Theme Parks and Tapas

Sarah Smith on 02 April 2016
My youngest daughter is a bit of an adventure junkie (yes even at 8!) so when the opportunity came to visit Portaventura theme park on the Costa Dorada in Spain I jumped at the chance to fill the Easter school holidays.

We stayed on site at the 4* Hotel Caribe and although it’s a large hotel it didn’t feel busy this time of year so there were plenty of tables for the huge buffet at dinner and breakfast. I can imagine in the summer it could be very busy and noisy! The food was varied and of a good quality, with plenty of choice for all palates. The salads were particularly good and replenished regularly.

A complementary ‘noddy’ train takes you to the theme park gates.

The theme park itself offers plenty of rides for all age groups and is themed into different ‘lands’. Two of the scariest (tallest) and (most loops) rollercoasters in Europe are in ‘China’ – Dragon Khan and Shambhala, so if you like the thrill of the ‘coasters and can’t quite stretch to Orlando, then a few days here will tick your box.

We particularly liked the water rides, such a laugh – although in April we didn’t dry off very quickly!

Top tips: Visit out of season for fewer queues. Beware of the opening times of the aqua park (Costa Caribe) it’s only open from end of May until September. Buy a poncho for the water rides (and the changeable weather in April!)

Following our 3 nights here we caught the train (1.5 hours) to Barcelona for a few nights. One of my favourite European cities and although I have been before we managed to find spots we hadn’t previously explored and restaurants we will return to! We particularly enjoyed the Museum at FC Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium, a great interactive experience with access to some areas of the back rooms, press areas, pitchside and the impressive trophy room - highly recommend this most visited attraction of the city, although the shirts are ridiculously expensive!

Top tips: For the best seafood eat in La Barceloneta. This is the area where the fishermen used to live and there are some excellent traditional Spanish restaurants hidden away in the back streets. Take cash as many won’t accept cards. Try a bike tour, you will get off your feet for a few hours and cover loads of ground to see areas only the best guides know about. Watch your purse, especially on Las Ramblas.