Nothing says ‘holiday’ quite like sunshine, ice cream, and sliding down some massive water slides. Here are eleven of Europe’s wettest and wildest water parks to whet your appetite for some summer fun…
100,000 square metres of pure fun, Fasouri Watermania (less than an hours’ drive from both Larnaca and Paphos) is an award winning water park with a massive wave pool among dozens of other attractions (don’t miss the black hole or kamikaze slides). If you don’t like the steep and fast stuff, there’s a lazy river you can cruise along, and there’s even a massage parlour for weary parents who want a little holiday from the holiday…
Adults €30, kids €17. Open May – October
Flights to Larnaca
It’s been designed with an ancient Greek theme, so you can expect to see plenty of white columns, old ships and classical statues at this big water park in Cyprus’ party capital… but don’t worry, more prominent than the pillars are the huge, brightly coloured water slides all over the place… Apollo’s Plunge, Odyssey River and The Fall of Icarus to name a few. There are loads of stomach-flipping rides, a big wave pool, loads of sun loungers, and even slides to suit non-swimmers. It’s a seriously good day out, but bring flip flops or even socks to wear around – the ground gets hot in the heat of summer.
Flights to Ayia Napa
This water wonderland in the French Alps is designed to feel like a tropical jungle paradise, with loads of large rock features and lush trees. You’ll love the lazy river with its gentle current and lots of chill-out areas with water jets, and it’s got a half-pipe slide, a big pool, climbing walls, and plenty of space for kids to play. It’s open in winter ski season as well as during the summer, and during winter the outdoor spa is heated so you can get in and feel toasty in a hot tub under the stars, surrounded by snow and freezing alpine air. Perfect. It’s cold when you get out though, fair warning.
Adults €8, kids €6, open during summer and winter ski seasons, closed Saturdays.
Flights to Avoraiz
Who’d have thought that you can have a proper little tropical experience just 35km from Berlin? Tropical Islands is housed in what used to be an airship hangar, but is now basically a massive dome – 360 metres in diameter – full of pure fun. That fun includes a lagoon, a beach, bumper boats, Germany’s biggest (27m) water slide… and even indoor balloon rides. There’s another area too, a huge tropical sauna and spa area that costs €8 extra to enter but has its own Ankor Wat. Oh, and then there’s the rainforest experience complete with turtles, flamingos and macaws among other exotic creatures, just to keep you interested.
Adults €36, kids €28.50, under 5s Free. Open every day 8am – 9pm.
Flights to Brandenburg
This place, just a short drive from Bordeaux or Biarritz, is absolutely awesome. It’s a little different to the usual water park experience, too. It’s not all brightly-coloured half pipes and lazy rivers, this is more like a giant, inflatable, floating, bouncy obstacle course. There’s a giant catapult, a massive water slide, big zorbing-type inflatable balls, and all manner of high-octane water-based thrills. Bring a picnic, and leave your fear at home. You can pay by the hour, for half day, or for a full day.
From €6 for an hour. Open June-September
Flights to Biscarosse
Siam Park is designed – as you might have guessed by the name – in an opulent Thai style, so expect plenty of dragons and water-slides named after snakes. On top of that it boasts the world’s biggest artificial wave pool, and a ‘Thai Temple’ that actually houses a 28 metre high water slide that’s so steep it’s almost vertical. This is the temple for you if you worship insane rides. Seriously, this thing will sort out the men from the boys. The rides are so good here that they’ll even make confirmed thrill-seekers feel jittery.
Adults €34, kids €23. Open year-round.
Flights to Tenerife
Just outside Lagoa in Portugal’s golden Algarve region is Slide and Splash, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s 16,000 acres of pure fun in the sun – and it’s not just the awesome water slides that make it great. There are falconry, parrot and macaw, and reptile shows daily, as well as ample green space where you can sprawl out and just chill in the sun. Shuttle buses leave from most of the big resort in the area to take you there too, so don’t worry if you don’t have a car.
11+ €27, Juniors €19. Open April – October.
Flights to Lagoa
One of the best things about this place is that it’s only an hour from Barcelona, so you could actually go here even if you’re just in Barcelona on a short break. No, that’s a lie. That’s not one of the best things about it, although it is a pretty good thing. The best things about it are the wave pool and the multitude of big whopper water slides. It’s part of the famous Portaventura theme park, so if you don’t feel like getting wet you can always toddle on over to the roller-coasters. This whole place is about having the time of your life, so go and have it.
11+ €22.80, Juniors (4-10) €22, open May-September
Flights to Barcelona
Alpamare (an hour and a half from Basel) is Europe’s biggest covered waterpark, so it’s not affected by the weather and it’s open all year round. It’s got heated pools including a huge outdoor heated one, a lazy river, and 11 seriously good slides. You’ll love the ultra-sensory Ice Express, and the seriously stomach-churning Cobra Pipe. Take a deep breath for those ones.
Adults €36, kids €29 for a 4 hour pass. Open year-round from 10am.
Flights to Basel
So this water park is in gorgeous Rhodes which gives it major brownie points straight away, obviously. More brownie points are awarded for the 5 awesome extreme slides (the space bowl is particularly cool), the heap of family slides, the wave pool, the racer slide, and the general loveliness of the layout. It’s brilliant for families, but big kids will have just as good a day here as actual kids will.
12 years + €24, Kids €16. Open May – October.
Flights to Athens
Just outside Venice, Aqualandia Jesolo is a really lovely waterpark. It’s not huge compared to some of the other parks in Europe, but it’s clean, really well managed, and it has more than enough to keep you running around and laughing all day, like the Captain Spacemaker (one of the world’s highest water slides), and the side-by-side racing slides, the Barracudas.
Adults €31, kids €27. Open end May – September.
Flights to Venice