Accessibility -Brussels and Brugge, Belgium

In this post I’d like to focus a bit more on the access and accommodations while traveling in Belgium.

Brussels

Transportation: We took the bus from the airport. I believe all buses have ramps. Not all metro stops have elevators. Check out the full public transport map for the metro with elevator locations by googling “Brussels Metro map.” Although the there are elevators to the metro, the trains have a good sized step. I only was at two stops, but did notice this. I was in a manual chair, so I could be lifted, but I didn’t see any sort of ramps. Also, watch which gates you swipe out of to leave. We went through a gate with a wheelchair access label only to find an escalator on the other side. We had to ring the help button to get back through.

HostelBrussels Jacques Brel Youth hostel

  • Wheelchair Friendly – The triple room has complete wheelchair access. The room was a bit older though. We actually stayed in another room that was more modern. Still accessible, but there was a step into the shower and the doors were almost too skinny.
  • Elevator
  • A few blocks from a metro station with an elevator. Bus stops close as well.
  • Friendly staff

Brugge

Transportation:

  • We took the Belgium Rail long distance train to Brugge. We booked tickets at the station and requested ramp service at the ticket counter. You’re supposed to book the service 2 days prior, but I didn’t and it was fine – just make sure to be at least 30 mins early. Maybe if you were traveling at obscure times of the day, it would be smart.
  • All buses in Brugge have ramps they pulled out. I rode for free. Not sure if this was legit, but they didn’t say anything. It’s a small city though, so I recommend walking because the bus can be pricey.

Hostel: Both of our hostels were about a ten minute walk from the city center, but Brugge is beautiful everywhere so it was a nice. People didn’t lie though, cobble stone EVERYWHERE. I was lucky to have some amazing friends to push me around.

Bauhaus St. Christopher Hostel

  • We stayed in a 8 person room on the first floor
  • Fully compliant bathroom down the hall with a roll-in shower and seat too
  • The front door has access to the dining room and reception, but there are stairs to the bar. You don’t have to go to the bar to be served.
  • The door from the lobby to the first floor rooms was really tiny! Of course they didn’t tell us there was another route, so I played the transfer fold chair, transfer game. Good news the ally door is perfectly wide and not shady since it’s in the alley.

Snuffel Hostel

  • The newest and most accessible! The best thing is that you can ideally stay in any room since the bathrooms are not in private rooms.
  • Accessible bathroom on first floor in lobby
  • We stayed in a 6 person dorm – extremely comfy beds – very clean (pic below)
  • Two accessible bathrooms down the hall. One of the bathrooms had a giant roll-in shower. (pic below – this was also what the set-up was like at Bauhaus)
  • Elevator

IMAG0803IMAG0799 (1).jpg

General Access in Brugge:

  • As mentioned above, cobblestones everywhere! But, the city is fairly flat.
  • Because there are so many tourists, many places do not have steps. You will be fine in museums, some restaurants and most main shops. Almost all cafes have seats outside – good weather would be in your favor.
  • Lots of places have one step. I recommend bringing a manual chair if you can, so one step is easily managed.
  • I didn’t see one automatic door and some doors were a bit heavy.
  • Overall, the city was fairly manageable. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything because of something being inaccessible.
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