Efteling  is a theme park and leisure complex in Kaatsheuvel, North Brabant, The Netherlands. It's themed around fairy tales, myths, legends, fables and folklore. It's one of the oldest amusement parks in operation in the world and one of the largest in Europe.
Pass the impressive gates of the Efteling and enter an unique world. The park is famous for the enchanting atmosphere, lush green landscaping, meticulous attention to detail and excellent dark rides. With around five million visitors annually, it's in the top of European theme parks attendance. Around 20% of the visitors are foreign.
Originally Efteling catered towards families with children starting out as a general nature park with playground, sporting complexes and Fairy Tale Forest. In over sixty-five years Efteling has evolved and grown into a full theme park, although some of it's origins are still visible.
The base for the park as it is now, was created in 1950. Artist Anton Pieck and inventor Peter Reijnders set out to create a quality fairy tale forest. Pieck's remarkable, nostalgic style combined with Reijnders' ingenuity and the use of "real" materials created an enchanting forest that immediately profiled Efteling as a national attraction upon its opening in 1952. The style set by Pieck has been the base for many developments after that, setting the park apart.
The most important milestones in its development:
<1952 The Foundation
- 1935: A catholic complex of sporting facilities is opened.
1952-1975 Early Years
- 1952: The park opens its Fairy Tale Forest designed by Anton Pieck with a total of 10 tales, instantly becoming a tourist hit; this is considered the start of the current Efteling.
- 1971: the Efteling is the first theme park to receive the Pomme d'Or, in recognition of superior efforts in promoting and raising Europe's level of tourism. The Pomme d'Or is the highest award in the European tourist industry.
1976-1989 Amusement Park
- 1978: The Haunted Castle is the first "large scale" attraction build to increase attendance.
- 1980: Efteling starts to build thrill-rides (roller coasters and the like) to appeal to a larger audience, mostly themed without a fairy tale in sight.
- 1986: With Fata Morgana Efteling returns to its roots with building large attractions but always themed around the (broad) fairy tales and myths theme; continues until today.
1990-2001 Return to Fairy tales
- 1992: Efteling is awarded the IAAPA Applause Award for best theme park in the world.
- 1992: First hotel opens.
- 1999: Start of Winter Efteling. The goal is to be open year round.
2002-2009 World of Efteling
- 2004: Efteling actively works on expansion with more lodging and facilities, a theater with musical productions and a golf course.
- 2005: The park receives the Thea Classic Award, a notable token of recognition of quality awarded by other people in the themed entertainment industry. Efteling is the second park in the world to receive this prize for their entire oeuvre.
2009-now Expanding World of Efteling
- 2010: The Efteling is opened year-round and strives to open a major ride every ~2 years.
- 2012: THEA Award for outstanding achievement Aquanura.
- 2014: A new goal is set. 5 million visitors a year in 2020, including more foreign visitors (that's you), more accommodations and more rides.
- 2017: THEA Award for outstanding achievement Symbolical.
- 2018: In 2021 Efteling will expand 80000 m2 and set a goal for 7 million visitors in 2030
The park provides more that enough to do and see for any age category. Depending on your group interest and group age as well as the number of crowds in the park, expect the fact that you won't be able to do and see everything in a single day. Even on quiet days you'll be facing choices what to see and do. If you are limited to a single day it's probably better to focus on the must do rides, they should be doable. If you're a first time visitor a 2-day visit is advised.
When to visit
Joris en de Draak is the most popular ride
There are substantial differences during the year when the attendance varies from "quiet" to "busy". Ever since Efteling is open year-round there are days with no more then a couple of thousand visitors during weekdays in the off-season and days with well over 40.000 visitors on Saturdays during peak-season. As a reference: during extreme busy days you can expect queues up to 60 - 90 minutes for the popular rides.
There is no golden formula to use when planning to visit the Efteling but there are some basic guidelines:
1. The past. Efteling offers a crowd calendar with a guesstimate, very useful and accurate.
2. Season. The months between April and October are high-season. In this period as many rides as possible will be up and running, there's more entertainment and more restaurants are open but you won't be alone.
As for the other periods consider the months between November and February to be off-season (with the exception of the holidays). During this period fewer rides are running, there's little to no entertainment and some restaurants are closed but it can be (serenely) quiet.
Efteling considers the first weeks after the Winter Efteling the most quiet period of the year.
In recent years March can also rival the high-season, even though the Efteling oddly still considers this off-season. During both the Negen Pleinen Festijn and the Winter Efteling the park adds extra entertainment and theming to create a sizzling summer or warm winter vibe along with increased attendance.
3. Holidays. The peak-season for attendance are weeks 51 - 1, 8-9, 18, 28-35 and 42-44. That's when the Dutch kids are on school break and families flock en masse to the Efteling.
4. Weekend. The busiest days of the week are as you might have guessed first Saturday and second Sunday. It’s highly recommended to avoid these days.
5. Weather. Temperatures between 15°C-25°C with dry, sunny weather are considered prime theme park weather in The Netherlands. As such poor or good weather can have a substantial impact on the number of visitors. Even in quieter months nice weather will increase attendance. And during high season tropical temperatures will result in a deserted Efteling (because every Dutchman is on the beach).
6. Opening times: Efteling is very much a Time for Lines – park. Longer opening times generally mean more people are expected to visit.
| Temp. (°C)
|| 1 - 6
|| 1 - 7
|| 3 - 10
|| 4 - 14
|| 8 - 18
|| 11 - 21
|| 13 - 23
|| 13 - 23
|| 10 - 19
|| 7 - 15
|| 4 - 10
|| 1 - 6
| Rain (mm)
| Number of days with (some) rain
| Hours of sun per day
Efteling offers multiple written translations
Lush green in the Efteling
The predominant weather is a moderate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. Extremes are rare but daytime temperatures below 0 °C are possible and usually occur from December until February while snow can occur from November to April.
Summer days with temperature above 25 °C are usually from May until September, tropical days with temperatures above 30 °C are rare and usually occur only in June to August. Rain throughout the year is distributed relatively equally each month.
Dry statistics aside, poor weather is always a possibility no matter the season. Although continuing rain is rare you should expect the occasional shower. While most rides are covered most waiting areas are not. Make sure you have some rain gear of the sorts if rain is predicted.
Rather obviously Dutch is the default language in the Efteling. Understandably not everyone speaks Dutch and so Efteling supports multiple languages. Although all attractions are in Dutch most have a written translation. Raveleijn uses audio headsets which can be borrowed on site, Aquanura and Symbolical even have spoken English. The supported foreign languages are English, German and French. Staff members will also speak most of these languages. They are identified by language signs on their name tags, representing the languages they speak. Some might also speak Spanish or Italian. In fact most Dutch are multilingual so English, German and French to lesser extend are perfectly usable in the Efteling.
Payments in the Efteling can be made using either the Euro (€) in cash or your Visa, Euro Card, Maestro and American Express. If you use your bank card or credit card remember that in the Netherlands you are required to use your chip and pin. 2 ATM's are located inside the Efteling. Look carefully for they are themed as a treasure chest and an old school safe.
The park is open 365 days a year. Opening and closing times change on a yearly basis and seems to make little sense what so ever.
The park opens at 10 am (March-October) or 11 am (October-March). The main entrance gate to the park opens one hour earlier.
General closing time is 18:00. In July and August (officially known as the Negen pleinen festijn) the park closes at 20:00 with the exception of Friday & Saturday when it closes at 23:00. During holiday periods in November, the Christmas Holiday and weekends in September and October the closing time is 20:00. During holiday periods in April and May part of the Efteling is open until 20:00. There's also a Winter Efteling that opens between November and February.
See the Efteling website for exact details.
Efteling is reachable in the following ways:
- Car: the park is easily accessible by car. The park is well marked along nearby highways A59 (north) & A58 (south). Despite good infrastructure rush-hour and high-season traffic jams are possible. There's good parking space for €10 per day, but when you arrive later on a busy day expect to park in something that looks remarkably like a grassy meadow at a considerable distance from the entrance for €10. Efteling has over 50 charging stations for electric cars. They can be used with your chipcard. The charging stations are located at the front of the car park.
- Public transport: the nearest railway stations are 's Hertogenbosch and Tilburg. Both stations have information points stacked with helpful people. Special buses and regular buses depart and return from these stations at least every half hour. Tickets for trains can be bought on-site in the station at vending-machines or at service-points. Tickets for buses can be bought from the bus driver. Comprehensive public transport information and planning can be found at 9292.nl.
- Bike: Efteling provides a guarded bicycle parking for €1 per day. The surroundings are nice green routes so a bike ride to Efteling is recommended if you're staying in the neighbourhood.
The entrance fee is €37,50. Discounts at €2 p.p. are available for tickets bought through their website. Such prepaid tickets can save you a queue at the entrance on busy days. Children 0-3 are free of charge. You have an option for special tickets "extra" which includes among basic lunch, 30 minutes earlier admission to some parts of the park and 20% discount on 1 souvenir while "luxe" also adds diner, free parking and 25% discount on 1 souvenir.
Once inside, all attractions and shows are free (except for the Game Gallery).
Dogs other then guide dogs are not allowed in the park, but there's a free kennel service near the entrance building. A guide dog must be reported at the guest services in order to inform both security and operators.
The Pardoes Promenade - the main promenade - connects the Entrance to the center of the Park
Once inside the park, everything can be done on foot. Mind you, the park is huge. About 650.000 m² is publicly accessible and that's excluding the parking. In comparison, the publicly accessible part of Disneyland Paris covers over 566.000 m². Although it (hopefully) doesn't require major physical preparation to visit the Efteling you should be aware of the distance you'll be walking inside the park. Comfy shoes and cloths are the way to go, so those high heels look great but are probably not your best choice of footwear.
The park is divided into five realms, each with their own theme: Marerijk (Fairy Realm), Reizenrijk (Travel Realm), Ruigrijk (Rough Realm), Fantasierijk (Fantasy Realm) and Anderrijk (Alternative Realm). If you walk around the park you'll be hard pressed to find any visible border between the realms. They aren't as clear cut as you might expect so don't waste time looking for them. Best place to start your journey is the centre of the park in front of Symbolica. Each realm is conveniently accessible from here, although the individual realms are also interlinked. The main promenade leads straight to Symbolica from the entrance.
In case your feet fail you there's a (real) steam train that services one station in Marerijk and one in Ruigrijk and provides a scenic tour around the park.
Wheelchairs are available for free (requires reservation, ☎ +31 41 65 37 777. 9:00 - 21:00. limited by 2 wheelchairs per group) edit and pushchairs to take kids around can be rented for €4. Getting around in a wheelchair is no problem. With the exception of Droomvlucht, the Monorail in Land van Laaf, Villa Volta and Polka Marina all attractions and shows are accessible. There are also special toilets for disabled visitors.
In order to get around a bit easier Efteling has created an app which you can download from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. One of it's best features are the current waiting times. It's available in Dutch, English, German and French.
Frontview Efteling Theater
A division between see and do is not entirely clear for a theme park, but attractions will be considered under do.
A striking feature is that the attractions don't stand out very much but rather blend into the surroundings. Only at the main squares you'll find groups of attractions. Elsewhere they seem positioned rather randomly in the park between the lush green. It's a deliberate choice because in addition to a theme park Efteling is also a nature park. For example, De Vliegende Hollander coasts over dunes and water, Rollercoaster Joris en de Draak is set in a swamp and Baron 1898 is surrounded by production forest. Allow yourself to be surprised by what you find hiding around the corner.
Consequently the park is set in a real forest, and it shows: there's a lot of green to see, and the small army of gardeners bring in large quantities of flowers each season. In fact, after entering the park you'll be hard pressed to find any attraction at first glance. There's also a collection of tame animals like peacocks, ducks, geese and other birds. In fact, some visit the Efteling only to enjoy the surroundings without going on any ride. Fair enough, this won't be the main reason for many to visit the Efteling but it does contribute to the unique and authentic vibe.
Also to see are the shows and wandering entertainment. Raveleijn is the major free park show extravaganza and requires reservation which can be obtained through ticket machines in front of the theatre. During the summer there's a free show at the open-air theatre in the fairytale forest multiple times a day. And at the end of the day Efteling offers its "Pièce de Résistance": Aquanura. If you have the chance see it after sunset. Besides that, the park features smaller shows which change by the season, and wandering theatrical entertainment. For an up-to-date list, be sure to catch the information leaflet when entering.
When the park has reduced opening in the winter time, a yearly changing large-scale musical production is set in the Efteling Theater. The show is not included in the park ticket and requires reservation. The shows are only in Dutch.
A remarkable figure around the park is Holle Bolle Gijs, a sturdy character similar to Humpty Dumpty, that is unsatisfiable in his hunger for paper. He keeps on asking "Paper Here", and thanks visitors that feed him their waste.
The following attractions are advised not to miss:
- Anton Pieck Plein
- Baron 1898
- Carnaval Festival
- Joris en de Draak
- De Vliegende Hollander
Below are all the attractions in the park. They are divided by Realm.
Before entering the Efteling you're faced by what must be one of the most iconic gates to a theme park. The House of the 5 Senses as it is called let's you know you're entering a different world.
This is where it all started with the fairy tale forest and playground. Containing some of the most popular attractions and also the place where the style of founder Anton Pieck can best be observed it's among the most crowded.
- Droomvlucht (Dream Flight): the most famous attraction of the park and a must-do. You embark on a breathtaking flying journey through the wonderful and diverse world of fairies, pixies and trolls in beautiful surroundings. It's unlike anything you have ever seen. Do not expect fancy 3d effects but billions of details creating a fantasy world as real as ours. It has among the longest queues in the park and being so popular Efteling had to extend the waiting line into what can only be described as a backyard (and no, it's not pretty)... Try to visit in the first 2 hours after park opening.
Sprookjesbos Sleeping Guard
- Sprookjesbos (Fairy Tale Forest): a must-do. Take your time for a 1-2 hour walk in the oldest part of the Efteling, its true heart. Best described as a massive but intimate walkthrough, be surprised at the next scene around every corner. Considering the amount of time it takes to walk through the forest some visitors choose not to include it their plans or discard it as not worth the effort. You'll be missing out on something truly enchanting. The best route is the entrance at the modest main gate near the side of the Carrouselpaleis (and not the side entrance at the beginning of the Pardoes Promenade). Just follow the main road and avoid going backwards or taking short cuts. What awaits is a total of 29 fairy tales depicted either indoor or outdoor. Efteling has expanded the forest through the years resulting in a pleasant layered mix of storytelling. The tales are in Dutch but each fairy tale has a book provided nearby (in Dutch, English, German and French) and most are very well known or need little explanation. Almost all the tales are either animated or interactive including some very nice animatronics. Assuming you've actually taken the right entrance the first fairy tale you'll see is Sleeping Beauty. High up the hill it looks bigger then it actually is and gives a good impression what to await. After a small climb you can peak at a few animated scenes. Following the route you'll also find The gnome village - a cosy walkthrough, The Six Servants - more like one, Little Red Riding Hood - check the evil wolf, Pinocchio - including the smell of rotting fish, The Red Shoes - simple but effective because nobody can figure out how the shoes move, The Troll King - a great animatronic , The Naughty Princess - just talk to the parrot..., Rapunzel - evil witch included, The Little Mermaid - dad's favourite for sure, The Dragon - fiercely protecting the treasure, The Wolf and the Seven Kids, Hansel and Gretel - mouth watering goodness, Mother Hollie, Kleine Boodschap - for those in search of a toilet, Table be laid, Donkey lift your tail - shooting golden coins from his behind, and Club out of the sack , Snow White - the transformation of the queen being quite scary, Guinevere’s Bridal Gown, Cinderella - easily missed, The Frog Prince, The Magic Clock, The Indian Water Lilies - earworm song included, Tom Thumb, Rumpelstiltskin, The Little Match Girl, The Emperor’s New Clothes - yes with a naked Emperor, Fairytale Tree - a kids favourite, The Gardener and the Fakir and last but not least The Chinese Nightingale. The forest is large and capable to handle huge crowds but still can become an unpleasant place from 12:00-15:00 during busy days.
Entrance gate to Raveleijn
- Raveleijn: a visually impressive 1200 seats arena dominating the nearby area, where a few times during the day a free must-see show is performed in association with Puy du Fou including actors, horses, birds, special effects and animatronics. Light on story - your basic good v.s. evil - and heavy on visual effects, it's the major park show and requires reservation which can be obtained through ticket machines in front of the theatre. The best views are obtained from the middle and right side. If you stay at Bosrijk or the Hotel tickets can be obtained the day before at the reception. If you are picky about your show time get your tickets early. Even during quieter days shows sell out.
- Volk van Laaf: in a fairly quiet part of the park you'll find this funny village (Lavenlaar) where the Laafs originate. Throughout the Lavenlaar you see the (animatronic) Laven busy with their daily activities, including brewing, teaching and baking bread. Through the village runs an elevated monorail which can have serious waiting-times and offers a nice overview of the Lavenlaar, it's best to try it before lunchtime. The ride itself is very mild and hardly not to be missed but most children love it.
Entrance to Volk van Laaf
- Anton Pieckplein: a nostalgic not to miss romantic old Dutch square, with classic merry-go-rounds, the Efteling Museum and several dining. You'll need a knife to cut through the atmosphere and many of the merry-go-rounds are true classics dating from 1900 or even older. Don't be surprised to see teenagers enjoying it as much as the little ones. Sit down, take a drink and life doesn't get any better.
- Villa Volta: in this world first so-called mad house, you join goat rider Hugo in his house. Suddenly, what you thought was up is now down. Although often imitated and maybe sometimes bettered in other themeparks around the world, this is the grandmother. Two long Dutch (and if you don't understand the language - boring) pre-shows precede the good main-show. A small warning: can be a bit scary. A high capacity monster so queues are generally short.
- Stoomcarrousel: discover a beautiful 100 year old steam carousel hidden in the Carrouselpaleis. It's nostalgia extravaganza to the max and one of those attractions that fit the Efteling so well. If you have kids, they'll love it.
- Diorama: a sixty meter long display containing a complete miniature world in the Carrouselpaleis. If you can, take the time to view all the small details in the perfect world of Anton Pieck.
- Stoomtrein: steam train station of real steam trains which takes you around the park. The route itself isn't overwhelmingly beautiful but the train does have huge visual appeal. It arrives every 20-ish minutes and is an ideal way to spend your lunch-time. The carriages provide some cover for poor weather and offers a stop at Ruigrijk's Station de Oost. The station can be busy, especially when hundreds of people rush out of Raveleijn after a show.
- Efteling Museum: easily overlooked, the place to find out more about the park. It's never very crowded so walk in at your own convenience.
- Kindervreugd: classic children's playground.
Widespread part centred around travel and discovery. By far the least popular realm despite characteristic and fun attractions.
- Vogel Rok (Bird Rok): mild indoor coaster (lightly) themed around Sindbad the Sailor. You 'fly' (also known as sitting) through the dark in the claws of Bird Rok. It's a short fun ride, although the scope of huge bird at the entrance isn't being realised inside. Beware: motion sickness can be an issue because the ride is somewhat disorienting in the dark. High capacity ride, so even with long queues waiting times are relatively short. Best experienced either the first 2 or last 2 hours.
- Carnaval Festival: a ride along different countries celebrating carnival style, supported by an extremely catchy theme song. Junior will want to ride this attraction ad infinitum implanting the song deep into his/her - and unfortunately your - unconscious. Being a massive people mover queues are mostly short, although you do have to wade through rows and rows (and rows) of pushchairs and strollers conveniently parked in front of the entrance. During crowded days best visited either the first 2 or last 2 hours.
- Pagode: this flying temple gives excellent views of the park and its green surroundings. It's highly recommended to visit this attraction after sunset during an Aquanura show. The ride itself is mild going up, making a full circle and going down.
- Monsieur Cannibale (Mister Cannibal): run of the mill covered teacup ride. 12 cooking pots turn round on the naughty French song Monsieur Cannibale by Sacha Distel in which a traveller begs for his life in a cooking pot ending in him not wanting to leave for reasons well known to men... Slow loading and thus long waiting times even on quieter days.
- Avonturen Doolhof (Adventure maze): proper maze especially designed for children so you have to squeeze through a small keyhole to enter. Inside you'll find some fun interactive elements. The entrance is also the exit and you have a nice overview from the nearby hill if you don't want to enter the maze yourself.
- Gondoletta: a relaxing 20 minutes water ride through the most scenic parts of the park with beautiful landscaping. Favorite during lunchtime when half the park flocks to the boats for a relaxing meal.
- Kleuterhof (Kindergarten-court): The largest children's playground, in style somewhat reminiscent to Carnaval Festival with it's popping colours. Containing some unique play elements the kids will love it, although it's still just a playground.
When temperatures get below 0°C the Gondoletta is closed. During the Winter Efteling a temporary ice skating rink is opened. Skates can be rented.
The most thrill orientated part of the park. Includes some of the most popular attractions of the park and as such can become very crowded during the day.
Overview De Vliegende Hollander
The beauty that is Baron 1898
- Python: the first and still biggest roller coaster in Efteling, with four loops. Once the largest roller coaster on the European mainland it's not the white-knuckle ride in today's extreme coaster era. A fairly popular attraction although queues are mostly manageable.
- Joris en de Draak (George and the Dragon): not to miss, a wooden (racing) coaster where 2 different trains race to defeat the dragon using either Water or Fire. The tracks are partly different so check out both. It's a pretty intense ride being dragged like mad around the track. The queue takes you through a proper swamp and the dragon itself is a nice fire breathing animatronic that also interacts with the coaster. The most popular ride attendance wise, so expect queues despite high capacity. Try riding this either the first or last hour.
- De Vliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman): not to miss, an unique and highly themed combination of walk-through, dark ride, coaster and water splash. It doesn't excel at any point, other than the walk-through which is utterly beautiful. However being more than the sum of its parts it leaves a lasting impression. Being among the most popular rides and notoriously buggy, at the first signs it's actually open it becomes a huge crowd magnet and queues start to form. Shortest waiting times the first hour or the last 2.
- Baron 1898: not to miss, a dive coaster what must be one of the most elaborately themed roller coasters in the world. Enter an industrial gold mine to visit 3 pre shows where you become a miner and crash down into the mine after it has been sabotaged by vengeful spirits or witte wieven. The low capacity means among the longest queues in the park. It's best to wait after lunch.
- Halve Maen (Half-moon): the largest pirate ship in Europe (or even in the world?). Not to be confused with similar rides all over the world this one isn't tame by anyone's standards. A little note of caution: on quieter days operators have a tendency of elongating the duration of the ride to the extreme replacing screams of joy into screams of pure terror.
- D’Oude Tuffer: old T-Fords on a guided track which are capable of some minor steering. Although not the must see - can't miss ride, it's a big favourite for anyone below 6 (including accompanying dads) and has huge visual appeal. Because of the extremely low capacity queues are frequent, slow and long. In fact the cars tend to pile up at the end, so it takes almost as long to get off as it did to get on.
- Polka Marina: typical merry-go-round alike found at any (and probably your) local fair. Fun for kids but nothing really special. Does have the odd sight of a pirate with a pole up his bottom...
- Station de Oost: steam train station. Worth checking out because it's a beautiful themed station. The train arrives every 20 minutes and is an ideal way to spend your lunch-time. The carriages provide some cover for poor weather. The train provides a scenic route around the Efteling and offers a stop at Marerijk.
- Game Gallery: one of the few attractions not included in your admission. Fun but nothing you should spend loads of time on if you're on a tight schedule.
- Kinderspoor: pedal trains allow children on a fixed track to drive through their own idyllic landscape. Anyone above 12 years old is only allowed when accompanying a child. Mind you, the trains are extremely uncomfortable for an adult causing all kinds of pain. Don't say you weren't warned.
Halve Maen, D'Oude Tuffer, Python, and Joris en de Draak are closed when temperatures get below 0°C. De Vliegende Hollander is closed during the Winter Efteling independent of the weather. During the Winter Efteling Kinderspoor is transformed into 't Hijgend Hert: a cross country ski track. Also a temporary indoor children's playground is opened.
A small Realm in the heart of the Efteling.
- Symbolica: not to miss, a calm magical family journey through the palace of Symbolica. Intended to be the best dark-ride in the world. Whether or not it lives up to this lofty goal, you'll be overwhelmed by what you see. Not that different from a true palace visit on steroids, 3 optional routes show a broad diversity in creativity. You'll need more then one ride. A very popular ride so expect long waiting lines throughout the day.
A diverse or mismatched Realm (depending on who you ask), not all fairytale themed. Does include some of the best attractions Efteling has to offer.
Aquanura is best viewed after dusk
- Fata Morgana: not to miss, travel through an Arabic world and enjoy scenes ranging from a busy market to the Pasha on his throne. An impressive number of details and 140 excellent audio-animatronics breath life in a world like in the stories of 1001 nights. In the end you die but that won't stop you wanting to ride again. High capacity ride so queues are short on all but the most crowded days.
- Piraña: not to miss, a - worldwide copied - fun and surprising river rapids ride in Mexican theme. The ride itself is quite diverse and includes rapids, waterfalls, massive water curtains and situations where you can overtake other rafts. Queues depend largely on the weather.
- Spookslot (Haunted Castle): this once in the old days mayor attraction might neither be mayor nor scary any more – its atmosphere arouses a sweet uneasy feeling. Beautifully made both outside and inside, every ten minutes the visitor can see a large Gothic scene come to "life" at the hour of midnight using the moving sounds of the Dance Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns. The waiting hall is a dimly-lit room with several spooky effects easily missed. Waiting times are short.
- PandaDroom (PandaVision): a 4D cinema reminding us to care for mother Earth in association with WWF. Hardly spectacular still fun with some nice effects. Does require sitting through a slightly aggravating pre-show a.k.a. WWF commercial.
- Aquanura: not to miss, a choreographed awe inspiring water-show with performances set to light, fire and catchy Efteling music. Visible from numerous vantage points around the lake. The daytime version offers (a lot) more water and fire to turn up visual impact but if you can, watch it after dusk. The addition of colours is breathtaking. AT the moment there are 3 versions, including a dance version mixed by DJ Tiësto which is being showed on special occasions. There are multiple shows at the end of the day, but arrive slightly early unless you prefer watching someone's back. During the morning a few minutes long teaser show can been seen.
- Bobbaan: bob sled ride in Swiss theme although mountains are nowhere to be seen. Its all forest in fact. Still a fun ride. Horrible capacity so prepare mentally before entering. The first ride in the Efteling to have a single riders lane: use it! Will be replaced by a new ride autumn 2019.
When temperatures get below 0°C the Bobbaan is closed. During the Winter Efteling the Piraña is closed independent of the weather.
Located just a few kilometres outside the theme park an 18 hole golf course awaits eager golfers. It's a fairly popular golf park and considered to be a challenging course. The surroundings are beautiful with the occasional glimpse of the theme park. The clubhouse includes a Grand Café. Reservation and information, Veldstraat 6 5176 NB De Moer / Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 62 88 499 ([email protected]). €35.50 - €60.00. edit Prices depend on season and day. Trolleys and buggy's can be rented. Efteling offers a 30% discount on green fees if you stay at Bosrijk or the Hotel.
Spread around the park are merchandising stores which sell items related to the attractions as well as general convenience items. For several years now Efteling has been upgrading its stores to provide a better shopping experience resulting in a diversity of clean and sober shops. Efteling offers a Souvenir Express: your souvenirs if bought before 15.00 can be brought to the stroller rental near the main entrance or to the reception of the Efteling Hotel or the reception at the Efteling Bosrijk (after 18:00).
- In den ouden Marskramer (Marerijk): located just outside of the Sprookjesbos it sells mostly fairytale orientated merchandise. Focal point of the shop is a beautiful and detailed small version of Sleeping Beauty Castle, alone worth a visit.
- Dromerijen (Marerijk): strategically placed at the end of Droomvlucht this small shop offers everything fairies and pixies related.
- Loetiek (Marerijk): the smallest souvenir shop in the Efteling. It sells mainly bargain products which are almost sold out or out of production.
- Jokies Wereld (Rijzenrijk): next to Carnaval Festival and themed to its popular main character Jokie. Upon entering you'll immediately feel happy. It is a colourful shop aimed at children. They can play and touch everything.
- Game Gallery (Ruigrijk): although there is a candy store, it's largely an option to buy / win merchandise. There are a total of 11 games, mostly typical fairground games in a maritime theme.
- Panda (Anderrijk): the store is located directly exiting the attraction PandaDroom. The shop is part of a playground and there is much to do and experience for parents and children alike: climbing, swinging, sliding and discovery. You can obviously also buy PandaDroom merchandise.
- De Bazaar (Anderrijk): When leaving Fata Morgana you're forced through an Arabic tinted souvenir shop where you can buy several cheesy, corny Fata Morgana-stuff.
- Efteldingen (Anderrijk): the biggest store in the Efteling, conveniently located at the entrance. It represents almost all the characters and attractions in the Efteling. In the center you'll find Pardoes - the Efteling mascot.
At the Anton Pieck square, there are also three historic vending machines: a chicken, a goose and a little blacksmith. When a coin is inserted, they shortly come to life and produce some kind of small toy – it's a surprise what it'll be.
Interior of Polles Keuken
Nostalgic exterior of De Soete Inval
Holle Bolle Gijs on the lookout for more paper to eat
Efteling has been upgrading its eating establishments over the past few years, not only improving the layout and theming (some are mindbogglingly beautiful) but also adding more variety of food. Unfortunately, exquisite Micheline-star food is not Efteling's strong point so if you're a connoisseur then you'd better move along. As a result the food is generally considered reasonable (for a theme park) but relatively simple. And don't worry, everywhere you go special children's menus are standard.
The restaurants itself are popular and often crowded even on quieter days, so reservation is advised (when possible). You can reserve in advance by calling the Efteling information, ☎ +31 41 65 37 777. 9.00 - 21.00. edit It's also possible to make a reservation at the Guest Services Desk near the entrance.
During quieter days some restaurants might stay closed or have shorter opening times. This is most often the case with both self-service and take-away.
If you can try the typical snack food such as Dutch fries at the Smulpaap and the Dutch "snack wall" vending machines that give you a warm snack when money is inserted. And although smoking is allowed in open air, tobacco is not sold inside the park.
The Netherlands are expensive when it come to food compared to neighbouring countries. Prices in the Efteling are comparable to other parks in the region. However, in contrast to many other theme parks bringing your own food is perfectly allowed.
- Het Wapen van Raveleijn (Marerijk) - lunch and dinner: part of Raveleijn it radiates a Burgundian medieval atmosphere. Your choice of food is limited to a three course meal but the quality is good. And anything goes as long as you are having fun and not going to throw with food (unfortunately). Diner starts at 18:00 (fixed time) and its advised to make a reservation. If you stay at Efteling Hotel or Efteling Bosrijk you can reserve your dinner during the booking process. Lunch doesn't require reservation. €30
- 't Poffertje (Marerijk) - lunch: behind an impossible cute façade you'll find a true authentic Dutch meal: poffertjes - very small pancakes served with butter and sugar. €10
- Polles Keuken (Fantasierijk) - lunch and dinner: beautifully themed and alone worth a visit just to see. Meals are primarily pancakes and sweet desserts. Lunch starts at 11:30 and its advised to make a reservation because it's very popular. €10-15
- Panorama (Reizenrijk) - lunch: proper à la carte restaurant in a sober a.k.a. dull setting. The food is modern and good - for a theme park. €25-35
- Applause (Fantasierijk) - dinner: the restaurant is located in the Efteling Theatre and is easily overlooked. Inside you'll find a warm red plush decor. During the low season the restaurant is open from Thursday to Sunday. During the high season (July 8th - September 1st) the restaurant is open from Monday to Sunday. Dinner starts at 17:00 to 20:00 (entry until 18:30). Reservation is possible. €25
- Bar De Gelagkamer (Efteling Hotel) - lunch: cosy bar serving a variety of snack meals between 10:00 and 21:30. €5-15
- Restaurant de Hoffelijke Heraut (Efteling Hotel) - dinner: good quality à la carte or 3-course dinner (3-course requires reservation). It's open from 16:45 until 21:30. €30
- Eethuys (Efteling Bosrijk) - lunch and dinner: fairly large and nicely themed restaurant with a good variety of food. Pizza's are on delivery if you stay at Efteling Bosrijk. Open from 12:00 to 22:00. €5-40
- De Proeftuyn (Het Loonsche Land) - lunch and dinner: sizable but often crowded restaurant using local ingredients. Vegetarian options are available. Open until 22:00. €5-25
- Het Witte Paard (Marerijk): one of the larger self-service restaurants with plenty of choice. Can be seriously crowded specially during lunch and dinner. The location itself looks slightly plane on the outside but the inside is truly beautiful, worth a visit alone. €2 - €15
- Smulpaap (Marerijk): if you like your chips then this is the place to be. The traditional fresh chips are the best in the park resulting in long waits. €2 - €10
- Panorama (Reizenrijk): a rather plain looking but large interior offers a good choice of food and lots of seating. €2 - €15
- Octopus (Anderrijk): nicely themed underwater world offers sandwiches, panini and fresh pastas. €5 - €15
- Koninklijke Kasteelzaal (Efteling Hotel): a buffet opened in the weekends and holidays, it's advised to inform and reserve on forehand. €30
Efteling offers a wild variety of take away station, just to name the mayor:
- Kleyne Klaroen (Marerijk): a small resting point and the only place in the Sprookjesbos to get some snacks or drink.
- De Soete Inval (Marerijk): if you have a sweet tooth this is whalhalla!
- Happiness Station (Marerijk): ice cream shop with a plenty of choice.
- Toko Pagode (Reizenrijk): Asian food orientated but basically noodles or rice.
- Happiness Station (Reizenrijk): ice cream shop with a plenty of choice.
- De Meermin (Ruigrijk): the snack side of fish including the cod burger, tuna sandwich, herring, smoked salmon and yes, fish and chips.
- Station de Oost (Ruigrijk): large take-away area with a diversity of food including eastern, Dutch snacks, fresh sandwiches and salads.
- De Kombuys (Ruigrijk): snack point at a beautiful location.
- De Verleiding (Ruigrijk): small candy store located in the Game Gallery.
- 't Melkmeisje (Ruigrijk): milkshakes and pizza, your classic combination - possibly.
- De Vrolijke Noot (Fantasierijk): near the entrance it offers basic chips and snacks.
- De Steenbok (Anderrijk): themed similar to the Swiss Bob it offers fast food. On one side you'll find the Burger Backerij, the hamburger go-to place.
- Oase (Anderrijk): part of Fata Morgana serving eastern food such as Donner kebab and Turkish pizza.
In addition to these standard establishments you'll find mobile snack points dotted around the park, mostly during high season.
Of course there are lots of places to buy a cola or a coffee. The restaurants will also sell beer and wine but remember that alcohol sold inside the park is only served to you when you have a minimum age of 18. Want to hang around after closing time? Try the bar of the Efteling Hotel.
If you are uncomfortable with the prices, drinking water in the Efteling is free, perfectly drinkable and of high quality.
Efteling offers 3 official possibilities to stay the night at the theme park. Efteling Hotel and Bosrijk offer high quality, Loonsche Land is more budget friendly. Pricewise there's a low, normal and high season. Low season is only used when the occupation rate is low. High season is also known as the weekend. Efteling offers a 15% early booking discount if you book more than 4 months in advance. Last minute discounts vary, but are usually ~15% and start a few days in advance.
A four star hotel with 122 rooms including 22 themed suites located just outside the park. Designed to give an illusion it's floating best viewed at night. The standard rooms - or comfort room as the Efteling likes to call them - are truly beautiful but if your budget can handle it get a themed suite. These highly themed suites are inspired by the Efteling icons and include among others a Carousel suite, a Golden suite, a Hansel and Gretel suite and errr.. a Coca-Cola suite... (yes...).
The rooms include air conditioning, flat-screen TV, free WiFi, a hairdryer and a safe. You can choose various packages but they all include at least a 2-day stay, breakfast buffet, unlimited access to the park, 30 minutes earlier entry to Efteling Park, free parking, guaranteed seats for Raveleijn to be picked up from the Efteling Hotel reception the day before the show, the Souvenir Express and 30% discount on green fees.
Room prices start at €395+ for 2-day / 1-night stay (2 adults / 2 children). Children aged 0-3 are free of charge.
Suites start at €550+ for 2-day / 1-night stay (2 adults / 2 children).
Sandcastle in the middle of Bosrijk
A polished holiday park directly adjacent to the park with both cottages, group accommodations and apartments spread over an area of 17 hectares in the middle of a forest. The cottages are designed to accommodate 6-8 persons, the group accommodations are for 12-24 persons, while the apartments accommodate up to 4 people. The park is based on the tale of Mr. Sandman. His castle can been seen in the middle of the central lake. Additionally Mr. Sandman himself can be found walking around Bosrijk entertaining children.
The entrance building offers a restaurant, bar, terrace and a small swimming pool. If you don't want to make your own lunch or dinner Efteling offers a breakfast take away from 08:00-11:00 pizza diner take away 17:00-22:00.
A number of houses and apartments enjoy VIP treatment (and cost extra) including a DVD player, terrace with garden furniture, whirlpool and an outdoor sauna. A few accommodations are also suitable for the disabled and asthmatic. In general units have at least a living room, a fully equipped kitchen (although the apartments lack a hob and dishwasher), a bathroom, a separate toilet and least at least two bedrooms with linens. All rooms are equipped with an internet connection.
There are some adapted accommodations for disabled guests which are wheelchair accessible and have private parking space available. For those who are allergic there are accommodations suitable for guests with a respiratory allergy or illness. They are designed to minimize dust and include measures to guarantee the air quality. The use of scented cleaning products is limited to bathrooms and toilets.
You can choose various packages but they all include at least a 3-day stay, unlimited access to the park, 30 minutes earlier entry to Efteling Park, free parking, guaranteed seats for Raveleijn to be picked up from the reception the day before the show, the Souvenir Express and 30% discount on green fees. During most days an electric train transport offers the option to save a walk to the Efteling.
Prices for the houses start at €690 for a 3-day / 2-night stay (2 adults / 2 children).
Prices for the apartments start at €510 for a 3-day / 2-night stay (2 adults / 2 children).
Efteling Loonsche Land
Hotel Loonsche Land at night
A more back to basic holiday park with both cottages and hotel. While Bosrijk and the Efteling Hotel are focused around fair tales, this is heavily focused on integration in the surrounding green, as it is adjacent to a large nature reserve. Efteling is after all also nature park. Being of far more humble heritage then either Bosrijk or Efteling Hotel both comfort, amenities and - yes - prices are less compared to Eftelings more luxurious options. The overall impression is clean, modern and fresh.
Facilities include a restaurant and bar, an animal pen, various playgrounds, free parking and nearby access to said nature. Additionally during most days electric train transport to the Efteling is provided.
The holiday houses are situated in either the forest, dunes or heartland accommodating 6-12 persons. In general the 55m2 units have at least a combined living/kitchen room, a bathroom, a separate toilet and least at least two bedrooms (or four) with linens. All rooms are equipped with an internet connection. Options include a low-allergen house, for guests with a respiratory allergy or illness.
Prices start at €460 for a 3-day / 2-night stay (2 adults / 2 children).
The hotel offers both hotel rooms and hotel houses. The rooms include a standard 1 room / 5 person or 2 rooms / 6 person option. Additionally an adapted room is available, if wheelchair access is needed. All rooms include a bathroom and WiFi.
Hotel houses offer the combination of a holiday house with the amenities of the hotel. They are situated over water, on stilts among the trees or in the dunes. The 28m2 houses have 2 bedrooms and a bathroom with separate toilet.
Hotel room prices start at €320 for a 2-day / 1-night stay (2 adults / 2 children). Breakfast is included.
Hotel house prices start at €370 for a 2-day / 1-night stay (2 adults / 2 children). Breakfast at the hotel is included.
Efteling does not have associated hotels. There are however hotels that offer special packages that include tickets. These tickets are the same as the one that you would buy at the entrance, but they save you the hassle of waiting in line. Remember that you still have to buy a parking ticket if you travel by car.
- NH Waalwijk, Bevrijdingsweg 1 5161 BZ Waalwijk, ☎ +31 41 667 4684 ([email protected]), . edit Prices start at €67.50+ p.p for a 2-day / 1-night stay including 1 x breakfast buffet and a ticket for the Efteling theme park. It takes about 10 minutes by car.
- Van der Valk Hotel Gilze-Rijen, Klein Zwitserland 8 5126 TA Gilze, ☎ +31 16 14 54 951 ([email protected]), . edit Prices start at €84.00+ p.p for a 2-day / 1-night stay including 1 x breakfast buffet, a ticket for the Efteling theme park and free entrance to pool and hotel casino (min. age hotel casino 21 years). It takes about 20 minutes by car.
- Golden Tulip Zevenbergen, Schansdijk 3 4761 RH Zevenbergen, ☎ +31 16 83 31 234 ([email protected]), . edit Prices start at €105.00+ p.p for a 3-day / 2-night stay including 2 x breakfast buffet, a ticket for the Efteling theme park (1-day) and access to the fitness room. It takes about 35 minutes by car.
- De Kroon, Gasthuisstraat 140 5171 GJ Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 62 73 567 ([email protected]), . edit Prices are only available on request. It takes about 5 minutes by car.
- De Joremeinshoeve, Lage Zandschel 17 5171 TD Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 62 74 527 ([email protected]), . edit Prices are only available on request. It takes about 10 minutes by car.
- Best Western Hotel de Druiventros, Bosscheweg 11 5056 PP Berkel-Enschot, ☎ +31 34 77 50 438 ([email protected]), . edit Prices start at €65.00+ p.p for a 2-day / 1-night stay including 1 x breakfast buffet and a ticket for the Efteling theme park. It takes about 20 minutes by car.
If you want a regular hotel the nearby village of Kaatsheuvel offers some small scale privately run hotels. If you're looking for a few more hotel options Waalwijk is the nearest town. Tilburg is the nearest major city with hotel chains and a plenitude of facilities.
Third-Party Camp Sites
There are several camp sites close to Efteling, ranging from simple with a few tents to full holiday paradises. They do not offer special Efteling packages but they are relatively cheap compared to the hotel options. On most locations you can rent tents, mobile homes or chalets.
- Oostappen Vacation Park Droomgaard, Van Haestrechtstraat 24 5171 RC Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 62 72 794 ([email protected]), . edit Prices start at €30.00+ for a 2-day / 1-night stay. It takes about 5 minutes by car to get to the Efteling.
- Vakantiepark Duinlust, Duinlaan 1 5171 RN Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 62 72 775 ([email protected]), . edit Prices start at €95.00+ for a 4-day / 3-night stay. It takes about 5 minutes by car to get to the Efteling.
Efteling Park & Efteling Theater, Europalaan 1 5171 KW Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 65 37 777 ([email protected]), . 9:00-21:00. edit
Efteling Bosrijk, Eftelingsestraat 7 5171 RP Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 65 37 777 ([email protected]), . 9:00-21:00. edit
Efteling Loonsche land, Eftelingsestraat 5 5171 RP Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 65 37 777 ([email protected]), . 9:00-21:00. edit
Efteling Hotel, Horst 31 5171 RA Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 65 37 777 ([email protected]), . 9:00-21:00. edit
Efteling Golfpark, Veldstraat 6 5176 NB De Moer / Kaatsheuvel, ☎ +31 41 62 88 499 ([email protected]), . 9:00-21:00. edit
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