PortAventura World: A handy guide

PortAventura World is Spain’s biggest theme park and entertainment resort. Located in the municipality of Salou on the popular Costa Dorada. It is an hour away from Barcelona via direct train, and the train station is right outside the park entrance. The park has just celebrated 25 years of being open and attracts over 3.65 million visitors a year. Interestingly only 36% of its visitors are international tourists making it a hidden gem for those who find it!

The Hotels

We stayed in the Hotel PortAventura, one of 6 main hotels right in the middle of PortAventura Park. All our tickets were included with the hotel package we bought, and this also included a one day pass to Ferrari Land.

A one day ticket to do both PortAventura Park & Ferrari Land is around £50, with two days being around £55. There is normally promotions on throughout the year offering an extra day or night for a fraction of the price, so its always worth booking directly on the website to see what you can save!

https://www.portaventuraworld.com/en

The Parks

PortAventura World is split into three different parks; PortAventura Park, Caribe Aquatic Water Park & Ferrari Land. Due to the time of year we visited the water park was closed, but to be honest unless its at least 25° i am in no rush to be getting in water! We visited in May and it was jeans and t shirt weather, with a light jacket in the evenings.

We spent two full days at PortAventura Park and one day at Ferrari Land. This was a good amount of time for us as the parks weren’t extremely busy. It wasn’t the school holidays in either Europe or the UK so the majority of the people we saw in the parks were large school trips. Lucky for us, this meant minimal queue times and the ability to ride the rides as many times as we wanted. In busier months, i would definitely factor in queue times to how much time you need in the parks- the queuing areas were enormous for some of the bigger rides so presumably they get large queues in the summer. You can pay for ‘fast track’ access to the rides – worth checking out if you’re limited on time.

PortAventura Park is split into 6 different ‘worlds’. Think Epcot but less magical! The worlds are made up of Mediterránia, Polynesia, China, México, Sésamoadventura (Childrens Area) and the Far West.

As each area has so much to see and do, we decided on the first morning to walk around the park and get our bearings. There are free maps at the entrance and an app to download but everything is really well sign posted, we managed without!

It would be impossible to list all the rides and attractions in each area, and truth be told we didn’t go on them all. We are adrenaline junkies and love BIG rollercoasters so thats where we spent the majority of our time! I’ll list our favourite rides in each area as well as any tips we picked up.

If i could tell myself one tip after having been to the parks, it is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. We found because some of the rides were pretty rickety and bumpy, we both had really bad headaches by the end of the day so keep hydrated!

Mediterránia

This is the first area you see when you enter the park and the inspiration behind it is a typical Catalonian costal town. There is a huge man made lake in the middle with fountains and fishing boats – really cute. Its in this area you’ll find Port De La Drassana & Estació Del Nord – the boat and train stations which transport you to different worlds in the park. Our favourite ride here was Furius Baco. The ride is centered around a professor and his mischievous monkey! It is an accelerator ride and gets you from 0-135mph in 3 seconds. Lots of loops and fast twists, with a sweep over the lake to finish! Best to take your earrings out for this one – not the comfiest of harnesses and our heads banged off them a fair few times.

Furius Baco in action

Polynesia

Truth be told this was our least visited world. It’s a really nice laid back area to walk through and listen to the tropical style music playing, but if you don’t like water rides there’s nothing else here.

China

This was our favourite world in the park, mainly because it houses the two biggest coasters! The walk way through China is designed to replicate the great wall of China and all of the buildings are themed perfectly. The gardens and greenery in this area are gorgeous! wonderfully manicured – they really do stand out as you’re walking through.

The first coaster you come to in China is Dragon Khan. This rollercoaster actually held the world records for most loops, and tallest vertical loop of any rollercoaster! it has 8 loops in total and reaches 110km/h. It has been in the park since it opened in 1995. Like Furius Baco, it is a bit rickety and you can definitely tell its not a new installation! Still – its a great rollercoaster and not hard to see why it still ranks as one of the best in the world! The second rollercoaster in China is Shambala. Shambala also broke records being the tallest, fastest and longest drop in Europe. its 76m tall and has a drop of 78m (2m underground).

What i will say is we did not feel safe on this ride whatsoever! Oh my god, with a drop like that you expect to be harnessed and buckled in – nope! one single flimsy pull bar over your knees and off you go – a little nerve-racking but it didn’t stop us coming back for more.

México

This world features a lot of temples, statues and brickwork – i think the feel was a pre-Colombian Mexico. Theres a lot of child friendly rides here but we mainly came to this area for Hurakan Condor. At 330ft, this is one of the tallest rides in the world. You are lifted to the top via cable pull, rewarded with stunning views across the park before free falling all the way down. My jelly legs got the better of me for this one and i let my boyfriend ride alone!

Far West

There seemed to be the most going on in the far west in terms of live entertainment and ‘buzz’ if you will. There are saloon bars offering variety shows throughout the day as well as a live wild west stunt show. The main ride we came here for was Stampida. A duelling old style wooden rollercoaster – which honestly, moves pretty fast – vibes of Big Thunder Mountain here!

Ferrari Land

We spent one day at Ferrari Land and both me and my boyfriend had mixed feelings about this park. To be truthful, had the ticket not been included in our package and Red Force rollercoaster wasn’t here, we would have given it a miss. I’m not quite sure i understand the fascination and obsession with Ferrari, so much so that there is a whole theme park dedicated to it, but maybe thats just me! Aside from Red Force, if you aren’t into the Ferrari brand and Ferrari souvenirs there really isn’t much else here.

Red Force is the scariest, fastest, tallest, rollercoaster i have ever been on. By a country mile! It goes from 0-180km/ph in 5 seconds with a force of 1.3g. It is the highest and fastest vertical accelerator rollercoaster in Europe. One thing you are told as you queue is that if the weather is too windy, it will actually push the car backwards down the climb and it won’t go over the top!! My nerves were shot by this point but luckily we didn’t have any wind at all and it was pretty smooth sailing.

Red Force in all its glory

There are a couple of smaller attractions which are worthy-ish to note. Flying dreams is a seated simulator following a Ferrari driving the worlds roads. Thrill Towers is similar to Hurakan Condor but less scary. You get a nice view over the park from the top, but like before my jelly legs got the better of me and i gave it a miss!

Final Thoughts

I’m really glad we spent a couple of days here, we love rides and its always fun to have a different type of trip experience. It is hard when you have been to somewhere like Walt Disney World to not compare the rides and attractions, but they are two completely different places, and need to be viewed as such. I think Ferrari Land needs a lot more added to it to make it truly become the valuable asset they see it as. Red force is undoubtedly the main attraction and i don’t think the park would survive without it. With connections to Barcelona and neighbouring areas so accessible, a day trip here is something to add to your to do list especially if you have the time and theme parks are your thing!

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