Pop quiz. Where can you visit 13 different European countries in the space of a few hours without the help of time machine? The answer lies at a place that seems to be off the radar for most Brits; Europa-Park. This expansive German theme park welcomes more annual guests from India and the Emirates than it does from the UK, but after our recent visit we are stumped as to why.
So we're doing our bit to try and open British holidaymakers' eyes to the fun that can be had at this thrilling attraction.
There is a range of different options when travelling from the UK to the German town of Rust, where Europa-Park is located. The closest airport is Strasbourg, but there's not much difference in time when transferring from either Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden or EuroAirport in Basel. Direct flights are available to all three of these options, with Ryanair flying direct to Strasbourg and Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden from London Stanstead and BA, EasyJet and Ryanair all offering direct links to Basel from either Heathrow or Gatwick. The flight time to any of these airports is just under an hour and a half.
During our visit, we flew into EuroAirport and were very impressed. The building was clean and modern, security was easy and every gate is less than 250 metres' walk from the main building. What's more, the airport allows for easy access to France, Switzerland and Germany, which is perfect for multi-centre breaks.
Whichever option you go for, you have more choices to make once you arrive. Europa-Park provides a private shuttle from all three of the airports mentioned (as well as Zurich and Stuttgart); although it is worth mentioning that the cheapest rates are from Basel. Other transfer options include hiring your own car or taking a taxi.
That's enough practical information for the time being; as I'm sure you really want to know what the rides are like. As mentioned above, Europa-Park is split into 13 different themed areas, which correspond to European countries. Each section features food from that region, music in the style of the country and plenty of themed attractions. There are over 95 hectares to explore in total and the park recently surpassed 100 million visitors since opening in 1975. Children between 4 and 11 cost €37, adult tickets are priced at €42.50 and under 4's get in for free.
For The Thrill Seekers
Thrill seekers will be glad to know that there is an abundance of roller coasters to get the pulse racing. The most popular of these include Silver Star, on which you rise to a height of 73 metres before pulling up to 4Gs around the track; Blue Fire, which reaches speed of 100kph in 2.5 seconds and over you round loops, through corkscrews and round terrifying hairpins; and Wodan, a traditional wooden coaster that shakes you to your very core.
Other fast-paced rides include Eurosat, which you ride in the dark; Matterhorn Blitz, which replicates the ups and downs of a trip across the Alps; and Euro-Mir, which spins you whilst you navigate the tight bends of the track.
For Those Hot Days
We were pleased to see that Europa-Park also has more than its fair share of water rides. This is great for cooling down on those hot days (the nearby city of Freiburg receives more hours of sunshine per year than anywhere else in Germany) or cheering you up when the weather is slightly miserable. Rides that offer the most splash for your cash include, Atlantica Supersplash, Fjord Rafting and Poseidon. The latter is a hybrid between a roller coaster and log flume, offering the best of both worlds.
For The Little Ones
Europa-Park prides itself on offering something for all ages and that includes vast areas in which kids can run wild. For budding thrill seekers, there are roller coasters such as Arthur (themed on the film Arthur and the Invisibles) and Pegasus but there's so much for kids who just what to play as well. The 'Kid's World' playground features slides and climbing frames aplenty and, if the weather is favourable, they can run through the Water Playground too. Throw in a host of child-friendly rides and the Enchanted Forest, featuring all their favourite fairytale characters, and you won't be able to remove the look of wonder from their face.
For Taking It Easy
One of the best things about Europa-Park is that you could spend your entire time there without going on one ride if you so wished. If you aren't really one for fast-paced roller coasters or you would prefer to sit back and watch the kids enjoy themselves, there is still plenty to keep you amused. Six live shows and eleven additional performances take place throughout the day and, after seeing a few of them for ourselves, we can say that the language barrier doesn't dilute your enjoyment of them at all. This is also in addition to the 4D cinema show, which is a great experience for the whole family to enjoy together.
On top of this, there are shops to explore, restaurants to dine in and so much else to see around the park. It's just as fun to admire all the intricacies of the different themed areas as it is to hurtle around a track at sixty miles per hour.
In 2015, Europa-Park is commemorating its 40th birthday, so there's never been a better time to visit. Speak to our team today to find out how you could be celebrating with Euromaus and friends on a fun-filled family adventure.