Disabled access in Marbella
What is Marbella like for disabled access? Are hotels and rental properties disabled friendly? What about the beaches? We look at these and answer a number of other questions below. You can trust MarbellaAzul.com’s information about disabled access because it is written from a disabled person´s point of view by a disabled person.
Marbella is a beautiful place to live and to visit. But what’s it like if you are disabled? Is it disabled friendly? It’s important to remember that some areas of Marbella will always be a little challenging for disabled people. Everyone wants Marbella to be enjoyed by all, but it must also retain its character and its tradition. So, there are areas where it’s difficult to adapt, particularly in the old town.
The Junta de Andalucia Law 4/2017 stipulated that every community should have completed what are termed ‘reasonable adjustments’ by December 4 2017. This applies to older buildings and new builds must now have adequate access for all by law. Whilst this is now the law, you should still check places out before you visit.
Disabled people have a wide variety of needs. You may have problems with stairs or standing for long periods of time. You may need walking assistance apparatus. You may be recovering from a physical injury or be a permanent wheelchair user. Here, we will try to answer your questions to help you to enjoy Marbella whatever your disability.
Holidaying in Marbella
It is important to choose the right accommodation if you want to get the most from your holiday. There are many companies offering specific accommodation for disabled people. Disabledholidays.com offer a great selection of hotels in Marbella. Most of the larger hotels have disabled access. However, if you are severely disabled and you require wheel-in showers where you can stay in your wheelchair at all times, here are a few hotels that offer adapted rooms:
Apartments & Villas
If you are renting an apartment or villa, this may be a little more challenging. Many apartments do not have the space to provide showers or bathrooms large enough to accommodate a wheelchair. It is also important to note that the doors in apartment buildings may not be wide enough to take a wheelchair comfortably. So, it is important to check when making your booking. Make sure your rental agent knows exactly what you need. Make it very clear so you are not disappointed on arrival.
If you need to use a lift, it is important to find out if it is wide enough to take a wheelchair. Many lifts in apartment buildings are small. They may take a wheelchair, but not much else. If you need to leave a mobility scooter or wheelchair in the lobby of your apartment building, please make sure you have permission to do so. Be aware that wheelchairs, unlike mobility scooters are usually not secure.
Most modern villas will have reasonable access, but older villas may not have. However, some villas are split level and this can cause problems. So, once again, make sure you give your specific requirements to your agent.
Getting around Marbella
Wheelchairs & Mobility Scooters
You will definitely enjoy Marbella’s Paseo Maritimo. It is a wide marble or stone promenade running from the Puerto Bajadilla (Fishing Port) in east Marbella to Puerto Banús in west Marbella. The views are stunning and there are numerous cafés, bars, restaurants and tapas bars. You can use wheelchairs, mobility scooters or walking aids on the Paseo Maritimo without an problems. It’s easy for everyone.
In town, most of the curbs where there are crossings or side streets have been changed to slopes. The Town Hall is working to ensure that in time, they will all be adapted. If you have a wheelchair or mobility scooter, you can also use the cycle lane (which is part of the pavement) on the Golden Mile from the Pirili (the copper spike) to Puerto Banús. We would not however recommend using mobility scooters on the roads. See Guardia Civil article here.
Marbella’s old town may cause you a few problems. This is just something you have to accept. The Old Town of Marbella is a wonderful place to stroll around. But remember most of it is cobbled and up and down hill. So may not be easy for someone pushing a wheelchair or the user. But a mobility scooter is fine.
Many of the bars and restaurants may not have disabled access as the premises are very narrow and facilities may be down or up stairs. But as most of the year the weather is marvellous you can still enjoy by sitting outside. The Old Town is full of characture and tradition also much of it is protected so adaption cannot take place. As always check with the establishment before you go. Our Restaurant Guide will give you all the telephone numbers you need.
Hiring mobility scooters, wheelchairs and mobility aids
We recommend Mobility Abroad. Tony of Mobility Abroad can deliver, collect and help you with all your needs. He offers a full service to holiday makers and residents.
Enjoying the beaches in Marbella
Enjoying the beach is an important part of your holiday in Marbella. The Town Hall are adapting many of the beach areas off the Paseo Maritimo with ramps leading down to the beach. Some beaches have boards leading down to the sea.
If you need more help, Marbella’s Town Hall has set up “Servicio Baño” on the El Faro beach, right in the centre of Marbella. This includes shaded chairs, bars, buoys and 44 metres of wooden boards forming a shaded pathway to the shore and an amphibious chair to help with bathing.
You will see this during the summer months (May to October) if you look across from the Paseo Maritimo to the El Chiringuito Restaurant. The Town Hall will also be offering this service in San Pedro de Alcántara and Nueva Andalucia in 2018.
Travelling by bus or taxi
Local buses in Marbella (classed as urban buses) are adapted with ramps for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. These can be lowered to the kerbside. Please note however, they have been known to malfunction.
Local buses pass through the town centre, usually terminating at the bus station. These buses visit Estepona, Benahavís, San Pedro de Alcántara, Nueva Andalucia, Puerto Banús, Benalmádena, Coín, Fuengirola, La Linea, Ojén, Torremolinos and the Costa del Sol Hospital. You can travel longer distances by coach from Marbella’s bus station. Contact the bus companies direct to find out what disability facilities are available.
Using a UK Blue Badge for parking in Marbella
If you have a UK Blue Badge, it is recognized in all European countries, but there are differences in its use here in Spain from in the UK. It can be used with any vehicle. It doesn’t need to be your vehicle, but you must be in the vehicle to use it. You cannot give it to someone else. You should only use your blue badge in designated disabled (minusvalidos) spaces. Remember, the badge must be placed on the dashboard where it can be seen clearly. If you forget to do it, you could be fined and the vehicle may be towed to the police station.
We suggest you print out this this sign. and place it alongside your Blue Badge when parking.
Marbella to Puerto Banús Ferry
The Fly Blue Ferry are able to accept wheelchairs and mobility scooters. They suggest you take Fly Blue Ferry 1 or 3 Not 2 as there is not room. To help we have given you picture of Fly Blue Ferry 1 and 3 below. There is no extra charge to travel with a wheelchair or scooter.
Visiting our National Parks
Spain’s National Parks continue to improve, bringing nature to everyone with more spacious facilities and trails suitable for disabled persons. Non-slip compact materials are used for the paths. They are non-reflective to avoid visual problems. Hand rails and double height windows have also been installed – minor details with major repercussions to make nature more available for disabled people.
At the Sierra Nevada National Park in the province of Granada, you can recreate the realities of nature at a range of workshops on astronomy, ecology, textile production and more – all adapted for the disabled.
Besides these specific options, Spain’s National Parks are working towards overall conversion to allow full disabled access. Special parking spaces have been provided for disabled persons and some parks offer direct vehicular access, including Doñana (Andalucia) which has a UNESCO World Heritage designation.
So, yes, Marbella is disabled friendly and becoming more so as time goes on. You can now enjoy our wonderful town at any time of the year.