The Best Theme Parks in Europe

If you’re off on a family driving holiday to Europe this summer, then having a plan to keep the children entertained for the duration could prove very useful indeed.

And just as you might visit a theme park on a day out in this country, there’s just as much potential to visit an amusement park while travelling abroad too.

Which is why we’ve come up with a list of 10 of the best theme parks in Europe. Just the thing in case you’re stuck for something to do on holiday, or even if you’re just a rollercoaster addict looking to seek out the next hit of adrenalin…

Alton Towers – UK

We’ll start with an old favourite for those living in the UK: Alton Towers. Located in Staffordshire, England, even if you’re not on vacation, this theme park is worth a visit.

With plenty of major rides there’s definitely something to suit speed freaks but with a number of other attractions – including a water park and a hotel – each member of your brood is sure to be entertained.

Disneyland Paris – France

Opened back in 1992, Disneyland Paris is a treasure trove of all that’s great about the magical world of Disney.

With over 10 million visitors passing through its gates last year, it was the most-visited theme park in Europe in 2013, reflecting the sheer level of entertainment on offer. For everything Disney, this is the place to visit.

Special Disneyland Paris fact: the park is represented by a replica of the castle in the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.

Tivoli Gardens – Denmark

Set in the traditional-looking pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tivoli Gardens is a slightly less fast-paced affair than your usual theme park.

There’s still plenty of rides and attractions to explore, but with a strong focus on children’s entertainment and performances, it’s an excellent destination if you have young ones to keep busy.

Legoland – UK

Another one aimed at children, Legoland in the UK will more than likely have adults itching to get involved, too.

With trains, rides, hotels and a proper miniature park made from Lego depicting cities across the globe, the 40 million Lego bricks used to build it will have you mesmerised.

PortAventura – Spain

Back to the continent now. If you’re on holiday in the region of Barcelona, Spain, a trip out to PortAventura could be an excellent way to while away a day.

Mixing the Spanish summer sunshine with the potential of tranquil boat rides, fireworks over a beautiful lake, an 84mph rollercoaster and one of the world’s tallest tower drop rides at 330ft free fall, there’s plenty to put on the agenda.

Efteling – Holland

One of the oldest theme parks in the world, the Efteling fantasy-themed group of attractions have clocked up over 100 million visitors.

It’d be an educational visit if you were taking your offspring, too, as all of the attractions focus on different elements from mythology and legend.

Parc Asterix – France

If you liked the Asterix stories as a child – or you have a young one who is just getting in to them – this theme park is the perfect destination.

Just 20 miles from Paris, and only 12 miles from Disneyland, if you’re in the French capital for a couple of days, you could tick two boxes in as many days. This is mostly definitely the definition of a theme park, and with rollercoasters, river rafts and ghost trains, there’s plenty to give you a thrill and a fright.

Gardaland – Italy

If you’re heading further afield, you could temper the peaceful tranquillity of Lake Garda, northern Italy, with a fun-packed day out at Gardaland.

Widely regarded as one the top five amusement parks in the world, there are water rides, rollercoasters, “dark rides”, flat rides, kids rides and plenty of other attractions to keep you and your children entertained.

Liseberg – Sweden

Sweden might not be at the top of your list for thrilling theme park destinations, but with one of the best wooden rollercoasters in Europe, Liseberg is right up there with the best.

It doesn’t just have to be during a summer holiday that you make a visit, either. The Christmas market – featuring traditional Swedish food and drink such as reindeer meat and mulled wine – held during November and December is a great time to sample the park.

Europa-Park – Germany

This chain of theme parks widely known across Europe offers families a great day out. We’ve picked the Europa-Park in southwest Germany due to its popularity – around 50,000 people visit the park per day during peak season.

With an Enchanted Forest and a Children’s World among the list of attractions, you can opt for plenty of thrills or something a little more sedate. Worth a visit, either way.

These are just 10 of the best theme parks across Europe that are well worth paying a visit to, if you do make the journey into Europe by car we suggest protecting yourself with European breakdown cover . If you’ve sampled somewhere else that you’d recommend for those after a vibrant day out at a theme park, let us know on our Twitter feed , or on our Facebook page .

Don’t forget to tell us your favourite rides and attractions if you visit a theme park while on holiday this summer, too.

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