Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.765 million residents within a greater metropolitan population of 3.1 million residents. The city is a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Warsaw wheelchair access has improved in leaps and bounds over recent years.
The city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Warsaw, the Warsaw Polytechnic, the National Museum, the Great Theatre—National Opera, the largest of its kind in the world, and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. The picturesque Old Town of Warsaw, which represents examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Warsaw is a reminder that disability travel may not always be easy, but is well and truly worth the effort. The city in turn has rewarded us with wheelchair access to so many beautiful public buildings.
Attractions and Opportunities
Wheelchair Accessible Travel
Low-floor buses with a special ramp are available for those in wheelchairs and are indicated by square brackets on timetables e.g. . For the visually impaired there are facilities such as: contrasting colours of handrails, handles, buttons and indicators on the thresholds of stairs. The names of the stops are displayed on special screens on some buses and trams with audio information also available sometimes. Metro stations have special ramps and lifts and some have toilets and telephones for those in wheelchairs. Audio information is available on the metro. Tactile and Mp3 maps are available for visually impaired and blind people at the Ratusz Arsenal Station. For more info check out www.metro.waw.pl
Disabled people can receive assistance at the Central Train Station by calling +48 22 474 60 16. The Powisle and Ochota train stations also have facilities for disabled people. Wheelchair users should ask about trains which are designed without compartments as most of the corridors on wagons with compartments are not wide enough. Tickets can be purchased online or at ticket counters. People, who are blind or have an apparent physical disability, traveling with or without a guide dog, can buy a ticket from a train conductor at no extra cost. More info can be found at www.pkp.pl/cop/informacje
Warsaw Airport is accessible for disabled people and is well equipped with lifts on all levels and toilets for wheelchair users. Those who need help should report this when making a booking. Special assistants are on hand to help people from their arrival at the airport until they are safely seated on a plane.
Some pedestrian crossings have ramps on the footpaths and are equipped with a system of sound signals for those who are visually impaired. All new or renovated intersections and roads are up-to-date with modern facilities. Some buildings are wheelchair accessible but unfortunately most are not. Toilets for disabled people are common in fast food restaurants and shopping centres and some public toilets.
Monuments, Parks, Museums and Other Places For Disabled People
The Royal Castle has ramps by the ticket desks, reduced tickets and the possibility of renting a wheelchair. Guided tours can be ordered in sign language. Blind people can explore the Royal Palace with the help of a special map and recordings of descriptions of the exhibits in the Throne Hall and The Marble Room. Audio files are also available for download on the www.zamek-krolewski.pl website. A selection of films is available with subtitles.
The Royal Route and Zamkowy Square have cobblestones but also lifts and ramps.
The Warsaw Uprising Museum is fully equipped with modern facilities for those with disabilities. Subtitles are available on films for those with impaired hearing and there is also information available in Braille.
Warsaw’s green areas such as: Ujazdowski Park, Royal Lazienki Park, Wilanow Palace and Garden, Saski Garden, Pole Motokowskie Park, Warsaw University Botanic Garden and Warsaw Zoo are accessible for disabled people with reduced or free entrance, ramps and other forms of assistance.
Lifts, ramps, reduced tickets, free entrance, toilets and other services are available for disabled people at Ujazdowski Castle, The Centre for Contemporary Art, The National Museum, The Fryderyk Chopin Museum, Zacheta – The National Gallery of Art, Parliament House, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The Palace of Culture and Science and The University of Warsaw Library.