Travellers with Disabilities

Sicily is not an easy island for travellers with disabilities. Narrow cobbled streets, hair-raising traffic, blocked pavements and tiny lifts make life very difficult for wheelchair users, and those with sight or hearing difficulties.

Under European law, airports are obliged to provide assistance to passengers with reduced mobility, so if you need help en route to Sicily, or on arrival/departure, tell your airline when you book your ticket and they should inform the airport. Facilities are available at both Palermo and Catania airports.

If travelling by rail, ring Trenitalia's national helpline (199 303060) to arrange assistance with wheelchairs, guides and getting on and off trains. Further information is available online at www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en; choose the 'Person with reduced mobility' link under Information and Contacts.

If you are driving, the UK blue badge is recognised in Italy, giving you the same parking rights that local drivers with disabilities have.

Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel. Lonely Planet offers a number of other online resources, including its Travel for All community on Google+, the Travellers with Disabilities branch of the Thorn Tree forum (www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/travellers-with-disabilities), and an Accessible Travel Pinterest page (www.pinterest.com/lonelyplanet/accessible-travel).

Other online resources:

Accessible Italy (www.accessibleitaly.com) A San Marino–based company that specialises in holiday services for people with disabilities, ranging from tours to the hiring of adapted transport.

Italian Tourism Official Website (www.italia.it/en/useful-info/accessibility.html) Italy-specific links for travellers with disabilities.

Sage Traveling (www.sagetraveling.com) A US-based agency offering advice and tailor-made tours to assist mobility-impaired travellers in Europe.

Tourism for All (www.tourismforall.org.uk) A British charity that can provide general travelling information – check out the website's useful FAQ section.