Sven: The end of 2018 is near and thus it’s the perfect time to look back at this year’s theme-park season! The three brands will each present their top 10 coasters of this year and we’re starting off with Europe! The last few years, we’ve been very lucky with new coasters. Not just great ride experiences, but storytelling that enhances the overall experience. With that in mind, here’s our top 10!
10) Troy – Toverland
Of the classic wooden coasters, Troy is arguably the best one in Europe. It has the drop, the speed, the airtime and atmosphere you’re looking for in a woodie. Some will find it a bit rough, but what do you expect from a wooden coaster? This year, it got new music that does it a lot more honor than the previous cheesy track. Usually there’s almost no queue, which is perfect for re-rides. But the main reason it beats out for example Wodan, is that it’s a pretty long ride. So value for you money!
9) Fenix – Toverland
New in the list since this year is this B&M Wing Coaster at Toverland. Compared to the other Wing coasters in Europe, this one is all about the thrill. On top of that, the theme immerses you in the world of Merlin, in the beautiful Avalon area. The blue color scheme shines bright when you enter the themed area and we’re pretty sure that nearly every coaster fan will be impressed. The back row does give some rattle sometimes which doesn’t help for re-rides. Yet, it’s fun to get back on by choosing a different side and then choosing between front or back, depending on your likes. And let’s not forget about the music by IMAScore!
8) Nemesis – Alton Towers
The oldest coaster on the list is a European asset that cannot be ignored. After a repaint last year, the ride doesn’t only look new but also feels new. The integration in the landscape visually makes it a wonderful ride. Some will discuss that Black Mamba or Oziris beat it when it comes to Inverted coasters, but we can’t also ignore the historic value that the ride has. It was one of the first to show that people in Europe were waiting for thrilling coasters of high quality. Alton Towers has built several coasters over the past few years, but so far none have been able to be really iconic for its time like this ride.
7) Shambhala – PortAventura World
Shambhala has many factors playing in its advantage. The setting makes it an icon in the skyline of the park but also the area. This of course fits perfectly with the name and theme. Besides that, it has a very good pace, especially compared to other B&M Hypers. The Figure-Eight helix looks amazing and feels disorientating. Next to that, the ride has lovely airtime hills with a fun splash element that makes for perfect picture material. So yeah, Shambhala can be considered as the best coaster in Spain and some will even say in Europe. It got heavy competition this year however by Intamin. So people will compare and decide based upon what they like most. If you like smooth and are looking for a ride that’s right above the other similar Hypers, Shambhala will be your favorite.
6) Hyperion – Energylandia
Highest newcomer in the list can be found in Poland. Even though it might be in the same category with other coasters height wise, it’s a pretty exclusive coaster in Europe. The experience differs quite a bit with for example Shambhala, both in better and worse ways. Because of its more unique and fun elements, we put it one slight step ahead of the coaster in Spain. The elements low to the ground were not as good as expected and there’s a persistent rattle going on in the back, but the thrill it delivers can’t be denied. Personally, I prefer the Dive Drop (especially back left row) compared to the Figure Eight Helix of Shambhala. The first drop is one of the best ones out there. Hyperion might indicate the real beginning of Europe’s Cedar Point/Six Flags Magic Mountain.
5) Helix – Liseberg
Once Blue Fire opened, people were amazed by the ride! And people still are, but in the meantime many similar coasters have opened. One of them is of course Liseberg’s Helix. Designed with feedback from theme park fans, the ride is completely incorporated in the park. The green color scheme fits perfectly and the theme choice is simple but effective. If you love smooth coasters with a thrill factor that’s not touching the limits, this will probably be your favorite coaster. Having said that, Helix isn’t just one of Europe’s best coasters, it’s one of the world’s best coaster. We would even argue it may be Mack’s best product to date.
4) Lech Coaster – Legendia
The second Polish coaster on the list opened only last year. Vekoma really proved that it’s back to conquer the world with this wonderful thrill ride. “Compact”, “well-themed”, “perfectly placed” are only a few of the terms which we can use to describe this ride. The story is simple: you fly on the back of an eagle with the creator of Poland. The fly-through the station makes you so anticipated when you’re almost about to ride. The drop delivers and the experience is smooth but powerful. Due to its limited size, you really feel the elements at its fullest. Lech Coaster definitely belongs in the top coasters of Europe without a doubt.
3) Schwur des Kärnan – Hansa-Park
This ride isn’t only unique in Europe, but also in the world. It was the biggest surprise we could expect from the German Gerstlauer. When arriving at the park, you see the tower gleaming. Once you’re closer, the track dazzles your mind, especially when all of a sudden a train appears. The speed on this thing is incredible, even halfway through the ride. The queue is well-themed with an interesting way of boarding the train (but not always fun for theme park fans who want to choose their seat). Once onboard, you’re up for a ride full of surprises with epic music by IMAscore. There are fans out there who would put it on top of the list, and we can perfectly understand why.
2) Wildfire – Kolmarden
The first RMC in Europe belongs in the top coasters for sure. Wildfire inspired both Walibi Holland and Energylandia to compete with a similar coaster in the near future. The company definitely took wooden coaster to a whole other level full of ejector time. Reaching the coaster isn’t an easy task, but the positive side of that is the area where it’s been installed. The green vegetation and the wooden coaster are a perfect match of course. Theme park fans shouldn’t think of Ikea when they think of Sweden, they should think of Wildfire!
1) Taron – Phantasialand
Still on top for us is Taron. Some will say it is overrated and honestly, we understand. Because not every ride is the same. The best time to ride? After hours… In the exclusive ERT time for hotel guests. Then, the ride really explodes with forceful action. Yet, during the regular hours, it does also deliver. Not only is it full of airtime and ejector time, the launches push you back in your seat more than most magnetic launches. Of course the way it’s integrated is just insane. And we haven’t even talked about the theme itself. Klugheim is one of the best themed areas out there with a kick-ass coaster that’s truly a demon scorching through the village. And while riding, you will be possessed, or was it obsessed? It’s the perfect coaster because of its imperfection, so if you haven’t ridden it yet, lower your expectations just a bit. Then you’ll truly understand that Taron deserves the number 1 spot on this list.
Thank you for checking out this year’s Europe Top 10! Stay tuned for the Florida and California versions following soon!