The 10 Greatest Rollercoasters in Europe

What’s more exciting than being strapped into a rickety chair and blasted along a concourse at speeds approaching 100kmph? Trick question: the answer is nothing. It’s a fact that rollercoasters are the best thing in the world; to say otherwise is to argue with science. Here’s a countdown of the 10 fastest, tallest and most-pants-wettingly-scariest rollercoasters in the whole of Europe:

Colossos (Germany)


It’s big, it’s bad and it hails from the darkest recesses of the German psyche. For once, we’re not talking about Rammstein’s Till Lindemann; Colossos is the tallest, fastest wooden rollercoaster in Europe, maxing-out at speeds of 109kmph. Situated at Heide Park in Lower Saxony, this bad mutha has been scaring the bejesus out of German thrill-seekers for over a decade.

Shambhala (Spain)


Want to experience near-vertical 70m+ drops, twisting helixes, underground tunnels and speeds guaranteed to induce labour? Look no further than Shambhala, a Catalonian contraption designed to terrify you into a religious conversion. Peaking at 76m, it features Europe’s longest drop, along with enough twists and turns to guarantee a return call from your ill-advised hotdog lunch.

The Ultimate (England)

Where would you expect to find the world’s second-longest rollercoaster? If you said ‘Yorkshire’, you both win and somehow lose. A woodland ride built by British Rail engineers; The Ultimate combines scenic passages with sudden drops in an effort to appeal to both middleclass daytrippers and adrenaline junkies.

Mumbo Jumbo (England)

Mumbo Jumbo features a 112 degree drop, which means you’re technically upside-down. It’s also situated in Yorkshire, because living with that much rain means you’ll take whatever diversion you can get.  Once a world record holder, MJ still retains the power to scare even the most-jaded coaster-fanatic.

Goudurix (France)

Goudurix features 7 inversions (‘bits where you go upside down’), including one of only two so-called ‘butterfly inversions’. For rollercoaster-geeks that’s a real recommendation; for the rest of you, just check the video, and tell me you wouldn’t trade your grandmother for a ride right now.

Saw – The Ride (England)

Saw the ride

Thorpe Park’s monument to the law of diminishing returns is also Europe’s only horror-themed rollercoaster; a strange claim for a medium dedicated to scaring shrieking punters sh*tless. Taking in pits of spikes, swinging blades, geysers of blood and enough torture to shake a severed limb at; Saw – the ride manages to do a reverse Pirates of the Caribbean and totally eclipse the mediocre franchise on which it’s based.

Curse of Novgorod (Germany)

Those German’s sure love their terrifying death-machines. Crazy tykes! Curse of Novgorod is Hansa Park’s answer to the indoor/outdoor insanity of Saw; featuring the steepest pitch-black drop in coasting history. Thanks to the miracles of science, it also features acceleration rarely seen outside a rocket launch; blasting from 12 to 62mph in 1.4 seconds.

Speed: No Limits (Wales)

It sounds like a joke: ‘Wales’s fastest rollercoaster’. But Speed is one serious bad boy. Starting with a vertical rise of 115ft, before plummeting down a beyond-vertical first drop; this bowel-voider was once the world’s steepest coaster. The record may since have passed through many hands, but Speed remains a tangible reminder of the size of any given Welshman’s courage.

Dragon Khan (Spain)

A short stroll from the aforementioned Shambala, Dragon Khan is designed to mop up the few remaining survivors and divest them of the contents of the stomachs. Once a world record holder for the number of inversions, Dragon Khan continues to blow the minds of Spanish teenagers and reduce grown men to tears.

The Swarm (England)

The Swarm 

Finally, we get to The Swarm. Starting in a bombed-out church, taking in ruined aircraft, near-decapitation, fire and a record-breaking dive loop; this masochistic rollercoaster manages to take all the worst things about living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and make them fun. Sort of. Fast, frantic and very furious, Swarm is living testimony to the prevalence of coffee abuse amongst coaster-designers.

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What do you think? Are the Europeans winning, or is your continent holding the crown?

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