In 2012, a law was passed by the Knesset (Israel's legislature) that kick-started a gradual program of increasing accessibility to places of worship, tourist sites, restaurants and bars. There has been significant improvement, but Jerusalem still has a lot of work to do to cater to those with a disability.

High-end hotels usually have at least one room tailored for people with a disability, but they are booked up very quickly; enquire and reserve as early as possible.

Parts of the Old City present big challenges for travellers with mobility issues. Stairs, paving stones and narrow lanes make some areas very difficult to navigate in a wheelchair, but some places are better than others. There is smooth asphalt leading to Jaffa Gate, and (relatively) flat paving in the immediate area around the Tower of David. You can approach the Western Wall plaza from Dung Gate without stairs. Nearby, Temple Mount/Al Haram Ash Sharif is accessed by a long covered ramp, and at the site there are only a few stairs to reach the Dome of the Rock. Most of the Via Dolorosa is doable by wheelchair, though crowds along this route can make it difficult. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has an entrance ramp, though many of the shrines inside are only reachable by stairs. The Tower of David has partial access (its sound and light show is fully accessible) and the Time Elevator can accommodate visitors with disabilities.

Several other top sights are accessible to travellers with a disability, including almost all parts of the Yad Vashem complex; the Israel Museum (both have parking and toilets for visitors with disabilities, too); and the Garden Tomb in East Jerusalem has accessibility ramps.

Many Jerusalem restaurants are on roof terraces, up stairs or tucked into alleys, but Mamilla Mall is a pedestrianised shopping centre lined with cafes and restaurants at ground level. The tourist office can provide additional advice on suitable restaurants and bars.

Tour Operators & Online Resources

SmartTrip Israel (www.smartrip-israel.com) Specialist tour operator that can arrange practically everything, including renting specially equipped vehicles, booking tours and making reservations in accessible restaurants.

Israel 4 All (www.israel4all.com) Can do some of the organisational heavy lifting with regard to suitable accommodation and guided tours in Jerusalem.

Access Israel (www.aisrael.org) This local nonprofit advocacy organisation is a useful resource for the latest on relevant news and projects.

For more information download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.