Istanbul is accessible for all and many conveniences have been provided for disabled people so that everyone can visit. Many volunteer organisations arrange seminars and awareness events to make the city accessible and to educate local people on communication. Turkish law states that every building must comply with accessibility standards and, perhaps more importantly, the Turkish people are incredibly hospitable and will always try to help all visitors to the city.
There is a great sensitivity towards disabled people in Turkey but before you travel it’s worth making note of these terms in case you find yourself in need of assistance;
Handicapped: Engelli (More Often Used)
Blind: Görme Engelli (More Often Used)
Deaf: İşitme Engelli (More Often Used)
Walking Disabled: Yürüme Engelli
Diabetic: Şeker Hastası – Diyabetik
Wheelchair: Tekerlekli Sandalye
Battery Powered Wheelchair: Akülü Tekerlekli Sandalye
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Istanbul’s newly built airport has full accessibility. Old airports have also been adapted to accessibility requirements. There are also specially trained assistants for people with disabilities who need assistance. To do so, it is enough to ask for assistance until you leave the airport, indicating your disability.
By law, public buildings must be accessible. For this reason, especially in hotels, accessibility is constantly checked and there are steep penalties for non-compliance. For more information on any hotel’s accessibility visit the website or ask for information. Here are a few of the best disabled-friendly hotels in Istanbul:
Romance Istanbul Hotel
One of the most popular hotels for romantic evenings. It boasts delicious food and high-quality service. Located in Old Istanbul, it’s very close to the tourist zone.
If you want to stay in a place full of history in Sirkeci, Levni Hotel is for you. It’s among the most popular hotels for quality service according to TripAdvisor reviewers.
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4. Local Transportation
Istanbul public transport vehicles have been modernised to make them accessible for disabled people. Istanbul Metro, trams and other underground vehicles are designed to allow disabled travellers to travel uninterrupted from the entrance gate of the station where their journey begins to the exit gate of their destination stop. Travelling by city lines ferries from one continent to the other can be a bit more troublesome but if you ask for assistance you’ll get it. Buses have a ramp that can be opened for wheelchair access and a space to store wheelchairs while you travel.
5. City Streets
Although transport and buildings are accessible, the same can’t always be said for the streets; in particular the streets of old Istanbul which are full of sidewalks that don’t have a standard height. Also, many restaurants put their tables on the sidewalk, which is often crowded anyway. Some sidewalks are not suitable for wheelchairs and you’ll have to go on the road.
6. Historical Buildings and Museums
Historic buildings built thousands of years ago are being restored with modern accessibility tools. However, this work requires time and, in some cases, significant cost. Some venues in major tourist zones are already adapted but we suggest you check accessibility before you travel.
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