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It looks like I may be going to Europe for work this summer - which I'm obviously not complaining about.

 

I've been a few times for vacations before, and have a very short (though distinguished!) European coaster & theme park resume (Port Aventura, Tibidabo, Oktoberfest, Wiener Prater).

 

The only "must do" places off the top of my head are Europa Park (which looks ridiculously amazing) and Disney Paris (because I'll admit to being a Disney fan, and have been to all the other Disney parks). I don't know exactly where I'll be going yet, or what will fit into my work schedule, but I hope to make these and a couple others.

 

So: What would make your very short list of European must-do parks? Why?

 

Hopefully a fun topic, and I will appreciate the help and advice!

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So, it depends on what countries you're going to, so I'm going to group the best amusement parks per country. I never visited these places and this is solely on reviews and looking at Theme Park Review trip reports:

 

UK:

High Priority:

-Alton Towers

-Thorpe Park

Medium Priority:

-Chessington

-Pleasure Beach Blackpool

 

France:

High Priority:

-Disneyland Paris

-Parc Asterix

 

Germany:

High Priority:

-Europa Park

-Holiday Park (because of Expedition GeForce)

Medium Priority:

-Phantasialand

-Heide Park

 

Italy:

High Priority:

-Mirabilandia

Medium Priority:

-Rainbow MagicLand

 

Spain:

High Priority:

-Port Aventura

-Parque Warner Madrid (small waits, pretty good coaster collection)

Medium Priority:

-Parque de Attraciones de Madrid

-Parque de Attraciones de Zarazoga

-Terra Mitica

 

Denmark:

High Priority:

-Tivoli Gardens

-Legoland Billund (first legoland!)

 

Sweden:

High Priority:

-Grona Lund

-Liseberg

 

Netherlands:

High Priority:

-Toverland

-Walibi Holland

 

Belgium:

High Priority:

-Walibi Belgium

 

Finland:

High Priority:

-Linnanmaki

 

I really hope this helps, and this is my opinion of looking at trip reports, reviews, etc. Of course, I probably left out some good theme parks, though this is off from the top of my head with some help from RCDB.

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Besides the ones you have already visited:

 

Top Tier

In my opinion these are the must-do parks in Europe that you haven't been to

Europa Park - as you mentioned

Grona Lund - amazing atmopshere, great dark rides, good flats, coupled with Insane and Twister

Liseberg - Balder, oh and there's Kanonen and Lisbergbanan, great operation, very good intense flat ride selection

Mirabilandia - In my opinion, iSpeed and Katun are the best 1-2 steel coaster combo in the world

Alton Towers - Nemesis, beautiful grounds

Blackpool - losing it's classics, but still a lot to do including unique rides

Efteling - the most beautiful park in Europe (possibly the world)

Tivoli Gardens - excellent food, beautifully landscaped good operations, unique rides

 

next Tier

Parc Asterix - it's a shame it is in France, one of the best "themed" parks not affiliated with Disney or Universal

Phantasialand -

Bobbejaanland - large selection of rides

Bakken - very old school carnival like charm

Djurs Sommerland - it does have an Intamin Mega-Lite

Holiday Park - it does have Expedition GeForce, which many might considered a must-do

Toverland - such a unique little place

Thorpe Park - top "thrill" park in UK

Heide Park - so many flats and some decent coasters

BonBon Land - unique theming

Parque Warner Madrid - when all is said on done, it does have 3 good coasters and great water rides

 

Of course this is based on my travels and experiences. I've been to most of the major parks in Europe thanks to TPR.

Edited by larrygator
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In germany there're these options I'd recommend on what you seek:

 

Europa-Park - must-do

Phantasialand - wonderful theming plus a good B&M invert

Heide-Park - great selection of HUSS flats but except for Colossos coasters are midrange

Hansapark - one classic Schwarzkopf coaster, one Gerstelauer and some unique flats

Oktoberfest - quite expensive but must-do if you wanna catch the big two Schwarzkopf portables - Olympia and Alpina

 

In the netherlands:

 

De Efteling - best theming ever, best darkrides ever, some good coaster

Slagharen - sporting some classic 70s european carnival rides and a wonderful Schwarzkopf collection: Looping Star, Monster, Enterprise, Apollo, Monorail, Ferris-Wheel.

Walibi - some seldom-found flats like a powerful park version of the HUSS Magic, many Verkoma coasters - but also a Intamin mega-coaster.

 

If you prefer city-hoping mixing in some culture and shopping I'd suggest Scandinavia as there're still many city-center parks around - Tivoli, Bakken, Liseberg, Gröna-Lund, Särkäniemmi, Linnanmaki.

Edited by simon8899
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Larry's list is dead-on. Sweden and Denmark have a high concentration of great parks. So, maybe Europa Park followed by Scandinavia would be a good trip.

 

One quibble: I think it's Djurs Sommerland that has the Mega-Lite.

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I also agree with Larry's list (particularly Europa, Tivoli, Grona Lund, and Liseberg). And you should visit Paris Disney, even though it has a checkered reputation. It is a must for Disney fans.

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Totally agree with all the parks listed & reasons given. Some really great parks there.

Would like to add a couple of more possibles

Tibidabo - Barcelona, Spain.

 

Some average rides there, but some are totally unique like the "Plane on a Stick". Also the awesome views of the city below

Plopsaland De Panne - Belgium

 

I had a real fun day there. Anubis is a great coaster.

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Europe is huge.

 

Any particular ride you really like (wood, Intamin, water rides, Schwarzkopf, flat rides, etc. ?)

No idea where you'll be heading ? Not even a couple possible destinations ?

Will you be renting a car or travel by train ?

Will planes be an option ?

 

 

Anyway...

 

 

great parks:

 

Europa-Park

Disneyland

Port Aventura

Mirabilandia

Parc Astérix

Efteling

Phantasialand

Blackpool

 

for the ride(s):

 

Warner Bros Madrid (Superman, Giant Boomerang)

Holiday Park (GeForce)

Alton Towers (Nemesis)

Heide-Park (Colossos)

Gardaland (Raptor, Screaming Squirrel)

 

 

I would forget about everything else, until you've visited the above.

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I'd agree with BDG, in that Europe is huge and you are going to want to start narrowing down the area you want to visit. Spread yourself too thin over too short a time you'll spend all your time stuck on a Ryan Air plane and you don't want to do that!

 

How long will you be over for? (and most importantly can you work a German fair into the mix?)

Will your work take you to different places or will you be in one area?

 

Lots of flights fly you straight into London Heathrow and you change from there, so that's a good chance to get to Thorpe and other UK parks.

 

Will you be relying on public transport, or can you add rental cars to the mix?

 

I'd recommend including Phantasialand with a side trip to Klotten as they are both awesome.

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As the original poster said in his post, he is in Europe all summer for work.

 

From his other posts on TPR, he is a seasoned traveler. Based on the wording of his original post, I'm guessing he is planning a lot of long weekend side trips once he prioritizes the parks.

 

Klotten is NOT an awesome park. There's an awesome Bobsled coaster and that's it. Even if the flume turns out to be the best flue ever, it's NOT a must see place.

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and most importantly can you work a German fair into the mix?

That's a very good suggestion.

 

edit: If you want Olympia Looping, it'll likely be at:

 

13-22 July -----> Düsseldorf

03-12 August --> Herne

Edited by BDG
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Sorry, thought he said he was in Europe this summer without a specific time frame.

 

I should clarify myself, I mentioned Klotten as a side trip due to its proximity to Phantasialand and you can do them both in a day. It's full of those self powered rides as well as the coaster (which is of course awesome). So it's a great quirky park to spend an hour or two at. But it's not a stand alone park.

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Great replies folks!

 

Until I get some more specific details on where exactly I'm going to be for work, I think my priorities will be -

 

Highest:

Disney Paris - my last unvisited Disney Parks, plus I'll almost surely be passing through CDG, as much that pains me

Europa Park - I'll be in Germany at some point, and have to make visiting here a priority

Efteling - I know I'll be visiting our offices in Brussels, and this looks very doable as a day trip

Tivoli - Always wanted to visit here, and will hopefully have business reasons to visit Copenhagen

 

Next:

Parc Asterix - if I have additional time in the Paris area - always loved the comics, and looks beautiful

Walibi (and other Brusells area parks) - Brussels time dependent

German fair / Phantasialand - depending where work takes me in Germany

Grona Lund - not likely, but if I have a spare weekend AND have taken care of the business above

 

I'd love to visit UK parks, but I don't think I'll have time or work to get me over there at this time, sadly. There's a lot to be said about going places for your job, but in the end, it's still work and I can only influence schedules or destinations.

 

My other wild card is whether I can squeeze in Original Legoland. When I was a kid, I dreamt visiting there was on par with Disneyland. And I love penguins. Probably won't happen, but one can hope!

 

Thanks again! I am sure I will be begging for specific travel advice & tips in the coming months!

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Easy to do weekend trips are:

 

- Londen: Thorpe Park, Chessington, Legoland Windsor(and Adventure Island nearby).

- Barcelona: Port Aventura, Tibidabo.

- Madrid: Parque de Attractions Madrid, Parque Warner Madrid(feels like Orlando!).

- Copenhagen: Tivoli Gardens, Bakken(and BonBonLand nearby).

- Paris: Disneyland Resort Paris, Parc Asterix(and Jardin d'Acclimatation in the city).

 

 

-

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Great replies folks!

 

Highest:

 

Tivoli - Always wanted to visit here, and will hopefully have business reasons to visit Copenhagen

 

 

The train between Copenhagen and Gothenburg only takes about three and a half hour I would highly recommend visiting LiseBerg if your in the neighborhood as it is an amazing park!

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The train between Copenhagen and Gothenburg only takes about three and a half hour

 

Scandinavian Airline System (SAS) offers some great prices on Scandi city-hopping. For example Copenhagen-Gothenborg is only a 35-minute flight and cost me only €85! With Hamburg-Helsinki at only €120. These prices are only 10-20% over the fare by train or ferry and you save of course a lot of time.

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Walibi (and other Brusells area parks) - Brussels time dependent
I would consider Bobbejaanland instead of Walibi.

Walibi doesn't have anything interesting, except for a Vekoma woodie, a 260ft Intamin freefall and a pretty good Sally dark ride.

 

Bobbejaanland is only an hour away and has a unique Eurofighter, a unique indoor Vekoma (a clone of Opryland's Chaos), a rare Vekoma suspended coaster, a unique family Vekoma and a unique Maurer spinner. Also a couple of crazy dark rides, lots of flat rides, including a Huss giant frisbee. Two Intamin flumes, one indoor; and Hafema river rapids.

 

Efteling is 1.5 hours from Brussels. Even Phantasialand and Toverland are reasonable to visit from Brussels, both are around 2 hours.

Walibi World is 2.5 hours, which is still reasonable for a day trip. Has a 150ft Intamin hypercoaster, Vekoma woodie, an outdoor Rock'n'RollerCoaster, a Boomerang with on-board music. And Vekoma rapids.

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^I agree that Bobbejaanland is better overall than Walibi--lots of good, quirky attractions. The dark ride is the best reason to visit Walibi.

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just my opinion but i enjoyed grona lund more than liseberg, its a fantastic little park with plenty to do and amazing scenery - be warned swe is EXPENSIVE, a beer will set you back 10 euros!

 

walibi belgium as stated before not so great, but walibi.nl is worth it for goliath alone - one of the best coasters in europe imo

 

efteling is also fantastic (make sure you grab a hotdog with the their special mayo sauce, amazing!)

 

Holland is not a big country so you could easily do walibi, toverland and efteling 3 parks over 3 days

 

another +1 for parc warner madrid too, good weather and good coasters; again superman another top notch coaster and you can also ride the worlds worst woody!

 

Belgium is a good grounds to get to germany, holland and france i'd say there are plenty of parks in those countries alone to keep you busy!

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Maybe also interesting for you as I right now plan to add Tripsdrill to my Europa-Park trip in September:

 

Even if some parks dont have very good public transit connections - like only every 2-4 hours or limited to weekends - if you can get to a trainstation 20 kilometers away you can also use a Taxi as last resort but its recommended to call ahead. Like for Tripsdrill it would be Heilbronn and all german Taxi operators take reservations for rides up to 50 kilometers out of town if you book ahead - prices should be around €1 per kilometer. The downside might be that most Taxi hotlines are likely not fluent in english...

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If you're a fan of attractions and not so much of theming (like me), don't bother with the Efteling.. The rollercoasters are (with the exception of Joris) mediocre at best. Vliegende Hollander (Flying Dutchman) is too short. The theming is nice, but the ride itself is not good.

 

Walibi-parks: only Walibi Holland is worth it for a big trip, because of goliath, but don't underestimate some of these vekoma's there, with the exception of El Condor they're quite smooth.. Ok, robin hood is rough as well, but not painfully rough.. Xpress is not painful at all and neither is the boomerang in Walibi Holland..

 

Both parks are one-day visits though, don't expect them to be worth more then one day, both only have around 30 attractions, walibi holland has 6 rollercoasters a few thrillrides and kiddie-stuff, Efteling had 6 rollercoasters and a few darkrides and kiddie-stuff..

 

Both walibi holland and Efteling have their own bus services from (different) railwaystations near the park. Walibi Holland has a bus service from Harderwijk, Efteling from Tilburg. Both run at least 2 times every hour, first one arriving at the park 15 minutes before park opening, last one leaving 15 minutes after closing time.

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