Tulips are one of the most traditional icons of the Netherlands. If you happen to be in Europe during spring or early summer, seeing the country explode in a myriad colors is an enthralling experience for both locals and tourists. Despite the season beginning in late March till late May, it is best advised to visit the Netherlands in mid-late April when visitors are guaranteed to see the flowers in full bloom.
When visiting major cities in the Netherlands during this time, you can easily see how the Dutch embrace spring by planting tulip bulbs alongside city’s canals and public spaces. But if you are hoping to catch the best that Holland has to offer when it comes to their favorite flower, here are our top tips.
Keukenhof is the Mecca of tulip gardens. Even if you don’t have the greenest of fingers, the variety of flowers will leave you speechless. The entrance fee at Keukenhof is a little expensive for visiting a garden but it’s really worth every penny. With 7 million bulbs covering an area of 32 hectares (79 acres), it is easy to get carried away admiring the tulips that are in a wide variety of sizes and colors. As it is the most popular tulip garden in the country, it can get quite packed, so try visiting during the week if possible.
How to get to Keukenhof?: The garden is located in Lisse, which is approximately 30 minutes from Amsterdam. If you are traveling from Amsterdam, you will need to catch the Keukenhof Express bus which departs from Schiphol Airport (spot the massive inflatable tulip!)
Season: 23 March until 21 May 2017
Opening Times: 08:00 AM – 7:30 PM
Entrance fee: Adults: 16 EUR / Children (4-11): 8 EUR / Children 0-3: Free
Tulip Bike Route
Seeing the tulip fields in real life is an amazing sight with lines of immense color as far as the eye can see. So if you feel a bit more adventurous, rent a bike and take some time to bike through the bulb growing regions of Holland. Commonly located in the southwest and northwest of the country, biking is a popular and easy way to admire the tulip fields. Do note, that although the Dutch love their bikes, if you happen to be taking yours on the train, you will need to buy a separate ticket!
Royal Flora Holland Flower Auction
Tulips are big business in Holland and if you want to understand the commercial side of things, then it’s well worth visiting the bustling flower auctions. The biggest auction is located in Aalsmeer, which is just a 20-minute bus ride from Amsterdam. Millions of flowers ranging from tulips to chrysanthemums are bought and sold on a daily basis to buyers around the world. Flower traders are super early birds though, so you will need to rise well before dawn to catch all the major action here.
Opening times (for public): Mon/Tues/Wed/Fri: 07:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Thurs: 07:00 AM – 09:00 AM
Amsterdam Tulip Festival
Throughout April, Amsterdam will host its very own tulip festival for the second year, with floral arrangements and installations dotted throughout the city. One of the most iconic features is situated outside the Rijksmuseum with tulip arrangements floating over a water feature. If you feel like doing a personal scavenger hunt through the city, then visit the festival’s website to see where and how the locals are using tulips to brighten up the city.
Photos by Katherine Shanahan