As one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations, Lake Garda draws big crowds during the summer season. That’s why this is the ideal location for Italy’s biggest theme park: Gardaland. The park is owned by Merlin Entertainments since 2006 and the group added quite a few attractions over the last decade. One of Gardaland’s best rides is without a doubt Raptor, the world’s first B&M wing rider. Despite its rather limited track length (770 metres), this coaster is thrilling, incredibly smooth and themed very well. Another highlight is Oblivion – The Black Hole, a dive machine which was opened in 2015. The ride experience is similar to most other European vertical drop coasters, but the original decoration is a big plus.
Gardaland offers a total of eight rollercoasters: those two B&Ms mentioned above, some basic kiddie coasters, two standard Vekoma coasters, a mine train ride themed to a snowy expedition and a weird thing called Sequoia Adventure. I really don’t know what Gardaland management was thinking while they pushed the order-button for this ride, because it’s just worthless. The experience is painful, the location looks odd and capacity is dramatically low. Definitely one of the worst thrill rides in Europe.
Summers can get hot in Italy, so Gardaland provided a few ways to cool down. The park’s main water rides are called Fuga Da Atlantide and Jungle Rapids and they both look stunning. Especially Jungle Rapids shouldn’t be missed, as this is one of Europe’s nicest rapid rivers. Other must do’s include the underground dark ride I Corsari and a Flying Island with some splendid views of the park and Lake Garda.
Overall, I had a very enjoyable day here at Gardaland. However, there are some imperfections. A few areas aren’t themed as nicely as others and you’ll notice that there are a few uninteresting, outdated attractions. Also, I’ve got the impression that ride capacity is generally rather low. Is this a sneaky way to sell more fast lane tickets? I have no idea, but it seems so. Finally, you should know that most staff are friendly, but a majority of them only speak Italian. So you might want to improve your Italian (or sign language) skills if you’re planning a trip to Gardaland.