Visiting the tulip fields in Holland is the highlight of a Netherlands trip! Today I’m going to share how to find the most beautiful tulip fields in Holland so that you can finally cross off this off your travel bucket list. As an expat living in Amsterdam, I try to see the fields every season—it’s an absolutely stunning sight.
As long as the season is right, all you have to do is hop on a train ride and find yourself exploring the tulip fields. The Netherlands is known to be one of the biggest flower suppliers so flowers are naturally one of the biggest attractions.
There are many ways to experience tulips during your visit, so we will talk about the Keukenhof flower garden, planning biking routes, picking flowers in the tulip gardens and avoiding disappointment by discovering fields that are guaranteed to bloom. But first, let’s get the logistics out of the way.
When do tulips bloom in Holland?
Tulips start blooming in the middle of March and last until the beginning of May. The sweet spot to see tulips while they’re stunningly fresh is the month of April. Aside from tulip fields, you might see gorgeous hyacinth fields and other flowers as well. If, however, you’re visiting The Netherlands during the off-season, check out my best time to visit Amsterdam guide to help you pull together an amazing itinerary!
Pink hyacinth fields in Holland
So where can I see tulips in Amsterdam?
There are no tulip fields located around Amsterdam, but there is an Amsterdam flower festival which lasts all the way through April. During this month buckets of tulips adorn the cobblestone streets, squares, and parks. You can’t miss them as you walk around the city.
Even if you visit Amsterdam during April, I recommend that you go out of the city and visit the tulip fields in person. Those are the real deal. Since you can only see the tulips during a short window in spring, the crowds all flock to Amsterdam in search of them.
So how do you avoid the hordes of tourists while getting an authentic experience with minimum planning? And is that even possible? Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Where to find tulip fields in Holland:
Keukenhof Tulip Garden in The Netherlands
Visit Keukenhof Flower Gardens
The beautiful Keukenhof flower garden is an expo celebration of every type of tulip imaginable! It’s only open during the spring season. In 2019 it’s open for visitors from March 21st May 19th. The park is located in the Lisse area among tulip fields, but the park itself doesn’t offer access to them. It’s like walking through a well-curated flower arrangement.
Entry costs 18 EUR and brings you into a world of color, with many pavilions showing off flower arrangements, more than 800 tulip varieties, and beautiful park grounds. Only in 2017, the famous Dutch Tulip Garden Keukenhof has welcomed over 1.400.000 visitors. Crazy! If you’re interested in visiting, check out a Keukenhof guide to prepare you for the day trip.
The park is reachable by public transport, but the easiest way to avoid the queues is to get a combined fast track ticket with a transfer from Amsterdam Centraal. Please note that there’s a queueing system for the buses as well so you might end up waiting in the queue to depart for a while.
Here are the best-reviewed Keukenhof tours:
You can also do what I did and take a Keukenhof Express bus from Schiphol Airport or Leiden CS. Departure from Schiphol works well if you’re on a layover and have just enough time for a city trip. It’s public transportation as well, so the combo tickets cost a little cheaper than a transfer from Amsterdam.
The Keukenhof Express from Schiphol costs 25 EUR which includes the bus fare and park entry. That way you get to skip the queues at the park entrance, but there’s still a big crowd of people waiting to get on the bus. I’ve taken the bus myself and have been very surprised to see the length of queues. There are buses departing one right after the other, so the queue is always in motion. Just like an attraction in a theme park, you’d best factor in the wait which can be up to 45 minutes or so.
What is the best time to visit Keukenhof Gardens?
The best time to visit Keukenhof is during April when the tulips are in full bloom but not wilting yet. The park is always busy, but to avoid a mad amount of visitors try to come during the first two weeks of the park opening, in end of March.
Choose a weekday instead of the weekend and make sure to come early in the morning before midday to take advantage of the park’s beauty!
Pros & Cons of going to Keukenhof
- The easiest way to see the tulips
- Beautiful cultivated park with amenities
- Only an hour from Amsterdam by public transport
- You can rent a bike at the entrance and cycle around Lisse tulip fields
- Gets really crowded because it’s a popular attraction
- It’s definitely a park and not a walk through nature
- You have to go by car to see the fields or train + rent a bike
- You won’t be able to see the fields inside the park itself
Go directly to the Tulip Fields in The Netherlands
It’s actually easy and not super expensive to get to the tulip fields in The Netherlands. The majority of tulip fields in Holland are strewn about the Leiden area, a mere 40-minutes away. Bollenstreek, Lisse and Sassenheim are some Google-able destinations, clad with tulips that will prompt a dreamy sigh. And it’s SO much better than Keukenhof. While beautiful, Keukenhof is a cultivated flower garden. Flower fields are full of untouched natural beauty.
Experience Netherlands Tulip Fields By car: Scenic Driving Route in Bollenstreek
Going by car is a very good idea if you’re looking to cover as much ground as possible in little time and also have some flexibility with where you can go. The route that’s offered by the Royal Dutch Touring Club (“ANWB” for short) is perfect for sightseeing. The starting point is Oegstgeest, a small commune near Leiden. The route alternates between flower fields, beaches, and even the medieval castle Kasteel Oud-Poelgeest.
Bike past the best tulip fields areas of The Netherlands
The fields are easy to reach from the big cities but you’ll make the journey quick and more pleasant by biking on one of the routes. Find the best biking route for you through the fields on Route.nl. If you look for “Bollenstreek” For example, here’s a link to a beautiful route through Bollenstreek. If you’re planning to cycle from Keukenhof, check out these 4 routes.
You can also download a route map from the Bollenstreek website. Here’s a direct link to the route itself. But at the end of the day, going on a bike is all about flexibility so just find that first field and just go from there.
If you don’t have a bike or have a rental in the city where you’re staying, consider renting one closer to your destination. You can rent an OV bike at major train stations in The Netherlands, or at the entrance of the Keukenhof park.
While you can take a bike on a train, it’s not worth the hassle. You have to pay extra and drag it all the way back. Instead, just rent a bike at one of the train stations from which you can start your biking route.
There is a bike rental right next to the Keukenhof park although I would advise going a bit further than the fields by the entrance to enjoy an experience empty of tourists. Here’s another bike rental in Sassenheim. To find some more options Google “fietsverhuur” and whatever region name where you wanna head, like “Lisse”, “Bollenstreek” or “Sassenheim”.
How to find the prettiest Netherlands tulip fields
Tulips can be a moody flower. Some fields bloom early while some don’t reach their peak till may. If you’re thinking, “If only there was a way to find the best Netherlands tulip fields,” then you’re in luck. Someone has come up with The Flower Radar.
Vintage Amsterdam Tulip Tour to Keukenhof: Hop in the VW!
Hop on there to discover the best tulip field locations in Holland. Every page has pictures from explorers like you that visited that spot just a couple days ago. Who better suited to help you find the prettiest Netherlands tulip fields than a local?
Get the complete experience in a tulip picking garden
There are a lot of restrictions that come with going to the tulip fields. Some owners don’t even allow you to take pictures in their fields. You can’t trample the flowers and the farmers can shoo you away if they’re not feeling particularly happy with tourist behavior. The tulips grow in long stretches of the same color as well: mixing them up is not healthy for mass production. Also, you’re not allowed to pluck any flowers. You’re on private property, after all.
There is one place however where you can enjoy the tulips without any restrictions!
Psst, if you’re traveling with kids who want to pluck a bouquet of tulips, that’s the best place to go.
Tulip picking garden or ‘tulpenpluktuin’ is the perfect place to roam a colorful tulip field. You can collect yourself a nice bouquet (you typically pay € 0,25 per flower), take pictures and have a blast.
Typical tulip variety at a picking garden
Tulip Picking Gardens:
- Annemieke’s Pluktuin is a garden in Haarlemmerstraat 15a 2182 HA Hillegom, not far from Amsterdam. The website has information in English and the location is reachable by public transport and by car as well. I’ve been on a tour that actually went there as part of a tulip tour to Keukenhof in a vintage Volkswagen van.
- De “Boerenshop” is a picking garden in Marknesse, in the north of the country close to Giethoorn, Holland’s most picturesque village. Entrance is only €1,50 and then you pay €0,25 per every flower you pick. There’s free parking and there are coffee arrangements. You can even order a picnic basket with sandwiches, fresh juice, fruit, and more. You can take your own pictures as well! De “Boerenshop” is located at Steenwijkerweg 26, 8316 RK Marknesse.
There’s nothing like a photoshoot in the tulip fields
Get a photoshoot in the Dutch flower fields
Connect with a local photographer (most of the Dutchies speak English quite well) and go on an outdoor photo shoot. You walk away with an unforgettable experience and get to go off the beaten path. A cool bonus to the high-quality pictures you’re about to get? A local photographer will know all the routes and spots for the best picture which means minimum planning for you.
I worked with two wonderful photographers in The Netherlands, one of whom is Jose Chan. She took the picture of me which you see here. I can also recommend Olga Kyss, who is absolutely amazing.