The island is improving its facilities for handicapped people. The forerunner is Palma with offers for tourists with limited mobility like tours of the old town and even watersport possibilities that are all barrier-free.
Things are starting to move – even though there is as yet no complete accessibility for the handicapped. The Balearic government has made it an aim to make Mallorca completely barrier-free. Particularly Palma’s city administration is showing a special commitment. In keeping with the motto ”Palma per a tothom” (Palma for everyone) the city has created two new routes for wheelchair users. The first leads through the higher part of the city with the focus on Mallorcan culture and landmarks, while the lower-city route leans more towards shopping. To this end, a brochure is distributed describing both routes in more detail, downloaded here.
Palma is definitely a destination which is very suitable for wheelchair users. For example, the beautiful, long Paseo Maritimo which stretches along the water for the whole length of the harbour. Also, concert and theatre visits are possible thanks to ramps and lifts, as in the Teatre Principal, the Auditorium, or the Trui Teatre, and modern film halls such as the Multiplex cinemas are also barrier-free. Even party locations like the Megapark on the Playa and Tito’s disco on the Paseo Maritimo in Palma have facilities for wheelchair users. Even though the entrances to smaller businesses in the old town often have thresholds (which the shop owners will gladly assist in crossing). Larger shopping centres and most supermarkets are barrier-free with ample disabled parking facilities.
In Palma there are numerous beaches with barrier-free access. Recently the city beach of Can Pere Antoni
and the area of Balneario 7 were equipped with walkways. Now wheelchair users and people with walking disabilities can enter the water more easily. Also shady places and showers were constructed. Lifeguards assist people with reduced mobility to get into the sea with special water-wheelchairs. Such facilities are also available on the beach in Ciudad Jardin, at Balneario 15, in the Cala Estancia and in Cala Mayor. A total of 63 beaches on the island have disabled access and are equipped with wide ramps which lead directly into the water. Exactly which beaches these are can be found on the official Balearic beach web page, the MallorcaBeachGuide.
The touristic costal areas point with their long, paved seafront with cafès, restaurants, ice cream parlours and shops like in Cala Millor, Palmanova, Puerto Alcudia, Cala Ratjada or of cause the Playa de Palma.
Arriving at and departing from Palma airport
Palma airport has adapted itself to assisting passengers with limited mobility and the necessary assistance is free of charge. This service at the airport is called ”sin barreras” (without barriers). The central locations are identified by a yellow wheelchair symbol and a blue ”i”. From here the airport staff look after the so-called PRM passengers and assist them through the airport. The team from ”sin barreras” can start to help at the check-in and assist with hand baggage, accompany the traveller through the safety checks and help with boarding or leaving the aircraft and at luggage collection. Wheelchairs travel free of charge, but only in the freight compartment due to their size. It is important that the airline knows in advance, optimally when booking, which should be done at least 48 hours before departure. The airline forward the information to the airport, but passengers can also contact the airport direct on the 24 – hour telephone hotline: 902 404704 / +34 913211000. It is sufficent that the passenger presents himself two hours before departure at the nearest central location or at the arranged meeting point and makes himself known to the relevant personnel (further information here).
Local public transport in Mallorca is well equipped for barrier- free accessibility. There are disabled–accessible buses in Palma fitted with ramps. City buses have reserved places for wheelchair users, stop-request buttons at the appropriate height, and acoustic and visual signals. Sightseeing buses are also adapted to the needs of the disabled. Renting a car, however, is more difficult. Hire cars which can be adapted for use by disabled persons are almost impossible to find on the island. One exception is, in Porto Christo, the company ‘Kurt’ rents cars for use by handicapped people: http://www.rentacarkurt.com/index.php/en/
There are, of course, hire cars with oversize luggage compartments to take folded wheelchairs but they must be driven by an accompanying person. On the island, are over 70 modified wheelchair-accessible taxis equipped with a ramp whose drivers are qualified in the transportation of disabled people. Further information about mobility in Mallorca, also about mobile E-Scooters and specialized transport companies can be found on,: http://www.barrier-free-tourism.com/Home.376.0.htm
The Handicap Mallorca foundation
For ten years the foundation ”Fundacion Handisport Mallorca’‘ have made it their aim to ensure that handicapped people do not have to do without sport and fun. They can take part and enjoy sporting activities on the island individually or with others. The outdoor activities offer include sailing, overland-sailing (called Blokart), waterskiing (with a special ski devised and built by the foundation), sea-kayak, diving, swimming and golf. The tours with Superfour 4WD vehicles are also very popular – vehicles similar to quads which are steered by a joystick and with which the Mallorcan mountains can be explored. No matter which kind of sport, with Handisport it is not important whether the participants are physically disabled or if they are Mallorcan, a resident or a tourist.
Barrier-free sport-tourism with Handitur
In order to make sport-tourism barrier-free and adapt it to the needs of the disabled Handitur was founded a few years ago. To this end the foundation, which is a member of the European Network for Accessible Tourism, organizes every year disabled-friendly activities. These particularly in Alcudia, Llucmayor, Son Servera, Calvia and Palma. Also every autumn a golf tournament, called the International Disabled Open,
is organized on the Maioris golf course in Llucmayor. The major topic during the summer months, however, is watersports. With introduction courses and multi-day offers for beginners, intermediate-level and advanced. Exciting is the ”Mare-Nostrum-Offer” which is designed especially for tourists: On five or seven days 3 of the 4 watersport activities – sailing, diving, waterski or sea kayak can be choosen as well as swimming and diving courses in the swimming pool. Particularly German and Swedish Mallorca-tourists have discovered these offers and have become regulars. The only requirements are a doctor’s certificate and an info-form. So the trainer knows about the disablement and can adapt it to the needs of the individual. Handitour also organizes handicapped-accessible vehicles for the transport to and from the activity and recommends in advance specialised tour operators. (info at: www.handisportmallorca.org ), tel. +34 663 804884, email: firstname.lastname@example.org