Ready for twists, drops, and thrills? These are the very best theme parks in Europe.
Whether you’re a fan of a chilled-out carousel or strictly think bigger is better (definitely us), Europe boasts some epic theme parks that rival the more celebrated offerings across the pond.
Europe’s Best Amusement Parks
Who doesn’t need a little bit of Disney magic in their lives? Well, at Disneyland Paris, you’re guaranteed it in spades. No guide to the best theme parks in Europe is complete without this top entry.
This Parisian theme park is split into two different parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios. In the latter, expect high speed rides featuring the likes of Tower of Terror and Crush’s Coaster, as well as the recent Marvel Avengers extension which will immerse you straight into the world of the heroes.
Disneyland Park, however, is one of the most magical places on earth (beaten only by Walt Disney World – don’t fight us on this). Classic Disney rides are what you’ll find here, including the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, and the BEST Space Mountain ride in the world. Sorry, not sorry.
As well as this, expect adorably overpriced food (€8 for something with Mickey’s face on? Go on then), meet and greet opportunities with iconic characters, and parades that are guaranteed to get the entire family singing.
Not only is Eftling one of Europe’s best amusement parks, but it just so happens to be one of the oldest. Step deep into the wonderful world of fairytales at this park, with a mixture of family friendly and thrill rides for only the brave among you.
Top rides include Baron 1898, Symbolica, and the Flying Dutchman, though this European theme park is equally about the design (and the gorgeous Fairytale Forest) as it is the epic rides.
In our (not so humble) opinion, Phantasialand is one of the only theme parks in Europe that rivals the mouse.
Don’t believe us? Take a ride on F.L.Y, Taron, and Black Mamba, and you’ll see exactly what we mean. And, if you’re not a fan of HUGE rides, Winja’s Fear and Force are excellent dual-spinning rollercoasters that bridge the gap between family rides and an all-out thrill fest. And that’s exactly why it’s one of the best theme parks in Europe.
Crazy Bats is a hard skip, we’re afraid. The VR on this ride isn’t quite sophisticated enough yet and it leaves you feeling woozy. In fact, 30 seconds into the ride, my headset came off and I sat in bewildered silence trying not to bring up the dodgy burger I’d eaten 30 minutes before.
PortAventura offers the best of both worlds in the form of a waterpark and theme park (though, if you have to choose, opt for the water rides – especially if you’re visiting in the middle of Spanish summer).
The main park features 6 worlds and more than forty rides, highlights being Stampida in the Wild West-themed land and Shambhala – the most exhilarating ride in the entire park.
Love cars? Ferrari World is an entire park dedicated to the car maker. Expect high-speed thrills and to be transported straight to Italia.
Next up, another fantastic German theme park: Europapark. Outside of Europe, this one pretty much flies under the radar, despite having some of the best rollercoasters in the world. In fact, it’s the second-most popular theme park in Europe behind Disneyland Paris.
Matterhorn Blitz, Atlantica SuperSplash, and Wodan are the top attractions, though our favourite ride just so happens to be the less wild Voletarium (similar to Disney’s Soarin’).
As well as this, Europapark has a waterpark and a VR centre, which are equally worth a visit.
Undoubtedly one of the best theme parks in Europe (and in the UK), Alton Towers is a Merlin-owned resort situated in the West Midlands. Boasting over 40 rides, this theme park in Europe has big thrills, family fun, and immersive experiences aplenty.
Whether you’re feeling brave enough to tackle The Smiler, Oblivion, and Nemesis (our favourite, by the way), or would rather explore the weird and wonderful World of David Walliams – keep your eyes peeled for Gangsta Granny – there are plenty of rides to keep the entire family happy.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, swing by the Rollercoaster Restaurant for a burger delivered via a spiralling track around the restaurant. Fun and tasty.
Legoland Windsor / Billund
UK / Denmark
Legoland boasts two of Europe’s best amusement parks with locations both in Windsor and Billund. Windsor might be the best but the Billund location is the OG, so it’s an unmissable attraction for those with kids (or big kids like us).
Rides are on the smaller sides of things at both theme parks, though that’s not really the point. The point of these parks is to immerse yourself in millions of tiny coloured bricks. Staying at one of Legoland’s hotels is a must – they’re pretty magical for Lego-lovers and themed to perfection.