Germany – Europa-Park is the best amusement park in the world

Europa-Park is one of the most visited amusement parks in Europe. The German amusement park has been voted the best amusement park in the world eight times in a row and recent research shows that 82% of visitors visit the park again within three years. What is the key to success? A look behind the scenes provides insights. The fact that Europa-Park is not only a socially involved family business, but also a producer of attractions and roller coasters seems to play an important role.

Back in time

The theme park’s history begins more than 240 years ago. In 1780, Paul Mack founded a company in Waldkirch, Germany, that specialized in building wooden stagecoaches. Business was going well and so Paul decided in 1880 to build wagons suitable for transporting organs. Later, the wagons for the fair and the circus were also added. From 1920, the factory started to develop attractions for fairs. A year later, the first wooden roller coaster for an amusement park was built. Since then, the family business started building different types of attractions and grew rapidly with customers all over the world. 95% of production now goes abroad. This company is now one of the five largest roller coaster builders in the world.

The park: showroom for own attractions

In the end it was Franz Mack and his son Roland who were traveling in 1972 and came up with the idea of building their own amusement park. The park had to become a ‘living showroom’ of the products that the factory in Waldkirch could make. After a few years, the Mack family got permission to build a park in Rust, a small village in the Black Forest, on the edge of Alsace. It was intended that an entrepreneur friend would run the park, but unfortunately the man died and the Mack family accepted the challenge. Europa-Park opened its doors for the first time on July 12, 1975. In that year, about 250,000 people visited the park. The park now consists of 19 themed areas, of which European countries have been recreated in minute detail in 16 areas. Spread over the themed areas are more than 100 rides (90% of Mack Rides) and shows, including 13 roller coasters. New Mack Rides products are always the first to be placed in Europa-Park. As a result, park visitors are always the first to become acquainted with innovations. For example, virtual reality on roller coasters was first used in Europa-Park. Visitors wear special glasses and find themselves in another world while simultaneously experiencing the wind, forces and movements of a real roller coaster.

Culinary offer

Europa-Park also has a lot to offer in the culinary field. Initially, the Mack family wanted to lease the restaurant business in the park. When the candidate for this passed away, the Mack family decided to take on this task themselves. Europa-Park now has the largest number of restaurants in one location in Germany. The quality of the food is important. Fast food is available in the park, but there are even more typical delicacies from the countries presented: such as tapas in Spain, raclette in Switzerland and poffertjes in Holland. Furthermore, Europa-Park is the first and only park in the world with Michelin stars: the Ammolite restaurant in the lighthouse of the Bell Rock hotel has two. In addition, there are countless other dining options, including Foodloop. This is a restaurant for the tasty ‘track’ where the food comes to the table via a roller coaster with loops. The various locations also offer opportunities for large and small company meetings and events. About 1,300 take place every year. Europa-Park calls this confertainment: a combination of the words conference and entertainment.


Europa-Park offers its visitors various options for staying the night. Think of six themed hotels with a total of 5,800 rooms (four-star and four-star superior). The Mack family did not initially have this ‘hotel task’ in mind either. But when a hotel chain dropped out at the last minute, the family decided to start their own hotel. In 1995, the first hotel, “El Andaluz”, opened its doors. Originally this hotel was one floor higher, but Grandpa Franz Mack apparently still had his doubts. He crept out of bed at night to erase the top floor on the construction drawing. In 1999 hotel “Castillo Alcazar” followed, in 2004 hotel “Colosseo”, in 2007 hotel “Santa Isabel”, in 2012 hotel “Bell Rock” and in 2019 hotel “Krønasår”. You can also spend the night in tipi tents, covered wagons or log cabins of the Camp Resort or in your own caravan, camper or tent at the campsite.

Further development

Europa-Park has a strong market position. Further development remains important to keep the resort and the region attractive to guests from further afield in the long term. On November 28, 2019, Europa-Park started a new chapter in the family history. On that day, Europa-Park opened the doors of its ‘second gate’: Rulantica Water World. This new and ground-breaking project is the largest investment by the Mack family to date (€180 million including infrastructure). The first two parts of the total project (63 football fields in size) have now been completed: the water park and the aforementioned theme hotel “Krønasår”, which opened in May 2019. This hotel offers guests exclusive access to Rulantica via a bridge. In 2020, the VR experience center YULLBE opened next to “Krønasår”, where visitors go on a journey to strange worlds and leave reality behind. On November 4, 2022, “Eatrenalin” saw the light. This dining experience immerses the restaurant visitors in different worlds – not only through smells and tastes, but also visually, acoustically and through touch and movement.

Family business

The Europa-Park family business is currently run by the brothers Roland and Jürgen Mack (the seventh generation since the start of the company in 1780) and Michael and Thomas Mack, the sons of Roland Mack. Ann-Kathrin, Roland Mack’s daughter, is involved in the latest projects as an architect for the first time and Frederik, Jürgen’s son, is now responsible for the HR department. The tasks will be handed over to the eighth generation in phases. That process may take a while, because 73-year-old Roland Mack still enjoys working. The family is not alone: it has more than 4,450 employees. Attention is paid to personnel in many ways, for example with a campus for employees and an extensive training program with which employees can develop into another position. This can be at the park, at the parent company Mack Rides or at one of the subsidiaries, including a media production company (Mack Media), an animation studio (Mack Animation), a design and engineering company (Mack Solutions), a music studio (Mack Music) , an entertainment agency (Blue Banana) or Tacumeon that deals with media-based attractions. All these companies also work for other amusement parks. Europa-Park also contributes indirectly to employment in the region: this concerns approximately 8,500 jobs at suppliers, shops and accommodation, among others.


The social responsibility of family businesses is generally higher than average. This certainly also applies to Europa-Park. The park attaches great importance to the long-term perspective and the preservation of the region. To this end, it is constantly working to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability aspects and goes to great lengths. Initially, the focus was on nature conservation and recycling, but today management is also involved in energy, water, raw materials and building management. In 2013, Europa-Park was the first park in the world to receive the ‘Green Amusement Park’ certificate. The park received this certificate from the internationally recognized test center TÜV Süd because of its good assessment for the extraction and reuse of energy. A 20-hectare solar park will be built on this site, which will enable the park to run entirely on solar energy in the future.


A look in the trophy cabinet shows that the efforts are paying off. Europa-Park has won several important prizes in recent years. An example is the election of the international trade magazine Amusement Today. It declared Europa-Park the best theme park in the world eight times in a row.