Terra Mitica Theme Park Benidorm Costa Blanca
A truly ambitious theme park, Terra Mitica is another addition to Benidorm’s long list of attractions for kids and adults of any nationality and tastes. There may even be some educational value snuck in there; ancient cultures are incorporated into hair-raising rides and shows with various ethnic costumes and designs, all of which are highly entertaining whether they’re authentic or not.
Located just inland from Benidorm, the park can be reached easily from either the AP7 or the N332.
Getting to the park by bus is easy; just take bus #21 or #22 from the station at Benidorm and they’ll take you right to the gate, and back again when you leave. The Terra Mitica sign, for anyone who has been to Los Angeles, is strongly reminiscent of the one up there in the hills that spells out Hollywood in huge white letters on a brown hillside. However, except for that bit of trivia, the surroundings are hugely different.
For one thing there’s no smog. Instead you’re looking at some of the loveliest scenery to be found anywhere on the Costa Blanca, along with its world-famous clear blue skies and an all-round perfect climate for any enterprise, especially an open-air theme park like this one. With that said, before you go, be sure to check the weather forecast; Benidorm does occasionally get bad weather, and you’ll want a warm sunny day to get maximum enjoyment from your Terra Mitica experience.
Javea to Terra Mitica 48kms, 40 mins
The park first opened in 2000 and went through several years of financial difficulties, changing ownership and even going into temporary receivership. It wasn’t until 2006 that Terra Mitica finally got out of the red and into the black, but in succeeding years it has been thriving, adding new attractions, shows and shops; as of last year a big new Luxor Hotel was opened right on the edge of the park.
A visit to Terra Mitica is a full day’s adventure; don’t worry about bringing a picnic since there are plenty of restaurants offering all sorts of quick and yummy treats from sandwiches to pizza to tapas to ice cream; most any appetite will be well served. In fact the management is reported to frown on guests bringing their own food (or drink) into the park, so plan on trying out some of the tempting options available.
Do note that though small children are welcome to the park, there are strict height requirements for the more intense rides. You can get comprehensive information about these requirements beforehand so kids don’t get disappointed, and most all the scariest big-person rides have child-sized copies so everyone should be delightfully dizzy and thoroughly thrilled.
There are five distinct areas of the park, based on five civilizations of the Mediterranean in ancient times. They include Rome, Greece, Egypt (now designated as Ocionia), the Islands (of the Med) and Iberia. We’ll take a quick tour through each of them here, but you’ll want to take your time and there may be some long lines if you’re there on a summer’s day, especially with kids. Cool, comfortable clothes (including your shoes) are strongly advised.
Upon entering the park you’ll find yourself amongst the pyramids of ancient Egypt, and this might be a good time to take in the view and get oriented at the same time. A trip to the top of Infinnito, 100 metres tall with a revolving viewing platform, is about as good as it gets, scenery-wise. There’s a magnificent panoramic view of Benidorm and the coast, and you can also get a good look at the different areas of the park and maybe decide which rides you want to take on.
Of course the Nile River features here in Egypt, with a roller-coaster log-flume ride called The Falls of Nile. This one has two notable drops, one in reverse; the longest drop is twenty metres. Riders are absolutely guaranteed to get wet, even drenched. (See note regarding warm sunny days.) Each car on this ride is built to look like an inflated sarcophagus, and it’s rated as as medium on the intensity scale, but there is a kid’s version of the ride too, the Aquatiti, so everyone can get wet.
A drier and tamer version of the Nile ride is a boat ride from the Port of Alexandria to Iberia; this is a lovely ‘scenic tour’ that any family member will enjoy. Also, and maybe not for kids, there is a haunted maze called La Piramide del Terror (you guessed it: Terror Pyramid, aka Horror Pyramid) which has some seriously scary moments. To let off some steam and/or any violent urges you’ve brought along, try the action in the Battle of the Pyramids, which is basically an indoor paintball game.
Onwards to Iberia (you can stroll or take the boat ride) where you can crash around in Spanish-style Dodgem Cars and youngsters can bash away on child-size dodgems in the shape of cute animals. If you prefer thrills before, after or instead of these ‘tame’ rides, go for Tizona, a roller-coaster that loops, swoops, twists and plummets at 80kph and turns you upside down five times – enough to get a scream out of even the most daring riders.
Note that this area is now designated as Iberia Park, and though you can walk all around for free, the rides are extra unless you’ve bought an additional ticket for this part of the attraction. This includes the paddle boats but not the spa pools where you can relax and cool off (if you’re not quite ready for a splashy thrill on one of the water rides).
Greece, Rome, and Roller Coasters
From Iberia you could head on over to Greece, where you can get in line for one of the real white-knucklers. They’re all named more or less appropriately: Titanide is a real screamer of a roller-coaster, whipping through some amazing gyrations and not recommended right after a meal unless you have the proverbial iron stomach.
Not to be outdone, the SynKope, which is aptly described as a “floorless giant Frisbee” will afford you some great views – if you manage to keep your eyes open and your stomach in place. For a less dizzying experience with some ‘monstrous’ special effects, take a ride through the Labyrinth of the Minotaur; it’s a very dark ride and may be a bit too scary for small children. Cool off on the Fury of Triton which will drop you headfirst into the briny with enough speed to water down the whole train.
For a milder ride there’s Icarus, which lets you ride in a comfy swing and twirl about high above the ground, catching the breezes and a 360 degree view of Benidorm and beaches. Right next to the swings you can catch Alucinakis, the kid’s version of the Magnus Colossus (great big rollercoaster in Rome; we’ll get there next.)
The Colossus, and Magnus Colossus is literally the high point here; it’s another wild and wooly rollercoaster that gets going to 100 km on a wooden track that was the longest in Europe when it opened here in 2000. Belt in and hold onto your hat (and camera, and anything else you don’t want to fly away); it’s quite a long ride. For a quick but memorable thrill, Flight of the Phoenix also offers a lovely ‘view from the top’ (70 metres) and then drops you like a rock at 100kmh in about three seconds; most people wobble when they come off this ride.
After that you might think about winding down a little; check out the gentler thrills for kids (and wobbly parents). While still in Rome (Terra Mitica version) you’ll find the Ayquesustus, a much milder copy of the Phoenix, dropping only six metres instead of 60, and ideal for parents’ photo ops. The Rotundus is also a great kid’s ride, but parents can go along on this one, a charming little Ferris wheel (treadmill) with cars shaped like birds.
Back to the real action, and not immediately after lunch either, the Inferno will hurl you at 60 kph around upside down loops and twists; it’s a roller-coaster with a twist – and then some; not for the faint-hearted. A grand finale for Rome would be the Tornado, since it’s a relatively mild one as tornadoes go, and a fabulous viewpoint. An 80-metre tower is the base for circling chairs that swing you to all points of the horizon at varying speeds and heights.
If by this point you haven’t visited The Islands, now would be the time. This area of the park is themed to portray some of the Mediterranean islands of ancient history and myth. Hang on lest you be tossed into the angry sea on La Colera de Akiles (the Anger of Achilles), a ship that rides the air instead of the waves, but with much the same motion as a vessel in towering seas (probably not for those prone to mal de mer.)
Less dizzying but exciting is a spin through Argus’ Rapids (the theme is Jason and the Argonauts) that tosses your boat along a twisty river with plenty of satisfying drops and splashes. The ‘darker’ water ride here in the Islands is Ulysses’ Rescue, a boat ride featuring lots of animated creatures and sound effects depicting the Isle of Circe, the Mermaid’s Coast and by the way, Hell, as Ulysses saw it.
For the kids – and any adult with a scrap of kid-ness – the scintillating Mithos carousel is like a magnet. It is just a carousel, but with mirrors for daytime and colorful bright lights after dark and various mythical creatures to ride, this one defines the word ‘delightful’.
Las Vegas in Benidorm
Obviously you won’t ride all those rides without taking a few breaks; you’ll want to check out the shows as you proceed through the different themed areas. Some are amusing and geared more towards the youngsters, but others are strongly themed extravaganzas that could rival the shows in Las Vegas. Each one is meant to portray aspects of the ancient civilizations, with emphasis on mythology and romance, of course.
In Rome, the Neron show is one of the spectaculars: the gymnastics and acrobatics are truly breathtaking even for the most blasé spectator. Don’t miss it. Then you get to see a fine example of good sportsmanship versus a real bad sport, with Espartaco (aka to movie-goers: Spartacus) in gladiatorial battle to the death, when the ‘Emperor’ get his just come-uppance.
Cleopatra, in Egypt, presents another full-costume dance and acrobatics performance, For the first few moments you wonder if Cleopatra herself is just going to sit and watch, but she stalks down into the choreography and does justice to her reputation. Quo Vadis, on the other hand, is an energetic street show that involves audience participation, lots of humor and even occasional drama; you can easily get caught up in, so watch out for these two lively performers with their Trojan horse.
Time to Eat
In between rides (but not during) and shows, and possibly quite often, you’re going to be enticed by the savory smells from various restaurant offerings. Remember that you’re not allowed to ‘picnic in the park’ so be prepared to spend a little extra (or a lot, depending on how much you can eat).
Just to give an idea, you can choose between hearty burgers or pizza, or pasta and salad, or quick-and-easy hot dogs and fries, plus a number of other options, but this is not the spot for elegant formal dining – and you wouldn’t want to spend that much time in a restaurant when so many other attractions are calling. However a leisurely sit-down at one of the ice cream shops might be just what’s needed during your Terra Mitica adventure, and one or two such refreshers are highly recommended.
If you stay until nightfall you can catch a gorgeous laser show, quite dazzling as it’s projected on the water spray from a fountain in the lake. It incorporates fireworks and thumping bass along with “Magic” music, with vertiginous views from some of the park’s wilder rides as part of the laser action. Well worth staying ’til dark, but it’s sure to wake up sleepy kids, so that’s a factor to be considered.
Another factor worth a mention is that if you’re staying at the Terra Mitica Grand Luxor Hotel you’ll be within strolling distance of your nighttime accommodations, not to mention that tickets to the park are free with an overnight stay. The Luxor is a big new establishment, every room with a terrace or balcony and views of the sea or the park. A huge outdoor swimming pool, excellent restaurant and bar plus many other amenities make this a good option, especially for families.
Ticket Prices and Opening Hours
Current prices (always check for discounts or changes) are €39 for adults on a one-day ticket or €48 for two days, €28 for ages 4 to 12 and €28 for 65 or older, but take note that they’re cheaper if you buy them online rather than at the ticket window. There are three other park attractions near by, and package rates are available for other theme parks Aqualandia, Mundamar and Terra Natura.
You can get discount rates from various websites, so you’re well advised to shop around a bit before you decide. Also, check out some of the special deals you can get in Benidorm itself; discount vouchers are available at tourist information offices in town, also at some local businesses, so ask around.
The consensus of reviewers seems to be that the best time to visit Terra Mitica is just about any time it’s open, but in general during the autumn queues are usually short or non-existent, whereas in summer they may be quite long. However some rides may be closed for various reasons at various times, so if you have your heart set on one in particular, check with the park’s information office.
As of the latest posting, Terra Mitica’s operating hours are from 10:30am to midnight during the summer months of June, July and August, and from 10:30am to 8:00pm during April, May and September, but weekends only in November and December. The park is closed from January through March. Once again, note that changes may have occurred; be sure you get current information from the source or from your travel agent regarding prices and hours of operation.