I’ve been quite quiet over the last week or so, which has a lot to do with a last-minute press trip I was invited to – to Ferrari Land and PortAventure park in Spain.
A press trip is where a brand (here, Ferrari Land) will take a load of journalists abroad to check out their theme park/hotel or even city. So I’ve taken a load of pictures and will give you all the goss on my weekend.
Ok, so PortAventure Park was the original theme park in the area and is pretty massive. In fact, my sister and I visited it when we were staying in Salou around 10 years ago. Since then, it has changed a lot.
It has got a water park, a load of Wild West themed hotels in one area and now, very recently Ferrari Land – which has the most terrifying rollercoaster I’ve ever seen.
PortAventure Park is in Costa Dorada, so 20 mins away from Salou Beach and about an hour away from Barcelona. My sister and I, when staying in Salou managed to get to both Barcelona and the parks via public transport really easily.
The park is split into six different themed lands. Now, putting this out here now – I hate rides. Yep, you won’t get me on a rollercoaster or a spinning teacup for all the money in the world.
HOWEVER, I love theme parks. I really enjoy good theming (this sounds super geeky doesn’t it?). There’s something about being immersed into a ‘new world’ that stops you thinking about your inbox and bills while you’re there.
I’m more than happy to hold the bags in the sun while others go on rides. This does mean I am a stickler for good theming though.
Of course, I’m recently back from Disney World where the theming and parks are pretty perfect. To be honest, when I think of British/European theme parks, I generally don’t imagine that they’d have the same quality – it’s just something American’s do super well, like BBQ Ribs.
However, I was shocked at just how good the lands were at PortAventura. My boyfriend kept saying how he felt like he was back in Orlando as we were walking around.
Now sure, it’s probably not fair to compare the two as the rides in Orlando are more ‘immersive’ however, PortAventura has far more thrill rides with four or five major roller coasters in one park. With the terrifying Shambhala, which you’re just held into place with your thighs!
Anyway, I’ve got off topic! Where was I? There are six themed lands – all incredibly themed.
- A Mediterranean area which had a rollercoaster but seemed to me to be the best place to get a drink or to eat.
- A Polynesian area
- The Wild West
- And a Muppets land for kids
Each of these looked completely different, with suitable music, food and shops so you’re fully immersed in the area. Again, being super picky, I’m always on the look out for sun fading or other little things that can make a park look shabby, but PortAventura Parks really stands up to inspection.
Honestly, the whole time I was thinking about why we don’t know more about it in the UK. I don’t see it on adverts or posters on the TV. You know about Disney World Paris of course (which I think isn’t worth the money – check out my friend’s post on it) – where here, you get a lot more bang for your buck.
Ah, the body dryer (below pic) is something that properly cracked me up. It was like 35 degrees heat – and there were people paying two euros to have warm air blown on them to dry off after a water ride. That is beyond me! ha.
So Ferrari Land is the newest theme park and the one we went out there to really see. Our flight was delayed so had to rush off it and get to the evening party at Ferrari Land where all of the other journalists were.
Here I got to meet some of the other writers, who wrote for car magazines, theme park websites etc. We sat in the most beautiful little restaurant which is supposed to look like you’re in a courtyard in Italy (check out pics below).
If you can see above in the picture, there’s a big structure with a Ferrari logo on it. Basically, this is why you need to go to Ferrari Land.
It’s called Red Force and is 112 metres high and you accelerate from 0-180 km/h in five seconds. The force pushes you over the hump (but sometimes it doesn’t and you go back on yourself).
The journalists were all saying ‘You have to do it!’, and I smiled and nodded knowing that not even Jesus himself could convince me to go anywhere close to it.
So of course, I sent the boyfriend on it – twice. He absolutely loved it – in fact, the second time, managed to sit right at the front where you’re given protective glasses to wear. (As you’re here, check this out – properly cracked me up).
He said that he now as a greater respect for F1 drivers because of the speeds they drive. I told him he was lame. HA!
Ok, so Ferrari Land theming. It’s basically like you’re in Italy. I was told that they have recreated where Ferrari is built etc – It is very beautiful there.
Ferrari Land even has one of those flying rides like Sorin’ in Florida where you follow a car around beautiful areas. I was told this by the boyfriend, because yeah – I freaked out on Sorin’, so wasn’t going on this either. I have no shame!
Oh, something I’ve meant to say – maybe it’s because the park is so new (so it may change), but there are hardly any queues for anything.
I know you can buy a fast pass or Ferrari Land – but I don’t think you need to bother (whereas I would at PortAventura Park).
HOWEVER, we couldn’t get into Pole Position Challenge (though we did rock up at about 3:30) – which is like an authentic F1 driving simulator – all the places had been booked up. So if you do go, make sure you head there first to book a spot.
My boyfriend is a big F1 fan, so he absolutely loved the park. If you’re not into cars, but are into big rides – it’s worth the addmission fee to get on the Red Force ride (as well as the others).
I’m not car fan, but again – like theming, so really enjoyed the atmosphere (and food!).
Lucy’s Mansion Hotel
The park’s hotels are all in one area and are Wild West themed (actually there are a couple which are at the other side of the park). There are loads of restaurants, children’s parks, shops and bars – all within the area and following the theme too.
We were lucky enough to stay at Lucy’s Mansion hotel which is the five-star resort on the complex, and is like a Victorian-esque hotel based in the Wild West.
The rooms were super grand and the whole place smelled like Jasmine – I’d love to bottle it up! It also had a private pool which guest from the other hotels aren’t able to use – but the communal one is pretty amazing.
As you can see from the ride in the background from the picture below, you can just walk to the theme parks from the hotel complex. It’s all so close together.
So as you walk around the Wild West village, you’ll notice that all the buildings are actually hotel rooms, or a bar etc. It’s all impeccably themed, and also pretty peaceful there.
Sometimes with themed hotels, they can be super busy and noisy, but with this (and we went in high season), but it didn’t seem crowded in the slightest. I kept thinking that my niece and nephew would love to spend time in the hotel complex – without even going to the parks themselves.
I’ll get into pricing in a bit, but if you stay on property in one of the hotels, within the price you get theme park tickets and breakfast.
You’re in Spain – so the food isn’t going to be bad right? There’s a real mix of fine dining, lovely restaurants in the park and quick service theme park food.
Take a look at the breakfast buffet at the Hotel Lucy below!
Yep, that’s right – I had breakfast cake and I don’t regret a thing!
We popped to Vinosfera on our last day in the Mediterranean area for some tapas and wine – which I’d so recommend if you’re over burgers and want somewhere relaxing and cool to sit for a while.
So all this lovely food is from the restaurant at Hotel Lucy.
The food below is from the Italian restaurant in Ferrari Land. I got a load of jip when I asked what the balls are. haha. They were said it was roe – but oh no, too pale right? It’s actually olive oil balls (I should be a food writer!)
You know me, I’m super partial to shopping (especially a bargain), so was pleased to see that PortAventura park had amazing shops within there – and I reckon pretty decently priced too.
Basically, all this stuff in the Mexico shop is everything I love in clothes and bags. The purses were 13 euros while the tops were around 35 euros.
Below is the themed shop in China, which had everything from clothes, ornaments and toys. There was also a sale on where you could get shoes for 10 euros and stunning bags were half price.
Ferrari Land also had shops which sold themed items which, to be honest I thought were pretty expensive – but know from experience, racing gear tends to be.
- 1 day – 47 euros for an adult, 40 euros for a child
- 2 days – 56 euros for an adult, 48 euros for a child
- 3 days – 80 euros for an adult, 65 euros for a child
PortAventura Park – with Caribe Water Park
- 3 days – 80 euros for adults, 65 euros for children
Ferrari Land and Port Aventura Land
- 1 day – 60 euros for an adult, 52 for children
- 2 days – 60 euros for adults, 53 or children (if you book on the web in advance)
Ferrari Land, PortAvenutura Park AND The Water Park
This is what I’d suggest…
- 3 days – 85 euros for an adult and 70 euros for a child
- 4 days – 109 euros for an adult and 94 euros for a child
DON’T FORGET – There is a promotions page online which you should check before you book anything for discounts.
If you stay on property, you get unlimited entry into PortAventura park, free one day access to Ferrari Land during certain months and also discounts to the water park.
- PortAventura Hotel Caribe (4 stars) from 69 euros per person
- PortAventura Hotel Gold River (4 stars) from 73 euros per person
- PortAventura Hotel PortAventura (4 stars) from 76 euros per person
- PortAventura Hotel El Paso (4 stars) from 99 euros per person a night
- PortAventura Hotel Mansion de Lucy (5 stars) from 125 euros per person
*** This was a press trip, which meant that I got to go for free. However, I can write what I want and have shared my own thoughts and opinions on it.***
Have you ever been to PortAventura? Let me know what you thought about the place in the comments.