Iceland is one of my top dream destinations not only because of its immense beauty, but because it has such a vibrant history as well. It shows through in many of its cities and Reykjavik is no exception. Beautiful by day and alluring by night, Reykjavík is an Iceland gem. It is surprisingly easy to navigate if you are a wheelchair user. To that end, let’s take a few moments and discuss navigation in the beautiful capital city of Iceland. Following are a few tips for rolling around Reykjavík.
Various Transportation Modes
For starters, let’s take a look at the main modes of transportation as they relate to Iceland. Any of the airlines that offer flights to and from Iceland are more than capable of accommodating travelers with disabilities. Air Iceland, a regional airline within Iceland, has absolutely no trouble with wheelchairs. Their planes are a bit larger and this makes it easy to board. Maybe because of this you wouldn’t feel like you are a spectacle or in the way, as I have so many times before. Kudos to them for a little forethought here. However, you might think that once you land at the airport you could be stuck. This is a common worry, but not necessary in Iceland. Here is a good reason why:
The buses in Reykjavík all have wheelchair access capability. This means those that run to and from the airport will be more than happy to assist you with entering and exiting the bus. Keep in mind too, that there are airport shuttles if you have a major hotel as your destination. If you have prearranged for a shuttle to pick you up at the airport then chances are you will have no problem with your wheelchair. They either have a minibus that will allow you to roll on and roll off, or someone will assist you with boarding and they will be able to stow your wheelchair in the back (if it’s a manual chair).
Another transportation mode that is a bit unique to Reykjavík is the car ferry. All of the ferries are wheelchair friendly. Just be careful with that first small step on the boarding ramp. You don’t want to end up in the water!
Here’s an odd service that might not be a service at all. Hertz car rental offers cars that are specially outfitted for wheelchair users. Here’s the thing though, they do not offer hand controls! I really don’t know what they were thinking; the fact that we are using a wheelchair means that our leg usage is somewhat restricted right? However, this information is useful if you have just broken a leg or are in rehab for some sort of injury. It is nice that they have at least made an effort to accommodate wheelchair drivers.
As for cabs and taxis, they can be accessible too. Just call ahead to make sure you get one that has the capability of storing your wheelchair in the trunk or has a lift.
Consider a Tour Company
Here is another option for you to consider if you’re looking to plan a full-fledged vacation to Reykjavík. There are two companies that offer tours that are designed for travelers with disabilities. Iceland Unlimited and All Iceland Tours are two companies that will cater to your needs. They both use specially designed vans to make transport with a wheelchair easier and offer various tours that cater to your preferences.
Hotels, Public Buildings, and the Like
As for hotels in Reykjavík, make sure you call ahead to determine whether or not they can accommodate your needs. Most of the upper tier hotels are wheelchair friendly, but some more economically friendly hotels have limited access. Just call ahead to make sure they can accommodate you.
Here is one feature that makes Reykjavík really appealing to wheelchair users: all public buildings either current or old have been made to have wheelchair access. This means if they are old they have been retrofitted to make them accessible.
Tourism and Restaurants
Most tourist attractions in Reykjavík are accessible. For example, the noted Blue Lagoon has access abilities located at the tourist pavilion. If you would like to get in the water (and who wouldn’t?!!) there is even a hoyer lift that will lower you down into the lagoon. Awesome, right?
Finally, most restaurants in Reykjavik are wheelchair friendly. Very few spots will offer trouble if you need to go to the restroom, but in most places dining should not be an issue. Most of the time, they’re more than willing to push a chair out of the way to give you adequate space at the table.
As you can see, Reykjavík is truly a stunning city. The best time to visit is summer as temperatures are milder and you don’t have to worry about freezing while you are rolling from place to place. If you want to view the Northern Lights though, then Winter might be better for you. Use this guide to Iceland to help you plan your next trip. The beautiful natural scenery and rich cultural history make it a once-in-a-lifetime must see destination.
*I finally visited Reykjavik after writing this post. To read about my time in Iceland, CLICK HERE.
*A Note from Curb Free with Cory Lee: This post includes affiliate links. When you click on a link, I may receive a small compensation, which will help this blog grow into a better resource for disabled travelers.