Home Lifestyle Things to Do Step inside the magical Efteling fairytale: A part of Dutch history
Last update on June 15, 2020

With more than 60 years taking Dutch and international visitors on an enchanting adventure, Efteling’s fairytale characters have become a beloved part of Dutch history. [Contributed by Efteling]

Whether you’re living in the Netherlands or just visiting, a visit to the magical world of Efteling’s adventure park never fails to capture the hearts of the young and old. Surprising guests since 1952, the Efteling characters have many stories to tell.

A part of Dutch history

Even after more than 60 years in operation, visitors never tire of spending time with their favourite Efteling fairytale characters. Open 365 days every year, Efteling continues to provide visitors new reasons to visit each season. In spring 2015, more than 250,000 flowers will greet visitors with a colourful smile, enchanting the Fairytale Forest and the Gondoletta boat-ride through nature with bursts of colour. But the most magical event of all is when Efteling’s tulips slowly turn from white to pink.

Efteling’s wonder world was created by the famous Dutch illustrator Anton Pieck, and brought to life with the technical expertise of Peter Reijnders. Their unique Efteling dream saw the initial creation of 10 fairytale depictions hidden in a huge expanse of green surroundings and forest. Efteling has attracted international acclaim for its natural features and landscapes, in line with the park’s green philosophy.

As the seasons change from cold to warm, the Efteling characters are always waiting to greet you, before you shoot off on an exhilarating ride.

Enchanting characters and rides in natural surroundings

Efteling’s stories etch themselves in the memories of old and young as visitors are transported to fairytale worlds in unique attractions. Catch a glimpse of belly dancers in the glittering Eastern palace of Fata Morgana while navigating the Forbidden City from the Tales of 1001 Nights, or rock gently in a sky sleigh through Dreamflight Droomvlucht, full of fairies and trolls. And the brave will not be scared when the tower clock chimes, and graves burst open to let spirits roam the Spookslot haunted house.

the deeply-rooted Fairytale Tree

But once you enter the magical Fairytale Forest, the foundation of Efteling’s success, it’s easy to forget where you are. Children delight in climbing to Sleeping Beauty’s castle on top of a hill, or exploring the forest to find Cinderella, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Tom Thumb, Hansel and Gretel, the deeply-rooted Fairytale Tree, the Emperor’s New Clothes, and more. And there is always a story not far behind.

Thrilling rides

Step outside the Fairytale Forest to find an exhilarating range of rides for young children, teenagers and the young at heart, to test all limits.

Anyone who enters the flying Thai temple Pagode will get a relaxing panoramic view 45 metres above Efteling, where you can see almost all of the attractions and even hear some of them. Back on ground, you might brave the Piraña Inca trail while twisting and swirling through white water rapids, but do you dare take the Vogel Rok, a rollercoaster flight through darkness?

For the daredevils, no one ever forgets their first ride on the thrilling Python rollercoaster, or the wooden racer rollercoaster George and the Dragon, which follows the story of George who defeats a fire-breathing dragon to save a beautiful princess.

no one can escape the curse of the mysterious ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman

But no one can escape the curse of the mysterious ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman. Based on the legendary story of captain Willem van der Decken, feel the thrill alongside screaming passengers on the swinging ship and try not to get wet!

If that’s not enough thrill, shooting down the summer Bobsleigh run, just above the treetops, will get your heart pumping. With so many must-see rides, there’s always something to experience at Efteling.

Exciting entertainment

Since offering small-scale puppet theatre performances around the park in 1954, the park has grown to become a place full of grand live entertainment shows and exciting performances. See swirling spectacles with showmanship, humour and emotion, and be careful not to miss the fleeting shows performed sometimes for just a few lucky people.

Once you step through the doors of Parkshow Raveleijn, you will be transported to a world where ravens become horses and children become heroes. As five riders take on an opponent with just as many heads, the suspenseful atmosphere draws visitors into the story at full horsepower. Can the riders prevail against Count Olaf Grafhart’s five-headed monster?

Just as the day winds down, Efteling brings visitors the world’s third largest water show Aquanura. In tribute to Efteling’s original water attraction in 1952, The Frog Prince, Aquanura’s four frogs transform the Vonderplas lake into a musical spectacle.

the world’s third largest water show Aquanura

Featuring well-known Efteling melodies and more than 200 fountains, fairytales are brought to life. Aquanura will remind everyone why Efteling is the most-visited attraction in the Netherlands.

Overnight stays in the Efteling Hotel or Efteling Village Bosrijk

With so many adventures, one day at Efteling is never enough. Efteling’s overnight accommodation is within walking distance of the theme park and offers unlimited access to Efteling’s fairytale atmosphere throughout your stay.

The Efteling Hotel is a child-friendly, fairytale-themed hotel directly bordering the theme park, where you and your family can enjoy an enchanting stay in Cinderella’s room or dream alongside Sleeping Beauty.

the Efteling Theatre

Next door to Efteling theme park, you can sleep in nature at Efteling Village Bosrijk‘s self-catering accommodation, situated on the fringes of the Loonse en Drunense Duinen. Here, visitors can enjoy an extended visit to the theme park while being surrounded by Brabant countryside, combined with a round or two on Efteling Golf Park’s course or a visit to a musical in the Efteling Theatre. It covers 16 hectares of wonderfully varied landscape with dunes, woodland, open fields and a babbling brook. At its heart is a tranquil lake featuring a sandcastle, which is home to Efteling Village Bosrijk’s most prominent resident: Mr Sandman.

As of the summer of 2015, Efteling Village Bosrijk will consist of 104 detached Woodland Houses, 64 terraced Village Houses, 78 comfortable apartments shared between the Manor House and Gatehouse, and eight Woodland Houses for groups of 12 to 24 guests. 

New to the Efteling family 2015

While still nurturing all the well-known fairytale favourites, Efteling is always excited to invite more characters and rides to the Efteling family.

Join the mining crew on Baron 1989

Daredevils will flock to Efteling’s spectacular dive coaster Baron 1898, set to open in the summer of 2015. Baron 1989 takes visitors back to the 19th-century Dutch mining days, developing a richly themed storyline playing both inside and outside the attraction.

As visitors transform into mineworkers for this ride, their carriage whisks down a mineshaft at around 90km per hour in a 37.5m freefall. Efteling was inspired for this historic-based attraction by the deep mining history, including the legend surrounding the ‘Witte Wieven’ (White Women, as mentioned in European mythology). As always, every ride tells a story.

Tiesto-Efteling show heats up the Aquanura fountain

Efteling’s magic spreads to all ages, and young and old alike will be excited by the latest symphony fountain show to be held in Kaatsheuvel. Dance along to the hot-beat mixes of well-known Tiesto tunes and Efteling classics.

the Efteling Summer Festiva

This special show is performed for visitors at certain times of the year, such as the spring school holidays and during the Efteling Summer Festival.

Pinocchio the fairytale musical

Watch the wooden boy come to life in this Dutch-language unique musical adaption of the well-loved fairy tale of Pinocchio. This special musical will be shown exclusively in the Efteling Theatre from mid-September, and all the audience is invited to get involved.

The World of Efteling

With so many favourites to revisit and new stories to experience, the World of Efteling covers the whole family with a themed hotel, a holiday village, a golf course, theatre and a wide range of facilities for business events.

Efteling continues to expand beyond its park borders in Kaatsheuvel, through television series, musical productions, a children’s radio station and a YouTube channel, so Efteling’s fairytales are never far away.

No matter how big the Efteling family becomes, it always remains close to its roots: to keep the fairy tales, sagas, legends, myths and stories alive.