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Splash! Dispatches’ curated 2017 list of Europe’s best water parks

It’s pushing 50 degrees Celsius in parts of Europe, so it’s way past time to take the plunge at one of the great water parks from Germany to the Canary Islands.

And there are sooooo many choices from a tropical rainforest inside a dome the size of several soccer fields in Berlin to Europe’s highest free fall slide in Spain, the continent’s largest lazy river and the world’s biggest surf simulator, both in France. That said, some of the water parks are more suitable for big kids than small.

Head out to one of Europe’s best water parks this summer and enjoy a fun day out in the sun!

Slide and Splash, Portugal, Lagoa

Let’s start off with a personal favorite: Slide and Splash in Portugal’s Algarve. Our yearly family vacations in Portugal were not complete without a day spent at this fun water park.

From the foam slides and the Lazy River to the Black Hole slide, we always enjoyed every minute spent at this 16,000-acre water park.

Features include:

• Several rides that are only for big kids including the new Big Wave, which is ranked as an “extreme ride” limited to kids at least 1.2o meters tall, and the Black Hole, which gets 5 stars (the max) on the adrenaline scale!

• Huge water slides and splash areas suitable for kids

• Shows with exotic birds

Entry prices: Tickets start at 16.15 euros for kids, and you can order tickets online here.

Open: 6 April to 3 November.

Summer Aquariaz, Avoriaz, France

Situated between the mountains of the French Alps, this water park is a bit less action-packed than most other parks on this list. Instead, it is a place to chill out after a long day of skiing or snowboarding in winter or to cool off on a warm summer day. 

Relax in the open air sauna which is heated to 34 degrees or slide up and down a 10-meter high half-pipe.

Features: Come on … bringing the tropics to the French mountains is pretty cool! Yeah there are water rides, mini-golf and street ball and beach volleyball areas that come with the price of a ticket. But this is mostly about chillin’.

Entry prices: Tickets start at 6 euros for kids, 9 euros for adults, with week passes 19 euros and 29 euros respectively. BUT, this is actually a resort and you can book everything including your hotel for one price starting at 580 euros per week for a 4-person studio.

Open: Year round

PortAdventura Caribe Aquatic Park, Port Salou near Tarragona, Spain

If a 31-metre plunge does not sound absolutely terrifying to you, check out this water park in Spain. King Khajuna, a 31-meter-high free fall slide with a 55-degree descent, is PortAdventura Caribe Aquatic Park’s star attraction.

Oh, and the best part? This park is located only an hour drive south of Barcelona, making it the perfect place to cool off and relax during a city trip.

Features: In addition to the aforementioned King Khajuna, there are a bunch of rides and water slides ranging from mild to wild. The Mambo Limbo and El Tífon look pretty wild, while little kids will like El Galeón Pirata. Lots of variety as well as splish-splash water features such as a wave pool.

Entry prices: Tickets start at 25 euros for kids and 29 euros for adults per day. But if you’re making it a holiday, you can get multi-day tickets online here, and they’re discounted accordingly. Also, there are multiple hotels on the property starting at 69 euros per person per night. And there are two other PortAdventura theme parks nearby including the new FerrariLand.

Open: May through September

Tropical Islandsnear Berlin, Germany

If you are looking for a way to spend a rainy, grey summer day in Germany, Tropical Islands is the place to be.

Only 35 kilometers south of Berlin, it always feels like summer in this giant dome which features a pool the size of three Olympic swimming pools, a tropical rainforest and a 27-meter-high water slide.

And as only the Germans can do, the air temperature is 25°C and humidity a pleasant 40-60 percent, perfect conditions for plants from all over the world. There is also under-floor heating in the Lagoon and the Tropical Sea area. A complex climate control and irrigation system guarantees the various temperature zones are maintained in the Dome, according to the website.

Crazy!

Features: How about Germany’s highest waterslide? The Tropical Islands Rainforest covers an area of 10,000 m² and has about 50,000 plants of 600 different varieties. And the huge Tropical Islands Dome is big enough to hold the Statue of Liberty. Finally, there’s a spa. (Of course there is ….)

Entry prices: Tickets start at 28.50 euros per day and go up depending on what you want to do. You can book them here online. Lodge prices start at 120 euros per night per person and are all inclusive. You can book here.

Open: Year round

Siam Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Siam Park in Tenerife has been named the world’s best water park by TripAdvisor for several years in a row.

The park is built in Thai style and features temples and floating markets. The highlight of your visit to this park is a ride named Tower of Power, which starts at the height of 28 meters and takes you down to the pool with speeds up to 80 km/h. 

The only negative? This is a fantastic water park, crowds are huge and lines are long. Even the food gets good reviews. BUT, worst website ever if you’re trying to order tickets online.

Interesting bonus fact via Wikipedia: Siam Park is the world’s first green water park. The park’s water is heated to 25 °C (77 °F). To conserve the island’s water, Siam Park has a desalination plant on site, which desalinates 700 cubic meters (25,000 cu ft) of sea water per day. After the water is used in the rides, the park recycles the water by using it to water the park’s plants. In addition, Siam Park has the first natural gas plant in the Canary Islands.

Features: Crazy waterslides like the Kinnaree, the Tower of Power and the Dragon. The wave pool also gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

Entry prices: Tickets start at 13.50 euros for kids and go all the way up to 440 euros for VIPs and you can get them online here. All-inclusives start at 119 euros for adults. But here’s a tip from TripAdvisor: Pay the extra 15 euros for Fast Pass.

Open: Year round

Aquapark Istralandia, Nova Vas, Croatia

Aquapark Istralandia came in second this year in TripAdvisor’s list of Best Water Parks – Europe, only one spot behind Siam Park and is one of Croatia’s best places for family day out this summer. (This is a new park, opening in 2014.)

The park has 12 different slides – both big and small – including Croatia’s highest free-fall slide which sits at a height of 27 meters. The focus here is on family fun in the sun.

Features: Check out the video above for the Space Rocket. THAT is cool! Free Fall also looks pretty terror-inducing, which is a good thing. Finally, the foam parties are a nice touch.

Entry prices: Full-day tickets start at 24 euros for High Season and you can get them here. But there are also half-day tickets and family packages. Decisions, decisions ….

Open: June through mid-September

Water World, Ayia Napa near Famagusta, Cyprus

Slide down 124 meters and enjoy the many twists and turns of Apollo’s Plunge, spin around in circles in Aeolos Whirlpool or cool off in Poseidon’s Wave Pool. You will find these and many more rides and attractions in Water World, an Ancient Greece-themed water park on the island of Cyprus.

Features: Okay, a little bit kitschy, but fun. Compared to some of the other waterparks, this one is pretty subdued. But, the lines are not as long as, say, at Siam Park. The Kamikaza Slide looks great, as does Apollo’s Plunge. And the Fall of Ichyrus gets good reviews. And where else can you wade in a pool with a Trojan Horse?

Entry prices: Tickets start at 24 euros for kids, but you can get all kinds of packages and discounts. See the offerings here.

Open: June to September

Aqualandia, Venice, Italy

Water park Aqualandia has an impressive list of thrilling water slides that are for daredevils only.

Most notably is a ride called Captain Spacemaker. You sit down in a rubber dingy which fits 3 to 4 people and then you make your way down a steep, 42-meters-high slide reaching speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour!

This is a combination of water park and Disneyland, with pirate-themed shows and attractions.

Features: Captain Spacemaker … only for the brave (crazy). There’s a new virtual-reality ride called “Scary Falls” that just debuted this year. And the Jungle Jump looks awesome. The website is pretty good and you can sample all the rides and attractions before you go.

Admission prices: There’s a special on the landing page for 49 euros per person for the park AND hotel. Otherwise, one-day tickets start at 28 euros for kids and 32 euros for adults.

Open: 27 May to 10 September

SplashWorld Provence, Monteux France near Avignon

SplashWorld in France is home to some record-setting water attractions. Take a seat on a tube and enjoy Europe’s largest lazy river or get a bit more active and try out your surfing skills on the biggest surf simulator in the world which creates waves that are up to 3-meters high.

Features: We’ve run a lot of posts about faux surfing in Vienna and Munich, but this looks like the next best thing to Hawaii. Check out all the technical details on Da Wave. There are also lots of death-defying water slides including Bonzaii Bomber and Huricanna Slide, which is billed as the highest toboggan free-fall slide in Europe. And there are also slower-paced attractions such as the Ohana River ride.

This being the South of France, there are beaches including the new Gecko Beach with real sand. This being the South of France, there are a lot of VIP options including a 100-euro private cabana on the private beach. Get ready to spend liberally.

Entry fees: Tickets start at about 26 euros, but honestly, there are so many options you’ll just have to check out the website to see what works for you. You can get tickets here.

Open: 24 June to 10 September

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