Tulip fields of the Netherlands: Keukenhof Gardens and beyond

When spring finally arrives and nature revives, we can’t wait to jaunt. No better antidote than sunshine and flowers to shake off the winter blues. A visit to the tulip fields in the Netherlands is the perfect way to absorb that natural energy. But where can you find the Amsterdam tulip fields and when is the best time to see the tulips in Holland? Continue reading and find out!

Mix of colorful spring flowers at Keukenhof Gardens

Best time to see tulips in Holland

The flower season in the Netherlands runs from mid-March until mid-May. But the Amsterdam flower fields are about more than just tulips. These may be the hero of the season but their entourage is just as colorful and fragrant. Depending on the weather conditions, here’s an estimation of which flowers to expect around which time:

  • Crocuses form the prelude of the flower season. They should pop up around the first half of March until the about the end of the month.
  • That’s when daffodils start to appear, they’re at their best in the first half of April.
  • Soon after, the lilac and purple hyacinths break the monotone yellow of the daffodils.
  • Around mid-April, the flower fields are most fragrant. That’s when the long-awaited tulips appear… and when thousands of tourists head to the Bollenstreek to admire this Dutch icon.
  • When the Holland tulips have lost their shine, the dahlias and carnations take over.
Little girl enjoying the flowers at Keukenhof Holland

Keukenhof Gardens, the most famous tulip fields near Amsterdam

A million visitors visit these 79 acre (32 hectare) flower gardens on a yearly basis and with good reason. Over 7 million colorful bulbs, of which more than 800 different tulips, paint the Keukenhof Gardens to inaugurate spring. Flower shows and sculptures also find a temporary home in the park. Every year, Keukenhof picks a theme. The 2019 will be about Flower Power.

You’ll find various eateries spread around the park. 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.

Manicured gardens of Keukenhof, Holland's famous tulip gardens near Amsterdam

Best time to visit Keukenhof

The Keukenhof Gardens are open 8 weeks a year. In 2019, that is from Thursday 21st March until Sunday 19th May. Do try to avoid weekends and holidays, like King’s day, Holland’s National day, 27th April or the Easter weekend.

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, a match made in heaven. Those little legs will have walked miles before they even realize it. Kids’ scooters and skates are not allowed into the park. Do inform your kids not to walk on the grass and not to pick the flowers, no matter how tempting they look.

Little girl wearing glasses smelling the hyacinths at Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands

Keukenhof tickets

Keukenhof tickets can be purchased at the ticket office or online via the Keukenhof website (€17 per adult and €8 per child over 4 years of age). They don’t specify a day so you’re free to choose the date that’s most convenient to you. Tickets for the whisper boat can not be purchased in advance and tickets are only available at the mill inside the park (€8 per adult and €4 per child over 4 years of age). There you can board the electric boat or a 45 minute silent tour around the park’s flower fields.

Dogs on a leash are allowed into the park (one dog per visitor) but at busy times, it can be a rather stressful experience for both them and their owner. Drones are prohibited.

Landscaped gardens and purple and lilac flower beds at Keukenhof gardens
Statue at Keukenhof, the most famous tulip fields of the Netherlands

How to get to the Keukenhof Gardens for a day trip

Amsterdam to Keukenhof: transportation + ticket deals

You can visit Keukenhof Gardens on a combi-ticket, which is valid on any day of the opening season. It saves 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 during weekends and easter break.

  • Amsterdam Schiphol to Keukenhof combi-ticket (€25 per adult, €13,50 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.
  • Amsterdam to Keukenhof combi-ticket (€30 per adult, €13,50 per child): Take Amsterdam Airport Express bus n°397 from Museumplein, Rijksmuseum and Leidseplein to Amsterdam Schiphol. From there, you can catch the Keukenhof Express bus.

Another – sparkling new – 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.

Little girl touching the daffodils at Keukenhof Holland, the most famous flower fields in Europe

Haarlem, Leiden or The Hague to Keukenhof: transportation + ticket deals

The same Keukenhof combi-ticket is available from these three cities. Your pre-purchased ticket is valid on any day of the opening season and you won’t have to queue at the park’s ticketing desk. Busses operate every 15 minutes. Expect lines at the bus stop during weekends and easter break.

  • Leiden to Keukenhof (€25 per adult, €13,50 per child): The Arriva Keukenhof Express bus n°854 is a 30-minute connection from Leiden Central station to Keukenhof.
  • The Hague or Rotterdam to Keukenhof: First, travel to Leiden independently. Then, take the Keukenhof Express bus (€25 per adult, €13,50 per child).
  • Haarlem to Keukenhof (€25 per adult, €13,50 per child): Board bus line n°50 at Haarlem station. 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 5 minute walk.

Keukenhof by car

Since we are lucky enough to live nearby, we always drive to Keukenhof. But also if you’re coming on a day trip from Brussels or Antwerp, it’s easier to reach Keukenhof by car than by public transport. The park is located at motorway A4 (exit Nieuw-Vennep) or A44 (exit n° 3, Lisse). It has ample parking for just €6.

Keukenhof tours

Alternatively, you could take one of the many organized tours to Keukenhof Gardens and the tulip fields of the Netherlands. While you admire the many flowers along the way, learn all about Holland and its bulbs. Check out which excursions our trusted partners Viator and GetYourGuide have on offer.

Renting a bike to explore the tulip fields in the area

The best way to explore the wide vicinity of the Keukenhof Gardens is by bike. You can rent a bike (children’s bikes are available as well) at the Keukenhof entrance. Have a look at the different cycling routes that lead you along the area’s flower fields. Advance booking is recommended.

Sunset over orange tulip fields in the Netherlands

Where to find the tulip fields in Holland beyond Keukenhof

Fields of tulips, as far as the eye can see. And the best news is that these pops of color can be found close to the capital so they make for a great day trip when you’re spending a weekend in Amsterdam. You’ll find the tulip farms in these three provinces:

Kop van Holland in the North Holland province

If you’re looking to visit the tulips fields without the crowds than this is the place to be. Located in the province of North Holland, in an area called the head of Holland (Kop van Holland). You’ll find tulips…

  • along the province’s west coast from Schagen to Den Helder, especially in and around the towns of Anna Paulowna and Julianadorp;
  • and in the east coast area between Andijk, Enkhuizen and Bovenkarpsel.
Fields of flowers in the Kop of Holland

This is a relatively quiet and rural part of the Netherlands and you won’t find many hotels here. We actually recently jaunted here and stayed at the Blooming Hotel, which we can highly recommend. It’s wonderfully located amidst nature and just a short drive away from the bulb fields. Bikes are for rent in the hotel at €11.

Interior of a Roomy room at Blooming hotel in Bergen near Alkmaar in North Holland
Roomy room at the Blooming hotel

Noordoostpolder in the Flevoland province

Another colorful yet lesser known paradise for tulip lovers is the area between Rutten, Espel and Marknesse in the Flevoland province.

Bright red tulip fields of the Netherlands

Bollenstreek in the South Holland province

The most popular tulip fields near Amsterdam are found in South Holland, in the triangle Amsterdam – The Hague – Utrecht and especially between Leiden and Haarlem. This 20 mile ( 32 km) stretch is called the flower strip or bulb region (Bollenstreek in Dutch). In the heart of it, a town called Lisse, you’ll find the famous Keukenhof Gardens.

Orange, red and yellow tulip fields in the Netherlands near Keukenhof gardens

Surprisingly, there aren’t that many hotels near Keukenhof gardens. If you’re looking to spend the night nearby, we’d recommend staying in Noordwijk, a lovely seaside town close to Keukenhof Gardens. The hotel we have our eye on for some time is the Vesper hotel which offers bike rental as well.

Map of the tulip fields in the Netherlands

For your convenience, we’ve created this map with the location of the flower fields and more places of interest mentioned in this article:

The tulip fields as part of your Holland itinerary

Since the Dutch tulip fields enjoy a central location, you could easily explore Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Leiden, Rotterdam, Alkmaar and Gouda all in the same trip. One week would allow you plenty of time to do so. The South Holland province is a great place to base yourself.

So, if you’re looking to stay in the area a bit longer, we would recommend staying in charming The Hague, within walking distance of the train station. Our hotel pick is the iconic Hotel des Indes, tried and tested by yours truly. Don’t miss the afternoon tea here! An alternative is Hotel Indigo The Hague. Check out our article on the best things to do in The Hague for more inspiration.

Hotel des Indes in The Hague is a good travel base to explore the tulip fields of the Netherlands
Enjoying an afternoon tea at Hotel des Indes in The Hague

You might want to look into the Holland Pass for fast-track entrance and discounts at most of Holland’s museums and attractions.

Flower events in the region

Holland Tulip Festival in Amsterdam city

The mission of the Holland Tulip Festival is to reintroduce the tulip in the Amsterdam cityscape. Throughout the month of April, tulips are on display at over 85 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 too are encouraged to participate. You can check all locations here.

Flower Parade from Noordwijk to Haarlem in the Bollenstreek (South to North Holland provinces)

The Flower Parade, or Bloemencorso Bollenstreek in Dutch, is a 25-mile (40 km) long festive parade from Noordwijk’s Vuurtoren to Haarlem. Dozens of floats, decorated with tulips and other bulb flowers, brighten up the local streets to bring a touch of spring to the locals. The 2020 edition will be held on Saturday 25th April. Click here to find out more closer to the date.

Bloemencorso flower festival in the Netherlands with colorful floats, decorated with flowers
Source: Bloemencorso Bollenstreek

Go visit the tulip fields in the Netherlands

Every year, flocks of tourists from around the world visit the tulip fields in the Netherlands and delight at the sight of the endless fields full of beautiful Holland tulips. We’ve been there multiple times and the flower bulbs never disappoint. Have you seen the Dutch tulips bloom and blossom? Or are you planning a trip this year? Share your thoughts in the comment box!

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10 Comments

  1. How lovely! So many colors, too. We had planned to go during spring but had to postpone our trip to fall due to health issues. Maybe someday! It’s interesting that you can stay at The Hague and be closer — good to know!

    1. Sarah

      How sorry to hear that, Sharon. The Keukenhof Garden is the main attraction and it’s gorgeous but there’s so much more to see in the vicinity. The Hague is a nice change from Amsterdam and it’s indeed just as close to the Bollenstreek as the capital. I can imagine that the express bus from Amsterdam will be packed and the trip from The Hague might be a bit more relaxed during peak season.

    1. Sarah

      Thanks so much, Clare, glad you find it helpful! I have a soft spot for tulips too, and for spring flowers in general. That splash of colour works wonders for my mood during the late winter months. Hope you make it to Keukenhof and the surrounding area soon!

  2. So beautiful and colorful! I grew up in Washington State, which is another large tulip growing region (similar climates) and went to the fields regularly. I’d love to get back to The Netherlands and see these gardens as our visit took place during summer. #farawayfiles

    1. Sarah

      I read about the tulip fields in the Washington State area but had no idea that you grew up there. Sounds like a beautiful region too. Hope you make it back to the Netherlands somewhere during spring, if not this year then maybe the next?

    1. Sarah

      How about an impromptu spring trip to the Netherlands, Corey? If not, you could consider a longer trip to Holland next year? It’s such a lovely country to visit. Whatever you decide, I wish you a colorful upcoming spring!

    1. Sarah

      It is, Lisa. Keukenhof Gardens is popular but crowded and a cycling tour around the tulip fields in the area is just as enchanting. This year, I hope to visit Amsterdam during the month of April too during the Holland Tulip Festival and spot the flowers in the city. Thanks for passing by!

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