If you’ve ever looked into visiting the Netherlands, then you know that the best time to visit is during the tulip season, which occurs from mid-March to mid-May. During this time, Amsterdam tulips fields are in full bloom and totally majestic. The Keukenhof Gardens is one of the best places to see these lovely spring flowers in action.
Keukenhof Gardens is actually located in the town of Lisse, approximately thirty minutes from the center of Amsterdam. It is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, where more than 7 million flower bulbs are planted each year. The vibrant European garden opened to the public in 1950 and quickly became an international sensation.
The world-famous garden welcomes well over a million visitors annually to its amazing and colorful tulip festival. Any visitors planning to head to Amsterdam in the springtime should definitely add this place to their list of must-sees!
Since the Keukenhof tulip gardens are not located in a huge city, there is some preparation that goes into visiting. We’ve prepared this ultimate guide so that you are equipped with everything you need to know about the gardens, where to stay, how to get there, and everything in between!
About Keukenhof Gardens
Keukenhof (“Kitchen Garden” in English) is the most famous tulip garden in the Netherlands, and one of the world’s largest flower gardens. It’s located in South Holland, and the entire Keukenhof Park spans 32 hectares filled with winding paths, beautiful flower fields, and indoor flower shows.
The park is divided into several gardens, indoor exhibits, and multiple other features. In addition to the wonderful blooms, visitors can enjoy a playground, photo spots, boat rides, and food trucks. At the main entrance, you can buy fresh flowers and souvenirs to take back home.
Admire the seemingly endless tulip fields with trails of pink, yellow, white, orange, and ombre flower bulbs as you wander through the fields. Other spring flowers at Keukenhof include daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses. Each spring, the best things to do in Amsterdam pretty much always involve tulips, and there’s no better place in the world to do it than Keukenhof.
To visit Keukenhof Gardens, you will need to purchase an entrance ticket. Keukenhof tickets are slightly cheaper when booking online versus at the on-site ticket office, so keep that in mind. Children 3 and younger are free, while groups with more than 20 people can get a reduced-rate group ticket.
If you’re planning to spend a while in the Amsterdam area, you can purchase a Keukenhof annual pass, which is valid all season and includes parking.
Flower Fields and Gardens
To the right of the main entrance is the main flower field, where you can see the tulips that are grown to be harvested and sold. The sea of flowers at the tulip farm seems to go on forever. There are a few observation decks where you can get a closer look. They also make for awesome photo spots to get the lovely tulip fields in the background.
The surprising inspirational gardens were my favorite part about visiting Keukenhof. Each garden has a specific theme, and every year there’s something new. Themes include a romance garden, tropical garden, tea garden, and more. There are a ton of photo opportunities in each themed garden.
There are also gardens that don’t only focus on tulips. For example, the Japanese country garden includes four rotating pavilions of flowers. There is also a traditional English landscape garden with long, winding paths.
There are five main indoor flower show exhibit areas located at each corner of the park. Each exhibition features a different theme and is created by flower artists from all over the Netherlands. Since spring is pretty chilly in the Netherlands, the indoor flower shows also make for a great place to get some warmth.
The Orange Nassau Pavillion is known for having some of the most intricate and amazing flower shows. Flower shows last only for a certain amount of time, some even less than a week before they are changed out to a different flower show. It’s when art meets flowers, and many varieties of flowers like roses, anthuriums, and orchids are on display.
Windmill & Boat Ride
Two other fun parts of visiting Keukenhof were the windmill and boat ride. They are right next to each other, so you can buy a ticket for the next boat trip and trek up the stairs of the old windmill while you wait. The boat trip is an extra fee and not built into the price of the entrance ticket.
The windmill features a winding staircase that you can take all the way to the top. Once you’re at the top, you’re rewarded with 360° unobstructed views of the park and the flower fields. It’s certainly worth the trek up and down the creaking wooden stairs.
In my opinion, the boat ride is an absolute must. It takes about 45 minutes, and each boat can accommodate around 20 people. Everyone is given an audio guide so that they can learn about the gardens in their own language.
While you hear about the history of Keukenhof gardens, you take a peaceful ride around the tulip fields. It was super enjoyable, even for my friend’s toddler.
How to Get to Keukenhof Gardens
Keukenhof Gardens is accessible by car, bus, and bike. If you’re planning to visit more than just Amsterdam, you’ll probably want to rent a car while in the Netherlands.
If not, however, there is the Keukenhof Express bus that goes directly from all of the major cities and places nearby, including Amsterdam, Schipol Airport, Haarlem, and Leiden. Combination bus and entrance tickets are available to purchase online.
For an even more eco-friendly option, you can arrive at Keukenhof by bike. Bike racks are available near the main entrance of the park.
See Related: Best Tours in Amsterdam
Where to Stay Near Keukenhof Gardens
Where you stay should be based on what you plan to do on this trip. If the main purpose of your trip is to visit Holland and explore its majestic tulip fields, you might want to stay in the Dutch cities of Lisse or Haarlem.
If this is your first time in the Netherlands or you want to do more city exploration, stay in Amsterdam. It is just a short drive or bus ride to Keukenhof gardens from the city, so you’ll still have lots of time for exploring.
Being that Keukenhof Gardens is just a thirty-minute drive from Amsterdam, I’d say it’s the best place to stay. Amsterdam has so many things to see, do, and experience, but a visit to Keukenhof makes for an amazing day trip and a great addition to any Amsterdam vacation.
Since this is the largest city in proximity to the tulip gardens, it offers the biggest terms of accommodation options. You can find accommodations for any budget and for any group size.
- Best Amsterdam Budget Hotel: Moxy Amsterdam Houthavens
- Best Amsterdam Mid-Range Hotel: INNSiDE by Meliá Amsterdam
- Best Amsterdam Luxury Hotel: Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam
If your trip is focused on visiting Keukenhof and other tulip gardens throughout Holland, it’s worth staying in the town of Lisse. Lisse is in the heart of Holland’s flower bulb region and home to Keukenhof Gardens.
Lisse is a stunning little town filled with spring flower fields. It’s a great little place to explore by bike to really take in the wonderful spring colors.
- Best Lisse Budget Hotel: Hotel Restaurant de Engel
- Best Lisse Mid-Range Hotel: Hotel de Duif Lisse
- Best Lisse Luxury Hotel: Boutique Suites Lisse
Haarlem is an awesome city and the capital of North Holland. It’s located just north of Holland’s flower bulb region, so it’s great for city life and visiting Keukenhof tulip fields.
If you’ve seen and experienced all that Amsterdam has to offer, Haarlem is a wonderful place to stay instead. The lively city is home to amazing museums, cozy cafes, and beautiful cathedrals.
- Best Haarlem Budget Hotel: ibis Styles Haarlem City
- Best Haarlem Mid-Range Hotel: Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem
- Best Haarlem Luxury Hotel: Brasss Hotel Suites
Best Keukenhof Gardens Tours
While Keukenhof offers guided tours with a park guide, it’s geared toward larger groups of 20-25 people and comes with a hefty price tag, especially if your group is small. If you want to explore Keukenhof in the most convenient way, tour groups are the way to go.
There are many tours offered to Keukenhof that range from Keukenhof only to a whole Holland extravaganza. Tour operators can give you a lot of insight into the region. Here are just a few great options:
- Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip Experience – This tour includes a 3.5-hour guided tour of the Keukenhof Gardens as well as admission into the Tulip Experience Amsterdam. At the Tulip Experience, you can learn all about the history of tulips in Holland as well as the breeding and growing process of the iconic flower. There is also an optional canal cruise offered for an additional fee.
- Keukenhof & Windmill Village Guided Tour – This full-day trip includes a stop at Keukenhof as well as a tour of the historic Zaanse Schans windmill village. Other fun highlights of this tour include a clog-making demonstration, a cheese-making demonstration, and cheese tasting.
- Holland Spectacle – This tour takes you to Keukenhof and the beautiful canal village of Giethoorn. Giethoorn is one of the most beautiful European towns I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend visiting. This tour includes a canal boat ride through Giethoorn and a three-hour tour of the Keukenhof Gardens.
Other Tulip Gardens in The Netherlands
Blooming tulip fields can be found all around North and South Holland. When on the road, you’ll pass by many private tulip fields that may not be open to visitors. Don’t worry, though! Below are some amazing places to visit and things to experience to ensure you’ll get your fix of tulips while in the Netherlands.
Annual Flower Parade
While this isn’t a tulip garden, it’s certainly a fun and entertaining way to celebrate Dutch tulips and the spring season. The flower parade follows a 26-mile route through Bollenstreek (the flower bulb region) from Noordwijk to Haarlem with a pass by Keukenhof.
Make sure to get there early, as the road is closed starting at 11:00 am.
The Keukenhof Gardens is located on the estate of Keukenhof Castle, but the castle is also a main attraction itself. Unlike Keukenhof Gardens, the Keukenhof Castle is open year-round and is free to visit.
It also has its own gardens, which date back to the 1850s, and are also free to visit. Other attractions at the Keukenhof Castle include a petting zoo, a sculpture garden, and a restaurant.
De Tulperij is located in the small village of Voorhout and is just a few minutes away from Keukenhof Gardens. This family-run tulip farm has some of the most beautiful flower fields.
The farm is open daily during the tulip season. The husband and wife duo offer guided tours of their tulip fields for an affordable price. After your tour, you can enjoy coffee or tea (and a stroopwafel) in the beautiful flower greenhouse.
Located in Flevoland, Hanneke’s Pluktuin is a pick-your-own flower field that is free to visit. They grow all kinds of flowers, including sunflowers, dahlias, marigolds, and baby’s breath.
The pick-your-own tulip field is open starting in mid-April. The farm also has a beautiful greenhouse where you can relax and enjoy a cup of tea.
Tulip Island is a man-made island located in Zeewolde. The flower-shaped island is quite a sight to see, especially in the spring! During tulip season, the island is covered with over 120,000 bulbs. Think of it as the Netherlands’ version of Dubai’s palm tree-shaped island.
What flower is Keukenhof in the Netherlands best known for?
Over one million people visit Keukenhof each year to admire the amazing tulip fields and gardens. Annually, over 7 million flower bulbs are planted in the tulip fields.
What is the best time to visit Keukenhof Gardens?
While you can’t predict the exact time the tulips bloom each year, there are early tulips that bloom at the start of the season, along with other flowers like daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses. Larger tulips tend to bloom toward the end of spring.
Where are the best places to see tulips in Amsterdam?
Unfortunately, you won’t find large tulip gardens in Amsterdam. Keukenhof is the best place to see amazing tulip gardens near Amsterdam. It is easily accessible from Amsterdam by bus, car, or on a guided tour.
What’s the difference between Holland, Amsterdam, and the Netherlands?
Holland, Amsterdam, and the Netherlands often get confused and used interchangeably. The Netherlands (or Nederlands in Dutch) is the name of the country. Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and one of its major cities. Holland is actually the name of two Dutch provinces: North Holland and South Holland. Amsterdam is located in North Holland.
- Best Cities in the Netherlands to Visit
- Best Restaurants in Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Fun & Best Things To Do in Giethoorn, Netherlands
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