Efteling – where fairy tales come to life


Oh boy, did my boyfriend really outdo himself for my last birthday! He surprised me with the ultimate gift – a weekend getaway to Holland’s biggest theme park, Efteling, with my brother and his fiancée. You see, my brother and I have this annual tradition of hitting up some cool amusement park somewhere in Europe, but it’s been tough to coordinate lately with life getting in the way. I’ve been missing my bro so much, and getting him to visit me in Denmark is like pulling teeth! So you can imagine my excitement when my boyfriend made it all happen and brought us together for some fun-filled adventures!

Efteling, opened in 1952, is a Dutch amusement park that’s famous for its fairytale-inspired attractions, thrilling rides, and magical atmosphere. It’s one of the largest theme parks in Europe and a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers alike. The park is open all year round, with many seasonal events always happening. We were there at the end of November when the park greeted Christmas and was full of fake snow, Christmas spirit, and mulled wine.

It’s impossible not to draw comparisons between Efteling and Disneyland. Both parks take inspiration from popular fairy tales, and there’s even a rumor that Walt Disney derived his inspiration for Disneyland (which opened in 1955) from Efteling (which opened in 1952). Legend has it that in the early 1950s, Walt Disney visited Europe several times and checked out various tourist attractions, including Efteling. The similarities between the two parks are undeniable, from the immersive theming to the emphasis on family-friendly entertainment, allowing kids to meet fairytale characters and see incredible shows. They even had a castle in the middle!


The park is home to several thrilling roller coasters, including the Baron 1898, a dive coaster that drops 37.5 meters straight down into a mine shaft. Other popular rides include the Flying Dutchman, a water coaster that takes riders on a thrilling journey through a dark, haunted ship and into the water, complete with a 15-meter drop, and the Python, a looping coaster that is sure to get your heart racing.

There are also many calm and kid-friendly attractions. I think my brother wished there would be a couple more rollercoasters as the queues were long, but I really enjoyed the park and the atmosphere.

Fairy Tale Forest

The Efteling is not just about rides; it has plenty of other great attractions. Take the Fairy Tale Forest, for example – it’s a place straight out of your wildest childhood dreams! You’ll find yourself surrounded by whimsical fairy tale characters and enchanting scenes. We spent so much time there, walking around the forest and getting lost in the stories. It was like being transported back to our childhood, only with better snacks and fewer naps.

Raveleijn show

You don’t want to miss the Raveleijn show at Efteling! This epic live-action spectacle features knights, horses, fire, and more. Set in a medieval village, the play tells the story of a group of brave siblings who must band together to defeat an evil ruler and his army of dark knights. With incredible stunts, special effects, and jaw-dropping fire displays, this show is a must-see for anyone visiting Efteling. But that’s not all – the Raveleijn show also features real-life horses that gallop around the stage, adding an extra level of excitement and awe.

Aquanura water show

As the sun sets, the waters of Efteling’s lake come alive with a stunning display of fountains shooting water up to 45 meters high. These fountains dance and twirl in time with the music, creating a mesmerizing and unforgettable spectacle.

The Aquanura show features a variety of music, from classic fairy tale tunes to modern pop hits. Each song is accompanied by a unique choreography of water and light, making the show feel fresh and exciting every time.

But that’s not all – the Aquanura show also features projections of beloved Efteling characters, adding an extra layer of magic to the experience.

Where to stay

We found a hotel 10 minutes away from the park for a pretty reasonable price. Initially, we wanted to stay in one of Efteling’s hotels, as the rooms were themed and looked pretty interesting, but we were too late with reservations.

How to get there

Efteling is located in the south of the Netherlands, near the town of Kaatsheuvel.

We landed at Eindhoven Airport and then took an Uber to the park. It cost around 70€ one way and took us about 30 minutes to get there. There was also an option to get there by public transport, but it took longer (~2 hours), and we were too lazy to bother.

You can also fly to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and then take public transport. Efteling is well-connected by public transportation. You can take a train to Tilburg or ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and then transfer to a bus that will take you directly to the park. Bus routes 136, 300, and 301 also stop directly in front of the park entrance.

Public transport guide.

You can get there also by car. A parking spot costs €12,50 a day. Guests of the Efteling Hotel and Holiday Villages Efteling Bosrijk and Efteling Loonsche Land park for free in the respective central car park.

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