Sally James checks out
The Best Theme Parks
When people think of Holland, they tend to think of windmills, tulips, and some of Europe’s most laid back residents. However, what many people don’t realise is that Holland is also home to some of Europe’s finest theme parks. With affordable entry fees, smaller visitor numbers than many of Europe’s more well-known resorts, and an incredible array of rides and attractions, Holland’s theme parks really shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether you’re a roller coaster enthusiast looking for big thrills or a young family looking for more gentle attractions, you’re sure to find a truly wonderful theme park day out in Holland. Here are three of the very best theme parks in the country:
Duinrell is located on the estate of the Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family, set within acres of their beautiful and well maintained park land. For this reason, many local residents refer to it as Holland’s ‘posh’ theme park. Duinrell provides a wonderful adventure for every visitor, but it is particularly appealing to younger guests with its indoor soft play area and its happy frog mascot. However with roller coasters featuring 360 degree loops as well as more family friendly roller coasters (such as the Dragonfly) there is certainly something to appeal to everyone.
For visitors travelling from the UK or elsewhere in Europe, Duinrell provides a complete holiday experience: the theme park is situated inside a campsite resort which features one of Europe’s largest water parks, home to the largest water slide in the country. With eleven water slides and heated indoor and outdoor pools as part of the complex, many people stay in Duinrell for more than one day, so that they can combine a visit to the water park with a visit to the traditional theme park.
Efteling is a family friendly theme park based on traditional fairy tales. Every aspect of the park is built around tales (both well-known and unusual) from ancient myths and legends, including fairy tales, fables, and folklore, and it is entirely enchanting for visitors of all ages.
Efteling was originally opened in 1952 and still remains many elements of its original rustic charm: many of the original fairy tale walk-through displays which were designed by artist Anton Pieck are still in place and are well worth seeking out. This area of the park is hugely attractive to families with young children, who are able to immerse themselves in their favourite stories. However Efteling has also been extensively modernised, and it is now home to some incredibly impressive rollercoasters, water rides and even a toboggan run sure to terrify the most hardened roller coaster fan. Food in Efteling is surprisingly inexpensive, particularly in comparison to some of Europe’s larger and most high profile theme parks, such as Disneyland Paris. It is even possible to purchase entry tickets at a slightly higher price that include vouchers for your lunch and snacks during your visit: The croquettes come highly recommended. However it is recommended that you take some of your travel money with you when you visit the park because the souvenirs available are far superior to the quality you are likely to find in other theme parks: think leather bound fairy tale books, wooden puppets, and high quality porcelain. Certainly not expensive, but wonderful souvenirs of your trip.
Efteling has the dual honour of being both the largest theme park in Holland as well as being one of the oldest theme parks in the world. Efteling is a magical theme park that hasn’t lost any of its original charm.
The name Walibi may not sound familiar to you, but this theme park previously operated under the much more well-known ‘Six Flags’ name. The park was first opened as an educational theme park in 1971, with a strong focus on agriculture, but was purchased by the Walibi group in the mid-nineties when it went bankrupt in its original incarnation. Since then, the park has gone from strength to strength, and attracts thrill seekers from all over Europe.
Home to six roller coasters, four high impact thrill rides, and an abundance of rides suitable for families and for young children, Walibi is the perfect family day out. The motto of the Walibi park is ‘ faster, harder, higher’ meaning that it is the ideal place for thrill seekers that want to find an abundance of incredible rides in one beautiful location: visitors travel from far and wide to ride Goliath, which is the tallest and faster roller coaster in the region.