The European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) is a project designed to promote development structures that encourage sustainable tourism in the European Union. The EDEN competitions are based on a particular theme, which changes each year. In 2013, the competition focused on accessibility. The best destinations were selected based on how they approached accessible tourism and services for visitors of age, with disabilities, limitations, and special needs. The following 19 destinations were selected.
Kaunertal Valley (Austria)
The valley has hosted several barrier free holiday initiatives for more than 30 years. The valley can host mobility impaired persons, wheelchair users, and families, which have young children and strollers. It offers barrier-free lifts and cars and wheelchair accessible facilities. The staff is highly trained and has vast experience in caring for persons with disabilities. Tourists with disabilities can visit the famous Kaunertal glacier and the Kaunergrat Nature Park.
This destination has demonstrated its dedication to offering accessible facilities for handicapped persons. Louvain-la-Neuve’s design offers accessibility to everyone. Attractions within the city are open to persons with disabilities, families, young children, and senior citizens. Visitors can explore Louvain-la-Neuve Museum and Bois des Reves Provincial Estate.
Stancija 1904, Svetvincenat (Croatia)
Most of the venues in this destination are accessible. Sidewalks have been lowered and parking is reserved for disabled persons in the restaurants, bars, and taverns. These places also offer Braille menus for visually impaired persons. Facilities offer services to every individual in spite of their age or disability. Disabled persons can also access the beach. Tourists can visit the Istra Ethno Jazz Festival and aquarium in Pula.
Polis Chrysochous Municipality (Cyprus)
Polis Chrysochous has the infrastructure required to host persons with various physical conditions and ages. Accommodation is wheelchair accessible and taxi and mini bus services have been designed to accommodate persons with disabilities. Seaside pavements are wheelchair accessible. Tourists can visit the Akamas National Park and the Church of Agios Andronikos.
Lipno (Czech Republic)
Lipno attractions focus on families with young children, disabled persons, and active seniors. Every individual can spend a comfortable holiday in this destination without restrictions. Lake Lipno is a popular spot here.
Haapsaly City (Estonia)
All the services in this city including buses and taxis are within reach and they have been adapted to meet the needs of disabled persons. Sports activities such as bowling, tennis, and swimming are wheelchair accessible in the city. The Haapsalu Water Centre and Haapsalu Cultural Centre are a favorite in this destination.
Morvan Regional Nature Park (France)
This park has been working to establish sustainable tourism that is accessible for every person since 2006. The park offers handicap friendly nature treks, fishing, swimming, and sensory climbing. The Park Centre has a discovery path with facilities for disabled persons.
Municipality of Marathon (Greece)
This city welcomes everyone in spite of their age, disability or physical limitation. Most of the sites in the city are accessible including museums, beaches, and archeological sites. Hotels offer access to persons with disabilities in all the areas. Persons with visual impairment and mobility problems have access to special trails and paths to most of the attractions. The National Park of Schinias is recommended as a stunning place.
Kaposvar and the Zselic Area (Hungary)
The municipality works hard to offer accessible services to tourists and locals. Most parts of the city are designated for pedestrians. Public transport, ramps and pedestrian crossing have been adapted to make them accessible for disabled persons. Tourists can visit the Csiky Gergely Theatre and the Zselic dark sky park.
Cavan Town and Environs (Ireland)
The town and the surrounding area have established a disability strategy to offer accessible tourism for tourists. Staff in the area has undergone training to equip them to cater to disabled persons. Facilities are marked to indicate their accessibility. Tourists can explore the Marble Arch Caves Geopark and Cavan County Museum.
This destination is accessible even to wheelchair users. Local authorities have created underground walks for disabled persons. Museums offer sensory tours for those who are visually impaired. Tourists can enjoy skiing in the mountains of Abetone.
The city offers quality services to everyone. Public infrastructure is suitable for use by disabled persons. They can access public buildings, parks, streets, and public transport with ease. Special trails have been designed in the city’s historical center for disabled individuals. Tourists can visit the Officer’s Palace and Marine Cathedral in Karosta.
Most of the areas in this destination can be accessed by disabled and elderly persons. It is also accessible for families with young children. Hotels offer accommodation for persons with limited mobility. Deaf-mute tourists can enjoy special excursions offered in sign language. Lake Mastis is a popular attraction for visitors.
Horsterowld and Huljestein Forest (The Netherlands)
This destination is accessible to senior citizens. It has even bicycle roads, which are accessible for wheelchair users. A special trail has been designed for children in the forest. Tourists can explore the Silent Valley and the Silent Core in this destination.
This city has put in place barrier-free conditions that allow disabled persons, children, and older people to use tourism facilities with ease. The major attractions in the city provide special facilities for the disabled. Bike routes, hiking trails, education, and nature routes have been designed to focus on families with children. Senior citizens can take part in cultural routes and pilgrimage routes. The Bolestraszyce Arboretum and Fortress of Przemyśl are some of the most popular attractions in the destination.
Boat routes and beaches have been adapted to ease access for disabled persons. There are endless possibilities including fishing and tours through the region to suit everyone. Gura Portiţei beach is an exciting place for tourists.
The countryside offers various pleasant spots that can be accessed using specially designed vehicles for persons with physical impairments. This city has developed various programs for impaired persons. It has also organized training and sports tourism activities for disabled athletes. Lasko Musuem and Lasko Cultural Centre are a must see on a visit to this region.
Natural Park of Guara’s Mountains and Canyons (Spain)
The park has been involved in a project that promotes accessible tourism since 2006. Tourism infrastructure has been improved to include tracks that accommodate persons with different disabilities. The Pathway of the Millennium Oak and the Vero river canyon are popular attractions in the park.
Tarakli District (Turkey)
All the major attractions in this district are accessible by everyone. They are barrier free and the infrastructure in place offers easy access. Disabled persons are encouraged to take part in regular meetings and festivals in the area. The Karagöl Plateau is a popular spot for hiking enthusiasts.