Looking for fun, thrills, excitement and adventure? Here is our guide to Europe’s best theme parks
Europe is an amazing choice for a holiday. There are lots of different things to see and do as Europe is one of the best continents for history and culture. However, if you are looking for a holiday with a difference and a little more action, then Europe is also home to some of the best theme parks in the world.
With so many parks to choose from, our park guide contains features, tips and advice about the best theme parks in Europe, within just a few hours' drive from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Calais Terminal. You can find advice on where to go, the best rides, where to stay and what to look out for, to try and help you choose the right park for you and have the best experience possible.
European theme parks offer excitement, entertainment and adventure that you can share with all your family and friends. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's guide can help you discover the best theme parks Europe has to offer within just a few hours' drive.
3 hours 30 minutes drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais Terminal
Just 3 hours 30 minutes drive away from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Calais Terminal is the best and the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris. The park is jam packed with 56 attractions in its Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, 7-hotel complexes, a ranch, a campsite, a golf course and stunning gardens.
Disneyland® Paris Tickets
Inside Disneyland Park there are five themed areas: Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland and Discoveryland. The parks top attractions include Space Mountain where riders are propelled at a speed of 90 km/h along a 1Km track, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and Pirates of the Caribbean which features a 14-foot drop over a waterfall into pirate caves with gunshots, cannon blasts, and burning buildings.
There are lots to see, such as the famous Castle in Fantasyland, Disney characters are dotted around the park which the kids will adore and there are many parades that take place at scheduled times during the day. You can catch a number of shows like Tarzan featuring acrobatics and music from the film Moteurs Action, which is an exciting stunt car show and Animagique, a musical with dancing Disney characters and pink elephants, definitely one for the little ones.Opening times: Normal hours are 10.00am-7.00pm but the remains open until 23.00pm during peak times.
The Park is mostly aimed at kids as there are more rides, parades and things to do and see for little ones, but Disneyland has created a beautifully themed and entertaining experience for all. For thrill seekers the latest adrenaline ride, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror takes riders to the top of an old abandoned Hollywood hotel, before plunging down a 13-storey lift chute, and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster takes rides off at lightning speed, before hurtling round twists, flips and loops to the blasting sound of Aerosmith.
Ticket prices: Children between the ages of 3-11 years inclusive are £45 and adults are £51 for 1 day.
How to Book:
3 hours drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais Terminal
Parc Asterix, situated around 30km to the north of the capital, is one of France's most famous theme parks. It brings to life one of France's most loved and well known comics - The Adventures of Asterix. It has a range of attractions, shows, restaurants and even a hotel. It appeals to all ages, with something for everyone and incorporates several historical cultures in a fun and quirky way. There are 5 worlds to discover: Gaul, The Roman Empire, Greece, The Vikings and an area entitled 'Travel through time'.
Each area has its main attractions, but there are 3 thrill seeking rides guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. In 'La Grèce', Tonnerre Zeus is Parc Asterix's white knuckle ride and is the largest wooden roller coaster in Europe. With a descent of more than 30 metres, a speed of 80km/h, a double spiral and coming eye to eye with Zeus himself, this ride is sure to thrill. Goudurix creates a false sense of security when it starts off calmly. But it suddenly shocks you with a massive descent at 75km/h and then takes you back up again to send you in a frenzy of 7 loops and twists. Finally, 'La Trace du hourra' is a Gallic bobsleigh ride which slides freely along the track at incredible speeds.
There are plenty of other rides and attractions for all the family including log flumes, water slides and swinging ships. If rides aren't your thing, then there are many other ways to entertain the entire family. You can meet all the characters from the comics at the costume parade. Also, the Panoramix Magic Show will leave shocked and mesmerized. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants whether you're looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The Hôtel des trois Hiboux is an on-site hotel complete with comfortable rooms, a games room for children and a bar with a terrace. There are also many hotels around the park so you won't be stuck for a place to stay.Opening times: Generally open from 10.00am-18.00. The park is open daily from 9th April to 4th September and 22nd October - 2nd November. From 10th September to 16th October the park is open Saturdays & Sundays only.
Ticket prices: Children under 3 years of age are free, children under 12 years of age are €30 and adults are €40.
3 hours 30 minutes drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais Terminal
Festyland Park is a small amusement theme park located on the south side in Caen, Normandy in France. It has over 30 attractions such as a mediaeval castle and two cinemas. The ride Erétic is a major attraction where visitors are spun round on a circular platform which swings up to 25 meters into the air. The Drakkar Express is an exciting rollercoaster where visitors sit in cars that are designed as Viking ships. The bumper boats are extremely fun and just like dodgem cars but only on a lake where you are allowed complete freedom to sail.
Festyland is a theme park for the younger children. The themes are taken from the varied history of Normandy with such harmless pleasures as a rocking Viking longboat to Carousels and a Helter Skelter. They also have a 3D cinema and regular shows with shows aimed at providing youngsters with some history lessons. You can also find a selection of a variety of restaurant and entertainment within the park.
There is no onsite accommodation but a lot of different accommodation for different budgets in the surrounding areas such as Bretteville Sur Odon. Open times: Apr–mid Jun: 11am–6:30pm Wed, Sat–Sun and national holidays; last 2 weeks Jun: 1:30–6pm; Jul–Aug: 10am–7pm daily.
Ticket Prices: Adults - €12. Under 12 - €10. Children under 95cm go free. However It is suggested checking for special pricing and discount savings for groups.
Bagatelle Theme Park
1 hour drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais Terminal
Is the oldest theme park in France and is situated a few kilometres from Merlimont and Le Touquet in the Pas de Calais. The theme park is an everyday party and is set within an area of attractive woods, hills and former acres of flat marshland at the back of Berck seaside resort. The 43 attractions at this well-established traditional family park include white knuckle rides and many breath-taking experiences such as a zoo, water rides and a Grand Prix circuit, water slides and bouncy castles.
Take a ride down the Canadian River Run, go to Torture Island if you're up for it and search for gold in the Sunken Gold Mine. The newest ride to the park is "The Raft" which is likened to being sucked down a plughole. The park small zoo with over 200 animals and during the summer a circus takes place in the evening. The secret to this park's success is its unique mix of traditional and modern attractions, a great day out.
There is no onsite accommodation available; however there are large choices of accommodation options available in local areas such as Berck-sur –mer. Opening times: July – August: 10.30am – 9.30pm.
April, May, June and September: 10.30am – 7.00pm (only open at weekends during September)
Ticket prices: Adults €19.50 and children from €16.50. However if you book seven days in advance to visiting the park you will receive a discount.
2 hours 20 minutes drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais Terminal
Walibi is Belgium's most famous theme park with over 50 attractions including a wide range of thrilling rides and roller coasters to satisfy all thrill seekers and over 15 different attractions to keep the kids entertained. The park is situated in Wavre, 15km south east of Brussels and is set around a huge lake allowing easy navigation around the park.
The rides are grouped according to fright levels and age: children, family, teenage and the big 7 for the brave ones. Full of unforgettable moments, the park promises extreme thrills, excitement and fun for all the family.
The stomach churning Cobra takes riders on jaw dropping drops, the Screamer will get your heart racing taking you on a high speed journey and Loup Garou is a thrilling wooden roller coaster that takes you at continuous speeds of 80 km/h and reaching heights of 32meters. The Dalton Terror takes riders slowly up to a height of 77 meters and giving riders a minute to take in the views before plunging them into free fall at a speedy 110 km/h, while Inferno, a new ride this year, takes you for an aerial tour around most of the park.
For those of you who aren't as brave there are also many water sports activities in Aqualibi, offering thrilling sporting activities as well as the chance to take a dip in the cool water. There are also plenty of water rides as well as the Water Park, so don't forget to bring your towel and trunks.
For children who don't fancy the white knuckle rides the park has plenty for them to experience such as the Big Wheel, a runaway train rollercoaster, 4D experience with SpongeBob, a rapids river ride and they can get soaked in the a long flume ride, Flashback. The challenge of Tutankhamen is definitely one for the adventurers, taking riders through a frightening pyramid in the dark where they have laser guns to shoot zombies and mummies. There is also an outdoor stage, where the kids can meet Walibi and friends who sing and dance at schedule times throughout the day.Opening times: generally 10am-6pm and 10am-7pm in mid-July and August. The park opens from late April to early November and for the rest of the year it is open only on weekends.
There are lots of food stands and souvenir shops dotted around the park. Food is reasonably priced and includes burgers, chips, and waffles, with a few restaurants if you fancy a more healthy meal. The staff are very enthusiastic and the main language is French, however many do speak good English and Dutch so tourists should find it easy to get around and find everything they need.
Ticket prices: Children 5 years and under go free, children between the ages of 6 and 11 are €28,00 and adults and children over 12 years of age are €30,50.
3 hours drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais Terminal
One of the oldest theme parks in the world, Efteling is situated in the town of Kaatsheuvel in The Netherlands and has attracted over 100millon visitors. The Park brings well-known Fairytales to life with its forest scenes, rides and attractions. The Park offers amusement rides for both children and adults with high-quality ride designs and architecture.
Adults can enjoy the large ponds and stunning gardens filled with thousands of flowers whilst children will adore the walk through the Fairytale Forest which is filled with full-size characters and animated scenery including Snow White and seven dwarfs, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin and Sleeping Beauty in her castle.
The Park has four themed areas which are Marerijk (Fairy Realm), where the attractions are based traditional fairytale book characters, Anderrijk (Alternative Realm), where things are a little out of the ordinary, Ruigrjik (Adventure Realm), here you will find most of the roller coasters and white knuckle rides and Reizenrijk (Travel Realm), where the attractions are based around journeys and travels around the world.
For you thrill seekers there are lots of rollercoasters such as Vogel Rok, an indoor coaster themed around Sindbad the Sailor, Python a double loop, corkscrew ride the biggest rollercoaster in the park and Pegasus a wooden coaster, suited for younger visitors. For adrenaline junkies, The Flying Dutchman is perfect, as riders travel through mazes, there are astonishing weather changes from the wet to the windy, illuminating waterfalls and an unexpected plunge which ends with a splash. Villa Volta is a disorientating ride in the house of a local gangster where the floor and walls move till you lose all sense of direction.
The most popular ride in the park is Droomvlucht (Dream Flight) where riders embark on a flying journey through the magical world of fairies, pixies and trolls, experience stunning castles, extraordinary forests and fairytale gardens. Families can also enjoy Gondoletta, a musical boat ride that glides through beautiful sceneries, Pirana, a startling river rapids ride and Pagode the flying temple ride which gives exceptional views of the park.Opening times: generally 10am-18.00pm and closing time is extended till 21:00 in July and August. The park is generally open all year round but some of their attractions are closed in the winter months.
There are also many restaurants serving simple dishes and special children's menus such as Witte Paard in Marerijk and Welkom in the theatre near the entrance and De Ballonvaarder in Reizenrijk.
If you need a place to stay the Efteling Hotel is a four star hotel just outside the park and has both standard rooms and specially themed suites including a Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Flying Dutchman suite.
Ticket prices: €32.00 from 1 April to 10 July 2011 and 29 August to 31 December 201 and €34.00 from 11 July to 28 August 2011.