Keukenhof Gardens 2021 | Visit the Amsterdam tulip garden

If there’s one spring travel experience that sparks the imagination, it’s exploring the tulip fields in the Netherlands. Amidst this colorful patchwork is Keukenhof Gardens, the iconic Amsterdam tulip garden that draws over 1.5 million visitors every spring. A visit to the Garden of Europe, as Keukenhof Gardens is often referred to, makes for an excellent day trip from Amsterdam. Visiting the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens is a flower park experience like no other. In order to enjoy your visit to the fullest, you need to plan ahead. Learn all about the best time to visit Keukenhof Gardens during the Amsterdam tulip season, where to score skip-the-line Keukenhof tickets and how to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam. Plus, find out how to combine your visit to the Amsterdam tulip garden with other interesting must-sees such as the cheese market in Gouda or the windmills at Zaanse Schans.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. In addition, we have sprinkled other affiliate links throughout the site content as well. Clicking on such a hyperlink and/or making a purchase to the website it refers to, may result in a commission for CosmopoliClan at no additional cost to you. It allows us to dedicate enough personal time and energy to this blog. For more information, visit the Disclaimer page.

Keukenhof means Kitchen Garden. That’s exactly what it was in the 15th century, the vast vegetable garden of the nearby castle. In the 19th century, a father and son landscape architect duo redesigned the garden. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the bulb farmers saw the Keukenhof’s potential to become their exhibition ground. To this day, it’s one of the most popular places to visit in The Netherlands.

Planning your visit to the Keukenhof tulip garden

When to visit Keukenhof Gardens

In 2021, Keukenhof Gardens will be open from Saturday 20 March up to and including Sunday 9 May 2021. But that doesn’t mean that you can get to see the tulips in all their glory during this entire period. Amsterdam tulip season reaches its peak in the second half of April.

Unsurprisingly, the second half of April is also the busiest period. And the crowds can make or break your Keukenhof Gardens experience. Keukenhof Gardens opens at 8 a.m. and close at 7.30 p.m. It’s recommended to arrive before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

Keukenhof Gardens are the largest flower gardens in the world

We would also strongly advise against visiting Keukenhof on these days:

  • The Easter weekend of 3, 4 and 5 April 2021.
  • Flower Parade on 17 April 2021.
  • King’s Day on 27 April 2021.
  • All weekends but especially those in the second half of April.

The exact timing of the Dutch flower season depends on the weather conditions. We find this flower forecast to be a convenient tool.

Welcome sign for visitors to Keukenhof Gardens, both for those on guided tours as for those who opt for an individual day tour

Other flowers in the Keukenhof Gardens

Luckily, the Amsterdam flower garden is about more than just tulips. These may be the hero of the season but their entourage of other bulb flowers is just as fragrant and bright. This also why we prefer visiting early April, a bit before the Amsterdam tulip season’s peak.

Here’s an estimation of which bulb flowers to expect around which time in Keukenhof Gardens:

  • Crocuses from the first half to the end of March.
  • Daffodils from the end of March to mid-April.
  • Fragrant hyacinths in the first half of April.
  • Tulips from mid-April until the beginning of May.
  • Dahlias from June to October.
Keukenhof tulips are the heroes of Keukenhof Gardens but the park features plenty of other bulb flowers as well

Keukenhof tickets excluding transportation

Keukenhof tickets cost €18,50 per adult and €9 per child over 4 years of age. These single Keukenhof tickets are perfect if you plan on driving to Keukenhof.

You can purchase your Keukenhof Gardens tickets:

The online Keukenhof tickets don’t specify a day. So, you’re free to choose the date that’s most convenient to you and head straight to the entrance gate.

The only thing that’s not included in the Keukenhof entrance fee is the whisper boat tour: Tickets for this tour boat can only purchased at the windmill inside the park. These cost €9 per adult and €4,50 per child over 4 years of age.

Tickets Keukenhof Holland held against a backdrop fo tulips, check this article for the Keukenhof Gardens 2021 dates

Driving to Keukenhof Gardens

Since we live just a few hours away, we always drive to Keukenhof. The route is signposted and there’s a parking lot in front of the park. Take exit 4 from highway A4 and exit 3 from highway A44. On busy days, you may want to take traffic into account. Traffic jams can occur even well before you reach your highway exit.

The Keukenhof address is Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse.

Keukenhof Lisse is home to the most famous tulip garden in Amsterdam

Keukenhof tickets including transportation

You could also visit Keukenhof Gardens on a combi ticket. It includes transportation on the Keukenhof Express and the entrance ticket. Busses operate every 15 minutes. Expect queues at the bus stop, most certainly during the weekends.

Again, no specific dates apply as this Keukenhof skip-the-line ticket is valid any day of the season. Instead, you can head straight to the entrance gate.

Combined individual Amsterdam to Keukenhof tickets depending on where you stay in Amsterdam

From Europaplein (Europe Square) near the De Pijp district (35-minute ride):

From Museumplein, Rijksmuseum and Leidseplein (45-minute ride + connection):

  • Amsterdam Airport Express bus n°397 to Amsterdam Schiphol or Amsterdam Hoofddorp. Transfer to Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°858 at Schiphol Plaza or to Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°859 at Amsterdam Hoofddorp station.
  • €32.50 per adult, €14 per child.
  • Recommended hotels in the centre: Zoku Amsterdam & The Hoxton Amsterdam.
  • Get you combi-ticket here.

From Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Plaza (by Arrivals Hall 4, next to the Starbucks) (30-minute ride):

From Amsterdam Hoofddorp station (15-minute ride):

Amsterdam Pass:

  • Another option, which is especially interesting if you’ll be staying in Amsterdam, is to purchase the Amsterdam Pass (available in a 1, 2, 3 and 5-day version).
  • It gives you access to many museums, a hop on hop off canal cruise, several attractions AND it includes round trip transportation and tickets to the Keukenhof Gardens. How awesome is that?
  • Do note that that other city card, the I amsterdam City Card does not include Keukenhof tickets.

Suggestions for organized group tours from Amsterdam to Keukenhof Gardens

From ticketing agency Tiqets:

Combined individual Keukenhof tickets from other Dutch cities

From Leiden (25-minute ride):

  • Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°854 from Leiden central station.
  • 6 connections per hour.
  • €27.50 per adult, €14 per child
  • Recommended hotel in Leiden: Boutique Hotel d’Oude Morsch.
  • If you’re traveling from The Hague or Rotterdam, then you’ll need to travel to Leiden indepentently and continue from there.

From Haarlem (45-minute ride):

  • Regular bus n°50 (no express bus) from Haarlem station to Nachtegaal hotel in Lisse. Then a 10-minute walk to Keukenhof Gardens.
  • 4 connections per hour.
  • €27.50 per adult, €14 per child.
  • Recommended hotel in Haarlem: Hotel ML.

From Katwijk, Noordwijk or Noordwijkerhout:

  • Regular bus n°90 (no express bus) to Keukenhofdreef in Lisse. Then a 5-minute walk to Keukenhof Gardens.
  • 1 connection per hour.
  • €27.50 per adult, €14 per child.
  • Recommended hotel in Noordwijk-aan-Zee: Vesper hotel.

Holland Pass:

  • Another option, which is especially interesting if you’ll be visiting more places in the Netherlands, is to purchase the Holland Pass.
  • Depending on the package of your choice – small, medium or large – it gives you free access to a number of museums and attractions and discounts of up to 50% on public transport. The best thing is that it includes a fast-track entry to Keukenhof park. How awesome is that?

Suggestions for organized group tours from other Dutch cities to Keukenhof Gardens

From ticketing agency Tiqets:

Inside Keukenhof Gardens

You know that feeling of inner joy when spring has arrived and nature finally revives? That’s essentially the atmosphere in the Keukenhof flower park. And if you’re lucky, a bright shining sun may make the colorful gardens look even more spectacular.

What’s it like to visit Keukenhof Gardens

The Keukenhof Tulip Gardens cover an area of no less than 79 acres (32 hectare). A meandering pathway will take you around the gorgeous manicured gardens with flowers arranged in picture-perfect formations. Plenty of wooden benches dot the park. Find the map here.

Even on busy days, there are some areas in the Keukenhof park that are usually not too crowded. Other areas, like the windmill or the stepping stones at the lake, are often overly crowded.

Keukenhof Amsterdam tulip gardens
Mother and daughters in the tulips garden Amsterdam
Colorful flower beds in the Keukenhof tulip garden Amsterdam
A small group of tourists visiting the tulip gardens in Amsterdam on a full day trip

Depending on the crowds, a visit to the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens takes about half a day. If you have the time, don’t just rush through it. With more than 7 million flower bulbs, of which more than 800 different tulips, there’s plenty of reason to take it slowly. And the longer you stay, the lesser the number of visitors in the park. This is the perfect time to take pictures.

Do note that the first weeks of spring can be quite chilly in the Netherlands, especially towards the evening.

Keukenhof 2021 theme

Every year, the Keukenhof Gardens’s flower beds are centered around a theme. The 2021 theme is World of Colours. (This is the same theme that had been announced in 2020 before the sanitary crisis resulted in a cancelation of that edition).

In addition, there’ll be a Miffy flower mosaic to celebrate the 65th birthday of this iconic little rabbit with Dutch roots.

Check out when tulip season in Amsterdam starts and when the gardens of Keukenhof open their doors

Keukenhof Gardens whisper boat

The whisper boat is a 60-minute silent boat tour around the flower fields that border the park. Boat tickets are not included in your Keukenhof entrance ticket. You can purchase your ticket at the windmill inside Keukenhof park, where boarding takes place as well. These cost €9 per adult and €4,50 per child over 4 years of age.

Glass pavilions and art installations

Apart from the uniquely designed flower beds that adorn Keukenhof Gardens there are 6 pavilions dotting the park. Each hosts its own flower show or exhibition.

Flower shows take place in the glass pavilions

The Keukenhof Tulip Garden also displays several artworks in cooperation with the iconic Kröller-Müller museum.

Check the tulip festival Amsterdam 2021 dates and get your Keukenhof tickets 2021 and tulip festival Amsterdam tickets here

Visiting Keukenhof with kids

Kids love Keukenhof and I don’t believe it’s just a girl-thing. Yes, there are the flowers but there’s so much more for them to enjoy: There’s a petting zoo, a Miffy-themed playground, a Miffy house, a maze and even a treasure hunt to keep them involved.

Plus they’ll love the typical Dutch accents that dot the park such as the cow and the windmill. Keukenhof with kids is a match made in heaven. Those little legs will have walked miles before they even realize it.

Note that kids’ scooters and skates are not allowed into the park. And do inform your kids not to walk on the grass and not to pick the flowers, no matter how tempting they look.

Little girl in the tulip garden Netherlands

Picnic at Keukenhof Gardens

Various eateries dot the Keukenhof grounds. We love the fresh strawberry stand near the entrance (not sure if it’s there every day, though) and the poffertjes concession at the petting zoo.

Especially on busy days, we’d recommend bringing your own lunch and blanket to enjoy a picnic at the designated picnic area near the Mill. The other grass lawn are off-limits.

Outside Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Castle

A little-frequented gem just past the Keukenhof Gardens’ entrance is the Keukenhof Castle and its public park. It’s the perfect place to escape the crowds before heading back to your hotel. And if you happen to visit on a Wednesday or during the weekend, you can even indulge in a treat at the farmhouse restaurant Hofboerderij (open until 5 p.m.).

Amsterdam tulip fields nearby

Keukenhof gardens is located in the heart of the so-called Flower Strip between the cities of Leiden and Haarlem, home to the most popular tulip fields in Holland. So actually, you don’t even need to access the park in order to get your dose of fragrant flowers. There are several active ways to explore the flower strip:

  • You could rent a bike at the Keukenhof Gardens’ entrance (children’s bikes, tandems and trailers are available too). Have a look at the different cycling routes that lead you along some of the most gorgeous flower fields in the Netherlands. Advance booking is recommended.
  • Several walking trails meander the colorful landscape. Find them here.
  • A new and fun way to explore the area is by GPS Audio Tour in a cute Renault Twizy cart (2 persons per vehicle). Check out this carefree option and buy your tickets here.
There are plenty of Netherland tulip fields around Keukenhof park

Flower Parade

The highlight of festivities, for the locals for one, is the Flower Parade or Bloemencorso Bollenstreek. This 25-mile (42-km) long festive parade runs from Noordwijk to Haarlem. Literally dozens of floats, all uniquely decorated with tulips and other bulb flowers, paint the local streets to welcome spring.

In 2021, the Flower Parade will be held on 17 April and pass by Keukenhof Gardens at 14.45 pm. Click here to find out more.

Insider tip: Instead of attending this every-busy parade, you could watch the floats being decorated in the town of Sassenheim near Lisse. Find out more about this behind-the-screens experience here.

Read all about the Keukenhof Tulip Festival 2021 here
Source: Flickr – Naval S – (CC BY 2.0)

Black Tulip Museum

Did you know that The Netherlands thank their tulip success to Turkey? And that, during the Dutch Golden Age, a tulip was worth more than gold and more than a house? And what happens to the tulips after they are harvested. Learn all about the history of tulips and their cultivation in the Black Tulip Museum. Plus, admire their impressive collection of flower-adorned glasses.

This museum is located in Lisse, near the Keukenhof Tulip Garden. There’s another one in Amsterdam, which is called the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.

Picking your own flowers near Keukenhof Gardens

The wider region around Keukenhof is dotted with actual tulip-picking farms. Apart from the picking aspect, these farms offer the perfect opportunity to take pictures of you and your loved ones amidst a field of Dutch tulips. Pluktuin Noordwijkerhout is the picking garden closest to the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens.

Little girl in the middle of a tulip field Netherlands

Amsterdam tulip festival

Even Amsterdam joins in on the flower fun: The mission of the Amsterdam Tulip Festival is to reintroduce the tulip in the Amsterdam cityscape. Throughout the month of April, tulips are on display at dozens of locations around the city. You’ll see them at public spaces, hotels and museum gardens but might also spot them at private properties since locals residents are also encouraged to participate. Check all locations for the Amsterdam tulips here.

Getting from the tulip festival Amsterdam or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Keukenhof Gardens with public transportation

Where to stay near the Keukenhof Tulip Garden

Why rush if you could linger in this gorgeous Dutch bulb region? Surprisingly, there aren’t that many hotels in and near Lisse, along the so-called Flower Strip.

W’d recommend staying in Noordwijk, a lovely seaside town very close to the Flower Strip and Keukenhof Gardens. The hotel we have our eye on for some time is the Vesper hotel. There are two ways to go from the hotel to Lisse:

  • By bike, since the hotel offers bike rental.
  • By bus, line 90 stops at Pickeplein and accepts the combi-ticket to see the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens.

A great alternative is this wonderful Airbnb which is located within walking distance from the Keukenhof Park’s entrance.

How to combine your visit to Keukenhof Gardens

Chances are you won’t be traveling to Holland for Keukenhof Gardens alone, no matter how spectacular the tulips look. Here is some inspiration to combine your visit:

  • The classic experience includes 2 days in Amsterdam, a day trip to Keukenhof Gardens, a day trip to the Gouda cheese market (which takes place from 1 April onwards) and a day trip to the Zaanse Schans windmills.
  • Other noteworthy itinerary suggestions are a jaunt to The Hague and a day trip to Haarlem. Fun fact: The decorated flower floats can actually be admired in Haarlem after the Flower Parade. You can take pictures with the floats there until 5 p.m. Find out more here.

That’s it for this practical guide on visiting Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. We can’t wait to learn about your Amsterdam tulip garden plans or your personal Keukenhof experience. The comment box is all yours.

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As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. In addition, we have sprinkled other affiliate links throughout the site content as well. Clicking on such a hyperlink and/or making a purchase to the website it refers to, may result in a commission for CosmopoliClan at no additional cost to you. It allows us to dedicate enough personal time and energy to this blog. For more information, visit the Disclaimer page.

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