Recently, I finally managed to visit a park which has been on my to do list for a very long time – Liseberg. Located in Gothenburg, Sweden, Liseberg is one of those parks that I’d heard so many people rave about how great it is and how it is a must do for any theme park enthusiast. Having heard so much about it, I will admit I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the hype, that my expectations had been built up so much that it couldn’t possibly be as good as people say it is and I’d leave disappointed. So, is Liseberg as good as people say? Read on to find out.
Let’s start with the rides. Liseberg has probably one of the best-balanced range of rides and attractions that a park could have. From thrilling coasters and flat rides, to the cute children’s area Kanin Landet, there really is something for everyone.
Of course, mention Liseberg to many theme park enthusiasts and most will immediately think of Helix, the Mack double launch coaster which has a reputation for being one of the best rollercoasters in Europe, and possibly worldwide. Riding Helix for the first time I could absolutely see why it has gained this reputation. From the first drop out of the station, the two launches, and the many moments of airtime, Helix is almost perfectly paced and makes full use of the mountainside terrain on which it is built. Riding Helix during the day is a great experience. But riding it at 10:30pm at night after it has been running for almost 12 hours is amazing. There are not many rollercoasters which can match it.
One of the surprises of my trip was Balder. Having ridden El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure earlier in the year I was expecting a good wooden coaster, but one which had a little bit of a rattle as it wound around the course. Balder proved me completely wrong. Not only is it a great wooden coaster, but it is also very, very smooth. It has an incredible first drop followed by some great airtime moments around its twisted course, all of which combine to create what is possibly one of my favourite experiences on a wooden rollercoaster. I could have quite happily ridden it again and again, and there are not many wooden coasters I can say that about.
Rounding off Liseberg’s line-up of coasters are the dive coaster, Valkyria, and Lisebergbanan, the Zierer Schwarzkopf coaster. Whilst Valkyria’s drop may not be the most forceful out there, its post drop layout does provide a solid ride experience, making it well worth riding multiple times. Lisebergbanan is the Park’s oldest operating rollercoaster and is simply a good, fun ride which is enhanced through the way the track hugs the mountainside.
Liseberg is also home to some incredible flat rides. Of these, one in particular stands out as one of the best I have ever experienced – Loke. This Intamin Gyroswing features a style of restraint that provides a much freer feeling compared to the usual over the shoulder restraints on most Gyroswings. As you swing back and forth you also get some great moments of airtime as you are momentarily lifted out of your seat. It is a ride I could happily do over and over again. A mention must also go to Upswingt. I’ve always had a soft spot for Screamin’ Swing rides and whilst Liseberg’s may not be the biggest I’ve been on it certainly has the best view. Set on the side of the mountain, it swings you out over the mountainside allowing you to enjoy the stunning views whilst at the same time making the most of the good length of ride cycle.
If neither of those rides take your fancy, the park also features a 380ft tall drop tower called AtmosFear (and is the second tallest drop towers in Europe); Mechanica, a custom Ziera Star Shape, AeroSpin, a Gerstlauer Sky Roller; Juke Box, an incredible fun spinning ride; and two water rides – Kallerado Rapids, and the Flume Ride, both of which have the potential to get you soaked (top tip – try and avoid making the same mistake as I did by sitting in the front of the Flume Ride. You will get soaked through guaranteed). The park also has its very own scare attraction, Hotel Gasten. Whilst it may not be the most scary or extreme scare maze out there, it is worth doing for some of the impressive theming within (I won’t go into detail so as not to spoil it), and if you make the actors aware they will deliver the script in English so you can get the full experience.
Like many European parks, Liseberg is about much more than just its rides. It also creates a fantastic atmosphere during both day and night meaning even those who don’t want to experience the rides can still have a great time. From the varied food places which offer anything from quick service burgers, Tex Mex, or Indian to full sit down meals, and places where you can enjoy sweet treats such as waffles and pancakes, there is no shortage of options to simply be able to sit and soak up the atmosphere of the park.
But it is at night when the atmosphere really comes alive. Quite simply the park is beautiful after the sun sets. The rides, buildings and pathways are perfectly lit to achieve a nice balance between being functional to enable guests to find their way around, but also to enhance the features of the park. One of the prettiest areas in the evenings is the Hamnomradet (Harbour Area) which is home to one of Liseberg’s live music venues, Lilla Scenen/Polketten. Here you can sit on a jetty enjoying your evening or, if the mood takes you, partake in a spot of ballroom dancing! I could have easily spent an evening just relaxing in that part of the park, and it’s easy to see why so many locals do just that.
Getting to Liseberg from the UK is incredibly easy. For my visit I flew out early on the Friday morning and returned in the last flight on the Sunday evening which allowed for two days in Liseberg and a day sightseeing in Gothenburg. Return flights from London Heathrow to Gothenburg with British Airways cost £75 (flights are also available from Stansted with Ryanair). I stayed in Gothia Towers which is ideally situated right opposite the entrance to Liseberg. It takes just 20 minutes by bus to transfer from the airport to Gothia Towers using Flygbussarna.
So, is Liseberg as good as people say it is? Absolutely yes! I was a little concerned before I visited that the park had been built up too much and that it couldn’t possibly meet the expectations I’d created in my mind. But Liseberg met those expectations and more. It is a prime example of why I love travelling to discover new parks. With Liseberg planning to add a new dark ride next year, as well as building a new hotel and a new rollercoaster in the next few years, it is definitely going to be somewhere I plan to return to more than once.