Travellers with Disabilities

The situation in Austria for travellers with disabilities is good in Vienna, but outside the capital it's still by no means plain sailing. Ramps leading into buildings are common but not universal; most U-Bahn stations have wheelchair lifts but on buses and trams you’ll often be negotiating gaps and one or more steps. Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel Guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.

For distance travel, ÖBB has a section for people with disabilities on its website. Change to the English-language option, then go to the menu and select ‘Accessible Booking’. Use the 05 1717 number for mobility assistance (you can do this while booking your ticket by telephone). Staff at stations will help with boarding and alighting. Order this at least 24 hours ahead of travel (48 hours ahead for international services). No special service is available at unstaffed stations. Passengers with disabilities get a 50% discount off the usual ticket price.

The detailed pamphlet Accessible Vienna is available in German or English from Tourist Info Wien (www.wien.info). A comprehensive list of places in Vienna catering to visitors with special needs can be downloaded from www.wien.info/en/travel-info/accessible-vienna. In other cities, contact the tourist office directly for more information.

Some of the more expensive hotels (four-star or above, usually) have facilities tailored to travellers with disabilities; cheaper hotels invariably don’t.

There is no national organisation for the disabled in Austria, but the regional tourist offices or any of the following can be contacted for more information:

Behinderten Selbsthilfe Gruppe Maintains a database at www.barrierefreierurlaub.at listing hotels and restaurants suitable for those with disabilities.

Bizeps A centre providing support and self-help for people with disabilities. Located two blocks north of Messe-Prater U-Bahn station in Vienna.

WUK Faktor.i Offers information to young people with disabilities. Located just north of the Pilgramgasse U-Bahn station.

Upper Austria Tourist Office (www.barrierefreies-oberoesterreich.at) Information and listings for people with disabilities travelling in Upper Austria.