Another possibility is taking a train from Naples to Salerno and getting a driver from there along the Amalfi coast back to Naples. You could stop in Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento, etc. and might take less time than driving both ways. I took an IC train (there are also Frecce trains and regional trains) to Salerno a few years ago. The IC train was new and accessible with a very large accessible restroom also. I don't know about accessibility at Salerno station though. That would need to be checked. Instead of the Trenitalia trains from Naples Centrale, it's possible you could take an Italo train. All their trains are newer and list an accessible carriage with facilities. I would assume that car has the low entrance (similar to the Leonardo Express which has low entrance right behind the engineer). There is info on which cars and how you can get assistance in the stations on their webpage.

kybourbon is offline  
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