Liseberg

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If I think about Sweden, I usually think about cold winters, endless summer nights, unbelievably good-looking people and… amusement parks. Sweden has a rich theme park history and it’s home to some of the finest coaster destinations in Europe. Our week in Sweden wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the city of Göteborg and its famous amusement park.

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I’m talking about Liseberg, the country’s most visited park. Liseberg receives more than 3 million guests annually and they’re all here for different reasons. Some visit the park to attend a concert, locals spend their weekend nights in the park’s pubs and others come here for a day of family fun. As a Roller Coaster Traveller, my main goal is to ride Helix, Balder, Lisebergbanan and maybe even the brand-new Valkyria.

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It’s summer and Göteborg is hosting a huge youth football tournament during our stay. That probably implies big crowds at Liseberg, so we try to visit the park in the smartest possible way. Our tactic involves an early arrival. And by staying at Liseberg’s own Heden Hotell, we’re able to visit the park one hour before the general crowd does. The hotel is rather simple and you shouldn’t expect any magical theming touches, but hey… what’s more magical than having exclusive ride time on Helix?

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On Saturday morning, Liseberg invites us for Liseberg Prio. This early ride time starts at 10 AM and general admission begins at 11 AM.

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Liseberg Prio is the ideal time to enjoy the park in a quiet, empty state…

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… but we’re not only here for making photos of empty walkways. The main purpose of our visit is this green beauty: Helix!

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Helix opened in 2014 and at that time, it was the most ambitious rollercoaster Mack Rides ever built. It’s got 7 inversions, a total track length of nearly 1.400 metres and it cost more than 22 million euros to build. In addition, IMAscore’s musical geniuses composed a spectacular soundtrack especially for the ride.

That soundtrack may be enjoyed in the queue. The space is filled with floating pathways and the atmosphere is very futuristic. Nobody likes standing in line, but I really like the way Liseberg designed this queue area.

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The ride itself is nearly perfect. It’s incredibly smooth, there are two moments of insane airtime and the lay-out is surprising. However, just like most Mack coasters, it’s not the most intense ride on Earth: both launches are rather forceless.

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In my opinion, a ride shouldn’t necessarily be intense to be captivating. That’s why, despite its weak accelerations, Helix counts as one of Europe’s best rollercoasters. It’s beautiful to look at, it’s comfortable and the ride seems to last forever. Great job, Liseberg and Mack!

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There’s another thrill ride right next to the entrance of Helix. It’s called AtmosFear and this is a 90-metre tall drop tower manufactured by Intamin. This used to be a regular observation tower, but it was made slightly more exciting for the 2011 season.

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The atmosphere around AtmosFear (this expression was just too cute to be left unused) is great. The ride is themed in a dark, industrial way and that certainly adds some extra excitement. But despite this elaborate decoration, the ride was a little disappointing. It’s actually one of the least interesting drop towers I’ve done so far. I prefer Gröna Lund’s Ikaros by a huge margin.

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AtmosFear isn’t the only thrilling flat ride on Liseberg’s iconic mountain slope. You can also ride one of those funky swing rides…

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… or try to make as many inversions as possible on AeroSpin. These self-controllable spinning rides are quite fun, but the diagonal version (like the one in Nigloland and Blackpool Pleasure Beach) is better.

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It’s a beautiful summer weekend in Sweden, so the water rides are popular. The most thrilling water attraction is undoubtedly Flume Ride, a true classic which could be described as a terrain log flume at Liseberg.

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Flume Ride offers some amazing views of the park…

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… and it’s got a fantastic finale with 3 drops in a row! This isn’t the best themed log flume on Earth, but it’s so much fun.

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Helix is amazing and the log flume is great fun, but the only true King on the mountain is Lisebergbanan. It’s the result of a collaboration between Zierer and Schwarzkopf and it counts as one of Europe’s best classic rollercoasters.

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Lisebergbanan has a total length of 1.340 metres at it’s 45 metres tall. That makes it a coaster giant, but it’s perfectly enjoyable for the whole family. And although the ride’s a little shaky at some points, it’s hard to find a 30-year old coaster with a similar fun level. I’ve heard rumours about an upcoming major refurbishment, so this classic definitely won’t retire any time soon.

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Thanks to its unusual location, Lisebergbanan features close encounters with Uppswinget, the log flume and Helix.

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Lisebergbanan is a perfect family ride, but the main destination for families with children is Kaninlandet. This beautifully themed area is home to the park’s green bunny mascot and it features loads of kiddie rides.

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If you’re desperately trying to get Liseberg’s coaster-bingo, a ride on the extremely tiny Stampbanan can not be avoided.

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Do you always feel embarrassed if you ride a kiddie coaster? Then I’ve got some terribly bad news, because Stampbanan isn’t the only family rollercoaster at Liseberg. The neighbouring Rabalder is slightly bigger and better, though.

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One thing is sure: Liseberg is a stunning park. The overall theming is high and it’s got that typical, hard to describe Scandinavian-amusement-park-style.

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One of the park’s more famous attractions is Spökhotellet Gasten, a walk-through haunted house with a hotel theme. This maze focuses on exceptionally good decoration rather than on horror. That makes it the ideal haunted house for weakhearted me. And although it often gets long queues, this attraction shouldn’t be missed. Dark storytelling at its best!

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If that haunted hotel was still too frightening, there’s an easy way to cool off nearby. Rapid river Kållerado was integrated in a dense forest, it features surprising water effects and there’s lots of interaction with other rafts. It’s not as good as Fjord Rafting at Europa-Park or Efteling’s Piraña, but its location makes it a true beauty.

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Just like many other Scandinavian amusement parks, Liseberg offers an impressive collection of flat rides. One of the latest additions in this segment is Loke, an Intamin Gyro Swing. I’m usually not that fond of swinging attractions, but my Dutch friends convinced me to give it a try. Luckily, the ride was a lot more spectacular and less nauseating than I expected. Forceful and intense experience.

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Two great flat rides in one photo…

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Jukebox is a funfair classic and I love this kind of ride. Liseberg’s version features a cool theme, funky music and some pops op airtime.

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One of Liseberg’s most impressive thrill rides is Mechanica. This Zierer Star Shape features some mysterious theming elements and IMAscore composed a great soundtrack. Everything about this ride is grand. Everything, except the actual experience. It’s a little slow and we don’t turn upside down at all. Boring wouldn’t be the correct word to describe Mechanica, but tame is the least I could say.

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Let’s hope Mechanica’s neighbour doesn’t fail to impress. That neighbour is Valkyria, a brand-new B&M Dive Machine. The ride has a stunning colour scheme…

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… and some pretty solid theming elements. The station, for example, looks fantastic. Unfortunately, that station remains closed during our visit. The opening of Valkyria is near, but we planned our trip a few weeks too early. Can I insert a sad face here?

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Watching test rides with water dummies, that’s the closest we’ll get to experiencing Europe’s newest B&M. I would have loved to ride Valkyria, but I guess this counts as a valid reason to return soon. Or I could just visit Efteling for a similar ride.

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Valkyria isn’t the only rollercoaster in this mythical part of the park and luckily, the other one is operating. I’m talking about Balder, a very popular wooden coaster which has won several awards since its opening in 2003. Balder was praised for its very steep first drop, its intensity and the insane amount of airtime.

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But ehm… could someone please explain what happened to this legendary coaster? During today’s rides (both in the morning and the evening) I feel like I’m experiencing a totally different rollercoaster. Balder has become considerably slower and although the airtime is still there, it’s nothing compared to the early days. I never liked Balder’s repetitive lay-out much, but I enjoyed the ride anyway because of its intense nature. Nowadays, however, it’s a tame family coaster with no surprises at all. In all honesty: Balder is one of my biggest coaster disappointments in 2018.

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Balder was disappointing, but Liseberg wasn’t. The park amazed me just like it did during every past visit. A mountain with 2.700 metres of perfect coaster track, lottery games on every corner of every street, a soaking log flume and a spooky hotel… there aren’t many aspects of Liseberg which I don’t like. Scandinavian amusement parks always amaze me with their unique atmosphere, their wonderful staff members and their great food. Liseberg fits perfectly within this image. In my opinion, it even counts as one of Europe’s premier theme park destinations.

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Mack Rides, thank you for Helix. IMAscore, thank you for the music. Phaedra, Steven, Hjälmar and Niek… thank you for your company. And Liseberg, thanks you for 2 exquisite summer days. See you again soon.

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