With coasters that twist through the air at high speed, rides that ramp up the pulse rate and attractions that leave you hanging upside down, PortAventura theme park is an adrenalin-fuelled white knuckle playground of excitement located less than 1 hour south of Sitges. Thrill seekers are well catered for, but so are those who want their fun at a gentler pace.
The exhilarating theme park is spread out over 296 acres (120 hectares) and features attractions for all ages, from babies and small children to pensioners. PortAventura features six different worlds and each one is packed with rides, shops, shows and restaurants. They are:
Mediterrània – recreates the look and feel of a Mediterranean village.
Polynesia – a jungle-like world with rides and attractions set amidst a landscape of exotic shrubs and palm trees.
China – one of the largest theme lands of the park leads visitors along a path that resembles the style of the Great Wall of China.
Mexico - this themed area contains ancient ruins, traditional cantinas, a recreation of the Great Mayan pyramid and dense vegetation.
Far West – transports visitors back in time to an authentic town in the Wild West.
SésamoAventura - aimed specifically at younger visitors, this part of the theme park features Sesame Street characters and amusements.
Thrills and Spills
Among the park’s most popular scream machines are Furius Baco, a rapid roller coaster that reaches 83.8 miles per hour (135 kilometres per hour) in three seconds, and Dragon Khan that consists of eight loop the loops. At 250 feet (76 meters) the Shambhala lays claim to being the highest rollercoaster in Europe. The attraction’s other boasts include being the rollercoaster with the longest fall in Europe - 256 feet (78 meters).
Younger children are not left out of the theme park fun as there is a host of rides suitable for and designed for the very young members of your family or group. They include a roller coaster for children, a monorail, a drop-tower for children and an animal farm. There are also children’s versions of some of the bigger coasters.
PortAventura also provides a lot of water based fun. Grand Canyon Rapids recreates the fast flowing conditions of the Colorado River, canoes take visitors on a water route through the Polynesia world and Magic Fish is a water carousel. More aquatic fun is on offer at PortAventura’s water park, Costa Caribe. There is a separate admission fee, although savings can be made by purchasing combination tickets.
Away from the rides and amusements, a wealth of live shows will amuse, delight and entertain. Pull up a seat at the China theme area to watch artists create elaborate figures, shapes and landscapes out of sand. Go to the Temple de Fuego where you can decipher clues and codes to help an Indiana Jones-like character find hidden treasure. This show is full of dozens of special effects and pyrotechnics.
Watch cowboys engage in mock gunfights in an old Wild West town and take the children to the musical show featuring numerous Sesame Street characters such as Bert and Ernie. In the summer, marvel at the antics of incredible acrobats inside the Cirque du Soleil circus tent. There are also themed restaurants with live shows throughout the park.
At various times during the year PortAventura plays host to special seasons and events. From the end of September to mid-November, ghosts, monsters, zombies and the living dead prowl the theme park for some Halloween adventures. Additionally, some of the restaurants and attractions are transformed for more spine-chilling excitement. During the Christmas period each world is lit up with an array of dazzling lights, and the start of each season is marked by a White Night, where the resort stays open until four in the morning.
This Way for Fun
The fun, thrills and excitement of PortAventura are in Salou, just outside Tarragona, less than an hour’s drive away from Sitges just off the AP7 motorway. It’s clearly sign posted off the motorway just after the Reus exit. The park is also reachable by public transport. Ticket prices At the time of going to press day passes cost 45 Euros for adults and 39 Euros for kids. We believe that the best value are the evening tickets priced at 26 Euros for adults and 22 Euros for kids that usually start at around 5pm. It’s generally much less crowded in the evening with shorter queues for the rides and it’s also much cooler making it more comfortable getting around. There is also a fantastic firework display every evening when the park closes. You can find out more on the PortAventure official website at http://www.portaventura.co.uk.
PortAventura in Numbers
* Images courtesy of Port Aventura Entertainment, S.A.