April is the best month to visit tulip gardens in bloom in Holland. The amazing colourful flower fields are in the dutch flower bulb region. You can explore the Dutch flower bulb region by car, by bike, even by helicopter!
Keukenhof is a spectacular spring garden in the Dutch flower bulb region, a showcase of flowers in bloom. There are over 7 million flowers in 100 different varieties. So Keukenhof is not just a tulip garden in bloom, but you can find also beautiful daffodils and hyacinths and many more.
The flower garden of Keukenhof is in the flower bulb region, about 35 minutes from Amsterdam. Each year in spring, over a million people from all over the world visit the tulip gardens in bloom. Don’t worry about overcrowding, Keukenhof is pretty big. The flower gardens are spread over an area of 32 hectares.
In 2018, you can visit the flower gardens of Keukenhof with its tulip gardes in bloom from March 22 until May 13.
10 ways to visit the tulip gardens in bloom
1. Visiting Keukenhof tulip garden by public transport
The tulip garden of Keukenhof is at Lisse, a town 26 kilometers from Amsterdam. But Lisse is not connected by train. Keukenhof can only be reached by bus, car or bike.
To get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam, you can take a bus or train to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol or the city of Leiden. In spring there is a special direct bus service to Keukenhof from Schiphol (bus 858) and from Leiden (bus 854).
You can get the bus ticket and skip the line entrance ticket to Keukenhof online for €24,50. This combi-ticket is valid for a year, so you can use it whenever you feel like. If you have your own car, you can buy a ticket online to skip the line for €17.
2. Visit Keukenhof by coach through the flower fields
The Flower Bulb Region is where the Dutch farmers grow their flowers. Fields and fields of flowers stretch out before you.
It would be a shame to go straight to Keukenhof and miss out on the bulb fields in bloom.
Jump on an air-conditioned coach for about an hour drive through the Dutch countryside to enjoy the tulips in bloom. A professional guide will tell you all about the culture and history of the region of the blossoming flowers in Holland. You have 3 hours to see Keukenhof on your own.
3. See the flower fields in bloom from a helicopter!
The best way to see the amazing coloured fields of tulips in Holland, is from above. (If you arrive in The Netherlands by plane in April or May, be sure to get a window seat!)
Every Saturday in April in 2018, there is the possibility to join a helicopter tour. You can see the flower fields of the bulb region, Keukenhof and fly over the Dutch coast. Spectacular! The Helicopter Tour includes public transportation tickets (bus), entrance to Keukenhof and all day bike rental.
If you are going to visit Keukenhof once in your lifetime, make it worthwhile! The Keukenhof Helicopter Tour costs €159 per person. It can also be booked for private groups.
4. Combine Keukenhof with a visit to Zaanse Schans
Keukenhof is a must when you visit Amsterdam in spring. So is Zaanse Schans! Zaanse Schans is village along the river Zaan that consists of original Dutch windmills. You can see the mills in action, taste Dutch cheese and chocolate and see how wooden shoes are made.
Visit Keukenhof and Zaanse Schans on one day with an private tour guide for €95.
5. Bike around the tulip fields
Sporty people might be interested in biking to Keukenhof. Yes, you can! Go to the city of Leiden or to Haarlem by train from Amsterdam.
You can rent a bike at the station. From Leiden it’s 15 kilometers by bike to Keukenhof. From Haarlem it’s 20 kilometers. Ask for maps and best routes at the rental shop.
You don’t even have to enter the Keukenhof park to see fields and fields of tulips in bloom. It’s possible to rent a bicycle in Lisse as well and wander around the region. Fields of flowers all around you! Small villages! The real Dutch countryside without tourists!
You can book your bike in advance. A day bike rent is €15. Tip for hot weather: the beach is also nearby! Ask the rental shops where exactly the flowers are in bloom at this time.
6. Tulip Car Route and Tulip Festival in Flevoland
The tulip gardens in bloom at Keukenhof are most famous, but the flower bulb region around Lisse is not Holland’s’ biggest flower-growing region. With nearly 5,000 acres worth of red, yellow and purple flower-bulb fields, that honour goes to Flevoland.
Flevoland is only an 1h15min. drive from Amsterdam. Each year in spring, the Tulip Car Route takes you through nearly 2500 acres of tulips in bloom! The Tulip Car Route is the longest tulip route in The Netherlands. It is 100 kilometers long and sign-posted so you don’t get lost.
If you have a car, take this road trip because you will stunned. Lots of activities on the way! You may pick your own bunch of tulips at the Tulip Picking Garden, climb a tower to get a view from above and visit several lovely flower farms and gardens.
The Tulip Route is part of the Tulip Festival. More info about the Tulip Festival at the local Dutch tourism board VVV-Noordoostpolder.
7. Tulip gardens in bloom in Amsterdam
The tulip season in Amsterdam starts with the official kickoff at Dam Square on 20 January. Flower farmers turn the Dam square into a huge tulip garde in bloom. Over 200.000 tulips are on the square, and you get to pick your own bunch!
In April, you can see tulip gardens in bloom in Amsterdam everywhere! Tulips have been planted in over 80 locations. Participating are for example the gardens of EYE Filmmuseum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Canal House Museum Van Loon the Amsterdam Tulip Museum, Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. The locations will be posted on a special Tulip Festival website.
The Botanical garden of Hortus Botanicus has around 4,000 types of plants, including rare tulips. And they will bloom in April! The Amsterdam Hortus is one of the oldest in the world and has been in the Jewish Quarter, near the centre of the city, since 1638. There are plants from 6 different climates.
Amsterdam Flower Market
The Amsterdam Flower Market is in all the tourist guides. The market has been around since 1862 when flower farmers would sail their boats deep into the city centre to sell their tulips in bloom and bulbs. The flower market is still partly floating, but this is hard to see.
Even worse is that the Flower Market on Singel canal has become more of an Amsterdam tourist trap. You can hardly find any fresh flowers anymore. Nowadays you can find mostly flower bulbs, seeds (lots of marihuana seeds, but of unknown quality) and lots of souvenirs.
8. Tulip gardens in bloom at Vondelpark
The Vondelpark has a special area designated to flowers. Apart from lovely roses, there is also a beautiful tulip garden in the Vondelpark Amsterdam.
In november 2017, school children from Amsterdam have planted 30.000 tulip bulbs at the Vondelpark monument. Be sure to pass by to see the tulip gardens in bloom!
9. Tulip garden Floratuin Julianadorp
Another tulip garden is Floratuin Julianadorp. On show are exclusive and new varieties of blossoming bulb flowers. Visitors are free to wander around in the tulip garden and pick their own bunch of flowers. The Floratuin is open from March to May. In August, September, October and November the shop is open for the sale of flower bulbs.
You can also order the flower bulbs online. First you choose the flowers you like and order them. They will be sent to your house in October. You need to plant the bulbs in the fall.
10. Flower parades and tulip festivals
Many villages and areas of Holland that grow flowers organise a flower parade. During this tulip festival, a procession (‘corso’) of wagons decorated with thousands of colourful flowers pass through the streets. Hundreds of volunteers have worked on the creation of these artistic processions for months. Find out more about Dutch flower parades.
Flower parade in april: Bloemencorso
On april 21, 2018, the Dutch Flower Bulb region has its spectacular flower parade. About 20 floats and more than 40 special vehicles are decorated with flowers. All the flowers are bulb flowers, like hyacinths, tulips and daffodils. There is music and thousands of people along the route.
The parade starts at 9.30 am from the Wilhelminaboulevard in Noordwijk on its way to Haarlem. The parade also passes by Keukenhof. On Friday evening the illuminated Flower Parade will travel through Noordwijkerhout. On Sunday, the parade floats are on display at the Gedempte Oude Gracht/Nassaulaan in Haarlem.
History of the Dutch tulip
Originally the Dutch tulip grew in the wild in Central Asia. The Turks were the ones who first cultivated them in ancient times. In the 17th century the tulip was introduced in The Netherlands by a biologist from Vienna. He planted the first tulip bulbs in the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden.
Dutch Tulip mania
In 1637 there was a real tulip mania in Holland. It became so popular, that the bulbs were extremely high priced. A serious trade in tulips started in Amsterdam and many people made a fortune. In the end, though, the bulb didn’t turn out to be quite so rare to justify the high prices. The prices of tulips plummeted and many people lost their savings. This is called the Tulip Crash. Still to this day, gardens in Amsterdam are filled with the strong and colorful tulips in bloom.