Advantages variety of rides, fun day out, enjoyable attractions, fair entry fee, easy to get to
Disadvantages no straps on locker keys, limited shade on walkways resulting in burning feet, very hilly
|Is it worth visiting?|
Faliraki Water Park
On the basis that the main arrival/departure days on the island tend to be Wednesdays and Sundays we decided to go on a Sunday in hope that it wouldn't be quite as busy as other guests had reported. We got up fairly early and went to the reception desk of our hotel and asked them to book us a taxi, they did and it was there within two minutes! The taxi ride took about 15-20 minutes and cost about 15 euros to take us straight from our hotel to the doorstep of the waterpark.As I mentioned above, the waterpark is situated in Faliraki which is the main seaside resort in Rhodes and is situated on the north east coast. The waterpark itself is located in the centre of the coastal street and appears to be easily accessible by taxi, car and bus. The water park run a free shuttle bus to and from Rhodes town and there is a reasonable sized carpark (free of charge) so if you have hired a car you can use that as transport.
The water park is the first to appear on the island of Rhodes and claims to be the biggest in Europe (I am not convinced about this as im sure I have been to bigger ones). From June through to August the waterpark is open from 9.30am till 7pm and from may to October it closes at 6pm.The cost of entrance is quite reasonable at 20 euros for adults (12 years and over), 15 euros for children (aged 3 - 12 years) and children under three years old are free.
You can by your tickets at the entrance of the park but by doing it through your travel rep means that you don't queue for so long in theory. We arrived at 10am and it seemed very quiet so we were able to go straight through the ticket office as there were no queues.
As we walked into the park we realised just how much of a hill it was built on! There are steps EVERYWHERE and the whole thing is built on a massive slope. As you walk in to the water park there is a distinctive lack of sign posting (we stood there with no idea where to go to find lockers etc) So I recommend grabbing a map from outside the ticket booths. We did this and found a set of lockers which you have to pay a deposit and small charge for in the shop. The deposit is 5 euros and I think the cost of a locker was 2 euros. The key for the lockers is just that - a key!! There is no wrist strap which seemed fairly stupid! We copied the family next to us and my dad tied the key onto the drawstring of his swimming shorts this was by no means ideal but seemed the only option.
Initially we studied the map to get our bearings and then had to ditch the map as we didn't want to take in on the rides with us! We walked to the nearest area of rides where we discovered that there were more lockers there - with keys with wriststraps (although these did look fairly questionable!!)The whole of the park still seemed incredibly quiet so we were able to go straight onto the rides without queuing at all. This seemed to pretty much be the case throughout the day as there were never more than 5 people in front of us for a ride which was great and I am sure this is due to us visiting on a Sunday.
The are a wide variety of rides, most of which are similar to those you would expect to find in a waterparks including tunnel, spiralling rides, nasty straight drop slides that plummet you to what feels like your death! Rides that are in the pitch black and very fast and calmer rides. Most of the rides require you to sit in a rubber ring or lay on a mat. The relevant mats or rings are stored at the bottom of the rides by the splash pools and are colour coded and labelled for each ride to prevent people walking off with them Most rides with rings include double rings. We had no problem getting the rings for the rides but I am aware that some people who visited on a busier day had to wait a while for people who kept going on the rides over and over again.In addition to the expected rides mentioned above there was also a ride called the stingray which basically looks like a skateboarding halfpipe and you are dropped over one edge in a rubber ring and get thrown up each side a couple of times before skidding into the splash pool. There is also a ride where you slide down a pitch black tube and fly out the end into a large bowl shape, spin round and round the bowl and then drop painfully through the hole at the bottom into a splash pool. This one concerned me as attached to the splash pool is a spinal board!!! All of these rides (including those mentioned above) are more aimed at those over 12 years old although we were pleased that my 8 year old brother was able to go on enough of them to keep him happy.
Down what seems like a few million steps is a 'lazy river' where you literally just sit/lay in a rubber ring and let the current gently float you round. I particularly enjoyed this as it is so relaxing and is nice to drift round in the glorious sunshine. Surrounding this lazy river are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas so that you can lay back and enjoy the sunshine.Down many more steps is the wave pool which is a fairly large pool surrounded by sunbeds which has some pretty extreme waves every half hour. We enjoyed this although it is worth noting that the waves get very strong and even as a strong swimmer I found it hard to swim against them so be very careful with young children. Saying that, the wave pool does have quite a lot of buoyancy jackets of all sizes for children or adults to wear free of charge in the wave pool. When the waves are on a set of gigantic speakers boom out music which adds to the atmosphere of excitement but means you wouldn't be able to hear if anyone was calling for help!
Further down from the wave pool (many more steps or a slope depending on what you choose to use) is the children's area which I must say is very well designed. There is a big shallow pool with a pirate ship and similar things for the children to climb on, slide down etc. My little brother thoroughly enjoyed all of this and spent a good half hour playing there while we relaxed on the sunbeds and in the shallow pool. The best attraction in the children's area is something that I have never seen before and I think it was more popular with the adults than the children! It was a huge rubber dome shape that was about 10 feet tall and it was filled with water, it had ropes down the sides so that you could use them to climb up the sides (made difficult by the downwards flow of water) and then bounce on the top and slide your way down into the surrounding water. It was brilliant!! To avoid adults crushing the children they have two queuing areas - one for adults and one for children and they alternate for 10 minute sessions so that the children get 10 minutes then the adults get 10 minutes. This seemed to be the most popular attraction as it is just so different and so much fun!! It is very difficult to actually get to the top for adults (the children seemed to find it much easier as they are a lot lighter) and whilst its such a fun attraction - you can get rope burns if you slip and forget to let go of the rope!!Scattered around the park are toilets, changing huts and areas of sunbeds. None of us are particularly unfit but we found the excessive numbers of steps pretty exhausting in the 118 degrees heat. By about 11am the ground had become so hot that it was actually unbearable to walk on in bare feet so we had to take sandals around with us - this wasn't a massive problem but I am aware of two girls who actually had their sandals stolen while they were on a ride! Quite a few people were wearing socks around the park which made a lot of sense and is something I would bare in mind for future waterparks because you can keep them on during the rides but they stop you burning your feet when walking around!
Whilst we found the long slopes and numerous steps hard work, the waterpark does have a little train that drives around the park all day long. Its free to ride so you can just hop on and then get off at the various ride areas which we ended up doing as it was just to exhausting to walk around in the midday heat.All of the staff seemed friendly enough, the lifeguards obviously took the safety on the rides very seriously which was nice to know and I was impressed with how well all of the staff could speak English.
There is a small café area which sells food and drink - it has a very limited number of tables and I am sure that on busy days it could be a bit of a nightmare. The quality and prices of the food and drink was reasonable, we had hotdogs, burgers and chips which weren't anything spectacular but were nice enough.We left the waterpark at around 3pm as we had been on all of the rides by then and the extreme heat was making it uncomfortable to be in the sun without shade. We were able to get changed in the changing rooms as it was so quiet but i cannot imagine what it would be like on a busy day.
We had a brief look in the souvenir shop which had the sort of things you could find in most souvenir shops in Rhodes. On exiting the waterpark there were taxis waiting outside which meant that we didn't have to wait around for one and were able to get straight back to our hotel.Overall we had a very enjoyable time at the water park. There was a good variety of rides to suit all of us, the childrens area was very impressive and although a couple of the rides were a little bit painful they were all well supervised and good fun. I feel that we were incredibly lucky in that we chose to go on a Sunday which was not very busy at all and so we didn't really have to queue for anything for more than a couple of minutes and the park wasn't overcrowded. There were plenty of places to sit in the shade, however walking around the park you are very exposed to the sun and the ground is scorching hot. By situating the waterpark on a hillside there are advantages in terms of the rides being easier to build and structure but there are hundred and hundreds of steps and it really is exhausting in that kind of heat and when your feet are sizzling on the baking hot ground!! The facilities were ok in that they met our requirements but on a busy day I think it would have been a different story. The locker key issue was poorly thought out as adding wriststraps to the keys would have been a lot easier. In general the waterpark is a great day out, we were glad we went and would definitely say it is worth a visit if you are in Rhodes however it perhaps isn't as well designed as it could have been and a few simple improvements like straps on locker keys, shaded walkways to stop feet burning, more changing areas and more tables in the café could significantly improve it.
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