Even with the plethora of things to do in Amsterdam, some may just want to get out of the city and explore the outskirts. Located in Tilburg, just 1 and a half hour south of Amsterdam, Efteling is the largest theme park in the whole of The Netherlands and is a unique theme park that should not be missed when you have an extra day in Amsterdam or even Rotterdam.
What's Efteling? Why should I visit Efteling?
When I tell people that I visited Efteling in Amsterdam, everyone would look at me with blank faces... Well, as much as I love this place, not many know about Efteling theme park. Unlike the usual Disney or Universal Studios theme parks that are brightly coloured, with tons of crowds, and where fast-passes abound, Efteling is a lot more grey (or perhaps it was on that dreary day that we visited?), with less crowds, with short to no waiting time for most of the rides.
A literary amusement park
The theming of the park is one-of-a-kind. Rather than having well-known characters, Efteling has a medieval, mystical fairytale theme based on the traditional Brothers Grimm fairytales, Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault stories that is a rather refreshing change from the usual amusement parks! You'll see elves, trolls, and talking parrots in the theme park that is set in a woodland setting, displaying some of the beauty of nature while in a modern setting. While it may be a little more "dark" and gritty, you'll also get to see the characters in fairytales come alive, with Pinocchio, Rapunzel, Snow White and Cinderella found in the Fairytale Forest.
Old is gold, Efteling continues its expansion...
Efteling is one of the oldest theme park in the whole of Europe and has expanded over the years to more rides, more experiences, and even accommodation options to rival theme parks in Europe such as Disneyland Paris.
Grab a book:
The Six Swans
The latest attraction, based on Brothers Grimm story, The Six Swans, is set to open in autumn in 2019 and will feature swan-shaped boats suitable for the younger children, alongside a new mini ride.
Why not get your little ones have fun at Efteling and get interested in reading as they see their books come to live!
Open 365 days a year, every day! (Yes, even in Winter!)
What's amazing about Efteling also is that it is open throughout the year, yes all 365 days of the year! Most theme parks in Europe close during the winter months as it is probably too cold for anyone to head there. Many rides also have to be closed as a result of the weather. As we visited Amsterdam during winter, there were really not that many (almost none) theme parks that open then. Thankfully, we managed to find and make our way to Efteling!
Even though some of the big rides like the rollercoasters are closed during winter, Winter Efteling is still a great place to visit as a day trip from amsterdam because of the absence of crowds. While strolling in the park, you may even feel like you've booked the entire place. Yes, it is that awesome!
What are the opening hours of the Efteling Theme Park?
The opening hours of the amusement park differ by season. On most days, it opens from 10am to 6pm, in Summer, the opening times extend till 8pm, 10pm, and some days even till 11pm! Winter hours are shorter, from 11am to 6pm. So do check the opening hours before you head over!
How to get to Efteling Theme Park?
Locals usually take the 1 hour drive to Efteling Theme Park from Rotterdam or Amsterdam, but if you are travelling in the Netherlands and not taking a road trip, it is still a relatively fuss-free transit to the theme park.
Getting to Efteling by Car
Drive in the direction of Utrecht (A2). Follow E25 to s-Hertogenbosch and take exit Waalwijk (A59), followed by exit Waalwijk/Kaatsheuvel (N261). Thereafter, follow the signs that will direct you all the way to Efteling theme park.
From Rotterdam (A16) Drive in the direction of Dordrecht/Breda and take exit s-Hertogenbosch (A59), followed by exit Waalwijk/Kaatsheuvel. From there, all you have to do is to follow the signs that would direct you to Efteling theme park.
Parking at Efteling costs 10 euros per day but if you happen to be guests of Efteling Hotel, Holiday Villages Efteling Bosrijk and Efteling Loonsche Land Hotels, you'll get complimentary parking at the respective central car park. So not only will you get a day of fun, you will be able to even settle where to stay when in Efteling!
Getting to Efteling by Public Transport
From Amsterdam or Rotterdam, you can take the train to S-Hertogenbosch and change to bus 300 that will take you all the way to Efteling! The entire journey will take about 1.5 hours so do plan what time you'll need to leave your accommodation so as to utilise the day light hours (especially during winter months)!
Address: Europalaan 1, Kaatsheuvel, The Netherlands
Where should I stay if I want to visit Efteling Theme Park?
Most visitors that head to Efteling Theme Park usually go on a day trip. Ever since the new hotels (Efteling Hotel, Holiday Villages Efteling Bosrijk and Efteling Loonsche Land Hotels) opened, plus Efteling offering perks such as early admission into the park, it may be wise to go to Efteling as a holiday altogether!
How much are the tickets to Efteling Theme Park?
What are some of the Attractions and Rides in theme park Efteling?
Even if you are not a thrill ride seeker, just walking around the park would make you feel like you're on a different planet. During the winter months, there's also not too many people. You can feel as though you've owned the park or have booked the entire park all to yourself!
The theme park is definitely not your typical theme park! It really has a rustic charm!
As for the rides, Efteling has a few rollercoasters: Joris en de Draak (Wooden Roller Coaster), Baron 1898 (Dive Coaster), Python (Steel Roller Coaster), Vogel Rok (Indoor Roller Coaster), and De Vilegende Hollander (Water Coaster).
Some of them may be closed during winter so you may want to check ahead of time before heading there!
Some other must-rides include the Halve Main (Viking Ship), and the Pagode. The Pagode is a ride that brings you up high, offering panoramic views of the park.
If you are feeling cold, head for the indoor rides like the Villa Volte Madhouse! These are also much more family-friendly. Don't worry, the Villa Volte isn't a haunted house. It is just a ride that makes you feel like the entire room is rotating!
And when night falls, you'll get a new perspective of the park. Almost eerie, but the light up of the various exhibits are simply breathtaking!
All in all, Efteling is a great theme park to visit if you have an extra day in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, and if you would like to have a refreshing change from the typical theme parks!
This post was initially published on 23 January 2018 but has been updated on 22 March 2019 to reflect recent expansion of the accommodation.
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