Europe is known for its charming mediaeval cities, vibrant nightlife, and picturesque Mediterranean coast. But there’s one thing people often overlook when they’re planning their Europe trip, and that’s theme parks!
The thrill of a rollercoaster, adrenaline of bumper cars, and nostalgically sweet taste of pink candy floss is something you’re never too old to enjoy.
Amusement parks started to become popular during the 19th and 20th century, and the first ones in the world popped up in Europe and North America in the 1900s.
Fun and thrilling, there should be at least one theme park on your European bucket list. Whether you’re travelling as a family or a group of friends, there are rides that’ll give even the bravest adventurers butterflies in Europe’s theme parks. Top tip, make sure you check the opening dates before you go, most theme parks aren’t open year-round!
- 1 The Best Theme Parks in Europe
- 2 Plan Your Europe Itinerary
The Best Theme Parks in Europe
Disneyland Paris (France)
If you’re travelling as a family, you’ve likely been listening to your kids going on about Disneyland for weeks. It’s a world-famous destination that offers Disney-themed attractions and entertainment of all sorts. And let’s be honest, Disney has been an iconic part of most of our upbringings.
Originally called Euro Disney, the park opened in 1992. It’s grown a fair bit since then and welcomed over 250 million visitors through its gates in the last 30 years. The tickets are a little on the expensive side, ranging from €70 to €130, but it’s worth it!
There are lots of ways to get to Disneyland. If you’re already in France driving is probably the easiest option, it’s just a 40 minute drive (traffic allowing) from the heart of Paris. If you’re out of the country you can get a budget flight to Paris, then hop on the Magical Shuttle Bus direct to Disneyland. From the UK there are lots of options too, like on a direct Eurostar train from London, via ferry, or through the Eurotunnel.
Efteling Park (Netherlands)
There are so many cool amusement parks in Europe it’ll be tricky deciding on just one, but if it’s a land of magic and mystery that you seek then Efteling beckons you through its gates.
Families will love strolling through the Fairytale Forest, visiting the park’s fantasy palace Symbolica and riding the family friendly roller coasters. But don’t worry, if you’re looking for a more turbulent and hair-raising experience the 120-foot drops and 45 mile per hour rides will put you to the test.
Another great thing about this theme park is that there are lots of bus routes that get you there from across the Netherlands and Belgium! There’s a whole lot of adventure packed into a €38 ticket at Efteling, so what are you waiting for?
Europa Park (Germany)
From their family rides to their Bavarian-style beer hall, Europa Park has a bit of everything. Aside from the usual roller coasters, there’s also an aqua park, cinema, and virtual reality experiences.
The different areas of the park are inspired by a different European country, giving the theme park a cultural twist. It’s located close to the French border south of Strasbourg, so if you’re visiting France or Germany on your holiday this could be the best theme park option.
Tickets range from €47 to €62 for single day tickets and from €86 to €117 for 2 day tickets. Kids under 4 go free and so do kids up to 12 years old who are celebrating their birthday that day!
Tivoli Gardens (Denmark)
This enchanting theme park in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, takes you back to a time when carousels and Ferris wheels were the highlights of theme parks. The park opened in 1843 and it still preserves its town-fair feel. There are lots of water features and old-fashioned rides.
It’s especially majestic at night when the park is lit up with circus lights and lanterns, giving it a fairytale-like atmosphere. There are a few drop towers and rollercoasters, but it’s not the theme park of choice for adrenaline junkies.
You can get different ticket combos from anywhere between €20 (without rides, which are paid for separately) and €68 (absolutely everything included!). You can get to Tivoli Gardens from the Copenhagen Airport by train in less than 20 minutes, or walk there on one of your days exploring Copenhagen.
The Prater (Austria)
This slightly spooky theme park features ogres and dark creatures popping out of the walls, booths with tall knights and princesses, and an old-age feel to it. The most iconic ride is the 1897, a 65-metre-high Giant Ferris Wheel that has spectacular views of the city below.
There are hundreds of arcade-style booths, a ghost train, go-karts, shows for kids and much more! The Prater has a long history, but it started to become known as an entertainment spot in the city around 1603.
The Prater is right next to the Green Prater, an oasis of forest and meadow that was once the hunting grounds of Austria’s royalty, so you can go for a stroll once you’re finished at the theme park.
It’s located in the Leopold neighbourhood of Vienna, which is pretty hip and trendy. It works a little differently to most theme parks as you don’t pay an entrance fee, but instead you pay for rides individually. The rides and games cost somewhere between €1.50 to €6. The park is just a few subway stops away from Vienna’s city centre, so what are you waiting for?
Grona Lund (Sweden)
Grona Lund is a unique boardwalk amusement park that sits by the edge of the water on the western shore of the Djurgarden island in Stockholm. It was founded in 1883 and it’s the oldest theme park in the country.
There’s a good mix of old-fashioned and modern rides. From cute carousels to thrilling drop towers. Try out some of the most intoxicating roller coaster rides like the Twister and Jetline that twist and turn, taking you this way and that at top speed.
Afterwards, head to a dance class or one of their summer concerts. If you feel brave enough, walk through the park’s House of Nightmares!
The park spoils its visitors with panoramic views of the city in the distance and is especially spectacular at sunset. The park’s entrance fee depends on your age but it’s around €10.50 at most (or get in for free with the Stockholm Pass!) and kids under six go free. The park’s rides are paid separately.
Walibi Holland (Netherlands)
The park opened in 1971 under the name Flevoland. It’s had a lot of names since then, but settled on Walibi. Thrillseekers – this one’s for you.
Get an adrenaline boost on the Goliath ride, the highest and fastest roller coaster in the Benelux, or swirl down River El Rio Grande and cool down with a splash. If you’re travelling as a family, bear in mind that this theme park is great for slightly older kids (6 years or above) and teens, but not recommendable for toddlers.
Walibi Holland is a 2 hour train away from Amsterdam and then a quick trip on the Walibi Express bus from the Harderwijk Train Station. Ticket prices start at €30 per person, but you can get discounts for multi-day passes and packages that include a stay at Walibi Village. Are you daredevil enough to go?
Tibidabo Park (Spain)
This quaint amusement park in the vibrant city of Barcelona is located high up in the hills, blessing the park with some of the best views over Barcelona. It opened in 1901, a year after work on the tram and funicular railway to the top began.
There aren’t any 70-mile-per-hour roller coasters, huge drop towers or splash rides like in other theme parks. But there are old-fashioned rides like a carousel, an adorable ride known as Avio, bumper cars, roller coasters through the forest canopy, and creative spaces where you can invent and play.
It’s cute and quaint, the idyllic theme park for families with young kids. Tickets cost €35 for adults and €14 for little ones. There are a few ways you can get there from the city, one of the most popular being the funicular railway ride from the Funicular Bottom Station at Plaza Doctor Andreu. You can also get the TibiBus T2C, T2A and T2B from different areas of Barcelona.
This extraordinary theme park on the shores of Lake Garda has got to be one of the best theme parks in Europe. The entrepreneur Livio Furini came up with the idea after visiting Disneyland in California, and by 1975 the park was welcoming its first visitors!
There’s something for all ages in Gardaland. Little ones can meet their favourite TV characters like Peppa Pig and go on the family-friendly rides, whilst everyone else gets an adrenaline surge on the twistiest roller coasters and highest drop towers that have intimidating names like Oblivion, Blue Tornado, Raptor.
If you fancy a break from the rides you can visit Miniland, which has models of Italy’s most iconic attractions and took 4 million LEGO bricks to build, or watch some of their live shows, or head to the aquarium! Tickets start at €46 but vary depending on which areas of the park you want to visit.
LEGOLAND Billund (Denmark)
If you’ve got young, curious kids and you’re looking for fun things to do in Europe this should be at the top of your list! This theme park in Denmark is for out-of-the-box thinkers who want to enjoy rides, and then put on their engineering caps and explore the LEGO exhibitions.
The park opened back in 1968 next to the original LEGO factory and it was immediately a success. There’s an array of areas in the park that will keep you busy exploring all day, like Pirate Land which is full of water attractions, the Imagination Zone which is an aquarium and 4D cinema all at once, Miniland which has LEGO models of whole cities and the World’s most famous attractions, and of course there are lots of roller coasters!
Tickets start at €44 for single day tickets, and you can get deals if you opt for multi-day passes. LEGOLAND is very close to Billund airport and there are different bus and train options from nearby cities like Vejle, Kolding, and Fredericia.
There you have it, 10 of the best theme parks in Europe. Which will you visit first?
Plan Your Europe Itinerary
Looking for more things to do in Europe? Check out some of these posts to help plan your Europe itinerary.
- European Bucket List
- Famous Bridges in Europe
- Provins: A Great Day Trip from Paris
- Where To Find Cat Cafes in the UK
- Best Places To Visit in Northern France
- Wine Tasting in Corsica
- The Best Castles in Poland
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