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!

Tulips fields in the Bollenstreek near Amsterdam in Holland

Best time to see tulips in Holland

The Amsterdam flower season runs from mid-March until mid-May. 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.
  • Tulip fields in the Netherlands as far as the eye can see

    Where to find the tulip fields in Holland

    Fields of tulips, as far as the eye can see. You’ll find the tulip farms in two provinces near Amsterdam:

    Bollenstreek

    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.

    Kop van Holland

    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 from Alkmaar (known for the Alkmaar cheese market) all the way to Schagen and even Den Helder. This is where the locals go to admire the tulips near Amsterdam.
    Keukenhof Gardens is home to the most famous tulip fields in the Amsterdam area

    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.

    Little girl enjoying the tulip fields in Holland's famous Keukenhof Gardens

    Best time to visit Keukenhof

    The Keukenhof Gardens are open 8 weeks a year. In 2019, that is from Thursday 21st March until Thursday 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 smelling the flowers at Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands

    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.

    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.

    Little girl amidst the tulip fields in the Netherland's famous Keukenhof Gardens

    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.

    How to get to the Keukenhof Gardens

    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 busstop 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.
    • 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.

    Since we are lucky enough to live nearby, we always drive to Keukenhof. The park is located at motorway A4 (exit Nieuw-Vennep) or A44 (exit n° 3, Lisse). It has ample parking for just €6.

    Sculptures dot the tulip fields at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse

    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.

    Exploring the tulip fields of the Netherlands by bike

    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.

    Where to stay near the tulip fields

    As we mentioned, it’s pretty straightforward to take a day trip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof Gardens. So, if that’s your plan than any Amsterdam hotel in the vicinity of the Arriva Keukenhof Express is a good option.

    On the other hand, the Keukenhof Park is the main attraction but there’s plenty more to explore in the area. So, why not take your time to see more of the region, flowers and Dutch cities? 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 most central location to stay would be either 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 these and other suggestions on HotelsCombined, our favorite hotel booking comparison site.

    Hotel des Indes in The Hague is a good travel base to explore the tulip fields of the Netherlands

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

    Other flower events in the area

    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.

    Flower Parade from Noordwijk to Haarlem

    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 2019 edition will be held on Saturday 13th April. Click here to check out the details of the route.

    Float at the Flower Parade, together with the Holland Tulip Festival another highlight of spring in this part of the Netherlands

    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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