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Waterparks and theme parks in Spain

The hot sun and blue skies of Spain make it the perfect playground for the country's many waterparks and theme parks – nearly 60 altogether. This means that families, couples and just about anyone with a fondness for thrills and spills will love Spain.

Fun and games are high on the agenda here, and our guide will give you a quick and trusty way of knowing which of those venues are most worth your time.

Taming the theme parks

Some theme parks in Spain call on the country's long history to inspire their decorations and rides, while others take a more global view.

All of them are fantastic fun of course, and you won't go far wrong wherever you choose to go play.

However, history definitely comes to life at Tibidabo in Barcelona. Active for over a century, it's actually one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, yet not once has it fallen behind the times over the years.

Tibidabo makes excellent use of its space, tucked up high above the city on a plateau all of its own, nestled around the magnificence of the Church of Sagrat Cor, or Sacred Heart in English.

Rides include a log flume, a ferris wheel, a merry-go-round and the popular Sky Walk, 500 metres above the shimmering rooftops below. Exquisite views are promised here.

In southern Spain, you can get a taste of the Old West in Oasys Mini Hollywood, close to Almeria.

The entire park is set up to look just like those classic dusty Wild West towns you've seen in the movies, with chances for kids to ride horses and meet other animals like lions and meerkats in the adjoining zoo.

There are plenty of performances too, so don't be surprised if you're moseying into town just as a posse of banditos escapes the sheriff's noose and causes a family-friendly fracas.

That love of history also shines through in Terra Mitica Benidorm, the theme park that captures old stories of Spain, Greece and Ancient Rome, among others.

The Magnus Colossus makes its home here as Europe's largest wooden rollercoaster, and the SynKope is a giant discus spinning on its side in the sky, screaming and laughing visitors bolted onto its outer sides.

If that's all a bit much, you can enjoy the comical shows and performances instead, or take on the labyrinths.

Moving to the modern, close to Costa Dorada is PortAventura World, which is one of the biggest theme parks in the country.

As one of Europe's tallest and fastest rollercoasters, it snakes above its skyline, and there are rapids to ride, log flumes to plunge down and an enclosed waterpark full of slides and pools. This theme park also offers night-time tickets, so don't assume you're only able to visit under that hot Spanish sun.

Worlds of water

Waterparks in Spain are always popular, and you'll find them in many of the most popular tourism hotspots. A great example is Aqualandia near Benidorm, which always bustles with activity, especially in the high season.

Slides and chutes are to be found everywhere at Aqualandia, together with snack shops and souvenir kiosks by the score. With ride names like Black Hole and Kamikaze, the highest of these water chutes aren't for the faint hearted.

The wider Costa del Sol doesn't want for waterparks either. Those close to Malaga, such as Mijas Water Park, aren't as immense as some of the others in Spain, yet use their space well in terms of pools and activities.

Close to Fuengirola, Costa Water Park is right by the beach, comprising several big bouncy slides and obstacles courses in the shallow area of the sea. It makes for adventures unlike anywhere else on dry land.

If you're down Tarragona way, you might want to check out the adventures awaiting you at Aqualeon. The waterpark is combined with a natural park to create one of the country's largest recreational spaces.

A popular feature here is the Crazy Race waterslide, which has three avenues on one massive slide. Another popular attraction is the Anaconda, which weaves two tube slides around one another as they traverse side by side down the hill.

Younger visitors will have plenty to do as well though, including their own play area and pool.

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