No wonder there's a trace of lament in the Mona Lisa's smile. Counting more than 250 million visitors since it opened in 1992, Disneyland Paris, not the Louvre nor the Eiffel Tower, is Europe's most popular tourist destination by far.
We can't say we're surprised, given the competition. Earlier this year, plans for the French history-themed Napoleonland were announced, but even that might not register as the continent's strangest amusement park.
--Mark Smith, Condé Nast Traveler
Brussels, Belgium EuroDisney was famously forced to change its name to Disneyland Paris when it was discovered that the mention of Europe, though glamorous for Americans, makes actual Europeans snooze with its connotations of bureaucracy. No such concerns at Mini-Europe, where you can (and I quote) "Discover Europe's nicest places" via scaled-down recreations of iconic sites. Photo: Courtesy Mini-Europe
Kent, United Kingdom Of course, the beauty of devising a theme park like Diggerland where children and adults are given the chance to operate full-sized construction machinery is that you never actually have to finish building it. Photo: Courtesy DIGGERLAND
Chatham, United Kingdom Those dismissing this Dickens-themed park on TripAdvisor as "a lackluster experience with poor food and entertainment" are surely missing the point: An attraction based around the author of Bleak House and Hard Times was never going to boast untold luxury, surely? Depicted is the Great Expectations tour. Photo: Courtesy Dickens World
Denmark Alas, not a theme park built around Ricky Martin's posterior-praising song, this Danish park is in fact a temple to the altogether less savory domain of toilet humor. It features cartoon mascots such as Henry Hound, a flatulent dog whose emissions supposedly propel Bon Bon Land's flagship coaster. Photo: Courtesy Bon Bon Land
Rust, Germany While obviously nowhere near as brazen in its homage as China's Shijinshan Amusement Park, we have to admit there's something familiar about the silver globe-like structure at this German park -- not to mention its upstanding big-eared mascot, Euromaus. Photo: Courtesy Europa Park
Malta Who says sedimentary rocks can't be fun? This park celebrates the Maltese Islands' distinctive stone in 17 different languages. Photo: Courtesy Limestone Heritage
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This article originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler: We Can't Believe These Theme Parks in Europe Are Real
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