Top 10 Amusement Parks in Europe

Jocelyn Murray October 1, 2011 No Comments

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Rich in culture and history, Europe has drawn visitors to its countless attractions from monuments to museums for generations. Its amusement parks are no less impressive, providing wonderful diversions for all ages with exciting rides, games, shows, lovely gardens and more. Visit these amazing parks (listed alphabetically) to break from the routine, while creating cherished family memories for years to come.

Alton Towers – England

Alton Towers

The medieval grounds and lush gardens at Alton Towers are exquisite

Located on the historic medieval grounds of the former Earls of Shrewsbury in Staffordshire, England, Alton Towers Resort boasts fantastic rides and attractions for all ages from white-knuckle thrill rides like the newest horror-themed coaster Thirteen, to plenty of kiddie attractions including games, rides, cars, boats, a carousel, and a great indoor play area where children can bounce away the wiggles. There are lush tranquil gardens with conservatories, meandering paths and manicured lawns for those who wish to explore a quieter side of the park, a reef aquarium with colorful fish, sharks, rays, and a touch pool, exciting shows and events, golf, a Haunted Hallow spooky walk-through woods, and a waterpark with slides, lazy river, lagoon, whirlpools and lots of interactive water fun elements. For more information on this popular destination visit www.altontowers.com

Disneyland Paris – France

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is Europe's most popular amusement park

What child has not dreamed a little dream or wished upon a star? The enchantment of Disneyland’s magic is brought to stunning life at Disneyland Paris in France. With the lively Disney characters, exciting assortment of rides and attractions, and live entertainment including parades and shows, this amusement park stands among the very best in the world. Discover the many delightful possibilities including It’s A Small World’s international musical tour. Sail through the bayou with jolly pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean. Travel through the American Wild West’s Frontierland on a riverboat or thundering train ride. There is even a haunted mansion where ghostly hosts await visitors. Guests can also explore the terrific attractions and shows of Walt Disney Studios® Park including behind-the-scenes tours, and so much more. For more information on this enchanting theme park visit www.disneylandparis.com

Efteling Park – Netherlands

Efteling Park Fairytale Forest

Enchanting fairytales are brought to life at Efteling Park

Nestled among verdant gardens with fragrant pine trees, colorful flowers, and serene ponds, Efteling Park in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands, is a family haven richly woven with nostalgic folk and fairytales, artistic beauty and exciting rides. The Fairy Tale Forest is one of its most popular attractions where 25 scenes from timeless classics inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault are brought to life with beautifully animated figures and architecture. Visitors love strolling through these enchanted woods where they are transported to a captivating and imaginative place. Other attractions include an exquisitely designed haunted castle, a river rafting ride, carousel, railways, rollercoasters, rowing pond, and plenty of pint-sized rides for little ones to enjoy as well. For more information on this exquisite park visit www.efteling.com/EN

Europa-Park – Germany

Europa-Park

Europa-Park features a children's theater with puppets

Europa-Park in Rust, Germany is one of the most popular amusement parks in Europe with over 100 attractions found throughout its 15 thematic areas – most of which are themed after various European countries including Austria, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Britain, Russia, Greece, Switzerland, Iceland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and of course Germany. There are 10 exciting rollercoasters, fantastic shows including children’s theater and puppets, an indoor playground, 4-D cinema, and a plethora of rides and activities for all ages. This amusement park is found near the borders of Germany, Switzerland and France, making it rich with culture and history, both of which are evident in the park’s diverse thematic elements, international visitors, and delicious cuisine from Greek wraps, to French quiche, Spanish paella, Austrian schnitzel, burgers, ice cream, sweets and more. For more information on this delightful family excursion visit their website www.europapark.de

Futuroscope – France

Futuroscope - architecture

Stunning architectural masterpieces can be seen at Futuroscope

Imagine a place where vibrant fantasy and high-tech engineering seamlessly blend into a breathtaking experience that features thrilling rides with stunning audio-visual effects, spectacular shows, and stunning architectural masterpieces in glass and metal. Futuroscope is such a place in Vienne, France, where families can experience over 25 attractions certain to elicit squeals of delight. With the use of 3D and 4D giant-screen cinemas, simulator rides take guests on unforgettable adventures including the Sea Monsters’ voyage to the ocean’s deep, racing cars in Dynamic Vienne, and a journey through space in Cosmic Collisions. The park also features an assortment of dining options, shops, arcade, and 360-degree rotating observatory with panoramic views. Kids will love the outdoor Children’s World with rides, interactive playground, games and more. For more information on this stunning amusement park visit www.futuroscope.com

Legoland – Denmark

Legoland Denmark - miniland

Miniland recreates places from around the world at Legoland in Denmark

With its renowned Miniland recreations of famous places around the world including cities, capitals, buildings and monuments – all in meticulous, interactive detail involving millions of LEGO® bricks – Legoland in Billund, Denmark is an exciting venue for families. Geared especially for children ages 2-12, this amusement park features delightfully themed rides and attractions from battling with water cannons on pirate ships, to driving miniature electric cars, exploring a medieval fort, journeying to the lost world of Atlantis with a live tropical fish and shark aquarium, to braving wild waters in Viking rafts and much more. The park also features a water playground with geysers and fountain, and a padded play area for young children and toddlers to explore. A 4D cinema boasts a variety of films with state-of-the-art effects as well. For more information on this spectacular park visit www.legoland.dk/en

Pleasure Beach – Blackpool, England

Pleasure Beach, Blackpool - Fountains

Lovely fountains at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool (courtesy of Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)

With about 40 rides and attractions, Pleasure Beach in the lovely South Shore seaside area of Blackpool in England is one of the most visited amusement parks in the United Kingdom. This family-owned theme park boasts exciting thrill rides including a looping roller coaster suspended over water, family rides with classics featuring go karts, a large carousel and spinning cups, and a children’s park – Nickelodeon Land – with more family and children’s rides and attractions based on the popular nickelodeon network characters and shows. There is plenty of live entertainment with fantastic shows, an assortment of dining and fast food, and indoor attractions from arcades and bowling to ice skating and a haunted crypt with ghoulish delights. This popular theme park has been a family favorite for several generations strong. For more information on this fantastic venue visit www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com

PortAventura – Spain

PortAventura - Polynesia Show

A captivating show at PortAventura's Polynesia area

Spain’s first theme park, PortAventura in Salou, Spain is a family hotspot with exciting rides and attractions, daily shows, games, restaurants, snack bars and shops divided into five thematic areas from around the globe: Polynesia, China, Mexico, the Mediterranean, and the Far West. The park’s exquisite scenery and architectural craftsmanship is based on years of meticulous planning and historical research. Guests can get their thrills on looping roller coasters like the popular Dragon Khan, or the free fall drop ride Hurakan Condor. More tranquil diversions include steam train rides that tour the entire park, and boats that sail the sparkling waters. Children will be delighted with the numerous kiddie rides from tea cups to bumper cars, gentler coasters and more. There are even several wonderful play areas for them to climb, crawl and explore. For more information on this outstanding park visit www.portaventura.co.uk

Terra Mitica – Spain

Terra Mitica

The recreated monuments at Terra Mitica are very beautiful

Terra Mitica in Benidorm, Spain takes visitors on a thrilling expedition back to ancient civilization with rides, shows and attractions the whole family can enjoy. The park is thematically organized into culturally fascinating areas from ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, to Iberia and the Mediterranean islands, all with beautiful recreated monuments and artifacts representative of those historical times. Splash down the Egyptian Nile in a water coaster, tear through Rome at high speeds on one of Europe’s longest wooden roller coasters, swing above ancient Greece while enjoying panoramic views, drive bumper cars in Iberia, ride a beautiful carousel in the Mediterranean islands, and so much more. There are over 35 daily shows from dazzling acrobatics to special effects stunners, as well as an assortment of shops and restaurants, an outdoor adventure course, and pay-as-you-go attractions. For more information on this vibrant park visit www.terramiticapark.com

Tivoli Gardens - Denmark

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is also a magnet for the performing arts

With its opening in 1843, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark is the second oldest amusement park worldwide. It features over 28 rides from looping roller coasters to bumper cars, boats, a Ferris wheel and tall swings with sweeping views of Copenhagen, and a classic fun house that challenges balance and agility. A 13,000 square-foot playground thematically based on the Danish seafaring bear cartoon character “Petzi” enthralls children with fun activities like crawling pipes and rope ladders. Tivoli Gardens is also a well-known cultural venue for the performing arts with a classical concert hall, outdoor pantomime theater with live pit orchestra, and various live musical concerts and dance performances for all ages. There is a tropical reef aquarium in the lower floor of the Concert Hall building with sharks, rays and colorful fish. For more information on this lovely park visit www.tivoli.dk

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Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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