When you think of theme parks, Germany may not necessarily spring to mind, yet it should. The Germans are, in fact, experts when it comes to childish fun and heart-stopping thrills, and with their great rail connections (plus their handy skills in English), it really is a destination to consider next time you’re looking for family fun.

We’ve put together the five best theme parks to visit in Germany and how to get there, read on to find out more.

1. Europapark

Let’s start with the big one – Europapark – because quite honestly, it’s the park all others try to match up to. Famed for being the largest in Germany, voted the most popular in Europe with a whopping 100 rides to choose from. Getting there by train is simple enough, with the nearest station being Ringsheim, followed by a short bus trip to the park entrance.

The park’s charming design is separated out into European “lands”, each with their own themed attractions and restaurants, making it easy to navigate your way around. From tucking into fish and chips at a pub in “England” to traditional German currywurst sausage in “Germany”, the dining options are as fun as they are diverse. The same variety is found in the attractions, from the heart-stopping Blue Fire rollercoaster to leisurely gondola trips through lush parkland, this park is fun for the entire family.

2. Legoland

If it’s little toddlers you’re looking to please, you can’t go wrong with Germany’s Legoland. Here, the target age is 10 and under, offering everything from the gentlest experiences to a few thrills for more adventurous young ones. What’s more is the park pays great attention to hands-on fun, with many attractions involving logical and building skills too. Needless to say, the all-lego look and design of the park is the main thing that sets it apart, none more so than in the accommodation, be it a grand medieval-style castle or fun “camping barrels” with cosy little cabins for families.

As with Europapark, Legoland is fully set up for visitors without cars, offering a frequent shuttle bus from the nearby Günzburg station, which is easily reached by train from Munich.

3. Heide Park

Up in the wild north of Germany, this theme park has been quietly confirming its status as one of Germany’s best. Not only does it offer four world-class thrilling roller coasters, the setting is truly special. Literally meaning Heath Park in English, it’s located in the midst of Lower Saxony nature, surrounded by deep forest with a vast lake in the middle. Compared with other German parks, it’s a great budget choice too, offering reasonable bungalows and camping as well as hearty Saxony cuisine for affordable prices. The park is about a 10-minute walk from Soltau (Han) train station, hop on a fast train from Hamburg to Soltau (journey time 1h 12m) for a day out at one of the best attractions of this entire region.

4. Phantasialand

Another very little-known gem in the German theme park world is located in Brühl near Cologne, where the emphasis is more on fantasy than out-and-out thrills – though not lacking in those either. Fantastically surreal rides, overflowing with stylistic detail, Phantasialand has a good balance between child-friendly attractions and adult thrills, along with some great water rides for hot days, including a thrilling log flume heralded as offering the steepest log flume drop in the world! With great access to Cologne/Bonn international airport, why not stop off at this fun and compact park? If you’re flying into Cologne, get the train Cologne Bonn Airport to Brühl (journey time 36m), then hop on the 20-minute shuttle to the amusement park.

5. Tropical Islands

Last but not least, this fantastic indoor waterpark deserves a mention. Yes, Tropical Islands may sound like false publicity in Germany, but entering this park really is like being transported into a tropical world. Ignore the imposing aircraft hangar exterior and prepare for your jaw to drop as you discover real-sand beaches, tree and plant-lined lagoons, and even a tropical rainforest within the world’s largest indoor rainforest. The thrills aren’t lacking either with many great slides plus Germany’s highest water slide tower. On the other hand, parents will relish the soothing spa and sauna complex (though visitors should be warned that, like most German spas, there are nudist areas here!). The waterpark uses the Brand (Niederlausitz) station, which has connections to Berlin just 50m away, offering a free shuttle to the park.

Whether you’re looking for a day trip from Munich or Cologne or planning a theme park holiday, why not pay a visit to one of these awesome parks! Need more information on the German rail network? Check out our dedicated page to trains in Germany.