Are you planning on visiting a water park in the Algarve but don’t know which one? Then don’t worry as we have you covered! On this article we compare the three most popular water parks in the southern region of Portugal: Aquashow, Slide & Splash and Aqualand and look at the different characteristic of each one.
Please note we have not included Zoomarine in this guide because while it does have a small water park section it is more of a theme park, so it wouldn’t be a fair comparison. Zoomarine is definitely a fun day out for all of the family though! Similarly we haven’t included Isla Magica as this is more of a theme park and it is also in Seville, but if you fancy a day trip it’s certainly worth considering.
Aquashow is located in Quarteira which means it is just a few minutes from Vilamoura and the Golden Triangle, about 15mins from Albufeira, and also is the most easily accessible water park from the eastern Algarve including resorts like Faro and Tavira.
Slide & Splash is located in Estômbar on the edge of Lagoa which means its near to Carvoeirio, Portimão (and Praia da Rocha), and Alvor. Its also the most convenient for the western Algarve including Lagos.
Aqualand is located right in the middle of the Algarve in Alcantarilha so is within easy reach of lots of resorts and towns including Armação de Pêra, Albufeira and Carvoeiro.
However note the Algarve isn’t that big and all 3 of the parks are near the main N125 and A22 roads which means they are all within 30mins of each other. So don’t be afraid to pick the park which suits you best, rather than simply settling for the nearest.
All 3 parks offer free car parking and offer a shuttle bus service which while it isn’t free is good value with bus tickets starting from €7 per person depending on where you are staying.
In terms of adrenaline all parks are capable of providing strong and hallucinating rides with their attractions.
Aquashow has in its realm water activities such as the crazy Freefall, the Wild Snake, the Speed Race (a very fun ride where you can compete side by side with your friends to see who is the fastest), the Twin Space Shuttle and one of the biggest water roller coasters in the world where you get to travel at more than 70 km/h.
Slide & Splash doesn’t fall behind, offering eccentric rides such as the Drops, the Big Wave, the Black Hole, or even the Kamikaze (a fun slide not for the faint of heart as it will feel like you are free falling).
Aqualand in its turn has slides such as the Hydra (a bunch of slides in some confusing and mind-bending turns and swirls), the Crazy Jump, the Kamikaze, the Crazy Race, the Rapids or the Flying Mattresses.
Rides with Inflatable Buoys:
Aquashow’s most famous inflatable ride is the River Slide, a brand new attraction from 2017. Gather your friends or your family in one single inflatable and try out this slide which is the biggest in the park.
The Big Wave is a very fun ride for groups of friends. Up to four people can share an inflatable while heading down this awesome slide with steep drops as you spin forwards and backwards.
The Hydra attraction at Aqualand allows for two people to share the same inflatable while going through a slide full of turns and twists
All of the parks have plenty of shoots however here are our top picks from each park.
The Shark Slide and the Pink Slide, Aquashow’s new shoots from 2016, are attractions that you definitely can’t miss in the park.
The Blue Hole at Slide & Splash will make you feel like you are right in the middle of the ocean and it has six different shoots to choose from.
Aqualand offers the Flying Mattresses, where you and the whole family each grab a mattress and try to slide across a pool after a vertical descent, and the Ranging Rapids.
The scariest rides
At Aquashow, Whitefall has the distinctive honour of being the most frightful attraction in the whole park. Emotions run wild in this V-shaped slide where you’ll feel you are going to fly off the end of slide. However the height of the Free Fall ride and the speed of Water Rollercoaster with its tunnel are also not to be dismissed!
The scariest ride in Slide & Splash is the Black Hole, a frightening slide where you are constantly in the dark, never knowing when it is going to be the next and you can only expect the unexpected. The Big Wave also doesn’t fail to disappoint with its huge drop off.
Trust me on this one, it gets really scary once you are on top about to be dropped from a height of 23 metres clinging to your ‘tray’ above an almost vertical drop followed by a high speed trip across the water like a skipping and skimming stone across a lake.
The highest ride at Aquashow is the Freefall. Being 32m high and 129m long, these two slides will make you feel like the fall never ends.
At Slide & Splash the Kamikaze slide is the tallest one. Because it is one of the oldest slides in the park, this 20m high attraction is one of the most popular in the Algarve.
Also called Kamikaze this slide at Aqualand is over 30m high and has such a steep slope that the ride lasts only 4 seconds!
Rides for young children
Furthermore, all three parks have spaces and attractions designed for the younger ones.
Aquashow has for example Aqualândia where kids are guaranteed to have a lot of fun while being safe, the biggest wave pool in Portugal set to provide moments of leisure for the whole family and even a Mini Train ride where children will be able to fulfil their dream of becoming a train driver. There’s also a second kids mini splash park near to the water roller coaster to keep them busy.
Slide & Splash provides a very fun playground from which your kids will never want to leave. Colourful slides looking like monsters or castles and foam slides for children are set to make this an unforgettable experience for the young ones.
Aqualand offers the spectacular Rainbow Park as well as the Children’s Paradise park. These great and enjoyable pools with fountains, animal water figures and multiple slides will give kids the chance to live an incredible adventure.
Besides the rides, both Aquashow and Slide & Splash have animal shows such as the reptile show, the parrots show and the birds of prey show. They are a lot of fun and ideal for families with kids and are also a great way to rest a little after the big adrenaline rides.
Slide & Splash even has a big Jacuzzi where you will feel so tranquil that you are most likely to fall asleep and for 2018 Aquashow is planning on bringing its Jacuzzi back. Also ideal to rest and feel peaceful is the Lazy Rivers of Aquashow or Aqualand, where you can sit on an inflatable while a slow-paced current pushes you gently around the park. For 2018 Slide & Splash will also be featuring its own version of the Lazy River so whichever park you choose there’s something for everybody.
In terms of prices:
- Aquashow’s normal ticket costs 29€ and is intended for people between the ages of 11 and 64. The entrance for babies until 4 years old is free. Children between 5 and 10 years old or people older than 65 years old are charged 19€.
- Slide & Splash charges 27€ for a normal ticket (between the ages of 11 and 64). For kids between the ages of 5 and 10 and for people older than 65 years old the price is 20€. Children under the age of 4 years old don’t have to pay ticket.
- Aqualand seems to be the cheapest one, charging 27€ for people over 11 years old and 19€ for any other children between the ages of 5 and 10 or for senior people above 65 years old. Keep an eye out for Aqualand’s special promotion: sometimes you can find two tickets for the price of one.
For the best discounts you should buy your tickets in advance and you can find great savings at all these parks at www.algarverfun.com .
For 2018 the water parks will be running on the following days:
- Aquashow will open its doors on the 1st of May until the 30th of September.
- Slide & Splash opens on the 28th of March and only closes on the 2nd of November, making this the longest running water park in the Algarve.
- Aqualand starts the season on the 12th of June and will close down on the 22nd of September.
Aquashow also has some non-water activities such as the thrilling Air Race or the dizzy Top Swing. Both these attractions will surely keep your levels of adrenaline running as you will be turned upside down over and over. Something which is unique about Aquashow is it also has its own 4-star hotel so you can stay right next door to the park.
Aqualand is the least touristic one, meaning you will sometimes be faced with less crowds, which results in shorter lines for the attractions, something which might be important to take into consideration. Of course all 3 parks get busy during peak season and if its possible you’re best to come outside of the school holidays. Obviously this isn’t always possible so just put on plenty of sun lotion and with a little patience you’ll be flying doing the slides before you know it!
All 3 waterparks have toilets, changing rooms, lockers, restaurants, ice-cream kiosks, and plenty of green spaces where you can relax and enjoy your own picnic.
Please note it is not allowed to bring glass bottles at any of the parks, and at Aqualand umbrellas must be rented as its not allowed to bring your own however it is only a few euros. If you want the best spots on the grass make sure you get there early, or you can also choose to rent sun beds if you prefer.
While you must always remain responsible for your own children all 3 parks have plenty ofstaff monitoring each attraction as well as lifeguards to ensure the safety and well-being of all visitors.
Whichever park you choose we’re sure you’ll have a great time and if you need any further assistance with choosing, just contact the experts at Algarve Fun who will be happy to help!
For more information or to buy tickets for any of the water parks, please see the below pages: