Switzerland still has work to do to bring more infrastructure up to international standards, but it has made strides. Many buildings in old towns remain inaccessible, but newer buildings are required to meet certain standards. Most museums and major tourist attractions are accessible, and many trails and routes shared by hikers and bikers suit wheelchairs, too. Some hotels are nominally accessible, but it’s essential to contact them before booking to ensure they really have the facilities you need (there may be no stairs, for example, but the shower might still have a ledge that creates a barrier). It’s a good idea at restaurants, too, to call ahead to make sure they’re accessible and to make a reservation at an appropriate table.
Not all, but most, public transport can accommodate people with impaired mobility. Many newer trams can be used without assistance, but some trams and most buses have a ramp that the driver can open on demand. Stand near the front of the bus or tram stop so you can flag down the driver when she pulls up to the stop so you can request the ramp. You’ll also need to tell the driver the stop where you will get out.
To travel by rail, call tel. 0800/007-102 at least 1 hour before your train to request assistance getting on or off. SBB can also advise on the best train to take. If calling from outside Switzerland, the number is tel. +41/51/225-78-44. Most trains have at least one car and bathroom that’s wheelchair accessible. Some trains are accessible without assistance at one station, but not another, so ask the SBB and plan ahead.
Mobility International Switzerland (www.mis-ch.ch; tel. 062/212-67-40) provides information on many facets of travel without barriers. Switzerland Tourism (www.myswitzerland.com) has links to sites listing barrier-free hotels and hostels, and local tourist boards can point you to resources like wheelchair-accessible taxis wherever you’re staying. Europcar (www.europcar.ch; tel. 0848/80-80-99) rents vehicles equipped to transport wheelchairs as passengers. With advance notice, large car rental companies like Hertz may be able to supply a hand-controlled vehicle.
Eurokey (www.eurokey.ch) gives access to some 2,400 special facilities such as accessible toilets and lifts. You can get the key online or at certain locations, and must provide a certificate verifying seriously limited mobility, visual impairment, chronic bowel or bladder disorders, or wearing a stoma.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.