I recently travelled to Nicosia, Cyprus to give a talk on accessible travel for the Council of Europe’s Disability and Human Rights Strategy conference. Having never visited before, I was unsure how I would get on in my wheelchair, but was pleasantly surprised by three main factors:
Accessible Taxis. On arrival at the airport, we were ushered straight into an accessible taxi – with a difference. Instead of a steep ramp coming out of the back or the side of the vehicle (as often seems to happen in the UK), this taxi had a platform lift at its rear, meaning that the driver didn’t have to strain himself pushing me up a ramp, and I didn’t need to worry about how steep it was!
The Hilton Park Hotel, Nicosia. Next, we were taken to our hotel for the following few days, the Hilton Park Hotel in Nicosia. Not only was the hotel vast and hugely accessible with three varied and very inclusive restaurants on-site, as well as a gym and hairdressers, the pool was fully ramped, meaning most guests were able to take a dip! The staff could not have been more helpful or attentive and, although accessible rooms in this hotel didn’t quite have all the ‘mod cons’ we expect in the UK, they did all they could to ensure everyone was as comfortable as possible.
The Old Town. Even though the trip was solely for my involvement in the Council of Europe conference, we did manage to venture out into the Old Town that is cut in two to make way for the border into the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus. I was hugely impressed with the accessibility of Ledra Street, and it’s the perfect place to do some last minute shopping whilst looking at the incredible old architecture peeping out on this otherwise very commercial street.