How to see Keukenhof gardens and tulip fields in the Netherlands

Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip Fields in The Netherlands

In Europe, Netherlands by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

Dutch flower fields and the Keukenhof gardens near Amsterdam attract more than a million visitors every spring and at least half of them were there last Saturday… Don’t make the same mistake we did! Find out all you need to know about visiting Keukenhof gardens and tulip fields in the Netherlands and get more out of your trip to Amsterdam in spring.

In case you are wondering when you can visit, this season Keukenhof will be open daily from 21 March till 19 May 2019.

The best place to see colourful tulip fields in the Netherlands

The Netherlands are world-famous for their tulips and many people visit Holland in spring in order to see the endless colourful bulb fields. One of the best places to see tulip fields in the Netherlands is the area around Lisse, South of Amsterdam. One of the best-known flower gardens in the world – Keukenhof, aka the Gardens of Europe – is also located in the same area.

If you are only interested in seeing the tulip fields, you don’t necessarily have to go to Keukenhof gardens. On the other hand, the gardens are really worth a visit too. So if you have time, try to do both.

The area around Keukenhof is a good place to find colourful flower fields – tulip fields are everywhere in this area. We explored the small area between Keukenhof and Noordwijkerhout and saw plenty of tulip fields.

The best way to see the tulip fields around Lisse is probably by bike. You can either bring one yourself or rent one at the main entrance of Keukenhof. There are several route options – you can find one of them here. You can also explore the tulips fields in Lisse by car, just make sure to stay off the major roads, otherwise you won’t see much.

Colorful tulip fields in Lisse, the Netherlands

Colourful tulip fields in Lisse

 

 

What is Keukenhof and what can you expect to see?

Keukenhof is a truly beautiful flower garden (32 hectares – 79 acres) with more than 7 million bulbs in bloom every spring.

Keukenhof is one of the largest flower gardens in the world with more than 800 different varieties of tulips and many other types of flowers blooming in the park every spring. Even the biggest sceptics will be impressed!

That being said, there are some things you should know before you head to Keukenhof gardens.

Blue carpet of grape hyacinths in Keukenhof

Blue carpet of grape hyacinths in Keukenhof

 

 

When is the best time to visit Keukenhof?

Keukenhof is only open in spring, from end-March to mid-May. It’s open daily, but – if possible – DO NOT VISIT KEUKENHOF ON THE WEEKENDS OR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS!

There are always plenty of flowers blooming in the park, but the very best period to visit Keukenhof is – generally – during the second half of April.

The best time to visit Keukenhof park is early in the morning on a weekday. If you want to have some pictures of the park without any people in them, make sure you arrive in Keukenhof at 8 AM and work fast. The areas around the pond and the windmill are the most beautiful, so pick one and head there first.

The last two weeks of April is also the best period to see tulip fields in the Netherlands as the flowers are usually cut off at the end of April.  It might be a bit different every year as so much depends on the weather. Nevertheless, the gardens always have a lot to offer, so if Keukenhof is open, it’s always worth a trip.

Colorful tulips in Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands

The area around the pond is almost impossible to photograph without people

 

 

We have been to Keukenhof several times, but this year was the very first time we visited on a Saturday. We expected it to be busy, but what we experienced was indescribable!

We knew we made a big mistake the moment we left the highway. We were stuck in traffic some 3-4 km from the park with tens of tour busses from Germany, France, Belgium and UK completely blocking the road. The last kilometres took us more than half an hour and we ended up parking at an alternative parking on the other side of the park in order to avoid the busy parking at the main entrance.

We arrived just before 10 AM and the park was already packed with people. It got even worse after noon and you could walk over peoples heads. There was not a single path in the whole park where you didn’t have to wait and queue… The restaurants were crowded and if you wanted to use the bathroom you had better planned it well in advance.

So whatever you do, avoid visiting Keukenhof on the weekends at all costs. It’s really no fun. You won’t see the ‘big picture’ of the park and it’s a pity because it’s really beautiful.

Traditional Dutch windmill overlooking the flower fields in Keukenhof

The windmill was crowded on a Saturday and you had to queue for a long time in order to get to the observation deck

 

 

What can you do in Keukenhof?

Keukenhof is a park, but it has a lot of rules and regulations. Basically, you can walk around, look at the flowers and take pictures. You are not allowed to walk on the grass, although we didn’t know this and it looks like the other half a million of visitors were not aware of the rule either.

You cannot bring a bike or a kick scooter into the park and you can only picnic at one designated area, close to the windmill.

There is a treasure hunt for the children, a petting farm, a maze, and a playground. There are various exhibitions and flower arranging demonstrations in the five pavilions of the park as well. One of the main attractions of the park is the traditional Dutch windmill overlooking the tulip fields from where you can also take a boat trip through the beautiful flower bulb landscape.

Kids at Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands

Kids will love walking on water and getting lost in the maze in Keukenhof

 

Keukenhof is very tourist-oriented and you will find all kinds of typical Dutch ‘details’ in the park – like the traditional wooden clogs or this cow with Dutch cheese.

Keukenhof is about all things Dutch - not only the tulips, but also the cheese, etc.

Keukenhof is about all things Dutch

 

BUT – you will not be able to see and do much in the park if you are visiting on such a busy day like last Saturday. The queue at the windmill was immense, so was the queue at the ticket office selling the tickets for the boat trips. Luckily, we had bought the tickets for the park online and so at least we didn’t have to queue at the entrance. All the five pavilions with flower exhibitions were so crowded with people that you could hardly see any any flowers at all…

Dogs are allowed in the park, but you better leave your dog at home. We saw quite some people carrying their dogs in their arms. I assume they were worried that the dogs would get trampled by the crowd.

 

Is Keukenhof for you?

Keukenhof is a park that anyone will enjoy. However, the vast majority of visitors are retired people. We were joking that the average age of the visitors was probably around 65-70 years. You will not see many young people in the park and just a few families with children.

There are many Asian tourists and we even saw two Asian couples having their wedding pictures taken in the park. There are also lots of day tourists on a stopover in Amsterdam, some were even carrying their suitcases with them… I still don’t understand why they do it as there are lockers available at the park, but I wouldn’t be surprised that even the lockers got full on such a busy day…

If you like flowers, beautiful gardens and don’t mind the crowds, then yes, Keukenhof is for you. If you like flowers, but cannot stand the crowds, then you better skip Keukenhof and explore the beautiful tulip fields in the area.

Dutch flower fields are best explored by bike

You can explore the flower fields by bike

 

 

How to get to Keukenhof?

You can either drive to Keukenhof by car or take a train and/or a bus (recommended). There are plenty of options available from Amsterdam, from the airport, and from the other towns – they make it really easy for the tourists to get there. You can find more information on the official website of Keukenhof gardens.

Alternatively, you can book an organised tour to visit Keukenhof and to see the flower fields. You can choose from half-day tours, day tours, private transfers, etc. Most trips are available from Amsterdam, but you can find a tour from The Hague as well. Here you can find the best-rated tours to Keukenhof and the tulip fields.

How much does it cost to visit Keukenhof in 2019?

  • The organised tours including a transfer and an entrance ticket start at around 38 EUR/pp.
  • The entrance price to the park is 18 EUR for adults and 8 EUR for the children.
  • Parking costs 6 EUR and the park guide – 5 EUR. Map is free.
  • Renting a bike to explore the flower fields costs 10 EUR.
  • A boat trip is an additional 8 EUR/ adult and 4 EUR/ child.
  • The food is really expensive in the park. We didn’t see any of the restaurant menus (it was too busy to even try to get close to a restaurant), but a hot dog costs 4 EUR, a small bottle of water – 3 EUR, and an ice cream – 3,5 EUR. It quickly adds up.

TIP: Bring a picnic – it will save you lots of time, but also money.

 

Conclusion

Keukenhof is well worth seeing, just not on the weekends. Go early in the morning on a weekday during the last two weeks of April and you will love it!

Would I travel from the other side of the world to see Keukenhof gardens and the tulip fields in the Netherlands? I wouldn’t come to the Netherlands just for the flowers, but if you are planning a trip to Amsterdam anyway, spring is as good the time as any other.

I have created a short video of our visit to Keukenhof and the flower fields  – enjoy!

If you have more time in the Netherlands, consider a day trip to the windmills of Kinderdijk and visit the Alkmaar cheese market. Make sure to read our post with 11 incredible day trips you should make from Amsterdam as well!

If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

How to see tulip fields in the Netherlands

 

 

Best day trip from Amsterdam in Spring

Comments

  1. Hi Jurga, you have nicely articulated your Keukenhof trip and it is very much informative. I was looking for Tulip fields and your article helped me to decide where to go for a beautiful Tulip fields. Thanks a lot for a lovely article.

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Sameer. Hope you didn’t visit this Easter weekend though? Even on the news here in Belgium, they were asking people to please not come to Keukenhof this weekend as they expected huge crowds.
      I cannot stress this enough – if you can, try to avoid weekends and public holidays.
      Enjoy your trip!

  2. Hi,

    Whats the best way to see some tulip fields near Keukenhof if I cannot bike ? Is there any small tour for 2 people we can take to see the tulip fields ? I plan to visit on 5th or 6th of May. Will the tulips be still around? Is there a way to find out as I will then plan accordingly.

    1. Author

      Hi Amy, I found a tour that explicitly states that they visit a tulip farm, but from what I see the last tour they run is on the 1st of May.
      The reason is usually simple – tulips are usually cut off in the beginning of May. They grow them for the bulbs and I guess that’s just when the bulbs are as they expect them to be. It’s probably not easy to find tulip fields later in the month. There might be still some, but it depends on the farmers, so there is no way I can tell you how it will be or where to go. You can still visit Keukenhof gardens at that time.

      Here is another (small group and quite expensive) tour that I found that visits more places and also goes to the tulip fields (or so they say). They seem to be running until the 18th of May. So maybe they know where to go and have better insider information for the fields that are still not cut off…
      Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you for your response

  3. I’m planning to ride around the farm in Lisse, but just wanted to know can we speak to landlord ahead or request them for permission to walk midst the farm ? any tips or suggestion. I want to avoid the crowded botanical garden and spend some time with my wife and friends on the field with a bike along.

    Thanks for the advise/tips

    1. Author

      Hi Sam, it’s a bit tricky indeed. But no, normally you don’t have to call anyone. Just drive around, see the fields, and make sure you act responsibly and obey any signs if the local farmers put any… Make sure to stay on the paths and don’t pick any flowers. Just common sense and respect goes a long way.

  4. We’re visiting Amsterdam on the 28th of April I have walking difficulties (waiting knee replacement) I’m not sure I could manage a bike would love to see the farmers bulb fields is it possible to get a coach tour?

    1. Author

      Hi Lorraine, there are many tours to Keukenhof from Amsterdam (see suggestions in the article) and the park is quite accessible to all (but it’s quite big and requires lots of walking). However, most tours I know will not drive you around the flower fields. And luckily so, or the whole area would be ruined by your busses…
      So I really don’t know what to tell you.
      There is a big field that you can see from inside the park by taking a short boat tour that starts near a windmill, so maybe it’s a good option for you…

  5. Visiting Sunday 12th May Will we see much. Are the fields open outside on those dates

    1. Author

      Hi Arun, Keukenhof Gardens are open till 19/5 this year, so yes, you’ll see the beautiful flowers there. As for the fields, it depends a bit on the weather every year, but normally the tulips are cut off in the beginning of May, so you’ll likely be too late for the colourful tulip fields.

  6. I searched for an app but am not sure which app would be the best. Do you have any rec?

    1. Author

      Hi Mini, unfortunately, I don’t. There are just so many apps and they change all the time and I have no time to research them at the moment. Hope you find something useful.

  7. Hello
    I think we made a big mistake
    I visit keukenhof on April 13th .. I am amateur photographer .. I am scared why I read

    1. Author

      Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. At least you know what to expect and can prepare for it. Best tip I can give you is to try to go early in the morning and make sure to visit the tulip fields as well. It’s a beautiful place and, just as so many others, is extremely popular… For a good reason.
      Make the best of it!

  8. Hi,
    I am visiting Amsterdam during Easter, alone.. Would you recommend a package trip from Amsterdam or should I plan on my own ?? I am not very fond of crowded places and I’m dead sure the garden would be heavily crowded.. If I skip the visit there and visit the farms instead, what would i miss ??

    1. Author

      If you don’t like the crowds, then Keukenhof at Easter is probably not the best idea. What you’ll miss is the beautiful garden… If you’ve never seen a place like this before, I’d still recommend going even if just to see the tulip fields, or you’ll regret it afterwards, I think.

  9. How this is very useful, the tulip field and Keukenhof are the same?

    1. Author

      No, Vanessa, it’s not the same, but there are lots of tulip fields in the close vicinity of Keukenhof.
      Keukenhof is a park, a bit like a botanical garden if you like, with beautifully laid out flower expositions. It has opening times and an entrance fee. Whereas tulip fields belong to the farmers who grow tulip bulbs. There are tulip fields all over the area and you can see them the same way you’d be able to see a cornfield 🙂 Just please be respectful to private property when you visit.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you for the answer! Do you have a recommendation to where can I go specifically to a tulip field?

        1. Author

          No, not really. We usually just drive around and stop at the places that attract our attention (and where it’s easy enough to park if coming by car). If you rent a bike, you can ask for a map. I think there are also all kinds of apps available with routes, etc., but you’d have to google it yourself.

          1. So it’s really close by to the park? It’s bicycle distance?

          2. Author

            All this information is already in my blog post – pretty much in the first part of the article, under the section ‘The best place to see colourful tulip fields in the Netherlands’.

  10. Hi, is it possible not to bike but walk from Keukenhof entrance to the tulips fields around? And any estimate about the walking time?

    1. Author

      Hi Shan, you can probably walk to some places. It’s not just one tulip field somewhere – the whole area is full of them and while some of them are very close to Keukenhof, the others are kilometers further. I’m sure you’ll be able to see some fields nearby, but you should indeed be prepared to walk a bit. I can’t tell you how long as there are several entrances and many tulip fields. Just see when you get there.

  11. Hi, is the tulip fields near Keukenhof?

    1. Author

      Yes, there are many tulip fields just near Keukenhof.

  12. Hello,

    Love your blog
    We plan to visit on the easter weekend this year but I am guessing its going to be very crowded. Is there an alternate place we can drive to, to see the Tulips?

    Thanks

    1. Author

      Hi Kanika, yes, Easter weekend will definitely be very crowded in Keukenhof, but if you just want to see the tulip fields and go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, I think you’ll be fine. Lisse is the best area that I know of to see the tulips in the Netherlands. I talked to the people from the Netherlands tourism office last week and asked this same question and they also said that it’s the best region by far.

  13. I’m planning a trip to The Netherlands especially for the tulip fields and I am trying to find the best option to Keukenhof, but there is so much info and I’m afraid not to mess it up. Where would you suggest to go coming from Belgium by train?

    1. Author

      Hi Ingrid, you can’t really get to Keukenhof by train. Public transportationin general is tough there.

      If you don’t have a car and don’t want to take organised tour or transportation from Amsterdam, then your best bet is to go to Schiphol airport. From there you can take a shuttle bus to Keukenhof. You can find more info about this bus here.

      1. Thank you very much for the reply! But if I choose to skip Keukenhof and try seing the fields on my own? Where would you suggest going?

        1. Author

          If you don’t have a car, I still suggest going to Keukenhof. There are plenty of tulip fields around Lisse area and you can rent a bike at the main entrance of the park (without going inside). Biking is the best way to see the tulip fields as distances can be quite big. And I believe they have maps and apps available to guide you a bit.
          It’s obviously not the only place to see the tulip fields, but it’s the only one I know that is relatively easy to visit without a car.

          1. Great! Thank you for the tips!

  14. As a resident of Lisse i enjoyed reading your post about Keukenhof and the tulip fields. The part about the walking on the grass was funny and very recognisable :-). I think you managed to capture how it really is and seeing tulips (and other flowers) in the fields outside Keukenhof is good advice. Enjoy your travels !!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Bert. It’s always good to hear a local point of view.
      Happy travels!

  15. Just beautiful!

    I am looking to visit on May 8th– will the tulips still be there??

    1. Author

      Hi Cate, Keukenhof will still be open at that time, yes. As for the tulip fields, I really don’t know. Normally they cut them off in the first week of May, but I guess it might depend on how the spring is this year weather-wise. So I’d say definitely plan a trip to Keukenhof and once you are there you’ll see how the fields look and if it’s still worth exploring them…

  16. Lovely! I somehow always visit the Netherlands in the winter, it does have such a lovely country side but I need to make my way soon in the spring!

    1. Author

      Spring is really the best season for the Netherlands, Arianne. The tulip fields are truly incredible, especially if you hadn’t seen anything like it before!

  17. These tulip fields look so fantastic. I have visited the Netherlands before but only Amsterdam. Thanks for this guide. I definitely want to come back and have this experience.

    1. Author

      You’re not the only one, Mike! I have quite some Dutch friends who have never seen the tulip fields either… I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area in spring.

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