For a fairy-tale family adventure in the Netherlands, visit Eftling Park and the Golden Tulip Efling Hotel in Kaatsheuvel.
Fairy tale forests and gnarly little gnomes rub shoulders with white-knuckle thrill rides at Efteling Park, a fun-filled amusement park in the southwest of Holland. Plan to arrive the evening before you want to visit the park, so you can spend the night in one of the 20 special theme rooms at the adjacent Efteling Hotel. For classic fairytale atmosphere, opt for the Sleeping Beauty room (spinning wheel, canopy of briars, puppet theater), the Hansel and Gretel room (lots of sweets!), or the newest theme room, The Cindarella suite (complete with pumpkins and glass slippers).
If you’re traveling with a few I’m-too-old-for-this-nonsense teens, you can opt to stay in the Coca-Cola room, (Coke memorabilia, beds separated by an illuminated wall of empty coke bottles), the Fifties room (juke box, pinball machine, Chevy Bel Air head and foot board), or the golf room (private putting green, although there is a real 18-hole golf course.)
My husband wanted to stay in the Laaf Suite or the Brewer’s room where the wardrobes are real beer barrels and beer taps regulate the room lighting, but the kids and I nixed the idea.
After a buffet breakfast with the very fairy tale characters you’ll hear more about in the park, head through your own special entrance into Efteling Park. The Fairytale Forest is the original part and even at nearly 60 years old, it’s still charming. Be sure to brush up on your popular fairy tales before you go, so you’ll all understand references to more obscure stories.
Make time to catch the award-winning Fairytale Show, and then choose from a variety of rides and entertainment: favorites include a pedal train, a nostalgic steam carousel, a Swiss bobsled run, puppet shows, and several roller coasters–including one completely in the dark.
For a quick snack, stop at the ‘t Poffertje stall to sample tiny traditional Dutch pancakes.
Starting in 2010, Efteling will be open year-round. The park also opened the Efteling Village Bosrijk in 2009, a holiday-themed village that has 203 cottages and apartments, offering an alternative place to stay while your family enjoys the theme park.
Resort Report Card
|Golden Tulip Efteling Hotel
|31/416 288 111
|$ – $$$
|Choice of Activities:
|Quality of Amenities:
|Rub elbows with strolling fairy princesses and wandering wicked witches.
|After breakfast, young guests can help the fairy tale characters feed the fish in the hotel’s castle moat.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.