I dare to call it Disneyland because that is what it looks like. 5 hours form Prague in the direction of Plzen and then onwards in the direction of Basel (Switzerland) you can go wild in this huge amusement park. It all depends on how many kids you have and what their ages are. I have recently visited it with my boys aged 3 and 4 and here is our whole story that you should read prior to making a final decision on whether to visit.
I have to say that I do not recommend this for kids under 6 years. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of rollercosters and love such places but I cannot say that we fully enjoyed it. First of all our boys will not remember anything of this expensive day just as my husband’s daughter remembers nothing about her trip to Disneyland in Paris when she was 4.5.
Second of all the boys could not go on the majority of the attractions because they were under 120 cm. Every attraction (especially the bigger attractions) have at least a 40 min wait (not fun for small kids – and – for the parents holding them or trying to keep them in line). We spent lots of time in the section for the small ones which looks like a big playground (and as you know there are plenty of good playgrounds already in Prague) and we had a great weather which eventually turned against us as it was very hot and dusty. In the end we stripped them naked and dipped them in one of the fountains. Actually it was the best fun of the day.
Of course the boys appreciated the small electric cars and the small rollercoaster. But did we really have to go to Germany for this? Also I wanted to go on the big attractions where they were not allowed. I was hardly going to go alone while hubby minded the kids and wait on my own in the cue for 60 min and then – would I enjoy it without him? No.
The best idea I can think of is to go with another family or families. You split and take turns babysitting so the ‘free’ parents can have a bit of adult fun and make the entrance fee worthwhile.
If you decide to go be a bit smarter then we were and stay for 2 days at least and book your hotel months ahead. Europa Park has beautiful hotels right in the complex with different themes. Its a paradise for children and we would have loved to stay there. All of them were booked out including the one with a small Aqua park for kids. You will find all the hotels on the official webpage for Europa Park: here
It turned out to be quite a nightmare to find any accommodation. I tried all my tricks I know in order to find somewhere to stay and none worked. Eventually I was tipped to go to a webpage called http://www.europaparkregion.de Here, all of the hotels and pensions in nearby villages offer their rooms. Out of 300 there were 6!!! left. Quickly without much thinking I booked one pension – a family Guesthouse 5km away from Europa Park. It was very expensive: 150 EUR but I wasn’t prepared to pay 120 EUR for a room somewhere else with shared bathrooms.
The villages are very close to the Europa Park and its very easy to find your destination once you make a booking. The Park stands on a green field and the closest big town nearby is called Rust.
Our accommodation turned out to be very pleasant, run by a German family, with a slide in the garden and an indoor playground. The food was outstanding and we loved our big room with one big double bed and a bunk bed for the boys. I have to say that we had a better sleep here then in the Radisson in Basel the previous evening. Our hosts spoke poor English but just enough for tourists passing through. German hospitality is well known and I am sure you will find a similar set up in any of the guesthouses within the area.
We rented small strollers in the park and without it we would be lost. If you have the chance even if your kids are already out of the stroller – take it anyway. There is a lot of walking around and you will end up carrying the kids on your shoulders.
When you get a map at the entrance you will be able to see which attractions your kids can go on. Every attraction has a measure and if your child is to small or too big they will not let you on no matter how hard you try. With German precision I saw many kids being sent away simply because they were 2cm short of the mark. Better to look at the map and make your plans accordingly.
You will comfortably eat anywhere in the park. There are many cafes and restaurants. The beverages are really expensive once you get inside. You’d be advised to bring a big bottle of water along with you and leave it in the stroller. One small mineral water costs 3-4 EUR!!!
Summer season 2010: The park is open 27.03.2010 - 07.11.2010 from 9 am to 6 pm (extended opening hours during peak season)
Winter season 2010/11: Magic Moments from 27.11.2010 - 09.01.2011 (closed on December 24th/25th)
Summer season 2011: The park is open 09.04.2011 - 06.11.2011 from 9 am to 6 pm (extended opening hours during peak season)
ADDRESS: Europa-Park-Straße 2, 77977 Rust, Germany
DIRECTIONS: From Prague drive towards Plzen, Rozvadov onto the A5 highway towards Basel. Exit: Rust
ACCOMMODATION: In the resort: http://resort.europapark.de/lang-en/Main-page/c655.html
In the Region: http://www.regioneuropapark.de/
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.europapark.de