Top 10 New European Theme Park Rides You Can’t Miss

Summer means sandy beaches, backyard barbecues and a trip to your favorite amusement park. Millions of people around the world flock to parks where they can careen up and down hills and whip around corners at breakneck speeds — and then do it all over again.

While most people think a trip to Europe involves trudging through museum after museum and enduring hours-long, multicourse dinners with unpronounceable menu items, Europe is actually dotted with amusement parks containing some of the world’s wildest thrill rides. So why not spice up your “Greatest European Museum Tour” with a visit to a few of the best parks and experience some of these new rides?

1. Wallace and Gromit’s Thrill-O-Matic, Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Blackpool, England

Blackpool, England has been one of the U.K.’s top summer vacation destinations for more than two centuries. The addition of everyone’s favorite Claymation duo only makes the resort more popular. On this four-minute roller coaster ride, you’ll board one of Wallace’s slippers and ride through the most popular scenes from the series.

2. The Smiler, Alton Towers: Staffordshire, England

One of the world’s most anticipated coasters, the long-delayed Smiler boasts a record 14 inversions, combined with flashing lights and other distractions to disorient and thrill riders.

3. Huracan, Bellewaerde Park: Ieper, Belgium

On this exciting indoor coaster, riders board a two-headed snake to escape the angry Mayan god “Huracan,” who tries to stop them using wind, water and fire.

4. Galaksen,Tivoli: Copenhagen, Denmark

This iconic amusement park will open a new themed land in 2013 inspired by the work of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. While the new land will feature multiple rides and attractions, the major draw is Aquila, a wild ride where guests board spinning cars at the end of eagle wings; these cars then invert, spin and flip to create a 4G experience.

European Theme Park Rides

5. Etnaland: Catania, Italy

Built as a companion to the legendary Sicilian waterpark, Etnaland is packed with thrilling rides and coasters. The biggest draw promises to be “The Storm,” a 105-foot coaster with a 70-mph drop and a roll-style inversion.

6. Futuroscope: Poitiers, France

At this film and music-centered park, the most anticipated new attraction is also perhaps one of the most unique: Danse avec les Robots. It’s designed to be the “nightclub of the future,” where people and robots can dance together. Visitors can board a large robot arm, where they are then suspended over the dance floor to experience the latest dance crazes.

7. Temple X-Pedition, Legoland: Gunzberg, Germany

At Legoland’s German outpost, 2013 marks the opening of the Kingdom of the Pharaohs, which includes the exciting new Temple X Pedition experience. Riders board a Jeep to embark on a treasure hunt through a darkened temple — where they shoot infrared pistols at targets to earn points and get closer to the treasure.

8. “Arthur and the Invisibles,” Europa Park: Rust, Germany

Germany’s largest theme park (and Europe’s second-largest) has several new offerings for 2013, including a Brothers Grimm-inspired land and a new indoor roller coaster inspired by the film “Arthur and the Invisibles.”

9. Costa Caribe Aquatic Park, PortAventura: Salou, Spain

Summertime means waterparks, and one of Europe’s best is reopening after a major remodel. Costa Caribe Aquatic Park has been expanded and remodeled — and now features Europe’s highest free-fall slide with a 12-story drop.

10. D’Wervelwind, Toverland: Sevenum, Netherlands

Toverland is welcoming eight new rides this year, including the wild D’Wervelwind, a spinning coaster featuring sudden drops and turns set to a rock-and-roll soundtrack.

These are some of the offerings at European amusement parks this summer, many of which already have thrill-ride fans eager to hit the parks and get their scream on. While some parks have onsite hotels or plenty of nearby lodging, book early for the best selection. These attractions are sure to draw plenty of visitors from all over Europe, and elsewhere, this summer.

About the Author: Coaster enthusiast Ben Black has ridden the top 20 coasters in the U.S. and plans to start working on European attractions this summer. He’ll start in Belgium — he booked Brussels hotels on Venere website—and experience some great beer and the Huracan.

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