I use a manual wheelchair, and I’d love to visit Romania, to learn more about the country where my great grandparents were born. Unfortunately I don’t have any relatives there, so I will have to find an accessible place to stay, preferably with a roll-in shower. I don’t drive, so I will need an accessible van with a driver to get to and from the airport. I have traveled to England before, so I’m not totally unfamiliar with international travel, but I realize that Romania is probably not as accessible as England. Can you offer me any tips or resources to help me plan my trip?
Well, you’re quite right in that Romania is not as accessible as England, but that still shouldn’t deter you from exploring the country. Corina Stefan was one of the first tour operators to offer accessible tours to the country. She no longer operates her tour company, but she blogs about accessibility in Romania at http://www.iexplore.ro.
In Bucharest, Corina highly recommends a guided tour of the Palace Parliament. Additionally, the National Museum of Natural History — Grigore Antipa — underwent a renovation and added some access upgrades in 2011. Today access features include accessible parking, ramp access, elevator access to all floors and wheelchair-accessible restrooms.
As far as getting around Bucharest goes, you will encounter high curbs and uneven sidewalks in the older areas of town, however the Metrorex (underground) stations near the main tourist attractions (Piata, Unirii, Universitate, Piata Romana, and Izvor) are wheelchair-accessible. Additionally, all of the train stations have lift or ramp access to the trains.
Sanyo Touring (www.sanotouring.eu) also offers accessible tours throughout the country. Offerings include a four-night Bucharest tour, a nine-night Transylvania tour, a spa package at Eforie Nord, an opportunity to enjoy the thermal waters at Baile Felix, and a resort stay at Sovata. All tours include transportation in an accessible bus, and accessible accommodations at local hotels that have been personally inspected by the tour company.
Finally, Accessible Romania — a nonprofit that works to promote accessible tourism — has some resources and information on their website at https://www.accessibleromania.com.