You might know Taiga, an Intamin Launch coaster that makes most coaster enthusiasts’ hearts race. During our recent visit to Finland, we rode it at the wonderful Linnanmäki theme park in Helsinki. Like many Nordic parks, they have limited space and yet offer a large selection of rides for all ages. But Taiga is just one of the many coasters! Get to know more interesting facts about Finland’s capital park!
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If you’ve never heard of Linnanmäki, we recommend reading our previous article talking all about what to discover in this highlight at Helsinki. Today however, we’ll be focussing on the different roller coasters at the park. Nevertheless, you might read some side notes with tips about the park.
8 or 9 credits?
A first disclaimer, some people will say Linnanmäki has 9 roller coasters. A free attraction at the park does resemble a rollercoaster but more functions as a monorail style attraction. That’s right, I mention free attraction as you can walk around the park freely, but to ride you need a wristband or a ticket bundle except for a few rides. The ride called Pilotti will give some discussion among fans. Technical Park describes the ride as a Baby Aviator, a Suspended Mini Coaster. Personally I do not count it as during the downhill parts, it did not “coast” But you can judge for yourself if it counts for you.
“Brake” yourself for Vuoristorata
If you like classic roller coasters, you’ll adore this one. Vuoristorata takes you back to 1951 where a brakeman slows down the ride during the experience. Today, they still do that on both trains!
It might not be a high thrilling wooden rollercoaster like Wodan at Europa-Park but as an enthusiast, you should enjoy the unique experience still available here in Finland after more than 70 years. The layout of Rutschebanen at Bakken inspired this most popular ride at Linnanmäki. However that ride no longer has a brakeman for more than 10 years now.
Formerly know as City Express, Pikajuna (which means Express in Finnish) scores among families. This Powered Mack coaster on the edge of the park gives some nice views on the west side of Helsinki. Unfortunately, we did find that it had not aged well since its opening in 1990.
The next coaster on the list takes us indoors. Linnanmäki used to have a dark ride at the center of the park called Safari. An omnimover style attraction that took guests on a journey among animatronic animals and more. After a decline in popularity, it got renamed to Indiana Adventure but that wasn’t enough to save the ride. The year 2000 brought us the solution by removing the dark ride and adding this indoor Zierer Family coaster. Themed to space, this definitely made us think of the generation of rollercoasters that copied the Space Mountain concept. Still, the ride not only has a nostalgic feel, it felt quite fun for this type of rollercoaster. The “eXtra” in the name references to a VR layover which got introduced in 2016. However we did not notice any VR anymore, most likely removed after 2020.
Emotions on Tulireki
In 2004, the second Mack coasters opened at Linnanmäki: Tulireki. What to say about this ride, well it was the first of its kind. The good thing is that it gives some nice views on Taiga. Unlike a regular Wild Mouse, the vehicles have a tilting effect forwards, backwards or sidewards. Supposedly, as we couldn’t really feel that effect. Instead, it felt quite painful, especially during the drops. We thus understand why Mack only made two coasters of this type and already one of them got removed. On the bright side, it does look nice on pictures, especially when accompanied with Taiga.
Flippity Flop on Kirnu
Another world’s first rollercoaster that opened at Linnanmäki: Kirnu. An Intamin ZacSpin which fits perfectly in the park due to a limited footprint. The ride doesn’t last long but you definitely feel the thrill on this one. Especially later during the day when you go for a second ride. Unlike other ZacSpins out there, it didn’t feel shaky or painful. Instead, you really could feel the forces while riding. We visited the park during a day with quite some schooltrips. That also meant that our party of two adults couldn’t ride with school kids on the other side of the train. They split us up so that we had a balanced experience. Still very much thrilling!
Also if you don’t like clowns, don’t worry, it’s just the ride sign that features one. Besides that, no scary clowns to be found. If you don’t mind them, go for a ride on their dark ride Taikasirkus. It features a unique suspended ride system which takes you along several clown and circus scenes.
More Spinning with Salama
If Kirnu looks too intense for you, another rollercoaster can take you spinning in a more family friendly way. Salama will strike you like lightning (yes that’s the translation from Finnish)! The layout of this Maurer Spinning coaster features many twists and turns across a forest which definitely adds to the experience. Take into account however that this queue might be one of the longest you’ll do, depending on how many trains they put on the ride.
The ride got built on top of the only water ride at the park, an Intamin Rapid called Hurjakuru. Not particularly a standout Rapid compared to some others out there but definitely enjoyable and featuring a tunnel, theming and some water effects.
Upside Down with Ukko
Just like Kirnu, Ukko fits at Linnanmäki as the footprint of this high thrilling coaster is limited. Taking you up 46,2 meter (151.6 feet), some people won’t dare to ride it. Just like Abismo at Parque de Atracciones de Madrid, you can see a European capital upside down for seconds that always take longer than you would think. Unlike that one, this is the classic SkyWheel model that will make some people go crazy. Stunning to look at but not the most comfortable drop.
Last but certainly not least the most recent coaster of the park: Taiga. An Intamin Blitz coaster with inversions that caught quite some attention and added the park to many fans to-do list (if that was not already the case). Once you go through the lightly themed queue and board the train, you almost immediately launch after departure into the Zero-G Winder. When seeing it from within the station, it looks quite awkward and you wonder how you will ever fit through it with a long but beautiful Blitz train!
Then a series of high speed twist and turns with airtime moments takes you to the second launch. At max speed of 106 km/h (65.9 mph), you go up a top hat with a stunning view of Helsinki. But you don’t have much time to watch as you go down right into a Dive Loop which feels more like a Stall.
Another airtime hill then takes you into the Immelmann almost touching the previous Zero-G Winder. More sets of twists and turns that takes good use of the terrain, make you pass over the station. You then return back towards the majority of the track for some turns to reach the final inversion: a Barrel Roll. That leads into the final Brake Run and then you breathe again.
We rode it 4 times: 2 times front and 2 times back. My favorite rides were those front seat but the one ride with a full train in the back gave massive ejector airtime like I’ve rarely felt on a rollercoaster. Overall the ride meets the expectations I had but it didn’t top them. Nevertheless, the coaster entered my Top 10 easily and definitely Top 5 for Europe.
More than coasters
When walking around in Helsinki, you might not spot the park so easily like you can see Gröna Lund in Stockholm. This despite the park being built on a hill which benefits the park greatly. Besides the rollercoaster that give views on the capital, you can ride the Drop Tower Kingi! If you prefer a more calm ride, then either the observation tower Panoraama or the ferris wheel Rinkeli might be a better choice for you.
Even if Taiga alone makes you want to visit the park, you’ll definitely enjoy the whole experience of the park. Linnanmäki offers the perfect mix of being a classic city park and a modern theme park with a wide collection of rollercoasters but also many thrill rides and family attractions. You can also find a wide selection of food and drinks so look no further if you want to eat some good food in Helsinki. On top of all that, by visiting Linnanmäki you support the Children’s Day Foundation that maintains the park and donates to this cause at the same time. Time to book some flights to Helsinki!