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Wheelchair Accessible Camping in Europe
by Dany Aendenboom © 1999

Hello camping friends: My family and I like to go camping a lot. We judge the campsites with the eyes of a family where one of the members is paraplegic (L1) and uses a manual Küsshall Champion wheelchair.

Our camping vehicle is a converted Van, Dodge Ram 350, (6 meters long). It consists of an elevator in the back, accessible chemical toilet, and a sink. It sleeps three adults and one child (150 cm). The accelerator and brake are manual.

euromap.gif (3746 bytes)We always look for accessible camping, thinking that if I can be as independent as at home, my wife and son also will benefit from a nice holiday. Until now, we relied on different camping guides, like Kosmos (Dutch), ACSI, and Guide Michelin, but we were very often surprised (in a negative way) once we were at the campsites; we found the guides were very unreliable. So if you are a wheelchair user with GOOD camping experiences in Europe, I would be very pleased to read about them. If you have more questions about the camping experiences I described, mail them to me, and I will try to answer them. Most of the campsites have a website and e-mail address. Thanks in advance.Dany Aendenboom

Visit Dany's Marco Rolo page at http://www.geocities.com/access4wheelies/
or write him at 
marco.rolo@advalvas.be

SPAIN

Camping Playa Montroig

Location: Costa Dorada, Cambrils (8km).
E-mail: info@playamontroig.com Maybe you will get an answer "mañana."
Time of visit:
September 1997 and September 1998

The campsite is located near the beach, with steep access, but once you are on the beach you need your 4WD. Most of the camping places have lots of shade. The campsite is divided in two by the railway, and crossing the railway is done trough a tunnel (down and up). Roads are made of asphalt.

Reception: not accessible unless you have arms with built-in turbo, or if you are willing to make a looping. There is a ramp but that ramp is very steep (45%).
Pool with terrace: 100% access, no hydraulic elevator for the pool.
Restaurant, take-away, bar & terrace: 100% access.
Shops, Laundry etc: 100% access.
Bodega: not accessible, located on the first floor, no elevator.
Bathroom: private bathroom with key. Equipment is very new looking, toilet is 40 cm high, standing in the corner, with a foldable grip on the right (where your wheelchair is standing), but on the opposite side there only is a fixed vertical grip, no horizontal grip, which makes the transfer chair-toilet or vice-versa very tricky. The shower consists of a foldable sit (40-45cm high), covered with hard plastic strips, no opening to wash your...The shower has double grips, one foldable, and one L-shaped fixed to the wall. The sink has an adjustable mirror. The bathroom has no alarm.

Rem: though we asked several times (technical service, reception and responsible PR) during both our visits to have a horizontal grip placed near the toilet, nothing has been done. We also asked to do something to make the beach a little bit wheelchair friendly, by placing a strip of concrete or so, allowing you to be on the beach near the family. I sent an e-mail to the director of the campsite in January 1999 but until now I’ve had no response. So I suppose there still is no horizontal grip.

Camping Stel

Location: Costa Dorada, Roda de Bara
Time of visit: September 1998

The campsite is separated from the beach by the railway (there is a tunnel) and a boulevard, with access to the beach for wheelchairs, but once you are on the beach, use your well-known 4WD.The campsite is flat.

Reception: not accessible for wheelchair user; there is a high step at the entrance.
Pool: The pool is accessible but there is no hydraulic lift.
Shops, bar, restaurant & supermarket: 100 % access
Bathroom:: there are two private bathrooms (with key) for disabled, the bathroom-building has two ramps, the first is somewhat steep, the second is better. The old-looking and rusty equipment inside the bathrooms shows that the campsite owner wanted to do something but did not know how. The toilet has no horizontal grip so transferring is almost impossible; there is a real bath at the floor level, so you might need a hot air balloon to get into your wheelchair. The shower has a seat made of concrete, about 30 cm deep and very wide, but with no grips. The seat is very difficult to reach, because there is not much space left between the bath and the shower. The shower has ample possibilities to scratch your behind, legs, etc. The bathroom has no alarm.

Camping Playa Bara

Location: Costa Dorada, Roda de Bara.
Neighboring Camping Stel, idem for railroad and boulevard.
Time of visit:
September 1998

Rem: we only visited the bathroom, found two private bathrooms with key. Toilet standing against the wall with vertical grips attached to the wall. Purpose? The bathroom was, as far as I could see (without lights)divided into two levels, the shower laying out 10 cm below the rest. This was the reason we decided not to stay at this campground.

Camping La Ballena Allegre

Location: Costa Brava, San Pere Pescador, but closer to La Escala (4 km)
Time of visit: July 1994

The campsite is 100% flat, located behind the dunes, close to the beach, though there is no wheelchair access to the beach, unless you have a 4WD chair. The camping places are rather small and have little shade. Main roads are made of asphalt.

Reception: Fully accessible for wheelchair users, only a 5 cm step at the entrance.
Shop & Supermarket: fully accessible, no steps
Swimming pool, terrace, restaurant, self-service and bar: 100% access, but there is no hydraulic elevator for the pool.
Bathroom: very well-equipped private bathroom for disabled people, with key, sliding door, WC with two foldable grips, WC about 40 cm high. Sink and mirror ok. Shower with foldable seat attached to the wall. The seat is in perforated metal, with a circular opening allowing you to wash your...and covered with a plastic cushion to protect your sitting bones. But be careful because the circular opening has very sharp edges so watch out for scratches on your…! The shower is located in the corner of the bathroom and consists of one fixed grip on the right side, and one foldable grip on the left side. The seat is about 40 - 45 cm high. The bathroom has no alarm.

Rem: asking the reception to make a little panel "occupado" that you can put outside would be useful, because you might not be the only one using the bathroom, and not everyone knocks on the door before going in...

Camping Valldaro

Location:: Costa Brava, Playa de Aro (2 km).
Time of visit: September 1998

The campsite is almost 100% flat and consists of more than 1500 camping places.
Reception: accessible for wheelchairs.
Shop: 100% accessible
Bars, take-away and restaurants: not fully accessible because there are steep ramps to enter the terrace, from there on there are no further problems.
Pool: There are two pools, both have the same problem as the restaurant, steep ramps so not fully accessible, there is no hydraulic lift.
Bathroom: There is a special bathroom (with key) for disabled people. The one I used was located on the "señores" side of the building, I don't know if there is a second one on the "señoras" side. The bathroom equipment looks dated but works ok. All the necessary items are present: toilet (40 cm) with grips, shower with seat (40 cm)a nd grips, sink with cold and hot water.

FRANCE

Camping L'Oliveraie

Location: Laurens (2 km), near Beziers
Time of visit:: July 1997

The campsite is not very flat, from the reception the site goes downhill. Some of the camping places are very large. Some roads are asphalt (the higher section), other roads ( the lower section ), are made of cobbles and soil.

Reception
: accessible without problems.
Shop: accessible.
Bar, pizzeria and restaurant
Bar, pizzeria and restaurant
: open air (noisy on the weekend) and 100% access.
Pool:
open air and accessible with a little detour if you don't want to go trough the "foot bath." There is no hydraulic lift.
Bathroom:
there are two private bathrooms (with key) accessible for wheelchair users. The first one is on the higher level of the camping site. The shower has no seat. I don't remember if there were any grips. The toilet is in another room. The bathroom on the lower side of the campsite has a better toilet (40 cm) with grips, bath, shower with seat and grips. There also is a sink with hot and cold water.

Rem: the camping owner is a very nice man, when I told him the bathroom was ok, but not complete without a seat, he went to Beziers to buy one. The seat in the shower was installed the day we left.

Camping La Sousta

Location: Remoulins
Time of visit: September 1998

The campsite is located in a forest and the terrain has a lot of ups and downs. Roads are a mixture of concrete, cobbles, soil, and grass.

Reception: A 15 cm step at the entrance makes it rather difficult to get in.
Restaurant, bar and terrace: no problems.
Bathroom: There is a private bathroom for wheelchair users. There is no toilet in the bathroom. At the time of the visit, the bathroom was very filthy. The shower has a little seat, at about 40 cm high, but the seat is only 30 cm deep, so sitting on it must be very unstable. I have not tried it. This bathroom is also used to change babies’ diapers. There is no alarm in the bathroom.
Toilet: rather dirty place, with very unstable grip, and no toilet seat.

Camping des Nations

Location: Auberives sur Varèze
Time of visit: September 1997, September1998.

The campsite is located on the N7, close to Vienne, ideal for people travelling and looking for a place to sleep. The campsite is flat, the roads are asphalt.

Reception: not accessible, high step.
Restaurant: I was told by the owner that the restaurant from the hotel des Nations, in front is accessible, but we have not seen the place.
Bathroom: There is a private bathroom for wheelchair users. There is a toilet with seat (40 cm) and foldable grips. There also is a shower with seat and foldable grips. There is a sink with cold water (push and flow with auto-stop) only. No alarm in the bathroom.

Camphotel La Reserve

Location: Parentis en Born - Gastes (2km)
Time of visit
: July 1993

The campsite is located in a pine-forest near the lake. The campsite is completely flat, and the roads are asphalt. The camping places provide lots of shade. The lakeside beach is accessible for the usual 4WD chair, but even with the help of someone it is difficult to get through the loose sand, creating lots of problems later ( crispy wheel bearings).

Reception: accessible for wheelchair users.
Shop: A 18 cm high step blocked the way for me in 1993.

Telephones: same problem as the shop.
Restaurant and bar: 100% access.
Pool: was changed in 1994, so I don't know about the access.
Bathroom: There are special bathrooms (no private key) for disabled people. There is no toilet here. The shower in the bathroom I used was located in a corner. It had a foldaway seat and the necessary grips, but once you were on the seat, you realised that the water taps were located behind your back (I suppose the architect was working in a circus before, so be ready to start the yoga lessons).

Toilet: There are several accessible wheelchair toilets located in different blocks all over the campsite. The one I used had a sink. The toilet was 40cm high, standing with its right side against the wall. There was a foldaway grip on the left side, but on the right side there only was a vertical grip, not a horizontal one. Talking with someone from the reception did not change the problem. No alarm in the toilet or the bathroom.

THE NETHERLANDS

Camping 't Hoekske

Location: Kaatsheuvel
Time of visit: August 1998

The campsite is located at about 40 minutes walking (or rolling if you prefer) from the entertainment park called Efteling. The campsite is 100% flat and 100% OK for wheelchair users.

Reception: 100% access.
Bar & Restaurant & shop: 100% access.
Pool: covered pool and an open-air pool, both are accessible. There is no hydraulic lift for access to the pool.
Bathroom: The bathroom is very well equipped for wheelchair users. There is a sink with adjustable mirror. The toilet, as well as the shower, have all the necessary grips, though showering time is limited with coins. The coin machine is accessible from the seat. The bathroom is equipped with an alarm, triggered by a piece of rope tended around the room. This rope can be reached, no matter where on the floor you are (you can ask my five-year-old son. "Papa, what is...this?" wiejoewiejoewiejoe!!!!!!!!).

Camping in Luxembourg

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