Efteling, The Netherlands: Everything you need know about Europe's best theme park

July 06, 2018

Forget Disney!; Efteling, located in Kaatsheuvel, North Brabant province of the Netherlands, is Europe's best ever theme park. The Efteling is one of the biggest and oldest theme parks in the whole world!

It's was started in early 1950 and opened for public from 1952. It's is one of the pioneers of the theme parks industry worldwide. Walt Disney himself said he took inspirations and conceived ideas for his Disneyland from this magical park. Though there are numerous theme parks available today, Efteling always has been the favourite of Europeans and still going strong (close to 6 million visitors last year)!

The entire park is themed over fairy-tales, fantasy stories, folklore and its characters. Scenes of Cinderella, Snow White, 7 Dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Goblin, Magical Tree, and many more European folklore (which I don’t even aware of) are all evident throughout the park. There are fantasy as well as thrilling rides for all the ages.


The Efteling park is separated into five Rijks/Kingdoms - each with its unique theme.

  1. Marerijk (Fairy Kingdom): is located in the west of the park, named after the “Mare” of a German fairy-tale. It hosts the main attractions of Sprookjesbos and Droomvlucht.
  2. Reizenrijk (Rides Kingdom): situated in the north, houses Vogel Rok, Gondoletta, and Carnival Festival
  3. Ruigrijk (Rough Kingdom): is located in the east, has a number of attractions, Baron 1898, Joris and the Dragon and The Flying Dutchman are some of the very popular (ofcourse, rough!!)rides.
  4. Fantasierijk (Fantasy Kingdom): lies in the middle of the park, probably the first one most of us reach. It consists of Polles Cuisine, Aquanura and the very new Symbolica!
  5. Anderrijk(Alternative Kingdom): is in the south, this houses the famous Piraña, Ghost Castle, and Panda Dream.
💭Efteling mobile app can be very useful, especially they give a live update on tracking/navigation and waiting time of each of the attractions. 


1. Sprookjesbos (FAIRYTALE FOREST):

It is one of the biggest and also the first attraction in the Efteling park (its existing since the first day, May 31, 1952). Started with just 10 fairy tales in the beginning and now there are whopping 29 tales seen alive.

They’re not just exhibited, but the whole story is lively illustrated in moving statues, more like a live stage drama. Cinderella, Chinese Nightingale, Dragons, Fakir, Wolf & seven kids, Sleeping beauty, Hansel & Gretel, Frog Princess, Little Mermaid, Rapunzel Little red riding hood, Snow white…. are a few tales to mention. Here’s the complete list of 29 tales.

2. Droomvlucht (DREAM FLIGHT):

Droomvlucht is the other super-star of Efteling. Your dream flight starts through a dark cave and taken-off to a majestic castle, between the low-lying mists, rocks, and waterfalls. With a quiet music and lots of harp and wind instrument effects, you'll feel that you’re transported to a distant dream world, for sure.

3. De Vliegende Hollander (THE FLYING DUTCHMAN):
I am not a big fan of rides (especially the rough ones). De Vliegende Hollander / The Flying Dutchman stands at the wilder attractions of the Efteling in Ruigrijk (Rough Kingdom), but hard to bring it in that category.

In fact, I still can’t classify what kind of ride it is! An indoor dark ride, a fantasy thrill journey, water coaster, outdoor roller coaster, …it has all of them nicely blended together to give an unforgettable ride experience of ones’ lifetime. Check out here for more details.

Symbolica is the most expensive Efteling attraction ever. It's built with over 35 million euros and also the biggest, built in the form of a castle. The symbolica ride is designed as a fictional story about King Pardulfus, Princess Pardijn and their naughty governor Pardoes.

Some tips for Symbolica:
  • Waiting Time: at least 40 minutes, we waited about an hour and a half. Be prepared for it!
  • Are you with the children in Symbolica? Yes, kids will love it, but beware that the children under 1 meter need a supervisor. You'd always pick adequate seater accordingly.
  • Do not put efforts to make any pictures or videos inside. It is NOT prohibited, but I personally feel that there is so much to see/experience and enjoy it in live. After all seeing this wonder on screens is not that exciting.

It is a spectacular musical fountain show, with special effects of more than 200 fountains, 900+ lights, with matching music beats and fire. It’s created with a theme of the “Frog King”, 4 frogs from different directions bring enchanting Efteling fairy tales to life”. The colours of Aquanura is beautiful to watch in the dark.


*Note age restrictions.

  • When to visit: All through the year!... however its best enjoyed in the summer, preferably a sunny day, that you can enjoy the whole fun of waters. 
  • How to reach:
    • By Car: about 1.5 hours drive from Amsterdam, the park has a perfect parking arrangement, parking fee €10 per day 
    • Public Transport: nearest stations are Den Bosch or Tilburg; you can take a bus from there. 
  • How much it costs: This will disappoint you, it’s €40 per person (online price €38), but worth the money! 
  • Getting around: As I said, it's really HUGE!, you might look gorgeous with your high heels, but definitely not a good idea to walk around this ~700,000m2 park. Pick comfortable walking shoes.
  • More details: https://www.efteling.com/en

I hope the above details are useful to you. Drop me a line if you need any further information.

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