10 spectacular amusement parks in Europe
Higher, faster, crazier — Europa-Park in Rust has set a new record with 5.7 million visitors in 2019. But if you love amusement parks you are spoilt for choice all over Europe. Here are our favorites:
Europa-Park in Rust, Germany
5.7 million guests visited Europa-Park in the south of Baden-Württemberg in 2019. This means that it remains Germany's most popular amusement park. It offers more than 100 attractions in 15 European theme worlds. The latest addition: the indoor water world "Rulantica" with Scandinavian flair, which opened at the end of November 2019.
Disneyland Paris, France
The park is known for bringing to life the fantasy characters and worlds of Disney films — first and foremost, Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Every year, some 15 million visitors stream through the castle gates. The park itself is vast. Its nearly 2,000 hectares equal about one fifth the total area of Paris!
Viennese Prater, Austria
In a green pocket of land in the middle of Vienna you can find one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, the Wurstelprater. For more than 250 years a model for many parks that followed. Over four million visitors flock to the fair's stages and rides every year. One highlight is the 65-meter-high Ferris wheel, one of Vienna's most famous landmarks.
Gardaland in Castelnuovo del Garda, Italy
Gardaland is a fantasy world designed in loving detail around a magic tree. This is the lair of the park mascot, the dragon Prezzemolo (English: parsley). Every year, around 2.75 million people are drawn to the park on Lake Garda to enjoy its more than forty attractions, divided into four areas: Adrenaline, Adventure, Fantasy and Show.
PortAventura in Salou, Spain
Spain's largest amusement park, PortAventura, south of Barcelona, also has a range of areas, each with its own theme, among them Mediterrània and Polynesia. The park is highly popular with both tourists and local residents, clocking up to some 3.5 million annual visitors. In 2007, it opened one of Europe's fastest roller coasters, the Furius Baco, with a maximum speed of 135 k/h (83 mi/h).
Zoomarine Algarve in Guia, Portugal
Most of the rolling and looping at Zoomarine in Guia, Portugal, is done by marine mammals: dolphins, seals, harbor seals and sea lions perform all kinds of stunts in a variety of shows. The park-resident parrots also take to the stage. Visiting land-bound hominids can test out aquatic habitats in the wave pool and on water slides.
Alton Towers in Farley, Britain
This amusement park is tucked a bit out of the way, north of Birmingham, England. Alton Towers takes its name from a ruined Gothic castle that forms its centerpiece. Inside, park-goers find the Hex ride, challenging them to attempt to break an old spell. Among the different areas is a botanical garden commanding an excellent view of the complex.
Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, the Netherlands
Efteling is all about fairy tales and their denizens: trolls, elves and dragons. They inhabit over thirty attractions, including a 3D cinema, a water coaster and a fairy-tale forest. The newest is the Baron 1898 roller coaster. Its passengers become players in a story: friends of a wealthy baron who has struck gold in an old coal mine. They accompany him down into the bowels of the Earth.
Legoland in Billund, Denmark
Legoland in Billund, Denmark, is constructed of Lego blocks of every shape and color -some 60 million of them. The park was opened in 1968 just a few kilometers from the actual Lego factory as the first of currently ten Legolands around the world. This one also features rides, but the main attraction remains the miniature houses, ships and cars all made of Lego blocks.
Liseberg in Gothenburg, Sweden
In the middle of Gothenburg, Sweden, is Scandinavia's biggest amusement park, Liseberg. Around three million visitors come here every year. Among the highlights are the free-fall tower AtmosFear, which drops its brave passengers 90 Meters straight down. A bit easier on the nerves is the Ferris wheel, which also treats passengers to a panoramic view of Sweden's second-largest city.