If there’s one spring travel destination that sparks the imagination, it must be the tulip fields in the Netherlands. A visit to the popular Keukenhof gardens, often referred to as the Garden of Europe, makes for an excellent day trip from Amsterdam. The colorful Keukenhof park evolves around the most beloved Dutch icon, the tulip, combined with several other bulb species. With over 1.5 million visitors in 8 weeks, this sure is one of the most popular attractions in the Netherlands. This article highlights the practical details about your visit, such as where to score skip-the-line Keukenhof tickets, where to stay and how to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam and other Dutch cities nearby.
Keukenhof gardens, the famous tulip garden in the Netherlands
– When is the tulip season at Keukenhof
Before we dive into the Keukenhof tickets and tours, it’s important to know when to plan your trip. The Keukenhof Gardens 2020 will be open from 21 March up to and including 10 May 2020. Peak blooming season for the tulips is the second half of April, which makes this the perfect time for a visit to the Keukenhof park. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the busiest period. If that’s when you plan on visiting the Keukenhof 2020 season, then be prepared to go with the flow. For the same reason, avoid the Easter weekend (11, 12 and 13 April 2020) and King’s Day (27 April).
The Keukenhof gardens open 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.
Luckily, these tulip gardens near Amsterdam are about more than just tulips. These may be the hero of the season but their entourage is just as fragrant and bright. Here’s an estimation of which flowers to expect around which time (depending on the weather conditions):
- 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.
As indicated, the exact timing of the Dutch flower season depends on the weather conditions. We find this flower forecast to be a convenient tool.
– What to expect from your visit to Keukenhof
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. The first weeks of spring can be quite chilly in the Netherlands. If you’re lucky enough, the sun might be shining brightly making the colorful gardens come even more alive.
The Keukenhof tulip gardens cover an area of no less than 79 acres (32 hectare). A meandering pathway will take you around the most gorgeous manicured gardens, with flower arranged in spectacular formations. There are plenty of wooden benches spread throughout the park. Several pavilions, featuring flower exhibitions, dot the Keukenhof gardens and all center around a central theme. In 2019 it was Flower Power, in 2020 A World of Colours.
Even on busy days, there are some areas in the Keukenhof park that are usually not too crowded. Other places, such the one around the windmill, where you’ll also find the ticket counter for the boat tour, and the stepping stones at the lake might be overly crowded.
You’ll find various eateries spread around the Keukenhof gardens. We love the fresh strawberry stand near the entrance (not sure if it’s there every day, though) and the poffertjes, typical small Dutch pancakes, at the petting zoo. You’re free to bring your own lunch too but there’s only one designated picnic area and that’s near the Mill.
A visit to the Keukenhof gardens takes about half a day, again depending on the crowds. If you have the time, then 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.
– 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 playground, 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.
Keukenhof entrance tickets, combi tickets and tours
– Keukenhof tickets excluding transportation
Single Keukenhof tickets cost €19 per adult and €9 per child over 4 years of age and can be purchased:
- at the ticket office (which usually involves queueing);
- online e-ticket via the Keukenhof website;
- online e-ticket via this trusted Dutch activity ticketing agency.
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.
What’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. That’s also the boarding location for this 60-minute silent boat tour around the flower fields surrounding the park.
– Keukenhof tickets including transportation
You can visit Keukenhof Gardens on a combi ticket. Again, no specific dates but a ticket which is valid any day of the season. It includes transportation on the Keukenhof Express and the entrance ticket, saving you the trouble of queueing at the park’s ticketing desk. Instead, you can head straight to the entrance gate. Busses operate every 15 minutes. Expect queues at the bus stop, most certainly during the weekends.
Alternatively, you could opt to join a comfortable organized tour to Keukenhof gardens and the tulip farms in the area. While you admire the many flowers along the way, learn all about Holland and its bulbs.
– How to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam
These are the combined Keukenhof ticket options:
- Combi-ticket Amsterdam Schiphol to Keukenhof (€27.50 per adult, €14 per child): The Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°858 is a 30-minute connection from Schiphol Plaza (by Arrivals Hall 4, next to the Starbucks) to Keukenhof. There are 8 connections per hour.
Recommended hotel near Amsterdam Schiphol: citizenM Schiphol Airport.
- Combi-ticket Amsterdam Hoofddorp to Keukenhof (€27.50 per adult, €14 per child): The Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°859 is a 15-minute connection from Hoofddorp station to Keukenhof. There are 8 connections per hour.
- Combi-ticket Amsterdam centre to Keukenhof (€32.50 per adult, €14 per child): Take Amsterdam Airport Express bus n°397 from Museumplein, Rijksmuseum and Leidseplein to Amsterdam Schiphol or Amsterdam Hoofddorp (45 minutes). From there, you can catch the Keukenhof Express bus as mentioned above.
Recommended hotels near Amsterdam’s Museumplein, Rijksmuseum and Leidseplein: Zoku Amsterdam & The Hoxton Amsterdam.
- Combi-ticket Amsterdam RAI to Keukenhof (€32.50 per adult, €14 per child): The Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°852 is a 35-minute connection from Europaplein (Europe Square, near the De Pijp district) to Keukenhof. There are 8 connections per hour.
Recommended hotel near Amsterdam RAI: Hotel Okura Amsterdam.
Another option, which is especially interesting if you’ll be staying in Amsterdam, is to purchase the Amsterdam Pass. It gives you free 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? The Amsterdam Pass is available in a 1, 2, 3 and 5 day version.
(Do note that that other city card, the I amsterdam City Card does not include Keukenhof tickets.)
And here are the best options for an organized tour with our recommended partners GetYourGuide and Tiqets:
- A 5-hour luxury coach Keukenhof tour including skip-the-line tickets departing from Amsterdam Central Station. (€39 per person)
- Keukenhof Day tour with guide where you’ll enjoy a 1.5-hour scenic boat ride amidst a landscape of windmills and a Dutch lunch followed by a visit to a Dutch cheese farm and guided visit to the Keukenhof gardens. The tour departs from the A’DAM Lookout, just a 3-minute boat trip from Amsterdam Central Station. (€95 per person)
- Full day Keukenhof tour by coach with guided visit of the Keukenhof park and of the Zaanse Schans windmill village. The tour departs from the Heineken Experience and entitles you to a free ticket for a 1-hour 100 Highlights Cruise in Amsterdam. (€85 per person)
- This 7-hour tour from Amsterdam’s Central Station includes transportation and a skip-the-line ticket with free visit of the Keukenhof park. (€37.50 per person)
- This 7-hour tour from Amsterdam’s Central Station includes transportation, a skip-the-line ticket and guided visit of the Keukenhof flower gardens as well as a visit of a bulb-farm in the area. (€69 per person)
- A full-day combined tour to Keukenhof (free visit) and to the Zaanse Schans windmills from Amsterdam Central Station . It also includes a boat tour on the IJsselmeer and a one-hour Amsterdam canal cruise.
– How to get to Keukenhof from other Dutch cities
These are the combined Keukenhof ticket options:
- Combi-ticket Leiden to Keukenhof (€27.50 per adult, €14 per child): The Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°854 is a 25-minute connection from Leiden Central station to Keukenhof. There are 6 connections per hour.
Recommended hotel in Leiden: Boutique Hotel d’Oude Morsch.
- Combi-ticket The Hague or Rotterdam to Keukenhof: First, travel to Leiden independently. Then, take the Keukenhof Express bus (€27.50 per adult, €14 per child) as mentioned above.
Recommended hotel in The Hague: Indigo The Hague.
Recommended hotel in Rotterdam: Marriott Hotel Rotterdam.
- Combi-ticket Haarlem to Keukenhof (€27.50 per adult, €14 per child): Board bus line n°50 at Haarlem station for a 45-minute ride. The stop where you’ll want to get off is called ‘Nachtegaal Hotel‘ in Lisse and from there you’ll reach the park after a 10-minute walk. There are 4 connections per hour.
Recommended hotel in Haarlem: Hotel ML.
- Combi-ticket Katwijk, Noordwijk of Noordwijkerhout to Keukenhof (€27.50 per adult, €14 per child): Board bus line n°90, get off at stop ‘Keukenhofdreef’ and from there you’ll reach the park after a 5-minute walk. There’s 1 connection per hour.
Recommended hotel in Noordwijk-aan-Zee: Vesper hotel.
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?
And here are the best options for guided tours with our recommended partners GetYourGuide and Tiqets:
- This 6-hour The Hague to Keukenhof tour includes transport and a skip-the-line ticket to the magical Keukenhof park. Enjoy a guided tour before spending some personal time in the iconic Dutch tulip gardens. (€65 per person)
- A 5.5-hour The Hague to Keukenhof tour with first a guided visit of the flower gardens and afterwards an individual visit to Madurodam in The Hague where you get see miniature models of the most famous Dutch attractions. (€74,50 per person)
- This 6-hour Keukenhof tour from The Hague includes transportation and a skip-the-line ticket. After an orientational tour, you’re free to explore the Garden of Europe at your own pace. (€65 per person)
- This 6.5-hour Rotterdam to Keukenhof tour includes a guided visit of the tulip gardens followed by an individual harbour cruise in the large port. Finally, you get to enjoy the most spectacular views from the Euromast watchtower. (€85 per person)
- This 6.5-hour Keukenhof tour from Rotterdam leaves from 2 places in the city on Thursdays and Saturdays. It includes transportation and a skip-the-line ticket. After an orientational tour, you’re free to explore the Garden of Europe at your own pace. (€65 per person)
Recommended places to stay near Keukenhof
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. If you’re looking to spend the night nearby, we’d recommend staying in Noordwijk, a lovely seaside town very close to the Flower Strip. The hotel we have our eye on for some time is the Vesper hotel which offers bike rental as well. Pickeplein is the name of the bus stop for line n°90 that accepts the combi-ticket to see the Dutch tulip gardens.
Places to see beyond the Keukenhof Gardens
– Keukenhof castle
A little-known 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, then you can indulge in a welcome treat at the farmhouse restaurant Hofboerderij (open until 5 p.m.).
– Free tulip fields in the area
If you want a change from the busy Keukenhof gardens or just prefer to discover tulips without the crowds, we’d recommend a visit to the Dutch bulb fields. Check out our article to find the best tulip fields in the Netherlands. You’ll find plenty of options to plan your perfect tulip fields tour or to arrange for a private tour on a flower bulb farm.
– Dutch cities nearby
We’d recommend combining your visit with a stay to one of the iconic cities of the Netherlands. The classic combination includes a 2 days in Amsterdam, a day trip to the Zaanse Schans windmills and one to Keukenhof. An alternative option is to combine your day in Keukenhof with a stay in The Hague and other day trips to Leiden and the Gouda cheese market.
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