This summer we went to Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy for our family holiday. It was very hot and we were pleased to have the chance to check out three water parks while we were staying on the Adriatic coast. The first water park which we visited was Atlantica, the second was Mirabilandia Beach and the third was Aquafan, near Rimini.
Aquafan is one of Europe’s biggest water parks and it took us 30 minutes to drive there from our hotel in Cesenatico. The weather was slightly cooler that day than it had been on previous days but at around 25 degrees it was still warm. Apparently the park can get very busy at times but when we were there it didn’t feel crowded at all and we hardly had to queue for anything. We arrived at the park as it opened at 10 am. The first thing that we did in the park was to rent a locker so that we didn’t have to worry about our valuables. Our next stop was the main wave pool to find some sun loungers in the shade – and then we went off to explore.
Pools and slides
The park is spread across 22 landscaped acres and has 21 slides, a lazy river, a rapid river, a baby pool, a children’s pool, a wave pool and more. There’s a great variety of slides: some you go down on your back, some in single inflatable rings, some in double inflatable rings, on some you can race against other people and some are so steep that they look terrifying. The slide on the right was my favourite:
You can see what it’s like to go down this slide in this video of our day at Aquafan:
The main wave pool has waves every hour, accompanied by music and sometimes professional dancers at the edge of the pool. My son liked the waves best of all and was keen to return to the pool from the slides each time that they were announced. The pool was packed with people of all ages at these times.
We had lunch at the park and the food was good – I had a pizza margarita. After lunch the four of us bobbed around the lazy river on inflatable rings. This was very relaxing, especially as we were the only people there, apart from the friendly staff. We all wanted go on the rapid river too but it was closed that day.
At 4pm an odd thing happened. There was a foam dance party in a transparent enclosure next to the wave pool. Much to my son’s disappointment, only women and girls were allowed into the enclosure. To me, this women-only foam party seemed a bizarre feature for a water park full of families on a summer afternoon.
Another surprise was the toilets at the park: they’re hole-in-the-floor arrangements. Although they were spotlessly clean, these kind of toilets are pretty off-putting if you’re not used to them – my kids were not impressed by them at all!
My 12 year-old son says: ‘The waves were the best thing. I went in them three times. I was confused when I couldn’t go in the foam. I liked it when everyone went mad in the pool and everyone was splashing.’
My 17 year-old daughter says: ‘It was better than the other two parks, better food and the best lazy river. I liked the double ring slide best. I didn’t like the toilets.’
My husband says: ‘There was lots of shade when you were queueing. The slides were good and you didn’t have to wait long. I liked the racing one where we all went down together best.’
I say: ‘This was my favourite of the three water parks which we visited in Italy. There’s something for everyone here, it’s well-organised and the food’s fine. It’s a shame about the toilets though.’
You can use your ticket to enter Aquafan for free on another day. Tickets for adults cost 28 euros, for children (100 – 140 cms tall) 20 euros and children who are up to 100 cms tall can enter the park for free. Parking costs five euros, locker hire four euros. There’s no charge for sun loungers and umbrellas.
Have you ever been to a water park? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think that you’d like to?
You can read more about our trip to Emilia-Romagna in these posts:
More posts to follow!
Disclosure: The Emilia-Romagna Tourist Board arranged for free entry for us to Aquafan for the purposes of this review. All words, opinions and images are our own.
Recommended guide book
The guide book which I recommend for visiting Emilia-Romagna is this one (although it doesn’t mention water parks):