Recently, I conducted some research on highest-ranked theme parks across the globe. I wasn’t surprised to see PortAventura, based in Tarragona, featured. The theme park is a place I am familiar with, not only because I am local to Spain but also because I have visited several times. This is why I wanted to share my insight! Want a one sentence summary? PortAventura is one of the best theme parks I, an active theme-park goer, have ever visited. Keep on reading to find out why, and to hear about things you MUST KNOW before you visit.
For some context: PortAventura is divided into 3 main parks. PortAventura itself, The Caribe Aquatic Park and Ferrari Land. To give you a general idea, the main park has 43 rides whilst both Ferrari Land and Caribe Aquatic Park have 16/17. Even within the main park, there are further divisions. Each zone is split into different ‘themes’. Some of these themes are Polynesia, Far West, China and Mexico, to name a few.
Tickets to the parks are cheaper online, but at time of writing there was only a few euros difference between online and ticket booth prices. For a one day ticket, adult entrance will cost you 51 euros to one park, with a junior/senior ticket costing 45 euros. I honestly think this is already excellent value for money, considering how many attractions are present. However, the 2-day ticket offers best value for money if you want to try out most of the rides. There is a slight catch though, as 2-day passes mean you’ll either need to live nearby or stay at a hotel. The former option is not always realistic for tourists so a hotel will be the most plausible. So, whilst the 2-day ticket is great value for money, the cost of an overnight stay also needs to be considered. There are some ways around this though. If you purchase a ticket for a low season month you can expect less queues for rides. This means you might get to see the majority of the park within a day. The low season passes are slightly cheaper too.
If you want some insight into my experience sleeping overnight at the park, I can give you information on ‘Hotel Gold River’. This hotel was located within the park’s Western zone and, like all the PortAventura hotels, had the most incredible exterior. The convenience of being less than a 3 minute walk to the main park was another selling point. Standard rooms are a little basic though, which may be disappointing to hear. I am not actually sure if the old-fashioned interior was deliberate to the Western theme or just generally outdated haha. However, I only used the room for sleeping so wasn’t too bothered by this.
Must-visit rides? Dragon Khan and Shambhala are attractions I constantly praise. Although, don’t just take my word for it! The official PortAventura website has listed these rides amongst their most popular. Hurakan Condor is another worthy mention. This free-fall tower is actually the highest attraction in the park. However, you probably won’t get a nice bird’s eye view of the resort because your eyes will probably be closed the minute the terrifying drop occurs. Tutuki Splash was one of my personal favourites. As you can imagine though, you get absolutely soaked with water. If you plan on checking out the water rides then take a waterproof jacket, or even a plastic bag to put over yourself. Yes, you can buy disposable ‘jackets’ at the stores located near any water attraction but these aren’t exactly the most protective, nor cost-efficient. Away from the main park, at Ferrari Land, Red Force is the ride you won’t stop talking about. The speeds reach 0 to 180 km/h in 5 seconds according to the official site! The rides mentioned in this paragraph aren’t the only ones which should be visited though as, apart from a few generic attractions, the park has many others noteworthy rides. You won’t be bored here, that’s for sure.
The layout for rides, in all honesty, tends to be somewhat confusing. Even with a map. Once you pass a ride and think ‘oh I’ll come back to that’, you’ll waste so much time finding it again. This is potentially problematic when your ticket is only a single day pass. To combat any frustration, I really suggest going on rides as soon as you see them. Sure, there are beautifully decorated signs guiding you every so often but the less-popular attractions aren’t always clear to locate.
Whenever I go to theme parks, I know I am not going there for quality food. It’s worth pointing out I am not a fussy eater either. However, shelling out 12 euros on a commercial hotdog, bottle of water and bag of potato chips seems like daylight robbery. In all fairness, there are plenty of food spots dotted around the various zones but these are far from memorable. PortAventura says on their site there are gluten-free and allergen-friendly options at the park but I struggled to find much variety. Also, if you suffer quite a severe allergy, how would you be reassured the item you order hasn’t fallen into cross-contamination? The logical option would be to let staff know about your allergy before you order, but if this is too much of a risk then buying pre-packaged foods in the gift shops might be better for peace of mind. I relied on bags of gluten-free sweets found at souvenir stores during all of my one-day visits haha. PortAventura doesn’t allow you to bring your own food to the park unfortunately.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, PortAventura is one of the best theme-parks I have ever visited in terms of attractions. Don’t worry though, if rides aren’t your thing then the extensive list of shows scheduled throughout the day will keep you entertained. These aren’t the average shows you’d expect either. After all, PortAventura isn’t your typical theme-park when it comes to both attractions and entertainment. Even as an adult, I keep returning to this park. Put PortAventura on your bucket-list immediately.
Until then, see you in the next post