A fairytale Europe: Europa-Park, Germany

July 3, 2016

Europa-Park is Europe’s second most popular theme park, yet little known in the UK. Which is a shame, as this fantasy version of the continent with 100 rides across 13 different lands is a blast

You don’t expect to find la dolce vita in Germany’s Black Forest, but there we were, 1,000km north of the Italian capital, in a restaurant overlooking the piazza Roma. Children ran in and out of fountains that lit up in multiple colours, in the shadow of a red-brick, medieval tower reminiscent of Siena’s. The Pizzeria Romantica was gearing up for another busy night. Couples sat at tables outside the Commedia dell’Arte cafe, admiring the colosseum, or a bit of it.

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Rome’s most famous monument looms over the 350-room Hotel Colosseo, but the Italian theme runs throughout: inside, the ground-floor corridors are part-cobbled and lantern-lit, like ancient streets; restaurant walls are covered in murals of mythical scenes, and washing hangs outside the green-shuttered bedroom windows. The level of detail is impressive. Of course it’s entirely fake, but it’s not plasticky. Even the kids’ play area is wooden. And it lacks the superficial gloss you get in American themed hotels. There are no shrill “Hi, how are yous?” here, no too-white smiles. The staff, dressed in robes (naturalmente), are helpful and polite but not overbearing. The officiousness of one woman who checked our breakfast vouchers brought a welcome sense of reality to the surreal environment.

It’s overwhelming and bonkers – and that’s just the hotels

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