There is so much to do and see in Barcelona. But if you have been here for a few days now and the eat, sleep, rave, repeat is becoming a little samey then just south of Barcelona is an option for a really fun day out of the city.
PortAventura World is an entertainment resort in Salou and Vila-seca, Tarragona, on the Costa Daurada in Spain. It was built around the PortAventura Park theme park, which attracts around 4 million visitors per year, making it the most visited theme park in Spain and the sixth most visited theme park in Europe! The resort includes a second theme park, Ferrari Land, since 2017 and also includes PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park and six hotels. It is the biggest resort in the south of Europe. There is a train station for PortAventura which has connections to Barcelona and Salou and from the city centre in Barcelona it only takes about an hour to get there.
The park is divided into five theme areas based on civilizations Mediterrània, Far West, México, China and Polynesia, and one theme area based on Sesame Street, which is of course aimed at younger children.
Portaventura has some of the best and fastest rollercoasters in Europe. Furius Baco is an Intamin Accelerator coaster with winged seating, which opened in June 2007. It has a top speed of 83.9 mph (135 km/h). The ride is themed along a hay-wire grape collecting machine, launched by a professor’s pet monkey!
At FiestAventura the lake becomes the site of a show featuring fireworks and floats representing PortAventura’s zones of Polynesia, China, Far West and Mexico. In an area know as ‘Far West’ which is a themed as an old wild west town, this area features many western buildings and sculptures. The area boasts nine attractions which makes it the biggest area in the park. Stampida is a dueling wooden roller coaster is the third largest roller coaster in the park. Tomahawk is a junior version of Stampida and which runs parallel to it. Silver River Flume is a traditional water flume in the Far West. The Grand Canyon Rapids features a whitewater “tub raft” adventure along the Grand Canyon. There are also water cannons next to this ride, which allow guests to squirt people on the rides!
The Mexico area is themed primarily on pre-Columbian Mexico. It features temples, statues and a Great Piramide that is the entrance to the Gran Teatro Maya, the biggest show zone of the park. El Diablo is a train through the mines in the Mexican area. The top speed of the coaster is around 60 km/h! Hurakan Condor is one not to be missed it’s a drop tower ride operated by a cable lift, the ride provides a large view at the top before riders are sent to free fall to the bottom of the ride. This ride is one of the tallest in the world at 330 ft and is sometimes labelled as the greatest due to the tilting seats.
El Secreto de los Mayas is a mirror maze with some visual effects. Yucatán is themed in a large snake. It is a spinning ride that spin around a central axis with some ups and downs at a medium speed. Armadillos is a children’s version of Yucatán.
Los Potrillos is another child attraction with some foals guided along a guide through a scouts camp. Serpiente Emplumada features a spinning ride with five cylindrical modules that spin around a central axis, rising and changing his angle respect the ground at the same time that they are spinning around a central totem.
Templo del Fuego is a walk-through attraction which runs every 30 minutes during for a certain period of the park opening hours. This is themed as a Maya temple in which an Indiana Jones type character raids in search of treasure. The high level of pyrotechnics in this show is hinted in the name – Temple of Fire.
The China area is one of the biggest theme lands of the park and also has the best and fastest rollercoasters! The area includes a Chinese buffet called Marco Polo with a good range of dishes available. The main path through the area is themed in the same style as the Great Wall of China.
Dragon Khan, with 8 inversions this formerly held the record as having more inversions than any other roller coaster. It also held the world record for the tallest vertical loop on any roller-coaster. The ride opened on 2 May 1995 and was one of the two roller coasters that Port Aventura had when it opened. It consistently ranks among one of the world’s best roller coasters in polls. Another one certainly not to be missed is Shambhala, this roller coaster beat three European records as it was the fastest (134 km/h) and tallest roller coaster in Europe. It is 76 m tall and had longest drop in Europe at 78 m. Another is Angkor, a large splash battle themed in the Angkor ruins that opened in 2014. It is located just behind Shambhala.
The Polynesian area is different from the other rides in the park as it is a more laid back area with less thrilling rides. Polynesia is home to two shows and a few attractions. Polynesia is one of the smallest themed areas.
The two main rides in the area are the Tutuki Splash. This is a water ride themed along an erupting volcano, riders experience being shot out of a volcano in a flume style boat. There is also the Dino Escape 4D Experience, in it riders are taken into a dynamic cinema themed as a submarine and taken on a journey to the bottom of the ocean. Labelled as a 4D theater attraction because of surround sound and motion platforms. Since 2010 it is able to play several different films throughout the day.
There is a submarine over a pool as part of queue line theming. For the 2017 season, this has been rebranded as Dino Escape 4D Experience. The ride is based around a Jurassic Park Jeep journey which takes a turn for the worse, resulting in the need to escape from the dinosaurs on the loose!
There are various ticketing options for the parks. For Portaventura and Ferrari land it is 55 euros for one day or 60 euros for two days so I would definitely recommend spending a couple of days down there and getting stuck in on the amazing selection of rides available!