Facilities for People with Disabilities in Athens
Overview of where to go and what to do if you are mobility, sight or hearing impaired, a wheelchair or cane user and living in or visiting Athens and the region of Attica...
Perhaps the most obvious problem for mobility, hearing or sight impaired people in Athens is getting around. The pavements and buildings were not built with easy access in mind; there are many steep streets, uneven walkways and flights of steps in the city, and entrances are often blocked by parked cars and motorbikes. There have, however, been improvements in recent building works, such as the accessible Metro and the level paths around the Acropolis. There are also some resorts and tours that cater to people with reduced mobility. This reflects the progress that has been made in recent years, largely due to pressure from the Greek disabled community.
Getting Around Athens with Visual or Physical Disabilities
Athens is a very hilly city with many steep slopes and steps. Pavements often have trees or lampposts blocking them and surfaces can be uneven. Newer pavements are being built wider, more even, and with tactile paving.
Most buildings in Athens have steps, the only exceptions being those built very recently. With current legislation, however, any new building must be accessible to a wheelchair.
Trains and the Metro
Facilities for the disabled are available in the Metro, including lifts and areas adapted for those with reduced mobility. There are designated seats on the train and metro, and disabled passengers are served first at train stations.
- For information on facilities for people with reduced mobility: Click here
- Tel: 210 519 4012
Most buses are equipped with ramps, allowing easier access for those with motor disabilities.
The Athens Urban Transport Organisation provides free transport for the disabled. The service must be booked by telephone 48 hours in advance.
- Tel: 1130
Open: Monday to Saturday 06:00-22:00, Sunday 08:00-15:00
Facilities include designated parking spaces near the terminal, wheelchair ramps, lifts, waiting areas, telephones and Internet access at wheelchair level and accessible toilets.
- For information from Athens International Airport: Click here (PDF, scroll down to page 8 for English)
The European Parliament has introduced regulations to facilitate air travel for people with reduced mobility. The ruling requires that people with reduced mobility have free, special assistance where required on airplanes, at airports, at check-in and with flight connections. Responsibility for accommodating the needs of the disabled traveller lies with the airports. Airline companies can still provide additional services to people with reduced mobility.
- For further information on facilities for the disabled on public transport: Click here
Parking for the Disabled
Disabled parking spaces in Athens are clearly marked in plain blue with a wheelchair sign. An EU Blue Badge must be displayed on the windscreen. Unauthorised parking in disabled spaces is strictly prohibited. Some car parks allow vehicles with the Blue Badge to park free of charge. Check the car park notices.
- For further information on parking in Europe for Blue Badge users: Click here
Applying for a disabled parking permit
To obtain a disabled parking permit, contact the Ministry of Transport. This allows the holder to park in designated spaces; it does not necessarily guarantee free parking or a permanent parking space near one’s home. Holders of a disabled badge also allows reduced rates on toll roads. Applicants should provide certification of their disability; this is usually issued by the Regional Health Commission. Contact the Department of Welfare at the regional authority of the place of residence.
In some cases, people with disabilities are entitled to reduced rates for the annual car tax and tax relief on the purchase of a car.
Associations for the Disabled in Athens
- National Confederation of Disabled People (??????) (in Greek)
- Pan-Hellenic Union of Paraplegic & Physically Challenged
- Pan-Hellenic Association of the Blind
- Greek Federation of the Deaf (in Greek)
- Federation of Associations of Parents and Guardians of Children with Severe Disabilities
At: Eleftheriou Venizelou 236, 163 41 Ilioupolis
Tel: 210 520 3951
Fax: 210 520 3951