Travel blogging spread like a forest fire, especially some specialized segments of travelling practice. Today we stumbled (via Chasing The Donkey blog) upon interesting blog dedicated to travelling in a wheelchair, called Curb Free with Cory Lee. This great young woman started her blog to share her experience of travelling from a wheelchair perspective, and one of the latest posts was “Rolling Around Croatia: A Wheelchair User’s Travel Guide”Rolling Around Croatia: A Wheelchair User’s Travel Guide”. As you can read on this post, she really checked some of the major attractions, and tested its accessibility for tourists in wheelchair.
Unfortunately, Cory didn’t visit Split, so here are some tips she or someone else might find useful if come to this town.
First, downsides. It’s practically impossible for people in a wheelchair to use public transportation, because city buses don’t have a ramp for them. There is a reserved space for certain levels of disability, but problem is entering a bus. There are some agencies in Split that organize transport for disable persons, but mostly for local people, usually children on their way to school. Also, it’s possible to move around by taxi. If you are driver, or are driven by others, there are lots of parking spots for disable, but you need to have a sticker. Otherwise, your car will be towed away, and then real problems begin. On the other hand, if you see someone without sticker parked there, don’t hesitate to call police.
Next, surprisingly, but most of state institutions are hardly accessible, maybe only sometime with a ramp on the side, but it’s hard to use it without somebody’s help. Even some health institutions are almost closed for them. Also, theatre and most of the cinemas, as well as museums mostly don’t have access for wheelchair. They are supposed to have it, by law, but in many cases this regulation wasn’t fulfilled. The best way to check whether it’s possible to visit them is to call in advance.
Moving around the city, on the other hand, is not that bad. Almost every intersection has small ramps to cross the street, and drivers will in most cases respect people in wheelchairs. Split old town is full of narrow streets, and there are many stairs around, but most of locations are accessible some other way. It’s even possible to visit Diocletian’s Palace basements, using Riva entrance. Unfortunately, most of churches have stairs, including Cathedral, and are not accessible, just like museums. Only way to do it is to be carried up the stairs.
Recreational zones are mostly well-prepared. If you like to spend time in the nature, it’s possible to go around Marjan and use most of its paths, except those reserved for more extreme way of excersise. Same goes with beaches. All the most popular beaches – few on Marjan, Bacvice, Znjan, etc – have access for wheelchair, with ramps, and some even with lifts.
Situation is not perfect, as you can see, but there are good initiatives to improve it. There are some NGOs which are pressing authorities to make more spots available, but some things change slowly. One of them, called Pino, has excellent interactive map on their web site, with all facilities with good access for people with disability. It’s only in Croatian, but with simbols and included Google translator it’s still useful. You can find it here.