Something mind blowing happens every March through May in Holland: straight lines stretching for miles of the most brilliant colors you've ever seen come to life. The tulips are in bloom! I knew I had to see these incredible fields and flower displays in person.
I made a plan to head to the Keukenhof in Holland, one of the world's largest flower gardens in Lisse, The Netherlands. I also wanted to try and squeeze the tulip fields around The Netherlands in on the same day.
One didn't happen.
But sometimes the best of plans are the ones that go awry.
That's why I've created the ultimate guide to tulips in Holland as well as all the tulip fields around The Netherlands to ensure you make the best plan and get to see as many tulips as possible. In this post I'll share with you how to see the tulips for free, when and where to see them, guide to Keukenhof, and more!
It was a stunningly gorgeous day in Central Europe. Living in Heidelberg, Germany, we planned to simply drive the five and a half hours from our home to the Keukenhof tulip garden in The Netherlands. However, those plans were foiled when our dog sitter's bus was over 2 hours late. Despite already purchasing tickets to Keukenhof, it closes at 7:30 and we arrived just past 8pm. With the blazing sun setting, we decided instead to head to the tulip fields nearby at sunset.
Doing some quick research, I found that most of the fields were located in Lisse, Flevoland, and Noordoostpolder.
I headed to Flevoland and found a perfect little route of fields stretching for miles which promised miles of tulips. This website actually provides a handy route of where you can stop and admire the tulips as you drive or bike.
I assumed with this gorgeous light and the number of tourists coming to see the tulips the fields would be covered with people. To my delight, we were the only ones, save for a few farmers tending to their tulips, who were admiring the fields.
The colors of the tulips were so vibrant it almost hurts your eyes. Deep saturated reds, bright pigmented yellow, soft flamingo pink, and brilliant orange in straight as an arrow rows blanket the landscape. I’d seen images online and thought for sure the photos were over-saturated with Instagram filters, but I was wrong. It’s hard to capture the amazing colors in person. The colors are so rich I could stare for hours.
Because no one was around it was easy to snap all the pictures your heart could desire. Be aware- there are signs to not walk in the fields. We spoke with the farmers and specifically asked how far we could walk in. They just want to ensure that people are not trampling their precious and beautiful livelihood. Ask them questions- they are happy to tell you more about their tulips.
The next day, we got up bright and early to be some of the first visitors of Keukenhof and again, beat the crowds.
We went to the fields the Thursday before Easter- one of the busiest times of the year. However, we dodged the crowds and this ultimate guide to the tulips Holland will give you some very useful tips.
Free Tulip Fields in The Netherlands
You can frolick to your heart's content through the free tulip fields all around The Netherlands. To me, this is the best way to get up close and personal with the fields and really see how the tulips bloom.
Where Are the Tulip Fields In The Netherlands
When you make your way around The Netherlands, you're likely to see the tulip fields along your route everywhere. However, there are a few specific locations that boast dozens of fields, concentrated in one area. If you head here, you are guaranteed to see tulips during the season.
You’ll see fields scattered throughout all of Holland, but particularly in Bollenstreek, which is known as the “Bulb Region” with tulip farms in many of the cities and also near Keukenhof. Noordoorstpolder is a lovely area dotted with many tulips in the northern part of The Netherlands.
The main fields of tulips are located in Noord-Holland (North Holland, Flevoland), Zuid-Holland (South Holland), and Bollenstreek near Keukenhof. Keukenhof is about 30 minutes from Amsterdam.
Some cities with tulip fields in or nearby are Lisse, Noordwijk, Noordwijkerhour, Leiden, The Hague, Haarlem, and Katwijk.
Handy guides to the free tulip fields:
Noordoorstpolder is the largest tulip field area in the Netherlands and you can find more here on Noordoorstpolder.
This map shows where all the different tulip fields are and provides updates of blooms.
You can find out when the bulb flower parade takes place (usually mid April).
How To Get To The Tulips
The best and easiest way to see the fields is to drive. You’ll be able to see tons of fields and get away from the crowds. Of course, biking is also an option. You can take a bus from Amsterdam Airport directly to Keukenhof. You will find places everywhere to rent bikes but Keukenhof also offers bikes near their fields.
Best time to see the tulips
The tulip season goes from mid March to the end of May. Typically, and this changes depending on the season, the best time of the year to go is mid April. This is when we went and it seemed like the tulips are in full bloom without losing their luster or petals. When planning your journey I suggest going early or later in the day, towards sunset. The enchanting colors of the petals seem to come to life as the sun sets. Of course, you can go any time throughout the day and still avoid the crowds. If you see a field, keep looking, there are more likely more nearby if you'd like a field all to yourself.
The fields present a patchwork quilt of stunning colors that blanket the fields. It's an amazing sight to see and something everyone should add to their bucket list! Spring is a beautiful time to visit Europe in general, wisteria is rampant, daffodils are popping up, and a variety of flowers will intoxicate your senses.
There is also a festival of tulips that takes place in mid April called the Bulb flower parade. You can also attend the flower market called Aalsmeer which is the largest in the world!
Why tulips in the Netherlands?
Because this area of The Netherlands is 4 meters below sea level, it's well suited for the cultivation of the tulips. Some of the land, such as in Flevoland, is reclaimed land, so it actually used to be part of the sea. These are prime conditions to grow tulips as far as the eye can see.
Guide to Keukenhof
Each year, millions of tourists flock to Keukenhof to see the magnificent display of tulips of every color imaginable. 7 million bulbs make Keukenhof one of the most famous places to see tulips. Nicknamed the “Garden of Europe” it's no surprise that visitors are intoxicated by the beauty of the this beautiful, meticulously created landscape of tulips in every shape and size.
The best way to experience Keukenhof is to get there early, and if at all possible, avoid the weekends. This is when it's exceptionally busy. We happened to go on the Thursday before Easter, so it was packed. But getting there at opening time meant there were little crowds and traffic. Also, parking was easy.
You'll see the most variety of tulips here – flamingo pinks, deep purples, feathered edges, tulips the size of both your hands, and many more.
Allow for at least a few hours to enjoy Keukenhof. There are plenty of things to do. You can grab a bite to eat, explore the various tulips, and relax indoors at the market hall. You can even purchase tulips.
Opening – Keukenhof is only open in the spring from March through May. I HIGHLY suggest that you buy tickets ahead of time to skip the line and the crowds.
Cost – Prices for Keukenhof start at €17 for adults, €8.50 for kids, and if you're in a large group they are €14.75 each.
Parking – You can park on site and I suggest that you buy parking ahead of time. Parking is €6 and again, I suggest that you purchase this ahead of time.
Bottom line: I suggest you make time to do both. Enjoy Keukenhof's manicured displays of tulips and luxuriate in the far-as-the-eye-can-see flower fields. Both are totally worth it.
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