Munich is a city of which the locals are very, very proud. Whether you speak to those who were born here, or the many who have been “adopted” by the rich capital of Bavaria, it is a general chorus of all-wonderful things about the quality of life, and also the quality of access for the locals and the visitors who have a disability. And, turns out, it is no exaggeration.
If you are a football fan, you should not miss the Allianz Arena, home of FC Bayern Munich: tours are organised for visitors with mobility or sensory disabilities, but if you manage to attend a match, you should not hesitate, as this 75.000 places stadium offers a stunning show.
It is very well equipped in terms of access, featuring 223 seats for wheelchair usersand 4 seats for rollator users and carers on the main access level, 20 seats with a narrator service for blind football/soccer fans with earphones on game days, and for the hearing impaired and deaf fans there are 20 eyeglasses where subtitles are projected. More information here.
Munich is also the host of the internationally renown Oktoberfest, where a rather impressive 8 million liters of beer are drunk every year, and an also rather impressive 500.000 half-chickens are eaten – during the 16 days in September when the beer festival is held. The Oktoberfest is also very accessible for all: there are 43 accessible toilets and one changing place with bench, manual wheelchairs are available for free to use on the premises, and the big beer tents and several of the small ones are accessible via ramps. There are 2 tables at the right height for wheelchair users in every big beer tent and their beer gardens. Some good advice: do book your place in advance, as the evenings and the weekends there are thousands of people flooding in from all corners of the world. The Oktoberfest grounds are set up to seat – and they DO seat as many as – 120.000 people.
If you want to go at a quieter moment you can go for a lunch during the week, there is music and mostly locals, and the atmosphere is more relaxed.
There is also a fairground and a ferris wheel, which has a ramp and 2 gondolas for wheelchair users. The staff will be pleased to help, the door of the gondolas ist 75 cm wide. Some of the bumper cars are accessible with ramps and the one called “Steinhart” has a car with hand-operated pedal. The chairoplane “Wellenflug” has a ramp.
There are many more things to see and do in this lovely city, from taking a stroll along the river to visiting the BMW Museum, shopping in the centre and sightseeing in the wonderful Marienplatz, not to mention the Christmas markets, where you can shop and eat or drink something warm in the cold winter evenings.
If you are looking for more ideas for your Munich tour, you should definitively listen to the interview we recorded in December 2019 with Nicole Seegers, who is in charge of accessibility at the Munich Board of Tourism. Nicole was a great host and told us a lot about the city and the accessible features, you can listen to the interview here, while below is the link to the accessibility website of the Tourism Board of Munich, from which we have taken the information for this article. You can find it on Facebook or Instagram.
Together with Barcelona and Berlin, Munich is definitively an easy city to visit, if you are just starting to travel using a wheelchair or have not been abroad yet. Both public transport and the pavements are perfect for wheelchair users: most of the sidewalks are lowered to a height of 3 cm at street crossings.
However, there are some areas in the city center which are tricky because of cobblestone pavements, you can find a map of the bits to avoid here.
The shops and restaurants are mostly step-free and the big events, such as the Oktoberfest, are equipped for disabled visitors with parkings, toilets and ramps.
Information about the accessible features is dutily compiled in an easy to use and very complete guide which you will find at the link below. As you will find the list of addresses of accessible toilets in town.
Munich has one main airport which is very well equipped for travellers with a disability: they are also very clear about how you should proceed about asking for the special assistance, and the need to reserve it in advance.
In the website they clearly state that they use the international classifications and that you should choose the one that fits you and communicate it when booking the assistance, so as to avoid any problems. We are in Germany and everything is very well explained! They also seem to have a clear idea on wheelchair batteries, which is also detailes in a document in the Accessibility information page. The airport has 2 terminals connected by wheelchair accessible buses.
Arriving by train in Munich is also totally feasible: however, for wheelchair users, you have to check out if the station you need is adapted or if you need to book the assistance service.
All the information about taking the train is in the very useful Accessible Munich website: