“The home of Helix, Balder and Valkyria”
If I think of Sweden, I usually think of 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 trip to Sweden wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the city of Göteborg and its famous amusement park. 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 a few stunning coasters.
Let’s start with the highlight of the park. Helix opened in 2014 and at that time, it was the most ambitious roller coaster Mack Rides ever built. It’s got seven 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. The ride itself is nearly perfect. It’s incredibly smooth, there are two moments of insane airtime and the layout is surprising. However, just like most Mack coasters, it’s not the most intense ride on Earth. Both launches are rather powerless and you won’t experience quick transitions like those in Taron. This isn’t bad, though. In my opinion, a ride shouldn’t necessarily be intense to be captivating. That’s why Helix counts as one of Europe’s best roller coasters, despite its weak accelerations. It’s beautiful to look at, it’s comfortable and the ride seems to last forever. Great job, Liseberg and Mack!
Helix is amazing, but the true king of the park remains Lisebergbanan. It’s the result of a collaboration between Zierer and Schwarzkopf and it counts as one of Europe’s best classic roller coasters. 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. By the way… Lisebergbanan just received a major refurbishment, so this classic definitely won’t retire any time soon.
If you’re desperately trying to get Liseberg’s coaster bingo, you will need to enter a children’s area called Kaninlandet. This beautifully themed area is home to the park’s green bunny mascot and it features loads of kiddie rides. This includes Stampbanan (an extremely tiny kiddie coaster built by Preston & Barbieri) and Rabalder. The latter is a Zierer Force 2 model and it’s perfect for children. I felt a little embarrassed while riding it, but hey… it’s a credit.
A decent part of Liseberg is themed to Norse mythology. The highlight of this area is Valkyria, which opened in 2018. This is a B&M Dive Machine that replaced Kanonen, a small-sized Intamin Accelerator. Valkyria is a superb experience in many ways: it provides a thrilling ride with a 50-metre descent and three inversions, it’s incredibly smooth and the theming is solid. You may consider Dive Machines as one-trick-ponies, but I don’t agree. I adore these rides and Valkyria is actually the best one in Europe. Its drop may be slightly smaller than the Oblivion (Alton Towers-version) one, but the longer layout makes up for that. Amazing roller coaster!
Valkyria isn’t the only roller coaster in this mythical part of the park and the other one is also pretty legendary. I’m talking about Balder, a very popular wooden coaster that 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. But uhm… can someone please explain what happened to this legendary coaster? During my most recent rides, it felt as if I was experiencing a totally different roller coaster. Balder has become considerably slower and although the airtime is still there, it’s nothing compared to the early days. In all honesty: Balder is currently the biggest disappointment at Liseberg.
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!
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.
Swedes love water. So despite today’s chilly weather conditions, 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. Flume Ride offers some amazing views of the park and it’s got a fantastic finale with three drops in a row. Be prepared to get (very) wet if you’re seated in a full boat. This isn’t the best themed log flume on Earth, but it’s so much fun.
FLAT RIDES GALORE
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.
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. 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.
Other thrills can be found on top of the Liseberg hill. One of them is 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. 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.
AtmosFear isn’t the only thrilling flat ride on Liseberg’s iconic mountain slope. You can also ride one of those funky S&S swing rides 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 at Nigloland) is better.
WORTH A VISIT?
Liseberg is a stunning park. The park has a fantastic lineup and it’s got the typical flair you’ll only encounter at Scandinavian amusement parks. The park amazed me, just like it did during every past visit. A mountain with 2,700 metres of perfect coaster tracks, lottery games on every corner of every street, a soaking log flume and a spooky hotel… these are just a few things that make Liseberg awesome. Scandinavian amusement parks always have a welcoming atmosphere, helpful staff members and great food. Liseberg fits perfectly within this image. In my opinion, it even counts as one of Europe’s premier theme park destinations. Not. To. Be. Missed.
Photo Gallery 2018
HOTEL LISEBERG HEDEN
ENTRANCE // KANINLANDET
EASTERN PART OF THE PARK
WESTERN PART OF THE PARK (MOUNTAIN)
Did you get the chance of riding Valkyria yet? What’s your opinion on Helix? And would you conquer the scare actors of Spökhotellet Gasten? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.