Fields upon fields of glorious colour is exactly what you can expect when the tulip fields of the Netherlands are in full bloom.
Tulips are an expected part of the Dutch spring, blanketing the countryside during the flower season (mid-March to mid-May). As a general rule of thumb the tulips specifically bloom mid-April to early May, but for prime viewing conditions, you’ll want to plan your trip to the Bollenstreek (bulb district – the area between Leiden and Haarlem) towards the end of the season when the tulips will look their best. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of must-see tulip fields.
The most well-known and with the largest reputation, this flower garden is easily accessible by car and bus from Amsterdam or The Hague. As the world’s biggest flower display, the Keukenhof Gardens, boast over 7 million bulbs and 800 varieties of tulips in bloom a year. Only open for 8 weeks (end of March until mid-late May) you’ll be lucky to lay eyes on this flower wonderland.
The park is open from 8am – 7:30pm but grab your tickets early as the ticket box closes at 6pm. As it’s a ticketed garden lines can be long, so we’d recommend pre-purchasing with adult fast track entrance fees priced at €18. 2019 will be the garden’s 70th year of operation and is said to be unmissable. Check out their website to find out what events are on and plan your trip accordingly.
As the area with the most tulip farms, it shows off over 2000 varieties of tulips. Located in Flevoland, this once submerged landmass provides the perfect flower growing conditions. Many farms offer guided tours, but this location is ideal for doing it yourself with facilities to hike and cycle through the picturesque fields. For a different experience we recommend visiting Tulpenpluktuin Marknesse. As one of the few tulip picking farms in the Netherlands, it allows you to create and customise your perfect tulip bunch. This particular tulip farm recommends contacting them prior to visiting to ensure you are arriving at the exact flowering time.
Although Lisse is known for being the home to Keukenhof Gardens, it has its own right to be included independently on this list. The town is surrounded by tulip fields so try hiring a bike and cycling between Haarlem and Lisse for uninterrupted and less restricted tulip views away from the crowds of Keukenhof. This will allow you to pull up and immerse yourself in the tulips whether you choose to wander through the tulip fields, have a picnic surrounded by blooms, or pose with a picture-perfect backdrop. Take your tulip knowledge further by visiting the Museum de Zwarte Tulp (open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm) which is a museum based purely around flower bulb culture, showing off the rich history of the Bulb District.
Other spots to see the blooming tulips
Haarlem sits at the top of the bulb region and is surrounded by tulip fields – as close as a 15-minute bike ride from the city centre. Its rivalled location is at the end of the annual Flower Parade loop (the biggest flower-related event), meaning they have the privilege of displaying the flowers for visitors at the Grote Markt for a day after the parade finishes.
Noordwijk is a coastal town and as such gives a unique perspective on the tulips. As a place where the flowers meet the sea, once a year visitors flock to the town that is transformed into a floral seaside resort. For a one of a kind experience take to the skies with a helicopter tour and enjoy the magic that is flowers nudging the coastline and blooms hugging the sandy dunes.
To book your spot at the Netherlands most spectacular natural colour display, check out these trips to Amsterdam with Contiki.