Summer is well on the way, and I've found myself beginning to get excited already - holidays, ice creams, sunbathing on the beach - I can't wait! I'm also hoping to find a good theme park to visit this year too! I recently spotted a neat online tool from the holiday provider On The Beach called the “Cost Comparison” which looks at, amongst a load of other things, some of the best value theme parts in Europe. Below you'll see my own run-down of Europe's biggest and best theme parks - plus a bonus personal favourite!
Disneyland Paris, France
Disneyland Paris actually has two theme parks: Disneyland Park, dedicated to the fairytale characters and kingdoms of Disney's many productions; and Walt Disney Studios Park, dedicated to show-business and production. It's a dream come true for kids - and adults will find enough wild rides ad childhood memories to keep them entertained for the whole trip, too!
Europa Park, Germany
Europa is run by Mack, a ride manufacturer which runs a tight ship not just on safety but on fun too. Expect impeccable customer service, a superb family-friendly atmosphere, and the famous Silver Star hypercoaster - the steepest rollercoaster in Europe.
Efteling, The Netherlands
If you fancy a fun Disneyland alternative, you can't go wrong with Efteling, a fantasy-themed Dutch amusement park which offers plenty in the way of quirky innovation. Look out for the Fairy Tale Forest and enjoy each ride's stunning view over the park's architecture and gardens.
Tivoli Gardens, Denmark
This is a great one to incorporate into a trip to Copenhagen - the park is set in the centre of the city, and is used even by the locals as a place to dine and socialise as well as try out the many roller-coasters on offer. Disney anoraks take note: Tivoli Gardens is also credited with inspiring Walt Disney to create his own amusement park!
PortAventura, Salou, Spain
PortAventura is a huge amusement park in Northern Spain boasting water rides, thrill coasters and family entertainment, all surrounded by acres of beautiful scenery. You'll spend as much time exploring as you do on the rides!
Liseberg, Gothenburg, Sweden
Rising up over the rooftops of Gothenburg is Liseberg, situated on a hill in the centre of the city. By far the biggest highlight here is the Liserbergbanan, a mine cart that winds around the hills and threads underneath other rides.
Gardaland, Castelnuovo del Garda, Italy
Owned by the same nice folk as the UK's Alton Towers, Gardaland lies on the stunning Lake Garda and hosts some of Italy's biggest attractions, including the new Raptor roller coaster and the SeaLife Aquarium, as well as the world's first Wing coaster.
Legoland Windsor, Berkshire, England
There's something about Lego that never leaves us; regardless of how many video games and flashy gadgets come out, we can't resist a good Lego structure - and at Legoland Windsor you'll find entire cities made of the stuff. Look out for the dinosaurs!
Alton Towers, Staffordshire, EnglandAlton Towers is the UK's biggest theme park, packed full of rides and attractions alongside hotels, spas and its famous waterpark. A true destination amusement park, you'll need a few days to take it all in, and the new Moon Voyage-themed bedrooms are the perfect way to enjoy it!