ATHENS – A website created as a pilot project by the Municipality of Athens and the official Athens Guide ‘This is Athens’, working in collaboration with the social enterprise ‘Me Alla Matia’, is now available to provide information on accessible routes and sites for tourists with either visual or mobility disabilities.
The website https://accessibleroutes.thisisathens.org/ has charted eight of the most accessible tourist itineraries in Athens, which combine the maximum possible points of interest with the fewest possible obstacles and restrictions in the built environment.
It notes that Athens, thanks to coordinated efforts, is slowing becoming more accessible while “maintaining the necessary respect for the cultural heritage and the structural elements needed to be preserved.”
The itineraries were traced by focus groups made up of people with either visual or mobility impairments and professionals in these areas, who tested the routes in vivo and made suggestions based on their personal experience. The site also provides information on accessibility at each point of interest.
The website proposes eight possible routes, four for mobility impaired individuals and four for sight-impaired persons, covering four key areas: the Historic Heart to Urban Soul of Athens, Ancient Athens Uncovered, Origins of Modern Athens and the National Gardens of Athens and Surrounding Highlights. These are shown on an interactive map that indicates every possible obstacle and ways to avoid them.
The steps are clearly and detailed, with audio capability (via a widget) for people that are sight impaired. Upon selecting a route, the points of interest are marked, the route is summarised, as is accessibility and there is a detailed itinerary and map with a link to Google Maps.
Also included is information on access to public transport options.
The social enterprise “Me Alla Matia” is a non-profit organisation that was founded and organised by disabled people. It takes action in accessibility consulting in digital and structured environments, as well as in psychosocial support and education of the disabled, their families and professionals of the respective field.