Efteling: Feeling Like “Alice in Wonderland”

There is a fairy – tale place in Holland…

If you ever want to feel like being in a cartoon or a fairy-tale, surrounded by all of your favorite childhood characters from books your parents used to read you before you fell asleep, you should definitely put Efteling on your bucket list. It is a magic place where all your childhood wishes come true, in just one day.

Tickets to Efteling
Our tickets to Efteling

While visiting picturesque Woudrichem, I was taken to Efteling for one day where I spent approximately 10 hours in the park. Before I went through the gates of Efteling, I had never heard of this place before. I didn’t even know that something like this ever existed so the level of excitement and adrenaline was pretty high that day.

The entrance to Efteling
The entrance to Efteling

 

Efteling Experience

Efteling is a fairy-tale theme park located in the town called Kaatsheuvel, in the Loon op Zand municipality. Its number of visitors is impressive – over 100 million since it was opened. Although this place is one of the most visited by Dutch population (some statistics say one in six Dutch people visit Efteling each year), it is still unknown to foreigners and tourists who visit the Netherlands. Why? Perhaps it is its far location.

The map of Efteling
The map of Efteling

 

As this place is massively huge, you should start your Efteling adventure from checking its map and deciding what attractions you would like to visit and in what order. If you want to take it slow, have a few stops to grab some food, enjoy the sun or take a deep breath, you might not manage to do it all in just one day (as far as I remember, me and my friend missed one or two attractions during the whole day without rushing ourselves).

A girl smiling in Efteling
Happy Agness in Efteling

 

Although you can spot plenty of kids running around the park with their parents, it is definitely place for anyone. No matter how old you are or feel like, Efteling will definitely meet your needs and come up to your expectations.

The park is a great mixture of rollecoasters, canoeing and fairy-type stalls. You can do everything there – from strolling though the Fairytale Forest and seeing Snow White to getting scared on the Python rollercoaster (stomach-wrenching corkscrews guaranteed).

We went for a boat ride under the tunnel to watch the Indian show.

A boat ride under the tunnel
A boat ride under the tunnel
Indian girl is dancing, Efteling
All characters were moving and there was a music coming from the background
Scary face Efteling
Scary face!
Under the tunnel Efteling
Don’t go there if you are afraid of darkness

 

Rollercosters were my favourite ones. Although I was super scared and kept my eyes closed during the ride, I still enjoyed it a lot and there was nothing more exciting that going up and down in the air like crazy! By the way, get ready to see your funny face expressions at the end of the ride as pictures of everyone are taken at each attraction so tourists can buy them as a souvenir.

Rollercoaster in Efteling
Rollercoaster, Efteling
Rollercoaster in Efteling
Rollercoaster, Efteling

 

Efteling is not only a great place for people who are familiar with traditional fairy tales, but also for those who want to feel like 12 years old again. There were some fairy-tale characters from Dutch books I’ve never heard of, but I could still enjoy watching and hearing them although I didn’t understand Dutch either.

If you feel like having a little break while still enjoying Efteling attractions, you can go for a boat ride (which I have missed unfortunately). The scenery was magnificent and the weather was just perfect for a relaxing ride.

Boat ride in Efteling
Boat ride, Efteling

 

You can also see Efteling from above. It has a lovely panorama view.

Efteling
Efteling
Panorama of Efteling
Panorama of Efteling

 

One of the most exciting and interesting features of Efteling park is its hi-technology. If you have a walk in the Fairytale Forest, you can see all characters move and talk to you, the birds sing and everything looks so real. The Sleeping Beauty is snoozing inside her castle,  an old hag spinning next door, a knight dozing outside and dwarfs are dancing. That’s unreal!

The Fairytale Forest 

Lovely colorful cupcakes in one of local shops
Lovely colorful cupcakes in one of local shops
The story of Sleeping Beauty written in a book , Efteling
The story of Sleeping Beauty written in a book
Fairytale house
Fairytale house
A dwarf looking through the window, Efteling
A dwarf looking through the window
A girl sitting on one of the colorful mushrooms Efteling
Me sitting on one of the colorful mushrooms
Colorful birds (they were real) in Efteling
Colorful birds (they were real)
The tree that speaks in Efteling
The tree that speaks

 

Most of the characters you will find in Efteling belong to our international storytelling heritage. The staff speak fluent English and you can always ask for the English guide or map.

The key some visitors tried to take out, vainly Efteling
The key some visitors tried to take out, vainly

 

There is also a talking trash bin repeating a guttural “Papier hier” – funny guy!

Talking trash bin, Efteling
Talking trash bin, Efteling

 

Canoeing everyone? It is so much fun and you can either stay dry or you get absolutely wet (like us).

Canoeing, Efteling
Canoeing, Efteling
Canoeing Efteling
Canoeing, Efteling

 

Food and Drinks

As a budget tip, I should say Pack your own food and have a picnic there, but if you don’t, you can still find plenty of  a-la-carte and self-service restaurants and a range of fast foods. The park itself consists of over 15 different places – from Mexican cuisine to Dutch traditional dishes. You can find there a pancake place, muffin shop, coffee shop or even candy shop. The prices of food start from 3 euro for a homemade burger so it is not that expensive. If case you don’t want to spend the money on food, there are several large picnic areas where you can eat your own packed lunch. We tried some Mexican wraps, burgers and one of these colorful cupcakes which was so delicious!

two burgers and coke in Efteling
Our lunch in Efteling (was worth a long walk to get it) :-)

 

Recommended Attractions

Among all attractions I managed to visit, here is a list of my favourite:

    • The Flying Dutchman (the best one)
    • Rollercoasters: Bird Rok (indoor, mostly in darkness) and Python (steel, looping and corkscrew)
    • Fairytale Forest Woodland walk with characters from traditional fairytales and life-size animated scenes
    • Fata Morgana
    • Pagode where where I could see the panorama of Efteling

You can read more about all Efteling attraction here.

The flying dutchman in Efteling
The Flying Dutchman

 

Price

Efteling is not a budget place, that’s for sure, but I can guarantee you it is worth every spent cent.

  • The basic ticket costs € 32.00 (booking online)
  • The extra ticket costs € 42.00 (booking online)  and it includes: admission to the park, 30 minutes earlier admission to the park, coffee/tea with muffin, snack and French fries and 20% discount on a souvenir
  • The Luxe ticket costs € 62.00 (booking online) which includes admission to the park, 30 minutes earlier admission to the par, coffee/tea with apple pie, panini with soft drink, dinner, something for everyone  and 25% discount on a souvenir
  • If you don’t book it online, you need to add additional  € 2,50 per person
  • Double check the validity of your ticket

 

Funny performance of characters representing various countries
Funny performance of characters representing various countries, mostly European

 

Travel Tips

Before heading to Efteling, keep in mind that:

  • The best time to visit Efteling is summer (July and August) when it’s nice and sunny
  • During the high season the park is open from 10.00 – 18.00 or 10.00 – 18.00 and during holiday from 10.00 till 20.00
  • Amsterdam Schiphol airport is 50 miles away. Within Holland, railway stations sell discounted tickets which include rail fare to Tilburg, seven-mile bus transfer to Efteling and park entry

  • There is a huge hotel named the Efteling Hotel at the park where you can stay overnight. The prices start from € 48 
Efteling
Efteling

 

The final 1 hour was the best. We witnessed an extraordinary performance of few young Dutch actors and actresses riding their horses and fighting with their swords.  The special effects (fire-breathing dragon and adventurous music) made the performance even more fantastic and exciting.

The final performance in Efteling
The final performance in Efteling
The final performance in Efteling
The final performance in Efteling

 

Before we left, we had seen the spectacular Fountain Show which summed up the day full of emotions and positive feelings!

The final Fountain Show in Efteling
The final Fountain Show in Efteling
The final Fountain Show in Efteling
The final Fountain Show in Efteling

 

How do you like Efteling? Is it worth spending a day there in your opinion?

This post was originally published in
About Agness

Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"


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52 Comments

    • That’s true. It’s absolutely worth it although it’s much more than our $25 budget. You can stay there from very morning till early evening having fun all day long. Great experience, indeed.

    • There were lines and queues (up to 45 minutes) but you wouldn’t feel it at all. Everything went to quickly and smoothly and time was flying!

  • I love escaping back to my childhood and this would do just the trick! The boat ride sooooo reminds me of It’s A Small World at Disneyland! I would be soooo first in line if possible for the roller coaster rides! Your pics rock…I’ve actually gone through this post 3 times now to look at all of them. And you get to the end of the day with a huge cheeseburger? Yes, to all of the above! New Subscriber here to your blog and loving my choice to follow your writings, Agness :)

    • Believe me or not but I’ve never been o the Disneyland. There is one in Hong Kong I passed by but never managed to get inside. Efteling was my very first theme park and I want more now!! Thank you Mike so much. We actually walked about 30 minutes to get this cheeseburgers. I saw them right away we entered the park and since that moment I was craving them all afternoon LOL. Great to keep in touch!

  • It really does remind me of a strange Disney!

    Also, if you’ve never been to Disney, you really should check out the one in Hong Kong someday. It’s a perfect introduction because it’s small and easy to cover in one day. :)

    • I know. I’m so tempted to go there. Last time I checked the prices it was pretty expensive but I hope to make it there soon ;). Maybe for my birthday!

  • Great review Agness with some wonderful pictures. It looks like you had a great time in a fun place.

    I find it strange that you love rollercoasters but keep your eyes closed. Do you not have a peek, sometimes :-)

    I love the idea of a talking tree.

    • Thank you so much. Yes, I did have a great time. I find it strange as well. Trying to overcome my fear of height :) hahahah

  • I’m debating whether I should show this to my kids. It looks like an incredible place and I know they’d love it and will start to ask when they can go there :) It reminds me a lot of Tivoli in Denmark but with hints of Disney. I have never heard of Efteling before but I want to definitely go. I love that talking tree and the fairytale forest.

    • You should but then they will be begging you to take them there :). I’ve never been to Denmark but I will look this place up on the Internet. The talking tree was AWESOME!! :)

    • It’s funny that people always say hints of Disney. this park is older then the original Disney Anaheim park. the park is amazing and really cares about both the magical experience and nature, if they need space they don’t cut down the trees and plant life they relocate it to another part of the terrain.

      Also they’re building a new attraction called symbolica right now and they opened a new dive coaster last summer.

      a definite must go to I’d say as a person that goes almost every year to this wonderful park.

  • HOW did I not know this place existed?? It’s amazing. I love places that transport me in any way, be it to another time, or to a younger age! Oh man…
    I feel like this would also be a really interesting insight into a Dutch childhood.

  • Hi Agess, such a fun post! This is the first time I heard of Efteling. It reminds me of Disney World, especially the part with characters from different coutnries. Disney World has something similar called “It’s a Snall World.” It’s so adorable and was one of my favorite Disney rides. It’s great to see that you had tons of fun!

    • I’m glad you are now familiar with Efteling. Yes, it’s a Dutch version of Disneyland but more adventurous and magic :). Happy to know you would enjoy this place :)

  • Sounds like a great place to visit for the young and the young-at-heart! It seems to be a place that has something for everyone – without the crowds like other amusement parks (I have been to Disney in Florida several times and there were always long lines)!!! Your pics are great!

    • It is indeed. Yes, everyone can find something to do there no matter how old you are. Actually I’ve noticed the older people had sometimes more fun than kids :).

  • The only problem with the characters at the efteling, is that they don’t speak in englisb. So if you don’t understand dutch. You’ll be totally lost.

  • Efteling looks like a great place to visit. You certainly looked like Alice lost in wonderland. The photos you have here are wonderful. I am not sure if I can go on that roller coaster, looks too high for me. But would love to do the rest. Great visit Agness.

  • Wow, that place looks really cool. I’m going to Rotterdam and Amsterdam in a couple weeks, if I can find someone to go with me I’d love to stop by for a day.

    • Awesome news Chris, you just gotta go to Efteling, I’m telling ya! You won’t regret it. Have a nice trip in Holland :)

  • What a fun take on an amusement park! It might have scared me as a little girl, but the big girl in me would love to eat one of those cupcakes and then throw the wrapper in that talking rubbish bin :-)

  • I live in the Netherlands and I grew up a few miles away from the Efteling. I’ve been there so many times already and it still is my favorite theme park. I even like it better than Disneyland Paris. But I was wondering what foreigners think about the Efteling and that’s how I got to this blog… It’s really funny to see that you like it just as much as I do! ^_^ And you’re right… the Efteling just makes you feel like a little kid. That’s why I like it so much! We also have another big theme park (Walibi) and there are a little more extreme kinda rollercoasters, but the setting just isn’t that enchanting as it is in the Efteling and the park is way smaller… Walibi is just your typical kinda theme park… the Efteling is more than that if you ask me. It’s like a fairy tale on itself! <3

    • Hey Cathy! Thank you so much for sharing. It was definitely not my last visit in the Netherlands so I hope to visit Walibi as well. Just googled it and it looks like another awesome place :). Let’s keep in touch so when I finally make it there maybe we can meet up!! :)

  • Looks great! You mentioned best going in Summer months, do you think it would be worth it (or open?!) in winter months of December?

    • It is open in winter actually! The entire park gets an extra winterwonderland theme in november/december/januari. It just opens one hour later (11.00) and during very cold days some of the rides might be closed, such as water rides or high rollercoaster.

  • Nice review of the Efteling! Did you miss the Droomvlucht (dream flight) attraction? The Efteling is 365 days a year open and in the winter time they have special winter events..

    • I must have missed Droomvlucht, don’t really remember as it was over one year ago :-), but hopefully I can make it there once again in winter to check out special winter events you mentioned. Thanks!!

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