The pretty cobblestone streets of Luxembourg City's older districts aren't the easiest to navigate. / © Unsplash
Despite a proliferation of cobbled streets, the Grand Duchy is relatively well-adapted for those with reduced mobility.
We've delved into Luxembourg's public transport websites to dig out all the relevant information on how to get around smoothly and safely - whether you're a wheelchair user or have other mobility needs, are a long-term resident or just visiting.
Lowered floors are fitted as standard on Luxembourg's buses, with all buses also having manual or electrical ramps.
Priority seating is also available for those with reduced mobility, pregnant women and seniors. Most buses have sufficient space for at least one wheelchair.
Stops are announced visually and audibly, and stop request buttons are designed to be accessible from different heights. Some buttons also have information in Braille.
The Adapto bus service caters for those with irreversible physical or mental disabilities aged 12 and over, taking them to and from home for free. To use it you need an Adapto bus card, which has stricter eligibility now that public transport is free. Applications are made via post to the Adapto PRM Transport Service, details here.
If you're resident in Luxembourg City and aged 70 and over, you can use the Call-a-Bus door-to-door transport service. It costs six euros per trip and operates Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm. Book by calling 4796-4797 at least 45 minutes before you want to be picked up. You'll need to register first - form (in French) here.
Tram and funicular
With the help of Patrick, who is blind, and Philippe, who uses a wheelchair, our colleagues at RTL put the tram and funicular to the test.
Philippe found that the tram and funicular are well adapted for wheelchair users, with level access at platforms, barrier-free boarding and dedicated spaces to park wheelchairs.
Patrick was able to get around relatively easily using the tram. Info-Handicap, the National Handicap Information and Meeting Centre, found, however, that the bars in the middle of the tram could be an impediment to the visually impaired.
John Morris, founder of WheelchairTravel.org, told RTL Today that he had found Luxembourg City a welcome destination when he visited as a tourist: “It was easy to get around using my power wheelchair on public transportation, particularly on the world-class tram, which is an example for other cities in Europe and elsewhere to follow.”
Most railway stations are accessible and able to cater for people with disabilities, including wheelchair users. If you need assistance you should call CFL an hour prior to travelling (or 48 hours prior for international journeys) on 4990 3737. You can also email them.
It's worth downloading the EureWelcome app, which includes accessibility details for stations as well as a search engine for accessible accommodation, attractions and facilities.
You should also consider applying for a disability card, which provides discounts on cross-border train travel. Details on how to apply in our article here.
Car parking spaces for people with disabilities are marked in plain blue with a wheelchair sign. Anyone with an EU blue badge displayed on the windscreen can park there.
In Luxembourg City, there are around 300 spaces reserved for blue badge holders. You are also permitted to park without restrictions on the roadside, and in this case, are exempt from parking fees.
You can apply for a blue badge via post to the Department of Mobility and Transport, details and form available here. To be eligible you must have long-term (over six months) reduced mobility or visual impairment. Permits last for a maximum of five years.
Pavements and public attractions
Luxembourg’s pavements are a tale of two halves. On the one hand, modern areas like Kirchberg in Luxembourg City have smooth paving, tactile guides for the visually impaired, convenient dips in the pavement and accessible crossings.
On the other hand, historic districts across the country combine picturesque cobblestones with a less favourable environment, particularly for wheelchair users. As wheelchair user John Morris put it when visiting Luxembourg City, “there are some challenges with uneven pavements and cobblestones in the historic centre… Due to the city’s geography, I recognize that exploration would be more challenging for those without a powered mobility device.”
Luxembourg's Grand Ducal Palace runs accessible tours. / © Exclusief.be / LFT
This can prove a challenge particular if you’re a tourist and looking to visit historic buildings. However, the EureWelcome app provides a handy guide of accessible sites, including museums and cultural attractions. Morris also provides a guide to 12 wheelchair-accessible attractions on his website, including the Grand Ducal Palace, Fort Thüngen and more.
Just visiting - flying into Findel
If you're planning on visiting the Grand Duchy, Luxembourg Airport in Findel may be your first port of call. Under EU rules, the airport is responsible for providing free assistance to those with reduced mobility, including help with baggage. However, it’s important to request assistance through your tour operator or airline before you fly. A list of assistance helplines at major airlines is available here. You can also contact the airport directly to request more information.
The terminal has adaptations including lifts to all levels, as well as reserved toilet facilities for people with reduced mobility. Public buses and taxis are available from outside the terminal to take you into the city, although you’ll need to call ahead if you require an accessible taxi.
If you need a wheelchair or other mobility device for your visit, Orthopédie Felten hire equipment out. They have branches in Luxembourg City, Mondorf-les-Bains and Esch-sur-Alzette.
Is visiting Luxembourg worth the effort? John Morris certainly thought so, telling us, “I am eager to return in the future to explore more of the country and to see how it compares with the capital city.”
EureWelcome. This app (available for Android and Apple) and website provides a search engine and guide for accessible hotels, restaurants, attractions, shops, train stations, information points and more.
Ville de Luxembourg. The City of Luxembourg’s accessibility pages include information on parking and public transport, with an accessible routes map showing journeys which are covered by a guiding system for the visually impaired. They also list exhibitions and film screenings by organisations working on disability-related issues.
WheelchairTravel.org. John Morris’s site provides a tourist perspective on visiting Luxembourg City as a wheelchair user. It contains guides to the airport, attractions, tram, and accessible accommodation. There’s also a wealth of other information and resources available for destinations worldwide.
This article mainly covers Luxembourg City, for which more public information is available. We would like to hear your experiences of getting around Luxembourg more broadly. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.