We decided to do Liseberg in September as there was a brand new B&M to ride, plus Kris has never been and Helix is one of my favourite coasters in the world.
It’s relativly easy to get to from the UK, a quick 2 hour flight followed by a short taxi ride or train into Gothenburg, and Lisebrg sits right in the centre of the city. We decided to stay in Upperhouse in the Gothia Towers that are located opposite to the entrance of the park. It’s quite a high end hotel and definately not the place to stay if you’re looking on saving pennies, but there are plenty of Air BnBs in the area and cheaper accomodation.
The hotel was quite an experience in itself though, it resides on the top floor of a skyscraper with a stunning view of Liseberg, and if you get into the spa, the heated glass bottomed pool lets you swim above all the pedestrians below and watch Helix go round from high above.
First things first, lets get on Helix. I’m not sure what Kris anticipated, but the way this coaster is built up is great, you just capture glimpses of it on the way up the hill and the entire queue is enclosed with a fantastic IMAscore soundtrack pumping through it.
The queue building has a kind of evil liar quality to it, with the Helix’s signature green coloured lights and all the concrete and steel. It’s also got a maze-like quality that reminds me of Penrose stairs, you’re never quite sure where the winding path will take you. There’s also a game to play on your phone (if you can figure out the swedish), where you have to complete a number of small challenges in a set time. The person with the top score gets on the scoreboard (Kris became abit obsessed with it) it definately made the 30 minute queue fly by.
Now for the coaster, I just want to start by saying… this is my favourite coaster. I forgot how good it actually is. I can understand some criticism it gets, but for me personally it’s up there right at the top (although I have to admit it’s almost tied with another multi-launch coaster in a certain German theme park.
Now to break it down, it starts with a drop that gives me the same puzzling questions Nemesis’ first drop gives me, do the laws of physics not apply to this? It’s barely a drop but manages to fling you into the first corkscrew over the first launch, a lovely introduction that gets you used to just how open these mack restraints are. With one little swoop over a memorial garden you hit the first “launch”, it’s more of a gentle push up into the second inversion, it’s all good and dandy and we’re laughing at this point, but from this point onward is such varied and perfect multi-punch of elements, it truely wins me over every time.
It’s just like BAM! Air-time, BAM! Inversion! High-positive, crazy ejector, 360 zero-g, quick air-time direction change transition, then BAM! into the high Gs again. You get a small breather, which ironically doubles up as a launch (yeah they’re kinda weak…) but then you get whipped up in an inverted top hat which is so unexpectedly high. Looking out over the park, upside down with just a lap bar feels great, and by this time you question how the hell those restraints are keeping you in, and next come the ultimate test.
Just a swoop past their screaming swing ride and you rise up in an ejector hill, easily the highlight of the ride. You can see all of Gothenburg and your thighs are being slammed into the restraints as they try and stop you getting flung into oblivion. After this the ride lets you catch your breath slightly as it weaves around Lisebergbanan and up into the final inversion, an in-line twist, and then the brakes. It leaves me joyously clapping each and every time.
VERDICT: An incredibly paced coaster that times every element with such a power and grace that lets you saviour every moment and appriciate every curve. And each one is placed with care and thought, a remarkable experience.
When you book in advance you get some fast passes for a certain timeslot, so the new coaster Valkyria had to wait, so we headed down the hill to Balder, their Intamin woodie, a rare breed of coaster these days, and considered one of the best in the world before RMC came along.
Since my last visit this area has been revamped to a theme of “Myths & Legends” based around nordic mythology. It’s cleverly done to include Balder, as it previously barely had a theme and this area was distinctly amusement parky, now although it can’t stand up to Phantasialand and Disney levels of theming, the carved wood and IMAScore theme have really elevated the area.
The new queue now sits in the ride’s dense wooden structure, but luckily for us it was not long at all. We managed to get on the front on those comfy intamin seats. The ride starts with an incredibly steep lift that overlooks the nearby road and at the top you’re reminded with a sign that this coaster once had the steepest wooden coaster drop in the world. Following the great drop you’re flung into an ejector air and then a turn, then some hills, then a turn and it kinda does a rinse and repeat style layout from here.
I’m not sure if it was because it was fairly cold, or it hadn’t warmed up, or Helix’s ejector hill was still on your mind, or maybe it was being on the front but it just didn’t seem to have the power I remember. The air-time just felt very short lived and the layout just got kinda of repetitive by the end. I was left a little disappointed. Even the corners were as such a low speed I found gravity pulling downward on the bank. She wasn’t doing well today.
VERDICT: After the hype this coaster used to have, without the strong air-time it really highlighted how bland this coaster is outside it’s hills. It’s great fun but this was considered the best wooden coaster in the world.
So our time to get on Valkyria has approached, and one thing you have to take notice is that bags arn’t even allowed into the queue-line so you have to use lockers that are located in the shop. I really hope this faff is changed though, baggage holds are a much better option if they don’t items on the station.
The coaster looms over the skyline and is suprisingly tall considering the space they’ve managed to fit it in. The minimal B&M white supports saves the ride from cramping up the area too, plus that golden butterscotch colour looks devine. All in all it’s an incredibly impressive ride to look at. It all has very different feel from Helix, once you’re in the queue and surrounded by the theming and music it’s almost like a different park.
After some station faff (it’s efficient enough, but suffers from year 1 faff, loads of new queuing systems that get abit confusing, our fast pass was definitely not that fast) we boarded the new six seated row. I’m not one of those people that dislikes the new B&M vest restraints, it maybe could do with a little less pressure, but I would classify them in the comfier restraints.
The lift is smooth and fast up to the signature dive coaster top corner, it’s far far better than Baron’s top section, can we make sure all new dive coasters have this top corner? The view is great, even though you have to look up at helix’s top hat, you still feel incredibly high up and can see a lot of Gothenburg. Then the holding brake and into the drop. Every dive coaster needs a misty hole on its first drop, it feels fantastic and has a lot more punch to it than Baron, although I’d rate it slightly weaker than Oblivion.
The immelmen again feels super high and then you dive back down and slam into a series of elements that feel like B&M forgot to add any trims. Your legs almost kiss the bottom of the lift hill, and before you know it you’re flung in probably the fastest zero-g roll I’ve ever experienced, straight round into a pretty forceful helix, and then a great pop of air before the final inversion. It’s all over quickly but doesn’t leave you feeling short changed. I applaud Liseberg for pushing B&M to do a coaster with a bit more fire, I was left pleasantly impressed.
VERDICT: Valkyria doesn’t feel quite as impactful and important as it’s neighbouring coasters. But it’s a powerful beast that I’d rate as one of B&Ms best newer rides. A unexpected, yet worthy addition to the park.
REST OF THE PARK
This park has a great selection of flat rides, despite them not really being my favourite thing to do, it’s such a lovely varied line-up, almost every box is ticked, sometimes even twice. I didn’t managed to ride their gyro swing Loke which I may get hate for because people say it’s incredible, I’m just scared of swinging rides, I get the worst nausea on these, maybe one day aye? My personal favourite non coaster ride there is Atmosfear, it’s such a gigantic drop tower and feels even taller due to the fact it sits at the top of the hill. It wasn’t running this trip unfortunately but I recommend fully.
There’s also a few secondary coasters, the most notable in Lisebergbanan, which is historically the parks iconic ride before Helix waltzed in. It’s a great ride! And a fantastic example of a traditional terrain coaster. It’s such a historic ride I didn’t want to rate it on it’s own, all you need to know is it’s super fun and worth a ride.
I envy the people of Gothenburg so much to have such a lovely city park on their doorstep with some of the best coaster models out there. It’s well maintained and has an atmosphere that is so nostalgic and warm. Just walking round you can see the care and love the owners of the park have put into the place, and clearly the locals are proud of such a park. I cannot recommend visiting this place enough, as it’s charm is more than just it’s ride line-up.