Efteling; the largest theme park in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in the world. In 2016 it was the third most visited theme park in Europe; Disneyland and Europa-park beating it. Nathan and I had a weekend away to Efteling without Oliver a little while ago and we absolutely loved it – ignoring having a bit of mum guilt. Let me start off by saying this post isn’t an ad or sponsored by Efteling (although I secretly wish it was!), we just loved the park that much. It’s more or less a land full of fairy tales, folklore, mythology and more, which is right up our street.
Whilst we were away I was sharing lots of photos over on instagram and twitter, and I had so many messages saying they were thinking of looking at booking a week away to Efteling. I originally had planned to write just a ’round-up’ type of post of what we got up to with some photos, but instead I’ve decided to write a guide to Efteling, in hoping it may help anyone who is looking into visiting.
I’ll start with the the rides. We didn’t get a chance to go on every single ride, but here are the rides we did get to go on and the ones I’d recommend.
Now if the first question you’re thinking is ‘Will this theme park suit both my younger and older children?’, the answer is yes! I cannot stress how perfect this theme park is for families. There are a lot of theme parks out there that focus on the rollercoasters and rides for the bigger children, but this park has so much for younger children to do. If anything, it’s probably got more for children! Saying this though, it’s still great for adults. They have a nice bunch of rollercoasters which are perfect for the bigger kids and adults.
Perfect For The Younger Children –
This is the newest ride to Efteling. This ride is inside/under the big castle photographed above. You get to choose your magical route and ride the Fantasyfloats (Fantasievaarders) around into different secret corridors, to then eventually join the king himself. Trust me when I say you’ll want to ride this more than once.
Extra Info; Children <1m need supervision. Transfer from a wheelchair is necessary. Not suitable for babies but baby switch is available.
I really loved this ride. You get to slowly fly around elves, trolls, fairies and more in their enchanting world where they come to life. This ride is truly beautiful. There is not one room that isn’t magical.
Extra Info; Children <1m need supervision but is suitable for the whole family.
The entrance to Droomvlucht
A boat ride that takes you through the middle east into the forbidden city. This ride, although mostly fine, has a few scary scenes so although it’s suitable for the whole family, it could be frightening to really young children.
Extra Info; Children <1.2m need supervision but is suitable for the whole family. Transfer from a wheelchair is necessary. Includes some frightening effects.
Imagine the ride ‘It’s a small world’ in the Disney parks; they’re just like Carnaval Festival. You travel through all of the different continents with jolly music and colours everywhere.
Extra Info; Children <1m need supervision but is suitable for the whole family. Transfer from a wheelchair is necessary. Includes some frightening effects.
Volk Van Laaf Incl: The Monorail
Volk Van Laaf is a small village with a monorail running through and around it. This ride is perfect for the little ones, but make sure they sit in-between 2 adults as the sides are quite open.
Extra Info; Children <1.2m need supervision but is suitable for the whole family.
The great thing about Efteling is it’s situated on a nature park so there is a lot of trees, lakes and grassland. Gondoletta is a boat ride that travels on a huge lake travelling through and past rides. It’s the perfect ride to go on after having a bit of lunch or if you need to relax.
Extra Info; Children <1.2m need supervision but is suitable for the whole family. Transfer from a wheelchair is necessary.
There are a lot more rides perfect for younger children that we didn’t get the chance to go on like; Stoomcarrousel (an indoor steam carousel), De Oude Tuffers (the chance to drive in an old T-Ford), Monsieur Cannibale (Imagine the spinning teacups but cauldrons instead), Kinderspoor (riding miniature trains through dutch landscapes, and many more. If I was to list them all I’d be here for a very long time!
As I’ve mentioned there are a lot of rides for younger children. The ones I’ve mentioned previously are definitely my favourites and the ones I’d recommend the most.
Perfect for the older children/adults –
Joris En De Draak (George And The Dragon)
A battle between 2 carriages. You race the other carriage to then win the roller coaster – I assume that one carriage is George and the other is the dragon. The fun thing about this wooden roller coaster is you really don’t know who will win; We were losing pretty much the whole way round up until the last second where we beat the other carriage!
Extra Info; Transfer from a wheelchair is necessary. Minimum height is 1.1m but children under 1.2m must be supervised by an adult. Not suitable for babies but baby switch is available. Not suitable for pregnant women.
You’re typical swinging boat ride. I wasn’t sure whether to include this in the younger or older children section but it’s a pretty big boat that swings really high, so I thought it may it a bit too big for the little ones.
Extra Info; Transfer from a wheelchair is necessary. Children <1.2m must be supervised. Not suitable for babies but baby switch is available. Not suitable for pregnant women.
The effects, decor and the general build up to this ride was amazing! It had a strong ‘working miners’ feel to it and it really get’s you excited for the ride. If you’ve ever been to Alton Towers, Baron 1898 is very similar to Oblivion, just a little better and longer.
Extra Info; Minimum height 1.4m. Transfer from a wheelchair is necessary. Not suitable for pregnant women or babies, however baby switch is available.
Probably my favourite roller coaster at Efteling. Vogel Rok is an indoor roller coaster in the dark, and it is fast. The entrance to this ride is pretty impressive; it’s a huge mythological bird of prey!
Extra Info; Minimum height is 1.2m. Transfer from wheelchair is necessary. Not suitable for pregnant women or babies, however baby switch is available.
There were a few rides we weren’t able to ride as they were either closed for maintenance or because there was a lot of snow and ice, and these rides were De Vliegende Hollander ‘The Flying Dutchman’ (A water coaster – this one we were so gutted we didn’t get to ride as it looks SO GOOD, but the lake was too icey!), Piraña (the river rapids, again closed due to the ice), Python (A roller coaster which was having a lot of maintenance done to it) and Bob (A bobsleigh run which looks quite fun, but closed due to maintenance).
If you’re looking for a birds eye view of the park and surrounding areas you can take a trip up Pagode, which takes you high up into the sky for an aeriel view (photographed in the first photo next to the castle). This is suitable for the whole family.
Not only are there rides but there is so much more to keep your little ones entertained. There is a maze, regular live shows, playgrounds, a 3D cinema, a steam train, a miniature world and a museum.
The Fairytale Forest
In 1952 the fairytale forest was opened, where you can walk between lots of your favourite fairytales; Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Tom Thumb, Rapunzel, Snow White and so many more. This was one of my favourite parts of the park as it’s so peaceful and beautiful. It’s definitely worth taking some time out of your day to visit. I went a bit photo mad at this point, but I won’t spoil the magic for you by sharing too many photos, so I’ll show you some of my favourites.
You really can get lost in the magic in the fairytale forest – Quite literally as we did get a bit lost at one point! It really was quite magical seeing all of your favourite fairytales come to life in front of you.
‘Holle Bolle Gijs’ – The Paper Gobblers
Whilst walking around the park you’d sometimes here the words ‘Papier hier’ (Paper Here). It took us a while to discover what the hell was going on, but it was actually paper waste bins talking to you! These Paper Gobblers encourage you to put paper waste into their mouths to reduce the amount of rubbish in the park. I absolutely loved these. I think it’s a great way to encourage children to put their rubbish in bins. I’m so gutted I didn’t take a photo of one these Paper Gobblers, but you can find tons of photos on Eftelings website.
One of the main things I was excited about was the food. After looking on Eftelings website I noticed there was a lot of places for delicious food. I really wish we had tried more of the restaurants but we were limited to time. Here are the restaurants I would recommend.
‘t Poffertje (a mini pancake house): One of our first stops was to the mini pancake house, where they served freshly made small pancakes. I had the Nutella and banana pancakes which were DELICIOUS! Please do forgive me for my rubbish photography here, but I couldn’t manage to make them look as good as they were!
Toko Pagode Take Away: If you’re looking for a quick tasty bit to eat I’d recommend Toko Pagode. It’s situated right next to Pagode and they have quite a nice selection.
Steenbok: You can either sit down for a meal or buy some snacks in their vending machine style walls, which I think is so clever if you don’t want to take too much time out of your day.
Octopus Restaurant: This restaurant looks amazing inside! It’s decorated like you’re at the bottom of the sea. The selection is huge and is very child friendly.
I am so gutted we didn’t get a chance to dine in Polles Keuken Pancake Restaurant. The day we had planned to go for lunch the restaurant was being redecorated! The selection of pancakes is huge ranging from both savoury to sweet, and also children specials. You may have seen I bought this restaurants pancake recipe book, so I’ll be able to recreate the dishes at home.
We stayed in Eftelings hotel for 2 nights in one of their comfort rooms. The hotel is quite literally right next door to the park and you have your own special entrance so you don’t get stuck in the crowd at the main entrance. The hotel was magical and it still kept in the fairytale theme. For an extra cost you can even stay in one of their themed rooms based off of the fairytales. I can tell if we come back with Oliver (why am I saying if, of course we’re going back one day), I’ll definitely want to stay in a themed room. There is also a family friendly restaurant in the hotel which I’d highly recommend.
There we have it! That’s my ultimate guide to Efteling. I’ve included everything that I can think of, but if you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We really did love Efteling, and I cannot wait to go back again with Oliver. Now we’ve had a chance to experience the park without him I now know just how much there is for him to do. Have you been to Efteling before, or are you thinking of booking a visit? Let me know!