One of the most famous sites in the Netherlands is Keukenhof. This large garden is only open seasonally, however, it’s world-renown for its beauty. This week’s post is by a Holland local, Lizzie, who is from the area to give you insider tips for visiting Keukenhof, tips for making the best of your trip to Keukenhof, and how to avoid the crowds at Keukenhof.
- About the Bulb Region of the Netherlands
- The History of Keukenhof
- Information about visiting Keukenhof
- Insider tips for avoiding the crowds at Keukenhof
Bollenstreek – The “Bulb Region” of Holland
Only thirty minutes from Amsterdam, you’ll find the Dune and Bulb region, which is where many of Holland’s famous bulbs come from! This region, which has some beautiful villages, is particularly great for growing flowers (and tulips more generally) due to the soil.
March is when the fields explode with tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths until May. The highlight of this region is the Keukenhof, the largest flower park in the world. It’s open between the end of March and May. For 2019, Keukenhof will be open between March 21 and May 19th.
The villages in the Bollenstreek are Voorhout, Sassenheim, Lisse, Hillegom, Bennebroek, Heemstede, Noordwijk, Noordwijkerhout, and Vogelezang. In the center is Lisse, which makes any cycle or drive to Keukenhof always beautiful and colorful. From here, you can walk or rent a bike to explore the countless tulip fields surrounding the Keukenhof (for free) like the locals do.
Wanderlustingk editor notes that Hillegom is a really cute village for a taste of the Dutch countryside. If you happen to take this walk from Keukenhof through the tulip fields, you’ll end up in Hillegom. Be sure to admire ‘t Klokgeveltje, one of the oldest houses in Hillegom dating back to 1694. It sits at Hooftstraat 140.
The largest flower park is located in Lisse. Every year more than 1.4 million people visit the Keukenhof, which is only open for 6 weeks per year. The park contains 32 hectares of land, full of fantastic scents and colors.
Keukenhof castle was first built in 1642 by one of the VOC (Dutch East Indies company) commanders. The estate around it as intended as a garden for residents of Castle Teylingen, who lived in the castle for around 200 years. In 1857, the park surrounding the castle was refurbished by a landscape. In 1949, the flower exhibition opened.
(You can still see the ruins of Castle Teylingen in nearby Voorhout [Teylingerlaan 13-15]. The castle dates back to the 13th century. It’s was badly damaged during the Eight Years’ War prior to being used as a prison. The castle has been partially restored (although it’s still not reconstructed) and can be visited today.)
There are more than 32 hectares of flowers within Keukenhof with countless activities, flower shows, beautifully sculpted gardens, art, and various themed events. There are nine different gardens, not including the covered pavilions with changing exhibitions. Although people mostly think of the tulips, there are also beautiful orchids on
Be sure to check the agenda for the various themes! This year’s theme is Flower Power, which is based around the idea of how flowers inspire and connect people. Expect lots of cheerful colors, hippies, and music inspired by the 1970s this year!
The park is open daily for six weeks. One of the most famous attractions of the area is the flower parade, which will occur on April 13th. This flower parade is free to visit and you can watch beautiful floats made of flowers pass you by! The parade,
Access, costs, and opening hours
It is easy to reach Keukenhof from Amsterdam. You can buy a ticket in advance that includes a bus direct to Keukenhof online. Similarly, you can go on your own towards Leiden or Schiphol. During the tulip season and when the Keukenhof is open, there are special buses (with tulips) that you can easily find outside Leiden Central and Schiphol. You can pay for tickets with a card.
If you plan to visit Keukenhof several times during tulip season, consider buying a spring pass, which costs 45 euros (without parking), and allows you to visit Keukenhof unlimited time. A Keukenhof ticket without transportation there costs 17 euros online with reduced costs for kids and toddlers for free. Parking costs 6 euros (2019).
How to avoid the crowds at Keukenhof
Keukenhof is open daily from 8 in the morning until 7:30 in the evenings. (You can avoid the bulk of the crowds by going later in the day.) You cannot buy tickets after
There is also a ticket machine where you can buy tickets when the front desk is closed. Whenever you visit just after
Wanderlustingk editor recommends also avoiding popular Dutch holidays (e.g. King’s Day) as well as the day of the flower parade. This is when many tourists visit the Netherlands, so avoid the crowds by sticking to the late afternoon on weekdays, if possible.
Have you visited Keukenhof?
- Tulip fields throughout the Netherlands without the crowds
- A self-guided walking route through the Dutch tulip fields from Keukenhof to Hillegom
- The best day trips from Amsterdam
Lizzie is a travel-loving Dutchie from Holland whose birth was announced on a globe. She works full-time but travels as much as possible during her free days. Whether it’s brief weekend trips in Europe or backpacking through Asia, she loves to travel in all its forms. She writes her travels around the world at Globalizious.