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First port of call for fantastic family trip; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.

SOME theme park resorts are famous for white knuckle rollercoasters; some are renowned for gentler family fun.

It's rare that the two can be combined successfully. Big rides are often too tough for younger children, and the kiddies' attractions too twee for teens. But at PortAventura they've worked magic, turning the Spanish sunshine hotspot in Salou into a destination for all the family.

Across two parks, four hotels and six themed areas there's fun and adventure for all ages, from toddlers to young at heart parents.

But let's start with the younger members of the family. Because PortAventura loves children. There are attractions aplenty, fun and games for them - and even a special family area: SesamoAventura.

It's the name that gives the game away.

Opened in 2011, the sixth themed area of the park is host to all your kids' favourite Sesame Street characters.

And among new family developments this year is a new children's pool with a pirate ship full of the fun figures.

What's more, the park offers up to 15 delightful shows a day, ranging from Chinese acrobats to Polynesian dancers.

The other five worlds are themed to portray China, Polynesia, Mediterranean, Far West and Mexico - each with different rides, attractions and eateries.

You can travel round the world in 24 hours.

And, beat this, there's even a driving school where the little ones will have fun while learning how to drive!

The motto here is simple: Joy, magic, fantasy, amusement let the show begin.

A wide variety of restaurants caters for all tastes - young and old - and there are many exclusive shops selling craftwork and souvenirs.

The park is split into different worlds - China, Polynesia, Mediterranean, Far West and Mexico - each with different rides, attractions and restaurants.

PortAventura is also home to a giant aquatic park which is open during the summer months, and there's a choice of four very plush hotels to stay at, all world-themed to match the park.

Choose from Hotel PortAventura, Hotel Gold River, Hotel Caribe and Hotel El Paso. There's also a motorhome site if you're on a road trip. The four-star Hotel Caribe has a man-made sandy beach surrounded by palm trees and exotic gardens.

Themed hotels may fill some seasoned holidaymakers with dread, but Hotel Caribe has been decorated with style in mind and its rooms are light, airy and spacious with king-sized beds, big bathrooms and decked terraces overlooking the pools and gardens.

It a tranquil place in which to relax and it's hard to believe some of Europe's noisiest and adrenaline-pumping attractions are just minutes away, accessible by regular shuttle trains from the hotel reception.

If it's white knuckle thrills you're after, however, then you won't be disappointed.

PortAventura is home to big-name rollercoasters such as Furius Baco, where riders dangle below the track and are catapulted to 83.5 mph in just three seconds before being flipped through corkscrew turns and steep plunges. As well as this furiously fun attraction, Port Aventura boasts a massive selection of rides for thrillseekers of all ages.

The Dragon Khan rollercoaster boasts eight vertigo loops; Hurakan Condor is a 100-metre freefall drop; Shambhala is the highest rollercoaster in Europe.

But children can also try out gentler rollercoasters and rides - there are dozens to choose from among the park's six themed areas.

Planning a longer stay? Then the unique surroundings of the Costa Daurada and the beaches of Salou are just five minutes away.

One of the great things about PortAventura, by the way, is its convenience for Birmingham holidaymakers. Ryanair offers direct flights from Birmingham Airport to Reus Barcelona Airport and from there the park is just minutes away.

For latest park admission, hotel rates and loads of information about rides, shows and attractions, visit


LAP OF LUXURY: Why not stay in Hotel Caribe at PortAventura?

GOING LOOPY: The Furius Baco ride at PortAventura
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2013
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