“Europe’s finest family theme park”
Djurs Sommerland always gets great reviews from park enthusiasts and the coaster line-up is quite spectacular. But before we’re able to discover all of Djurs Sommerland’s rides, we need to get there. And just like Fårup Sommerland (the park we visited yesterday) this park lies in a rather remote area. After exiting the freeway, there’s another 30 kilometres to be driven over local roads. This route brings us through endless fields and dense forests. You certainly wouldn’t expect a world-class theme park here. But still, all of a sudden I can see an Intamin lift hill above the treetops. It’s hard to describe the feeling I get at that moment, but it’s very similar to visiting a candy shop as a kid.
You won’t find any inversions at Djurs Sommerland, but most of the roller coasters are quite thrilling nonetheless. The park’s signature coaster is Piraten. This is one of those legendary Mega-Lites and it guarantees both speed and heavy g-forces. Turns are extremely narrow and the airtime is much more intense than you’d expect from such a tiny coaster. Bigger isn’t always better, that’s what Piraten tries to prove. The amount of fun Intamin has put into these 800 metres of coaster track is unique. So please don’t judge thd ride by its size alone, because Piraten truly is one of Europe’s best coaster experiences.
DrageKongen is another popular ride. This is a family inverted coaster and it reminds me of Orkanen at Fårup Sommerland. They even seem to have copied the first drop and the following turnaround. Despite this resemblance, there is one huge difference: Fårup’s version was manufactured by Vekoma, while DrageKongen was built by Intamin. You’d therefore expect the latter to be the best, especially because DrageKongen is considerably longer, taller and faster than Orkanen. But unfortunately, this assumption is wrong: DrageKongen doesn’t provide the amazing ride I was expecting. Roughness is the main issue. Intamin managed to construct world-class coasters like Taron and Intimidator 305, but they seemed unable to create a smooth, simple family coaster here. The rattle can be felt in every row and it even continues during slower parts of the ride. So honestly, DrageKongen didn’t meet my expectations at all.
Djurs Sommerland and Intamin seem good partners. The Swiss company was also responsible for Juvelen. This isn’t just the longest, but also one of the fastest roller coasters in Denmark. In fact, Juvelen features one kilometre of curvy track, two accelerations and a top speed of 85 km/h. Most of the ride’s layout is close to the ground and they added some cool near-misses. That’s why this coaster feels very fast and it’s extremely smooth as well. Theming is at least as elaborate as the ride experience. Both the exterior and the interior of the station building (which has been designed as an ancient temple) look amazing and there’s a cool dark ride part just before the first launch. Honestly, this is one of the best family coasters I’ve ever experienced and I hope Intamin will build more of these.
The coaster assortment is completed by Thor’s Hammer (a Gerstlauer bobsled coaster, similar to G’Sengte Sau at Tripsdrill) and Mack’s water coaster Skatteøen. This Danish name means ‘Treasure Island’ and this ride has a very pretty theme indeed. If you’ve ever visited Europa-Park, Skatteøen will probably remind you of Poseidon. That’s normal, because this is a compact version of that beloved German water coaster. The good thing is that Skatteøen doesn’t brake as much as Poseidon and the ride is also a lot smoother. The bad thing is that it’s a very short experience. Poseidon has two lift hills and two splashes, whereas Skatteøen only features one lift hill.
The so called Bondegårdsland is the park’s heavily themed children’s area. Despite its original decoration, the ride selection is kind of predictable: there are several carousels, miniature free fall towers and a tractor ride. We’re obviously not a part of Bondegårdsland’s targeted audience, but I do enjoy the beautiful scenery and the nice atmosphere.
If you ever want to open your own theme park in Scandinavia, you have to keep in mind that there are certain rules here. And the most important rule is that you need to build loads of DIY-attractions. While visiting local amusement parks, you immediately understand why Danes, Swedes and Norwegians are notably fitter than most other Europeans: they’re even into sports during a theme park visit. We recognize lots of elements from our day at Fårup Sommerland. A huge field full of trampolines? Check. An enormous bouncing pillow? Yup. The possibility to row a boat in a beautiful lake? Double check. The coolest DIY-rides in Djurs Sommerland are the go-cart track and an extensive obstacle course called Junglesti.
Westernland is a nicely themed far west village. It includes buffalo bumper cars, a wave swinger (turning both forward and backward) and a gold digging activity. The main ride, however, is Rio Grande Rafting. This rapid river reminds me of the one at Fårup Sommerland: it’s a surprisingly long ride in a dense forest. The ride is rather dry, but if you’re in desperate need of refreshment, then you really should visit the nearby log flume. This ride literally feels like someone is pouring three full bottles of water over your head. That’s not an issue in summer, but you’re warned for those cooler days.
WORTH A VISIT?
Low crowds gave us the chance to ride every coaster several times. Afterwards, we unanimously concluded that Djurs Sommerland is an amazing place. It offers some great roller coasters and the theming level was surprisingly good. Djurs Sommerland is often considered as a park which is solely relying on Piraten, but that’s a giant misunderstanding. Most other coasters, the water rides and some wonderful family rides are worth a visit as well. On top of that, there’s the unique Scandinavian atmosphere. Locals are barbecueing in the middle of the park, others enjoy the sun while relaxing on a grass field. It’s very uncommon and I can’t imagine these things in other European or American theme parks. It’s a true vacation feeling which has nothing to do with the stress and the uncomfortable crowds you’ll often encounter at many bigger parks. Last but not least, I’d like to note that Djurs Sommerland’s staff is amazing. These people really seem to enjoy working for the park and they smile every second of the day. And of course, some staff members look quite handsome as well. Yeah, that’s another great thing about Scandinavia!
Photo Gallery 2017
Is Djurs Sommerland Europe’s finest family theme park? How does Piraten compare to Intamin’s larger creations? What do you think about Djurs’ theming level? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.