Experience One Of The World's Tallest Rides At This Massive European Theme Park

There are plenty of incredible theme parks around the globe. And yet, while traveling abroad, American vacationers may not prioritize them, which can be a mistake. Whether it's Shanghai Disneyland Park or the historical Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, there's something special about visiting a theme park abroad. Although these parks still exist outside the real world, they reflect the host country's worldview and culture to an extent, much like Walt Disney envisioned EPCOT as an ideal American future.

While the cultural aspect is cool, you'll also find some mind-boggling rides outside of the U.S., and if you'd like to experience both, then consider visiting PortAventura World Park & Resort in Spain. The third-largest theme park in Europe, PortAventura is located just over 60 miles from Barcelona, on the Mediterranean coast, offering visitors a selection of restaurants, a golf course, and a 296-acre theme park. While the park boasts plenty of world-class rides, there's one that towers above the rest — Hurakan Condor.

Hurakan Condor is a free-falling thrill ride

PortAventura World Park & Resort has no shortage of rides for thrill-seekers. In fact, it boasts some of the largest, tallest, and fastest rollercoasters in the world. Once the tallest ride in Europe, the Shambhala coaster is 256 feet tall and reaches heights of 83 mph. Replacing it as Europe's tallest coaster, Red Force in Ferrari Land, which is now part of PortAventura, is the world's third-tallest coaster at 367 feet. Red Force is also Europe's fastest coaster, topping out at 112 mph.

Although PortAventura offers some astronaut training-level rides, the Hurakan Condor is in a league of its own, especially if you're a fan of sheer drops and airtime. After choosing a seat in one of five gondolas, you slowly ascend 328 feet straight up into the air. From the top of the ride, you'll enjoy expansive views of the entire park and the stunning Mediterranean coast before going into a complete freefall. Dropping 282 feet in just three seconds, you'll feel complete weightlessness as you drop at 71 mph.

Depending on your threshold for heights and speed, you can choose to either sit in a conventional harnessed seat or stand at a 15-degree forward tilt, an option reserved for the most intrepid adrenaline junkies.

Tour the world and Sesame Street

PortAventura World Park & Resort is more than its spine-tingling rides, however. After you've ridden Hurakan Condor and come back down to earth, you can travelerblog five of the earth's different regions. In Mediterránia, you can catch a pyrotechnic show in a replicated Mediterranean fishing village or stroll through "an authentic tropical jungle" in Polynesia. Brave the aforementioned Shambhala coaster in colonial China, then enjoy a Mexican lunch with a Mariachi band in Mexico (where Hurakan Condor is located). 

If you're from America, then you'll definitely want to visit the Far West district to ride the Grand Canyon Rapids and eat an authentic American hotdog. If you're on a family vacation, head to the kid-friendly SésamoAventura area, where children can meet their favorite "Sesame Street" characters, including Elmo and Big Bird. The area also features plenty of age-appropriate rides and shows. Better still, after a long day of exploring and surviving some of the world's most intense rides, you can decompress at the luxurious beach club.