Accessible Algarve

Blue Flag Accessibility Proposal 2024

 The proposal to monitor the Blue Flag program, is to improve conditions for people with reduced mobility (PWRM) who visit Algarve beaches. 

While thousands of residents and visitors flock to the beautiful sun soaked beaches this summer for swimming, sun bathing, donuts and fun, many people will be left out in the cold. In order to verify which beaches in the Algarve are fully equipped and accessible for PWRM, Constance, Kevin and volunteers will be visiting the beaches in the Algarve that have been designated by Portuguese and international authorities as accessible.

Cem Anos, Sem Acessibilidade.

One hundred years with out accessibility.

On Saturday July 30th at precisely 11.55am a commemorative train arrived at the Lagos station.  This was part of a ceremony to celebrate one hundred years since the arrival of the Algarve regional train service in Lagos. 

Onboard the train were local, regional, elected and public officials and journalists, who as they exited the train were greeted by onlookers and by accessibility advocate Constance Houck displaying a sign stating "Cem Anos, Sem Acessibilidade or One Hundred Years Without Accessibility.”

Lagos Fort Finally Fixed!

In October of 2021 we emailed and asked the Lagos City Council if they could work on a solution to make the drawbridge and entrance to 17th Century Fort Ponta da Bandeira in Lagos accessible to people with reduced mobility. 

While the inside of the Fort had been previously modified for accessibility the drawbridge at the entrance was inaccessible.

Accessibility on Human Rights Day.

Dec 10th is Human Rights Day, observed to mark the adoption in 1948 by the UN of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On Human Rights day in 2021 Constance and I were two of thirty people invited to participate in a meeting of Europe Direct in Faro. The meeting was a discussion of the Future of Democracy in Europe.  We were invited because our continuing advocacy for equal rights for people with reduced mobility (PWRM) in the Algarve is being noticed. 


Accessible Buses in Lagos?

The local bus service in Lagos is named A Onda or translated the Wave. There are ten lines each having its own color. When Constance and I first visited Lagos in 2011 we were very happy to use the local buses to explore the area. We got a bus card that could be topped up with journeys and visted local beaches and nearby villages. We did note that the service did not run very late into the evenings, exept in July and August. All in all the A Onda is a very good bus service.

When we moved to Lagos permanently  in 2013 Constance had begun to develop mobilty issues. One of the factors in our decison to move here was that the buses were accessible to people with reduced mobilty, each bus fitted with a ramp to bring a wheelchair on board. 

Praia da Luz Access

Life is a Beach. Enjoying a day at the beach begins with getting to the beach. Great bus lines (Aonda) in Lagos include routes that will drop you right on the beach. If you use a wheelchair the buses have ramps that let you board and exit. Unfortunately even small mobility scooters are prohibited on the buses, even though they could easily fit on the larger buses. The Aonda drivers range from very helpful to downright rude and unprofessional. It is best to have a companion along to help solve any problems.

Praia da Luz has a wonderful set up on the beach and a ramp for people with reduced mobility (PWRD) to access a tent with three or four different water chairs set up underneath.

Boarding the train is dangerous and impossible for people with reduced mobility 

Demand Accessible Trains

The Portuguese National Assembly (Parliament) will begin to debate a new National Railway Plan beginning in April.

We have sent the email below to the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Pedro Nuno Santos, the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities  Ana Sofia Tunes, the Secretary of State for Infrastructure Jorge Delgado.   We also sent a more personalized version to our M.P. Maria Joaquina Matos, former Lagos Mayor.


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