Top 3 Thursdays!While I’ve yet to make it across the pond to visit any of the great theme parks in Europe, I’ve had my eyes on several parks over there for years. In this week’s Top 3 Thursdays I’m going to list (in no particular order) the theme parks that I’d like to visit the most in the Old Country. As usual, my list is focused on their World-class roller coasters and not the guest experience or other factors of a theme park trip.

Thorpe Park – Chertsey, Surrey, England, United KingdomNemesis Inferno Roller Coaster - Thorpe Park
Thorpe Park has more of a thrill park vibe and it boasts a pretty intense arsenal. There’s Stealth (an Intamin Accelerator Coaster like Xcelerator at Knott’s), Nemesis Inferno a unique B & M inverted coaster, and a heavily-themed Gerstlauer looper in SAW – The Ride. There’s also one of my most wanted roller coasters Colossus. Next year, Thorpe Park will unveil B & M’s next wing rider in an unnamed coaster with an apocalyptic theme. Theme Park Tourist has an in-depth look at Thorpe Park’s 2012 wing rider roller coaster.

Visit the official Thorpe Park website
See at StreetView of the area inside of Colossus
Thorpe Park on RCDB | CoasterForce’s Thorpe Park Guide

Alton Towers – Alton, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom
Could Alton Towers be the British doppelganger of my beloved Busch Gardens Williamsburg? I don’t know, but it is a great-looking, wooded park that’s home to a few landmark B & M roller coasters. There’s B & M’s first ever flying roller coaster Air, B & M’s first dive coaster and World’s first vertical drop coaster Oblivion, and Nemesis which is a highly regarded B & M inverted coaster that hugs the park’s terrain. There’s also Rita an Intamin accelerator coaster and last year’s much hyped Thirteen which has the World’s first drop section.
Rita Roller Coasters at Alton Towers

Visit the official Alton Towers website.
See a panoramic view of of Air
Alton Towers on RCDB | Towers Nerd’s Alton Towers Guide

Europa Park – Rust, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany
Germany has a number of roller coasters and theme parks of interest. Europa Park is one of the most popular theme park resorts in the World. Europa Park first showed up on my radar when they built Europe’s tallest ride (239 feet) the B & M hyper coaster Silver Star. According to Wikipedia, the park is owned by MACK, so Silver Star is the park’s only non-MACK roller coaster.  The park also boasts blue fire Megacoaster, and two water roller coasters. In 2012, the park will open a new GCI woodie called Mythos.
Silver Star Roller Coaster at Europa Park
Visit the official Europa Park website.
See an overhead view of the park and a gallery of photos
Europa Park on RCDBEuropa Park on Wikipedia

Here’s a POV video of bluefire megacoaster at Europa Park:

See my previous Top 3 Thursdays posts.

What’s Your Take?
Again, this list is just based on what I’ve been able to discern about these parks’ roller coasters over the years. I invite my UK and mainland European readers to chime in. Leave a comment below. Image 1 courtesy of legoyoda, Image 2 courtesy of Roger Barker, and Image 3 courtesy of CoasterForce.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

29 Responses

  1. Cade

    Silver Star looks great. Do you know why it is a very well rated ride? Is it just not well recognized? Thanks.

  2. Surya

    If anyone asked me what the best European parks are, those would indeed be the top 3.

    If you'd ask me what 3 parks to go to for the best coasters, I'd have to replace Europa Park with Holiday Park, as Expedition GeForce is simply a must ride. Luckily, the parks are so close you should always combine a trip to the one with a trip to the other. They're only a 90 minute drive apart.

    Silver Star is a very enjoyable B&M Hyper, but not the best. The airtime is not that powerful and the trims just after the turnaround are a bit too noticeable. But Europapark is simply a very nice park with lots of stuff to do. When they get the GCI next year, It'll be time for me to return!

    • John

      Thing is though, 1 great rollercoaster doesn't make a park. Infact, the only good rollercoaster at Holiday Park is Expedition Geforce.

      Europa Park wins over Holiday Park because of the whole experience.

  3. Quil

    I like how the people at theme park review used the final brake stop as time to record some off-ride footage.

  4. Gearhart

    definately my top 3 as well but Port Aventura looks pretty bad ass too with Dragon Khan and Furious Baco, especially since they're rumored to get a B&M hyper next year.

  5. Kristofer

    Doesn't Oblivion have an 88 degree drop and is therefore not the worlds first vertical drop coaster?

  6. Prof.BAM

    Why is it that Most of us Americans know only of Alton Towers and thorpe Park and not any other European park (other than disney)

      • Surya

        Both Pleasure Beach (UK) and Europa Park (Germany) have more coasters, but I guess they aren't as attractive as they don't have as many record breakers or 'firsts'. Also, Nemesis has long been hailed as one of the best B&M inverters (to which I agree). I guess that helps one's reputation.

    • The Coaster Critic

      I would like some Europeans to confirm my picks as I tried not to pick the 3 most popular. I researched every park over there that I've heard of. There are plenty w/ one or two great coasters, but that's it.

      • Surya

        See my post. When it comes to parks, I confirm (having been to all of them, being from Europe). When it comes to best coasters, I wouldn't pick those 3 (see my post)

  7. jjhobo

    Alton Towers used to be the best in the UK and one of europes finest but building restrictions and space issues mean that it has fallen behind and Thorpe park is now the UKs best and look to be adding more quality with the new B & M compared to AT adding the lukewarm 13. Obviously as someone visiting from america (hypothetically speaking) I can see why AT would be well up there due to there being 3 landmark B & Ms but two of them arnt that great imo and if i had to choose just one from the UK it would be Thorpe park, all it needs to do now is add a nice woodie, we havent had a new one open here in about 15 years!

    As far as parks with the most star attractions I think youve pretty much picked the best in europe but theres some amazing rides all over the place like, Expedition geforce, goliath at walibi holland, black mamba at phantasia land, dragon khan & furius baco at port aventura, pepsi max at blackpool pleasure beach and some good up and coming parks like farap sommerland etc.

    I think any coaster fan with the time and money could justify a trip to europe, especially the mainland since you can hit alot of different parks during your trip.

    • The Coaster Critic

      Yeah. What's the deal with the lack of new woodies over there? Did they get a bad name in the UK for some reason?

      And I completely agree that these aren't the parks with the 3 best coasters per say, just the parks with the three best overall lineups. I know all about Expedition Geforce, Goliath (walibi), and the rest. They just don't seem to have the supporting cast that other parks have.

      I will say that Blackpool Pleasure Beach should get a honorable mention nod. It'd be cool to ride that park's historic rides AND Europe's contribution to the Coaster Arms Race, Pepsi Max.

  8. OSM

    From everything I've heard, Europa Park sounds like the best park in Europe. If I had to choose my top three that I want to go to, I would have to go with Liseberg and Mirabilandia as well. If Balder is anything like El Toro, that's enough reason to go, and the park has two other well-regarded coasters and a great atmosphere. As for Mirabilandia, the one-two punch of iSpeed and Katun seems almost unbeatable.

  9. energyzone

    Wooden coasters take up a lot of space, which is something the UK doesn't have in abundance. Metal coasters are more compact (mostly). You'll notice that the metal ones we do have in the UK don't tend to be sprawling epics like Kraken at Seaworld, but rather tight and twisted rides like Manta or Duelling Dragons at Islands of Adventure.

    Building regulations in the UK I suspect are a bit more stringent for that reason.

  10. DC

    Tell you USA guys what…. The right lottery win and we ALL go! My solemn word!

  11. merle

    I was there on wens day its a great park almost disney like but very hard to find your way around. blue fire was one of the best coasters i have been on, i rode in the very back with my dad. it was so intense it caused us bolt to be dizzy after exiting and him not being able to ride anything the rest of the day. it was unexpected and awesome

  12. Yves

    I will just add the Efteling in the Netherlands

    It isn't a rollercoasterparadise but it is one of the most beautiful parks of the world. With great darkrides and unique attractions. Not to forgot the GCI-coaster 'George and the dragon'.

  13. Adrien

    Have you got rode Port Aventura ? It’s so much fun to alton tower ( Sorry i’m a french boy and i speak a little english … )

  14. Joshua hall

    Really, you should be saying Thorpe park for being the real best theme park in the world what about stealth and colussus and saw the ride what about nemmisis inferno they are waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy better than your parks.


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