Malta’s accessibility is always a hot topic for conversation and the country has upped its efforts recently, but just how accessible do you think the island is for tourists with a disability?
This YouTube video goes into detail about this type of accessibility for the sake of wheelchair users who are visiting the island:
The video highlights the use of public transport when using a wheelchair, noting that users may more often than not need to ask passengers making use of the disabled spaces to move out of the way. It also lets tourists know that, as wheelchair users, they do have priority over prams and pushchairs.
The video also shines a light on Malta’s general pedestrian access, but particularly for those who are wheelchair bound.
It points out the lack of curb ramps, what it refers to as “drop curbs”, telling travellers to make sure they bring any power attachments should they be travelling without a companion who would be able to help with the steep inclines of Malta’s roads.
“One minute you would be on a nice, wide, smooth pavement and then all of a sudden it would become very narrow and uneven,” the narrator explains.
They call the pavements “hit and miss”, having to retrace their steps on many curbs in order to find areas low enough to safely disembark and make use of the tarmac instead.
These folks only spent four days on the island, but that didn’t stop them from making the most of their time.
In the video, they first head to Mdina to visit the old streets of Kings Landing and check out one of the karrozzini. While their main attraction was the city itself, they also note that there are only two wheelchair-accessible eateries in the area. One of those just happened to be Fontanella, and we’re sure these guys were counting the saints because you really can’t leave Mdina without grabbing a slice of (chocolate) cake.
They then cross the channel to Gozo for a step back in time, checking out Ċittadella and the Ġgantija Temples, calling attention to the accessibility of the ferries between Malta and Gozo and paying special attention to the array of ramps available at the site of the temples.
Though there is a rough patch of open terrain to traverse over before hitting the ramps, that is their only gripe with the area and the couple continue on their merry way through Gozo’s megalithic temples.
While access to their restaurant of choice was suitable for wheelchair users, there was no disabled toilet for them to make use of. Perhaps this restaurant doesn’t actually have ramps and instead installed “lazy makers” – also known as anything easier to climb then steps.
Valletta is their third stop, and the smooth streets of the Capital’s pedestrianised alleys catch their attention.
Of course, we all know there’s a lift for anyone to use to get down to the waterfront. On their way to the ferry for the Three Cities, the pair waste no haste in getting to the crossing for Birgu. Shoutout to the ferry operators for offering discounted fares for wheelchair users!
Getting to Comino was their hardest feat, with no access to the boats for wheelchair users.
The staff were able to assist with lifting them and the chair into the vessel, but they still ended up losing a shoe.
Unfortunately, the lack of smooth paths around the island make wheelchair accessibility very uneasy. These guys recommend making use of the less-populated evening ferries for those wanting to get a look at one of Malta’s biggest tourist traps.
“Malta is definitely not the easiest destination for wheelchair users, but that’s part of the challenge that makes it fun to explore,” the video goes on to explain, noting that the duo didn’t always choose the easiest way to get around.
One thing the video does make a point of noting, is that while the island falls short on physical accessibility, the people around are always happy to assist and make do with what is available to get around.