Living and traveling in Budapest with a disability

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If you have a disability then living or visiting Budapest can pose extra challenges. Hungary has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and real progress has been made in increasing ease of access around the city and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

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We’ve put together this guide of other things to consider as tourist visiting or an expat living in Budapest with a physical or other disability.

Support for disabled people in Hungary

If you’re living in Budapest long term there are a number of organisations that can help you with regards to your disability. There are similar advocacy and support organisations for those with intellectual disabilities, the deaf and hard of hearing, the blind and partially sighted, deathblind people and those with autism or Down Syndrome.

As a resident of Hungary you’ll also be entitled to financial and occupational support from the government. The National Authority for Rehabilitation and Social Services (NRSZH) is responsible for administering the process and the disability benefits you’ll receive depend on the extent of your disability, your ability to work now or in the future and a number of other factors. There are also a number of incentive schemes available to employers who proactively support disabled employees.

Moving around Budapest and using public transport

Unlike some European cities Budapest is quite spread out and moving between neighborhoods and attractions can require traveling long distances. The Buda side of the city is quite hilly and roads can be quite narrow in places. Pest side is flat and easier to navigate and while some parts are cobbled, most of the downtown has good quality flat paving. Use of tactile paving for the blind however is extremely limited,

Public transport in Budapest consists of the metro, trams, buses and trolley buses. BKK the transport provider for Budapest are in the process of making the network fully accessible for the disabled.

Accessing attractions and accommodation with disabilities

If you’re going to be living in Budapest you’ll find that most downtown accommodation is located in housing blocks, often with a courtyard in the centre. While most buildings have elevators many can be quite old and cramped and step-free access isn’t always guaranteed, even on the ground floor. If you have reduced mobility it might be better to seek out new build accommodation or look in the outer districts of Budapest where detached and semi-detached housing is more common.

If you’re on a short trip Budapest has a full range of hotels from cheap and cheerful to ultimate luxury and many are fully accessible to wheelchair users. The same goes for many of Budapest’s most famous attractions, some of which also have braille inscriptions for blind visitors and induction hearing loops for those that use a hearing aid.

Visiting the medical spas in Budapest

Budapest is world famous for its thermal baths, a leftover treat from the times of Turkish occupation. Handily Budapest sits atop an underground maze of natural springs and the water is pumped into spas located all over the city.

The water has traces of sulphur, calcium, magnesium and a trip to the spa can be beneficial for those suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, inflammatory diseases, fibromyalgia and also those recovering from surgery.

Spas in Budapest are official healthcare providers and, upon receipt of a doctor's prescription, are licenced to offer thermal bathing, mud treatment, underwater traction, bathing in carbonated water, medical massages, water jet massage and group gymnastics sessions. Treatments can be paid for with social security vouchers or in cash.

And if you just fancy a quick dip then baths with access facilities for the disabled include Dagály, Dandár, Gellért, Lukács, Rudas and Széchenyi.