Spain is perfect for a budget, cheap disabled sunshine holiday. The Costa del Sol is renowned for its sunny Blue Flag beaches and family-orientated activities but some areas also have the addition of a busy nightlife if that’s more your thing. Luckily, this region is pretty clued up when it comes to disabled access. Below I’ve detailed a few of the best things that make this area of Spain disabled friendly and are within travelling distance in this region. For any more details just email DisabledTravelWithGeorgina@gmail.com! The thing that sold this area for me was the disabled beach system that was in the area so I have started with that below but do “watch this space” for even more details on the area and things to do in Spain. Enjoy your cheap disabled holiday and please see below for the best Costa del Sol disabled beaches! Costa del Sol BeachesSpain is the perfect cheap wheelchair holiday and the beaches can be very accessible! The promenade is a wide pathway next to the beach and this follows the coastline all the way from Fuengirola to Torremolinos. This walkway is smooth and flat with marble paving giving an easy ride or push for wheelchair users with very few bumps along the way. There are many wooden pathways onto the beach that help able-bodied walkers to not burn their feet on the warm sand but also make the beach accessible for wheelchair or crutch users. There is a special disabled beach in Fuengirola that I talk about below. If you need any more details or want me to plan your disabled holiday then email me on DisabledTravelWithGeorgina@gmail.com!
Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Benalmadena all have some of the best beaches in the region to explore on your sunshine disabled holiday. The beachfront areas have been refurnished and are kept beautifully clean by many government workers and there are recycling bins regularly dotted along the coast. Lifeguards monitor the beaches and there are regular First Aid Points just in case! To keep you cool or wash off salt and sand there are showers regularly stationed along the beach. Well-maintained toilets are available across the coastline with special disabled toilets available with ramped access and a much wider space to use your wheelchair in. If you’re bringing along children then do make the most of the parks and volleyball stations. This long stretch of beach offers many sunbathing possibilities – you can just lay your towels down or buy deckchairs from the many beachside shops. Another option is to rent a sunbed and grass parasol to lie under so you have shade from the sunshine and a comfy place to relax. These are government run so prices aren’t expensive and start from €5 per sunbed.
Many restaurants, cafes and bars line the beach. Spanish beach restaurants are called Chiringuitos and are to be found frequently across all the beaches in the Costa del Sol. These bars sell alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, ice-cream and meals. Many have seafood speciality dishes and often sell tapas style small dishes that you can combine as a group. Some include use of stylish beach beds or sunbeds for the day but this can add an extra charge. Be careful when ordering from a menu in English as these prices can be higher than the Spanish menu so do check both before ordering. As with many European destinations do make sure you check whether it costs more to use an outside table rather than sitting inside the restaurant. The open air barbecue style is often popular in these Chiringuito restaurants and these can be presented in quirky ways such as the barbecue boat pictures which supplied smoked fish amongst other dishes to “eat in” or take away.
All of the beaches in Fuengirola are fully floodlit at night so feel very safe and avoid any seedy repercussions. Busy bars line the promenade and the centre of Fuengirola has an active nightlife if this is your scene. Email me on DisabledTravelWithGeorgina@gmail.com for more details.
Fuengirola Disabled BeachThis was one of the highlights of my wheelchair friendly holiday as it gave my boyfriend and I a well-deserved break and also gave me the opportunity to go into the sea even though I can’t currently swim. This ‘parcela accessible’ is located in Fuengirola by beach marker 16; you can follow the signed markers down the seafront easily or make use of the many disabled parking bays opposite to this area. The area is fully covered in wooden boarding so you can wheel a normal wheelchair onto the area and down the walkway which almost reaches the sea. There were two beach buildings; one which contained a male and female disabled accessible changing room/ toilet and the other which stored the access equipment and served as an office for the lifeguards on duty. There were shower facilities by these beach buildings that anyone could use to cool down or wash off salt and sand.
For five euros you get a cushioned sunbed, a grass parasol and the aid of the lifeguards who patrol the area. These lifeguards or ‘socorrista’ are really helpful and during high season (mid June – August) they will even help the disabled to enter the sea by using the specialised amphibious beach wheelchair. This has inflated tyres which allows the lifeguards to push the chair over the sand and into the sea. The arm-rests allow the chair to float in the sea so the wheelchair user can either choose to remain in the chair under supervision of two lifeguards or can transfer into the sea with foam floats (noodles/ woggles) around them to aid swimming. We visited at the start of July and three lifeguards were stationed in this area and whilst you were in the sea one lifeguard either remained in the water with you or if you chose to enter with a companion they were constantly checking on you to ensure you were safe. This is such a fabulous experience for disabled individuals who may have not been swimming before or for a long while – a real plus point to add to your checklist for a sunshine disabled holiday. Specialised crutches with wide bases are also available for those who need walking sticks or crutches to make their way over the sand.
If you decide the disabled friendly beach is too far from your accommodation then don’t worry as the Costa del Sol wheelchair access doesn’t stop there! Wooden boarding pathways cover much beach area so you can still use your wheelchair to access the outskirts of most beach areas and rent one of these sunbeds. If you can walk a short distance when you want to go into the sea then this is a good option for you. It’s free to put your own towels, parasols or beach chairs down in any free space you can mobilise to. All the beach toilets that we saw were also wheelchair friendly and you didn’t need a RADAR key to get into these. Overall, this sunshine disabled holiday and the access to the disabled beach gave us a really good holiday.