Spanish Thrills: Two Days at PortAventura

Casting my mind back to last year, when the idea of a holiday abroad was just a twinkle of a plan, one of the first things we obviously discussed was where we wanted to go. We knew we were after a fun beach holiday, but me being me I was worried that spending a flat-out seven days lazing by the pool would probably result in itchy feet (and ridiculous sunburn).
Spain was our ideal destination – nice weather, not too pricey – and the one thing that really fixed us on Salou was the fact that it’s home to PortAventura theme park. And I love a good rollercoaster. We ended up spending both the Thursday and Friday of our trip at the park, giving us two days at PortAventura filled with epic thrills and experiences.
Port Aventura Far West theming
Port Aventura Far West theming
Port Aventura Far West - Silver River Flume scenery

Getting to the park was pretty easy, we jumped on a bus from outside the hotel, arrived and made our way in. As we took a left after the main entrance and Mediterranean area, we found ourselves transported to the Far West, one of the ‘zones’ within the park. The theming in PortAventura has to be up there with the best theme park décor I’ve ever seen – I loved how the Far West had been built like a ‘real’ (aka like in the movies) Wild West town, with all kinds of building facades and props to create a fantastic atmosphere.

The first ride we went on was the Grand Canyon Rapids. As there were two of us, we ended up sharing a boat with a family of three, which was very weird, and the ride itself was fun but not quite the big thrills we were looking for. In keeping with the water ride theme, next stop was the Silver River Flume. Conor absolutely loves log flumes, so we ended up on it quite a few times! Although I hate the ‘going up’ bit of rides, once you get to the top it’s almost like a nice little river cruise – until they drop you down a slide and the water absolutely soaks you. Three times. Getting higher with each drop. It was definitely one of the best log flume rides I’ve been on, and you get a decent amount of time on the ride too.

Port Aventura - China - Shambhala, Dragon Khan
Port Aventura - China - Angkor
Port Aventura blog review Tutuki Splash

After a jaunt through Mexico, which features a tame but still enjoyable mine train ride and some amazing sugar skull souvenirs (I picked up a little pot to put my rings in), we arrived in the immaculately themed China, which holds the biggest coasters in the park: Dragon Khan and Shambhala. There was a tiny queue for the former, so we hopped on board and it was totally my favourite kind of coaster. I’m not a huge fan of big drops at all, I prefer twists, turns and loops – and Dragon Khan had plenty of these. It was so good, we hopped on again (and managed to skip most of the queue by being the only group of just two in it – which definitely makes up for sharing our rapid ride.

We then joined the queue for Shambhala… and I was absolutely terrified! The highest rollercoaster in Europe, it starts off with a huge drop that took my breath away just watching it. The ride ended up being closed for maintenance while we were in the queue, so we decided to just come back on our second day, by which point I’d chickened out and told Conor he was riding it solo. Unfortunately for him, it was actually closed on the second day due to the wind – just means we’ll have to go back again, I suppose!

Further through the China area, we headed for a ride called Angkor. Initially, I was expecting another coaster but it was actually a boat type ride through a beautifully decorated area, including waterfalls, tigers, spitting fish and a man ‘having a wee’ on you. The boats also have water guns installed, and as well as shooting at targets around the ride, you also get to shoot people on other boats – definitely the most fun part!

In the Polynesia area, we found another water ride that resulted in a very excited boyfriend – the Tutuki splash is another flume-like adventure, but this time in a big boat. We got absolutely soaked on it, but it was so much fun too – especially riding through ‘caves’ on the ascent.

Port Aventura Furius Baco
Port Aventura Furius Baco

Out of all the amazing rides, my favourite coaster that we went on has to be Furious Baco, based in the Mediterranean area. Watching it zip round in a relatively small circuit, I was pretty nonchalant at first. “Well, it doesn’t look THAT fast”. I was very wrong. After just a short queue on the first day, we clambered into our seats and buckled up, which was followed by a little intro film (WITH A MONKEY) before the coaster shot us off at absolute breakneck speed. SERIOUS speed.

As in, the ride was so fast it evidently send my hair back to the 80s. The adrenaline rush from that first push was incredible, the feeling of just shooting off was ridiculously exhilarating – and although it was just a short ride, it was definitely the one I enjoyed the most during our visit.

Mind you – it did cause me a slight bit of embarrassment on the second day (when we got express passes as the queues were a lot bigger). Unfortunately, on our first whizz around the track, I’d underestimated the looseness of my vest top, and realised while shooting around the track that my vest had been pulled down and I was hurtling through the air with my bra on show. WHOOPS.

This was made even more embarrassing by the fact that it was the one ride that filmed you whilst on it, and we had an incredible laugh at my expense watching it back afterwards. Thankfully, we decided not to buy the DVD, so unless the park sell the footage to a Totally Embarrassing Theme Park Disasters TV show, I think it’s safe to say no one will ever be able to see it.

Port Aventura scenery

Should you spend two days at PortAventura or just one?

If you’re thinking of heading to Port Aventura, I’d definitely advise going mid-week and off-season, on the Friday the queues were a LOT longer and the park does get very busy. Fast track tickets for one go on each ride (plus an extra) cost €37 each, and I’d definitely recommend them if you go at one of their busier times. The tickets themselves cost €45 for one day, or €54 for two days (which I totally recommend going for!).
I was so impressed at the effort and detail that had gone into the theming as well as the amount and variety of awesome rides there were, we managed to easily fill our two days at PortAventura with so much to see and do – there are tons of rides and attractions I haven’t even mentioned in this post! I’d definitely head back again, it’s by far the best theme park I’ve ever been to – and maybe next time, I’ll have the balls to face Shambhala…
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