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The Ultimate Guide To Keukenhof Gardens for Tulip Season

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If you’ve ever considered visiting the Netherlands, 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 tulip fields are in full bloom and majestic. The Keukenhof Gardens is one of the best places to see these lovely spring flowers.

Keukenhof Gardens is located in the town of Lisse, approximately thirty minutes from the center of Amsterdam. It is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, with over 7 million flower bulbs planted yearly. The vibrant European garden opened to the public in 1950 and quickly became an international sensation.

The world-famous garden welcomes 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 in a huge city, some preparation 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

A rainbow of tulip flowers at the entrance of Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands
Woodrow Matthews / ViaTravelers

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.

Keukenhof is renowned for its stunning displays of tulips and other spring flowers. As an international showcase for the Dutch floricultural sector, it highlights the country’s expertise in flower bulbs and garden design, attracting millions of visitors annually.

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 Things to Do in Amsterdam from a Local always involve tulips, and there’s no better place in the world to do it than Keukenhof.

Key Visitor Information

  • Best Time to Visit: Flowering at Keukenhof parallels that in nature. Crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips bloom early in the season, and larger tulips and other flowers bloom later in the season.
  • Quiet Times: It is less busy before 10:30 AM and after 4:00 PM. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are generally less crowded compared to other days of the week.
  • Photography Tips: The morning and evening light provides excellent opportunities for taking beautiful photographs.
  • General Experience: Keukenhof’s pavilions feature captivating flower shows from the first to the last day of the season.
  • Website: For more information, visit the official Keukenhof website.

Admission

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 plan to spend a while in the Amsterdam area, you can purchase a Keukenhof annual pass, which is valid all season and includes parking.

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Flower Fields and Gardens

Bright pink tulips in Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands
Brittney Liu / ViaTravelers

To the right of the main entrance is the main flower field, where you can see the tulips 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 of visiting Keukenhof. Each garden has a specific theme; there’s something new every year. Themes include a romance garden, tropical garden, tea garden, and more. Each themed garden offers a ton of photo opportunities.

Some gardens 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.

Flower Exhibits

Indoor Flower Exhibit at Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands
Brittney Liu / ViaTravelers

Five main indoor flower show exhibit areas are located at each park corner. Each exhibition features a different theme and is created by flower artists from all over the Netherlands. Since spring is chilly in the Netherlands, the indoor flower shows are also 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 a certain amount of time, some less than a week, before being changed to a different show. It’s when art meets flowers, and many flowers, such as roses, anthuriums, and orchids, are displayed.

Windmill & Boat Ride

View of the boat tour from the top of the windmill in Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands
Brittney Liu / ViaTravelers

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 is not included in the price of the entrance ticket.

The windmill features a winding staircase that you can take 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 to learn about the gardens in their 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

Bus 858 sign directing to Keukenhof Gardens from Schiphol Airport
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Keukenhof Gardens is accessible by car, bus, and bike. The best way to travel to Keukenhof from Amsterdam is by taking the Keukenhof bus. These buses run regularly from several locations, including Amsterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Haarlem, and Leiden, providing convenient access to the gardens.

If you plan to visit more than just Amsterdam, you’ll probably want to rent a car in the Netherlands. The Keukenhof Express bus goes directly from all 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 park’s main entrance.

See Related: Best Tours in Amsterdam

Where to Stay Near Keukenhof Gardens

Grassy path lined with tulips facing a snack bar in Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands
Brittney Liu / ViaTravelers

Where you stay should be based on your plan for 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 explore more of the city, stay in Amsterdam. Keukenhof Gardens is just a short drive or bus ride from the city, so you’ll still have lots of time to explore.

Amsterdam

Towers of Amsterdam Along with Canal Houses
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Since 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 near the tulip gardens, it offers the most accommodation options. You can find accommodations for any budget and any group size.

Lisse

Flowers in Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands

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.

Haarlem

A photo of cyclists on a rain-slicked cobblestone street in Haarlem, Netherlands.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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.

Read Also: How to Plan a Girls Trip to Amsterdam

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. Tour groups are the way to go if you want to explore Keukenhof most conveniently.

Many tours are offered to Keukenhof, which 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 and 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 and a tour of the historic Zaanse Schans windmill village. Other fun highlights include a clog-making demonstration, a cheese-making demonstration, and a 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

Aerial View of Colorful Tulip Fields in the Netherlands
Source: Adobe Stock

Blooming tulip fields can be found all around North and South Holland. 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

Tulip Statue at the Annual Flowers Parade in Haarlem
Nikolai Sorokin / Adobe Stock

While this isn’t a tulip garden, it’s a fun 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. Ensure to arrive early, as the road is closed at 11:00 am.

Keukenhof Castle

Dahlias surrounding the Keukenhof Castle in Lisse, Netherlands
jhon / Adobe Stock

The Keukenhof Gardens are located on the estate of Keukenhof Castle, which is also a main attraction. Unlike the Keukenhof Gardens, the Keukenhof Castle is open year-round and is free to visit.

It also has its gardens, which date back to the 1850s and are free to visit. Other attractions at the Keukenhof Castle include a petting zoo, a sculpture garden, and a restaurant.

De Tulperij

Aerial View of the Tulip Fields in Voorhout, Holland
Source: Adobe Stock

De Tulperij is located in the small village of Voorhout, just a few minutes 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.

Hanneke’s Pluktuin

Located in Flevoland, Hanneke’s Pluktuin is a free flower field where you can pick your own flowers. They grow various flowers, including sunflowers, dahlias, marigolds, and baby’s breath. The pick-your-own tulip field opens in mid-April. The farm also has a beautiful greenhouse to relax and enjoy tea.

Tulip Island

Zeewolde Tulip Island
Source: Adobe Stock

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.

FAQs

What flower is Keukenhof in the Netherlands best known for?

Over one million people visit Keukenhof annually 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?

Keukenhof canal cruise with views of lush flower gardens and vibrant spring blooms

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, large tulip gardens are not found in Amsterdam. Keukenhof is the best place to see amazing tulip gardens near Amsterdam. It is easily accessible from Amsterdam by bus, car, or guided tour.

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