I’ve always wanted to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands. I had this image in my mind of what it would be like and it looked something like this. What I got instead was something a little less extravagant.
Don’t get me wrong – it was still beautiful. How many times will one get to say that they saw 7 million tulips? That’s right – 7 MILLION! That’s the number of tulip bulbs and hyacinth flowers Keukenhof Gardens plant each year. Every year from mid-March to mid-May, you’ll be able to witness this spectacular display. The best time is April, when most of the flowers are in bloom. But of course, this all depends on the weather. They could bloom early, they could bloom late, it’s all up to Mother Nature. To get weekly updates on the status of the flowers, you can sign up for the Tulips in Holland email list.
Tickets will cost you 15 euros for just the entrance fee, or you can purchase a combination ticket for 23 euros. The combination includes the nonstop 50 minute bus ride. You should definitely buy the combination ticket online ahead of time to skip the lines both at the airport and at the park. I learned the hard way when I bought just the entrance ticket and thought that my unlimited bus ticket could be used for the Keukenhof express bus (it cannot). So although we got to skip the park lines, we still had to wait in a separate line at the airport to purchase the express bus ticket. Luckily, lines moved quickly and we only had to wait about 15 minutes. After you have your tickets, you’ll still have to wait in line for the bus but the bus comes every 5 minutes. The line is pretty organized so no need to stress about that part.
The park is huge, which makes sense because they would need a piece of land (79 acres to be exact) big enough to house all of those flowers. It’s like an amusement park for tulips. Grab a map and make sure you check out all of the exhibits. There’s an hour-long boat ride near the windmill that runs at the top of every hour. It’ll cost you an extra 10 euros but it’s definitely worth it. It takes you out to the fields and you get to see all the tulips neatly planted in their rows. Unfortunately, a lot of the tulips weren’t in bloom yet when I went during the second week of April. But the hyacinth flowers were, so I’m glad I got to see that at the least.
You can easily spend the whole day there. It’s best to get there right when the park opens. The crowds will be unavoidable but at least the earlier it is, the smaller the crowds. Food is super expensive there. A bad-tasting, measly sandwich with one slice of luncheon meat will run you about 6 euros. Bring your own lunch or bring some snacks to hold you over because the food there isn’t worth it at all.
I’m sure there are many other places in Netherlands to check out for tulip season but Keukenhof is definitely not one that you should miss!