Our website wouldn’t be complete without a post on the beautiful tulips in the Netherlands. Whether travelling to Amsterdam or any other place in the Netherlands, it’s very pretty and worthwhile to see tulips in these top locations. Spring time in the Netherlands is gorgeous and a must to experience through your own eyes. The best time to visit is from April to May, allowing you to enjoy these dreamy Spring locations.
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Tulips in The Netherlands
Taking a day trip to the Keukenhof to see more than 7 million spring flowering bulbs across 32 hectares is a top highlight in the Netherlands. The 7 million bulbs planted are a mixture of 800 varieties of tulips. Keukenhof also has wonderful tulip mosaic section featuring 50,000 bulbs with yearly chosen theme.
History of the Keukenhof
The Keukenhof is the top touristic place to be during Spring. Popularity started right from the start of the opening back in 1950, reaching a milestone of 236,000 visitors in the eight weeks they were open. However the history of the Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century, once used as land for garden vegetables and fruit for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle. By 1857, landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher redesigned the gardens with an English style, who also designed the famous Vondelpark in Amsterdam.
How To Get To The Keukenhof
It is very easy to take the combi-ticket bus choice, which includes the bus journey and entrance tickets from one of the main four train stations in the area. These four locations are Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The Keukenhof Express bus runs especially for the season which works out cheaper than with separate travel. Take into account that they all take different times to get there:
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Keukenhof (bus 858) – 35 minutes
- Amsterdam to Keukenhof (bus 397 and 858) – 60 minutes
- Leiden to Keukenhof (bus 854) – 25 minutes
- Haarlem to Keukenhof (bus 50) – 40 minutes
By car it is best to take the motorway exit A4 Nieuw-Vennep or A44 for Lisse. You will easily see the signs to Keukenhof once you are here.
Opening Times of the Keukenhof
The usual opening weeks are from March to May when the flowers are in full bloom, but make sure to check the website before you plan to go. Usually the best time is the end of April when spring is in full swing. Be aware that weekends are extremely busy with extra tours, so if you can visit on a weekday we’d totally recommend that!
You will find the exact opening times and accessibility also on the website. Don’t hesitate to book tickets in advance for your day trip too, to avoid waiting at the entrance during busier days.
There are multiple places to view the seasons tulips in bloom. Many tourists who visit Keukenhof can also combine their visit by viewing tulips grow in the surrounding area at Lisse. You can rent bicycles at the main entrance of Keukenhof for the day for this. Else a car ride is also good as long as you take the side roads along the fields.
At Lisse you can also visit the Museum of the Black Tulip, a small but interesting place to learn about the history. I have yet to visit, but have heard that it is suitable for non Dutch speaking visitors.
Noordoostpolder is located in the Flevoland province. Here you can more than 5,000 hectares of tulip fields. The best thing to do in Noordoostpolder is the Tulip Route, which can be followed by walking, car or bike. The route is changed every year to make sure you get to see the most beautiful tulips in the area. You can also visit the local tulip show garden, which has more than 2,000 different types of tulips. Here you can also pick your own bouquet of tulips to take with you.
If you are wanting to experience the tulip fields from the sky, there are helicopter tours you can book for this location!
National Geographic elected this one of the world’s most beautiful road trips in 2009.
Westland is a top location of the flower and vegetable greenhouses in the Netherlands. Every greenhouse has artificial light, which can be easily seen as an orange glow in the sky. However you can also walk or cycle in the area to view the tulip fields nearby.
Most visitors head to Westland for the Westland Boat Parade, which is held later in the year in August. The boats are all decorated with colourful flowers and even vegetables. Every year there is a new theme that the boats are decorated for. Those taking part on the boats are always dressed up and often with live music playing. The parade lasts for 3 days in total. The Flower Parade starts in Naaldwijk and visits other cities like Maassluis, The Hague and Delft.
5. Top of Noord Holland
Here you can find the single biggest tulip field in the Netherlands. Perfect for cycling or hiking past, the fields are close to the coast and typical dutch windmills. Close to Petten you explore the tulip fields, along with the dunes and being close to the North Sea. Many tourists do not come here so it is perfect to explore the tulips in the Netherlands in peace.
There are over 150 species of tulips with over 3,000 different varieties.
6. Flower Floating Market Amsterdam
If you are not in the Netherlands during Spring, you can always visit Amsterdam for the floating market. The Amsterdam “Bloemenmarkt” is open all year round!
This special flower market exists since 1862 and is one of a kind. The flower stalls stand on houseboats on the waters edge. They also sell typical dutch souvenirs which is always nice to have! You can find this unique floating flower location at Singel canal, which is between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein. well worth a visit during a trip to Amsterdam.
TIP: If you visiting the Netherlands for the first time, check out this Lonely Planet Netherlands guide that is great for all up to date information and recommendations for the country! Else they have a brand new Lonely Planet Amsterdam guide book for the capital, as well as a pocket-sized Lonely Planet Pocket Rotterdam for Rotterdam, which I also own and can highly recommend.
7. Amsterdam Tulip Museum
All year round you can visit the Amsterdam Tulip Museum in the lively Amsterdam neighbourhood of Jordaan. You can see the history of the tulips in the Netherlands looking back to the Golden Age during the 17th century. Furthermore there are exhibitions of tulip paintings and how tulips were once used as food. I haven’t been yet but it’s on my list for the next time I’m in Amsterdam!
Did you know Tulips are originally from Turkey?
8. Royal FloraHolland Flower Auctions
The Netherlands has 6 locations for flower auction houses, making them combined as the largest flower auction in the world. There are more than 20 million flowers sold at these auctions and make up 90% of the Dutch flower trade business. This is a top place to see all types of flowers and not just the tulips in the Netherlands.
You must get up very early to visit either the Aalsmeer or Eelde locations. Here you can experience the buzz of flower trollies going in all directions and thousands of flower being moved by tractors.
Summary of the Tulips in The Netherlands
As I’ve mentioned above, the best time to visit is from April to May – the same time as when the Keukenhof is open in the Netherlands. There are many locations you can visit that you can enjoy by bike or walking. All places are suitable to visit with public transport as the Netherlands has good public transport (trams, trains and buses). However to enjoy the longest Tulip route in Noordoostpolder a car is recommended for the whole distance.
Keep in mind that when visiting any tulip fields in the Netherlands, you should not walk onto the fields or in between the tulips. Unless you have permission from the farmers, as the tulips are growing on their private land. You can seriously damage the tulip bulbs and surrounding area. Resulting also in the famers losing out on selling these at a later date.
- Plan ahead for the Keukenhof – you can book tickets online if you know you will be visiting during a certain week. This will save time at the entrance!
- Do not walk in any private tulip fields, unless you have permission from the farmer. You can damage the bulbs.
- Take your time, it is gorgeous to walk along the fields in the fresh Spring sunshine.
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Have you ever seen the tulips in the Netherlands or been to the Keukenhof before? We’d love to hear what you thought!