5 Great European Theme Parks

OK so most kids want to see Mickey Mouse or have their picture taken with Goofy or Minnie, but spare a thought for poor Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty they also have a lot to offer.

There are many theme parks across Europe that offer a whole host of activities and themes for little ones and big kids to enjoy and at a considerable saving. Here are a few recommendations.

Europa Park, Rust, Germany.

The largest theme park in Germany and the second most popular theme park resort in Europe, following Disneyland Paris.

Europa Park is home to a number of fairytale characters including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty amongst others. The Blue Fire Megacoaster hits 0-100kmph in 2.5 seconds.

Getting there:

Flight to Baden-Baden, Basel, Strasbourg or Stuttgart, the park has a shuttle service from Baden-Baden, Basel and Stuttgart, alternatively hire a car and see some of the great countryside in the area.

Efteling, Holland.

Efteling is the largest theme park in the Netherlands and one of the oldest theme parks in the world. Over the years, the park has received over 100 million visitors. With the largest water show in Europe, a double wooden roller coaster, a fairy-tale forest and a bobsleigh  run there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Getting there:

The park lies between Rotterdam and Eindhoven just north of Tilburg, with access by train from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven.

Gardaland, Lake Garda, Italy.

An amusement park and aquarium, on the bank of Lake Garda with Jungle, Fantasy Kingdom, Prehistoric, Pirate and Egyptian themed areas but for the adrenaline junkies it has to be The Energy Area with The Blue Tornado as the show stopper.

Getting there:

The closest airport is Verona, although the park is easily reached from Milan, Bologna or Venice. A free shuttle service runs from the Peschiera del Garda station which is on the Milan – Venice rail route.


PortAventura, Salou, Spain.

Also known as "Universal's Port Aventura" as it is part owned by Universal and Busch.  The park features five theme areas based on historic civilizations (Mediterrània, Far West, México, China and Polinesia) and one theme area based on Sesame Street, it is also home to the tallest drop ride in Europe and the fastest roller coaster in Europe.

Getting there:

Reus is the closest airport, however Port Aventura train station has direct connections to Barcelona.


Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Opened in 1843, officially the second oldest theme park in the world it also has the oldest running wooden roller coaster in the world – 100 years old this year! With a host of musical entertainment and year round shows it is easy to see why Tivoli Gardens has survived so long.

Getting there:

Central location in the heart of Copenhagen simply book a cheap flight to Copenhagen.


Spreepark, Berlin, Germany.

And finally, an extra bonus one - If you want to escape the madding crowds, or guaranteed the front of the queue maybe Spreepark in Berlin is your cup of tea, although we don't recommend it, the park has been a ghost town for almost 15 years now.