A holiday to Tenerife’s seaside resort of Los Cristianos is never going to be a hard sell to the kids as a destination for a family holiday: guaranteed sunshine, great beaches lined by cafés selling fresh ice creams and cold drinks, and hotels with multiple swimming pools. But did you know that Los Cristianos is also one of Spain’s most accessible resorts? Creating non-barrier spaces for wheelchair users has been a priority for local government here, with the result that parents with mobility issues are able to enjoy it just as much as the kids.
Accessibility in Tenerife
Tenerife is Europe’s leading destination for those with reduced mobility (in fact, only Florida in the United States attracts more visitors with disabilities), and there is a good reason for that. Back in 1993 the island’s government set up SINPROMI (the Society for the Promotion of Disable People on the Island) with a mission to create a benchmark for barrier-free, accessible tourism in Europe.
As well as working hard to make its beaches, promenades, pavements and social spaces as barrier-free as possible, it has also created a grading system to make it clear to visitors how accessible its sites, venues, leisure centres, restaurants and facilities are. A simple to use reference system grades locations as:
- Accessible – guaranteeing good movement for wheelchair users who will be able to navigate the space independently
- Practicable – this space is not entirely wheelchair-friendly but should be relatively easy to navigate with help
- Inaccessible – this space is not appropriate for use by people with restricted mobility
Award-Winning Los Cristianos
Los Cristianos, and its municipality of Arona, have developed their own award-winning Integral Accessibility Scheme, which has served to make it amongst the most wheelchair-friendly region on the island of Tenerife.
The municipality has worked hard to remove all barriers in public spaces, as well as from all its tourist services and facilities. One of the results of this progressive scheme has been the creation of the longest barrier-free promenade in Europe (a whopping 7km of wheelchair-friendly pathways running alongside the resort’s most popular beaches). Not only that, but the beaches themselves are barrier-free with wheelchair-friendly walkways and wooden ramps leading on to the sand and a variety of roll-up paths and ramps leading into the water. Other options for entering the water include amphibian wheelchairs, aquatic chairs and other sea aids. Changing rooms and toilets on the beach are, of course, spacious enough to aid their use by those with mobility issues.
Health & Wellbeing Hotel
The Mar Y Sol Spa & Sport Hotel was a trailblazing project when it first opened in 1993; a hotel designed and built with the sole purpose of providing an equal offering for its able-bodied and disabled guests. The hotel was the brainchild of its German owner who travelled to Tenerife in 1975 with his wife who suffered from multiple sclerosis. He was so impressed by the positive impact of the weather in Tenerife on her condition that he decided to open a hotel for people with MS and other mobility-restricting conditions in Los Cristianos. His aim was to create a hotel which offered the highest levels of accessibility to guests with or without mobility issues.
As part of the hotel’s offering, the owner also introduced a wellness, prevention and rehabilitation centre called Teralava. Using a combination of modern and traditional therapeutic techniques, the Teralava centre takes a holistic approach to wellbeing providing everything from massages, physiotherapy, lymph drainage, lava packs, magnetic field therapy, osteopathy and acupuncture.
A great option for a family holiday, there is plenty more to do here than just sunbathe or relax in the spa. From diving and golf, to kids clubs and sports activities, everything here has been adapted for use by mixed ability groups so there is nothing the kids can do that you can’t enjoy with them if you choose to.
How to Get to Los Cristianos
Getting to the resort couldn’t be easier with regular flights from all major UK airports flying in to Tenerife South Airport. The flight time is around four hours and you can choose from a range of airlines, allowing you to choose one which you feel offers the best services for those with mobility issues. The transfer from the airport to the hotel is a blissfully short 15 – 20 minutes, depending on where in Los Cristianos you are staying.
For the best, wheelchair-friendly service, I would recommend booking an airport transfer with with us online before you leave home. All Shuttle Direct’s drivers are trained and experienced in offering a friendly, helpful service to clients with mobility issues. Just let the company know when you are making your booking if you will be travelling with a wheelchair, or if you will need extra time to get to the meeting point, and someone will be there to meet you with a helping hand and an appropriately adapted vehicle.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of airport transfers across Europe and north Africa. Its drivers are experienced in offering a good service to clients with a variety of mobility issues and will happily adapt meeting times and vehicles to meet their customer’s needs. All you need to do is make sure you inform the company of any issues at the time of booking so that they can make all necessary arrangements. The company’s range of wheelchair adapted vehicles include a rear lift or ramp so that the passenger needn’t move from their chair; they also include additional safety features to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.