Do you love the rush of fear and adrenaline you get from a great roller coaster? You’re not alone. There are more than 2000 roller coasters in operation all over the world, and everybody’s got their favorite. But a few coasters deliver a really special, one-of-a-kind experience. From incredible speed, to gut-churning drops, to head-spinning inversions, there’s something for everybody on our list — so here it is, in no particular order:
The Wildest Rides on the Planet: World’s Top 10 Roller Coasters
Fuji-Q Highland – Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Dodonpa was the fastest roller coaster in the world for a few years, and it still launches faster than any other coaster on the planet — a whopping 106 miles per hour in just 1.8 seconds. If you can pry your eyeballs open for a second you’ll get a great view of Mount Fuji sitting serenely on the horizon.
Six Flags Great Adventure – Jackson, New Jersey, USA
Holding the record for the tallest roller coaster on the planet, Kingda Ka stands 45 stories high and drops you into a terrifying 418 foot dive that will take your breath away. It’s also currently the world’s second-faster coaster, reaching mindblowing speeds of up to 128 miles per hour.
Steel Dragon 2000
Nagashima Spa Land – Kuwana, Japan
The Steel Dragon is a marathon ride — the world’s longest at 8133 feet of pure adrenaline. The one-minute climb to the top of the first hill will have you squirming in suspense. And the drop that follows? 306 feet straight down. Hang on to your hat — this is your introduction to three more minutes of thrills.
Europa Park – Rust, Germany
Europe’s second-tallest roller coaster, the Silver Star is smooth, fast, and minimalist. It features a great series of helixes, turnarounds and hills with lots of airtime. The restraint system on this coaster is especially comfortable — no accident, since it’s sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.
Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Want the feeling of racing in a Ferrari? Try the Formula Rossa. The launch system is hydraulic, and gives you the sensation of taking off in a fighter jet. Top speed of this coaster is 149 miles per hour, making it the fastest in the world. Riders are given protective glasses to keep their eyes safe, but dealing with the 1.7 Gs it generates is up to you.
Hersheypark – Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
Storm Runner was the first coaster to combine inversions with a hydraulic launch. While it’s not a record-breaker anymore, Storm Runner still delivers huge thrills. This freaky ride packs intense acceleration, an 18 story drop, a white-knuckle snake dive and its trademark 135 foot cobra loop all into a high-speed trip that comes in at right around 30 seconds.
Thorpe Park – Surrey, England
Don’t eat anything before you ride the Colossus. It feels like it was designed to make you lose your lunch. It’s a rough ride from start to finish, with 10 loops in just under two minutes. For sheer surprise, the best inversion is probably the last one — it happens when you think the ride is getting ready to pull into the station.
Six Flags New England – Agawam, Massachusetts, USA
This coaster used to the called Superman Ride of Steel, but it was revamped to make it a little crazier and renamed for Superman’s twisted doppelganger. Bizarro is loved by coaster fans for its extended airtime and the rush of fear you get from the low sides of the car — they only come up as far as your ankles.
King’s Dominion – Doswell, Virginia, USA
One of the most intense roller coaster rides you’ll ever scream your way through, the first drop of the Intimidator 305 had to be re-profiled during its first year of operation — people were actually blacking out in the dive. Chances are you’ll still feel a bit queasy as you navigate the 305 foot drop and speeds up to 90 miles an hour.
Coney Island Cyclone
Coney Island – Brooklyn, New York, USA
Proof that some things do get better with age, the Coney Island Cyclone first opened in 1927. It’s probably the most famous roller coaster of its generation, and it’s now designated as a historic landmark. But that’s not why you should ride it — despite its age, the Cyclone delivers world-class thrills. The ride begins with a bone-rattling 85 foot drop and rolls into six twisting bends and eight more drops with the aggressive, disjointed movement that’s characteristic of classic wooden coasters.