Today I’m going to take you on an adventure to my favorite day trip from Amsterdam to Efteling Theme Park! Efteling is a state of the art themed attraction park in the heart of the Netherlands. Just to give you an idea of how much I love it, since my first visit I’ve been back no less than 6 times. Might be more. I kind of lost count. The point is, it’s an amazing place to be for kids and adults alike. If you like Disneyland Paris and are planning to visit Amsterdam, you should definitely put it on your list. Wanna know why? Read on!
Wait, so is Efteling an Amsterdam Theme Park?
While it’s not in the city itself, it only takes an hour to go from Amsterdam to Efteling. Efteling is the biggest amusement park in the Benelux region, but also one of the oldest in the world. First open to visitors in 1952, the park has since gained loyal visitors from all over the world. It is open all year long but the opening hours may vary depending on the season. Efteling is themed around world-known classic fairytales by Andersen, Grimm Brothers, and Charles Perrault.
Efteling theme park has its own steam train that circles the park’s several magic kingdoms, separating the thrill rides from the fairytale forest. There’s lots to explore here for every age: haunted houses, boat rides through the lake, dark rides through magic kingdoms, the Flying Dutchman rollercoaster, a fantastic water show and so, so much more!
How to Get from Amsterdam to Efteling Theme Park
If you will be traveling by public transport, download the app or use the website 9292.nl. It has live information on all the buses, trains and trams. The information is updated all the time so if you miss your connection you can easily find another route you can take.
For travelers going from Amsterdam to Efteling, I recommend going by train to Den Bosch (also known as ‘s-Hertogenbosch) and catch a Bus 300 to Tilburg that goes directly to the park. You won’t be able to miss the stop as there’s a big parking area and lots of people are always going out. The bus ride is 35 minutes so prepare to enjoy the views.
If you’re going by car, check out the detailed route instructions offered by the Efteling team HERE.
Efteling Tickets & Prices: How Much Will You Spend?
Entrance ticket is 42 EUR per person, children up to 3 y.o. get free entry. Parking tickets are 10 EUR. If you order entrance tickets online on the website directly, you will get a small discount and will skip the queue to the ticket booths. The tickets are also available for purchase in stores like Albert Heijn (Dutch grocery chain) and HEMA. You can buy them during check-out.
Sometimes the Albert Heijn runs special offers and discounts for Efteling theme park tickets. You can check this page to see whether the offer is valid (the page is in Dutch). You usually have to save up stickers from your purchases to buy discounted tickets. If you come during the low season when the expected number of visitors is lower, you can get a ticket for 40 EUR.
If you are traveling from Amsterdam to Efteling with children or would like to take your time exploring the park (I recommend to take 2 days for new visitors), consider staying in one of the Efteling hotels. This will allow you to combine accommodation with entrance tickets and save money and time. Public transport to and from Amsterdam Centraal would be 40 EUR (Train + Bus).
Must Visit Amsterdam Theme Park Efteling Attractions
Efteling opens at 10:00 and I recommend that you show up to the park’s opening as the biggest attractions can get busy quite easily. To use your time in the most efficient way, download the Efteling App (Google Play or iTunes). Not only does it provide an interactive map of the park that you don’t need to fold and unfold, it also shows waiting time on all open attractions. All you need is a smartphone and geolocation enabled. So save your phone’s life by bringing a portable power bank.
You can often cut your waiting time in half on certain rides that boast a “Single Riders” queue. It’s especially helpful on really popular rides such as Symbolica and Baron 1898. For example, we cut a 40-minute queue to Symbolica and were in the attraction in 10 minutes with hardly any wait.
The park is quite big and for a first-time visitor, it can be quite overwhelming, with so many interesting things pulling you in several directions at once.
I made a list of attractions that you simply cannot miss during your visit:
- Droomvlucht: this atmospheric fairy-themed dark ride called “Dream Flight” is one of the park’s most popular which means the queues are building up quickly from the moment the park opens.
- Joris en de Draak: this ride is my favorite! Joris and the Dragon is by far the most excitingly fast wooden roller coaster. You’re playing the part of a dragonslayer, and choose one of the carts (Fire or Water) that race to see which one will get to the finish line.
- Sprookjesbos: The Fairytale forest is an open area in the park where different fairytale inhabitants can be spotted. There’s no queue and it’s open at all times but it’s definitely worth to take a peek! There are talking trees, gnomes, and sleeping giants too.
- The Flying Dutchman: take your place on a ship and take a journey under the ground to end up in the lake with a big splash. To get to the ride you have to go through many rooms in the castle, so if you see the queue extend outside of the building, it’s way too long. Better wait until you can slip inside.
- Baron 1898: in this exciting, and frankly, scream-worthy dive rollercoaster, you’re looking for a treasure in the haunted mines. Before embarking on the adventure you’ll hang in the air suspended before plummeting into the earth.
- Villa Volta: This cursed house is riddled with ghosts. Once you’re in, you’re in for a real tumble. Let’s hope you emerge in one piece!
- Python: By far the most brutal ride with not one but two loops in a row and unbelievable twists and turns that will leave you gasping.
- Pagode: This beautiful rotating platform is the perfect way to see the whole park from above. The ride takes about 7 minutes and is a great way to enjoy the views while you’re taking a break from the action.
- Symbolica: this dark ride only opened in July 2017 and is still all the rage. You’re invited for an audience with the king however it doesn’t go as planned and you get to peek in all the rooms of the magic palace instead. The queues can be quite intense for this one. So better jump into the single rider queue. It will considerably reduce your waiting time and chances are you might end up in a cart with your friend after all!
Don’t forget to stay for the Aquanura Water Show in the evenings and visit the Efteling theater for park shows during the day. The Raveleijn show has horse riders, flames, and a real adventure. Both are free for all. You’re in for a treat!
What to Eat in Efteling Theme Park
The trip from Amsterdam to Efteling still takes time so I recommend bringing snacks for the road. Efteling Theme Park has a lot of different food options, and they are much tastier than one would expect from a big theme park. Cough-cough, Disneyland Paris, your food sucks, I’m sorry to say.
The food in the Efteling is not that expensive either. You can get a meal for 5-10 EUR, may it be a burger (they have vegetarian options too), fries, fish, or pancakes. I personally recommend the Toko Pagode, which offers a wok option that you can combine yourself. Absolutely delicious and also budget-friendly.
There’s a lot to please a sweet tooth here: soft ice cream from 1 EUR, candyfloss, popcorn, poffertjes (delicious tiny Dutch pancakes). There’s a candy store as well filled with jelly beans and anything else your heart may desire.
For a restaurant experience, head to Pinokkio’s Restaurant for Italian, Polles Keuken for a pancake restaurant (they have both sweet and savory options), or Wapen van Reveleijn which has an a-la-carte 3-course menu for adults for 30 EUR and 16,50 EUR for children from 4 to 12. All the menus are available on the Efteling website.
The Aquanura Water and Light shows start after the park closes at 18:00. There’s a show at 18:15 and another at 18:45. The idea behind it is the classic fairytale of the princess and the frog. The princess drops her ball into the lake and watches the frogs play with it. The show is just spectacular, especially so once it gets dark in the evening. That’s a definite benefit if you decide to go during winter – it will be just breathtaking.
Make sure to grab a spot on the edge of the lake in advance. If you show up at 18:15 there’ll be a big crowd to contend with. It lasts only 12 minutes but with the beautiful soundtrack and visuals, you’ll feel thoroughly enchanted.
Where to Stay in Efteling Theme Park
If you’re planning your first ever visit, consider staying in the park for 2 days. Efteling Theme Park has several accommodation options such as vacation houses. But the Efteling Hotel has themed rooms and during a 1-night stay, you get admission included for 2 days, with breakfast included.
Prices vary depending on dates, starting from 250 EUR per night. The walking distance to the park is only 5 minutes and it’s a really fun experience thanks to the beautiful fairytale-themed rooms. If you book a stay, you can enter the park half an hour earlier than the rest of the visitors (at 9:30) which gives you a nice head start. I haven’t stayed in the Efteling Hotel myself yet but I’ll definitely make it happen in the future!
If staying inside the park stretches your budget, check out deals for nearby hotel stays. You can also conveniently stay near Den Bosch and take the bus to the park early in the morning, saving you some precious travel time. Plus, that way you can do one day in Efteling and another exploring Den Bosch.
There you have it – a complete guide to visiting Efteling from Amsterdam! So while this is not an Amsterdam theme park, you’ll be hard pressed to find an amusement park that’s cooler than Efteling!
I hope you’re now as excited to visit Efteling as I am! Psst, I’m actually planning another visit right now… I know, I just can’t stay away. What’s your favorite amusement park? Let me know in the comments!