The Netherlands in Bloom! Tulip festival in Amsterdam - Keukenhof
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Amsterdam is synonymous with stag-do's and weed. Sometimes images of windmills and tulips are also associated with Amsterdam. There are few places in the world that are appealing, irrespective of age and The Netherlands is definitely one of them. You'd be surprised but families visit Amsterdam more than teenagers.And the top reason is the Tulip festival.
Every year from mid-March to mid-May, hundreds of visitors arrive to catch a glimpse of these buds. But don't fret! Even with the large number of tourists, it's still a pleasant experience and the blaze of colour will instantly brighten your mood.
There are many places scattered throughout The Netherlands that have tulip fields or just the flowers for sale or on display. While there are many locations like Hortus Botanicus, Museum Van Loon and the Rijksmuseumin in Amsterdam where the festival is celebrated, the fields themselves are located on the outskirts of the city, about 40 minutes away.
'Bollenstreek', Dutch for 'Bulb (bollen) Region (streek)', denotes the western coastal areas in which most of the flower bulbs are cultivated, and the heart of the region lies in Lisse, at the Keukenhof Gardens.
If visiting the gardens is not your cup of tea, rent a bike or drive and head off on the flower-route. Starting off from Haarlem, continue for approximately 30 km via Keukenhof, Lisse towards Leiden.Haarlem is about 20 kms from Amsterdam and takes 20 minutes via the Intercity Sprinter train. The route is scattered with many flowers, not just tulips.
Depending on the weather, the flowers may bloom early if its warm in March, but the best time to visit is mid-April. Every year the Gardens have a theme and the flowers are then planted in formations based on the theme!
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More about Keukenhof
Dedicate an entire day! The festival organizers plan it out well and if you're a newbie to the country [or even to Europe] all you need to do is buy the ticket from the official site including bus fare. You can pick to travel from Amsterdam city center or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. It then takes about 45 minutes to get to Keukenhof and the bus takes you on a very scenic drive!
Be prepared to walk, as the grounds are massive, with thousands of flowers! There's plenty for everybody, although it gets crowded in April.
If you visit in May, keep in mind the flowers may be in full bloom but the weather will be better. Indoor exhibitions for orchids and hyacinths are also held and they're pretty!
There's a single windmill at the extreme right corner, in case you're lusting after those, for a picture!There are many food counters inside so don't worry about getting hungry!
You could opt for an organized tour too. The cost usually includes bus fare and entrance fees, but some tours may have predefined timings, which may translate into you feeling rushed! So do give it a thought before booking!
Countess Jacoba van Beieren would be surprised at the popularity her small herb garden near the kitchen, Keukenhof, which literally means ‘Kitchen courtyard’ has attained! And it just keeps increasing!
2018 timings: In 2018 Keukenhof is open from 22 March until 13 May
Best time to visit: Beginning of April. Early morning and late evening to avoid crowds
Start and End Dates: Mid March to Mid May
Prices: Last year the prices for a ticket (entrance+bus) was 24 Euro. Tickets can be purchased from the official site here.
How to get to Keukenhof: Purchase the entrance tickets inclusive of bus fare from a convenient pick-up point. The system will let you choose one. Direct trains are available from Amsterdam Central and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
Journey time: 1 hour 20 mins from Amsterdam by train. 45 mins by bus from Schiphol
Bus timings: Almost every hour
Features: Tulips are present the entire time in addition to other flowers like hyacinths, daffodils and orchids. Many tulip fields are located next to Keukenhof. Although we visited on the last weekend and almost all the buds were chopped off, you can wander in the fields, if you visit earlier. Speak to the farmers directly located there.
PIN FOR LATER!
The Tulip festival in Amsterdam!
- Stay in Amsterdam if you want to do a day trip
- Stay in Lisse if you're planning to explore the adjoining areas or want to visit early morning.
- It's easy to get to by road and by train
- Book train tickets directly at the train station
- Entrance tickets can be booked in advance from the official Keukenhof website here
- I did not see guides inside Keukenhof. So I believe there are none and you wouldn't need one! A map should be sufficient
- In 2018 Keukenhof is open from 22 March until 13 May 2018
- Best time to book flights is 15 weeks in advance
- If you're short of time yet want to see tulips in springs, visit the Bloemenmarkt - the floating flower market in Amsterdam, near Singel
- Looking for a Tulip museum? The one located opposite Anne Frank house has all the info you'd need about Netherlands and it's tulips!
- Secret: You cannot pick flowers in Keukenhof but at Annemieke’s Picking Garden in Hillegom you can! Located 10 mins [5 kms] from Keukenhof
Have you heard of a Maelstrom? Or the Lofoten Islands? Read all about the Maelstrom in Norway here!
What's your favourite flower? Have you visited The Netherlands during the tulip festival?
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