The best time to see tulips in Amsterdam
We’ve all seen the impressive photos: row upon row of brightly colored tulip fields stretching as far as the eye can see, tulips in Holland are iconic. When you think about Holland, you probably think of three things: weed, clogs, and tulips. Tulip season in Holland is the perfect time to visit, and is really the only time to see the tulips in their fully glory. Before we go any further – read this post first if you want to know the difference between Holland vs the Netherlands.
At this time of year, the weather is turning for the better, the rain is (hopefully) clearing, and the tulip fields are in full bloom. But be quick, because tulip season in Holland doesn’t last very long! In this blog post you’ll find a guide on how to visit tulips in Holland, when the best time to see the tulips is, how to reach the tulips, and how to do a self-guided tulip tour.
Continue reading to find out how to visit the tulips in Holland, where to see tulips in Amsterdam, and how to visit Holland’s flower fields.
Searching for more great Netherlands travel tips? Check out these posts:
- HIDDEN GEMS: amazing secret places to visit in the Netherlands
- 10 great museums you have to visit in Amsterdam
- Great things to do in Den Haag, Netherlands
- Get dirty with Dutch mudflat walking: wadlopen in the Netherlands
- Visit the breathtaking Kasteel De Haar as a day trip from Amsterdam
- Windmills ahead! How to see windmills from Amsterdam
- How to spend a day in Rotterdam: things to do in Rotterdam Netherlands
How to see tulips in Holland: Visit the Keukenhof Gardens
The Keukenhof is the most famous and most popular, albeit touristy, way to see tulips in Holland. The Keukenhof is NOT open all year round, but opens around the time that they expect their tulips to be in bloom. So the best time to visit the Keukenhof tulips its when it is actually OPEN! – i.e. mid-March to mid-May … typically! A lot of people ask when is the Holland tulip festival, and it really depends on the weather each year.
Just to set your expectations, the Keukenhof park is not an “authentic” tulip field like those you see on postcards. It is rather a park where they plant patterns of tulips for your viewing pleasure. That’s not to say it isn’t worth a visit, but if you want to see tulips in their full glory in Holland, there might be better ways.
Visiting the Keukenhof however, is the easiest way for tourists without a car to check out the tulips however, and there are dozens of organized tours you can take that leave right from Amsterdam Central Station. The Keukenhof is the tulip garden in Holland.
At the time of writing, an adult entry into the Keukenhof costs €17,00 (without transport costs included), or a ticket for €24,50 including transport. Don’t let me discourage you, the Keukenhof is a worthwhile visit for most tourists, it just isn’t the cheapest or most impressive way to see the tulips.
The Keukenhof’s hours are 8 – 19:30 (but you can’t buy a ticket past 18:30)
Visit the tulips in Holland: Rent a bike and tour the fields yourself
You can plan a visit to the Dutch bulb fields in combination with a visit to the Keukenhof, or separate. The area surrounding the Keukenhof is famous for the tulip fields which are in full bloom during tulip season. This is where you will really see the rows upon rows of tulips that local farmers have planted themselves.
Visiting Holland flower fields during tulip season is one of the most “Dutch” experiences you can have, and is truly one of those picture perfect moments. Curious about what it is like to have these Dutch experiences all the time? Read this post about what its like to be an American in the Netherlands.
You can easily rent a bicycle at the Keukenhof and simply cycle from there, to do a tour as long as you want. You’ll be able to rent a bike from Rent-A-Bike-Van-Dam which is located near the bus stop at the main entrance of the Keukenhof. Prices are listed on their website and they can help you plan your route around the tulip fields. Most routes are less than 10km. Tulip farms in the Netherlands are experiencing a lot of tourism, so please be respectful of the tulip farmers and don’t crush their tulips!
If you want to spend the day on a bike, check out this cycling route is 31km or 38km and will take you from flower fields to sand dunes – I can promise this is a really beautiful area of Holland where the tulip bulbs meet the coastline.
Finally, if you are visiting from Leiden or Haarlem, consider renting a bike from one of these stations and then cycling to the tulip fields. This will take a bit longer to reach than simply cycling from the Keukenhof, but it will give you a great opportunity to explore these two lovely cities, and you’ll very likely pass by areas that most tourists are not cycling in.
A note for my fellow Americans: people in Holland *never* ride a bike with a helmet, unless they are on a race bike. Of course, you can rent a helmet when you rent a bike, and I would never tell you not to be safe. But I will tell you that Dutch people might laugh at you if you do so.
Before you visit, know that you cannot just walk through the tulip fields – sorry Insta-stars! Farmers will be pretty upset to find you frolicking through their rows of perfectly planted tulips, so please don’t get into a fight with the locals!
How see Dutch tulips: See the tulips by car
The tulip fields aren’t just limited to the areas around the Keukenhof, the span the whole area of North Holland. Can anyone say tulip road trip?! Ok, ok, before getting too excited, just know that the road trip is just a one day or half day tour, but still, it sounds pretty cool right? Cruising around through the Netherlands’ flower fields sounds like the perfect day to me.
ANWB, which essentially the Dutch version of AAA, recommend a tulip viewing route here. This page is in Dutch, but just click the link that says “Download de pdf” (the first link at the top), and follow the route. Or use Google translate 😉
If you can avoid it, don’t drive around this area, especially the area around the Keukenhof on the weekends during tulip season in Holland. When the weather finally gets better in Holland, the Dutch population seems to explode and Dutchies are out in full force, also visiting the tulip fields. Last year we spent a miserable hour wasting away in traffic near the tulip fields when all I wanted to do was jump out of the car, run to the fields and take some snaps of the photos. Please take my advice and do a car trip during the week only.
When are the tulips in bloom in Holland?
Amsterdam tulip season lasts from approximately half-March through to half-May. I say approximately because it is really dependent on the weather conditions and when the tulips will be in full bloom, and when the Netherlands turns into one big flower garden. You have to be quite lucky to catch the tulips at the right moment – I guess that is one of the benefits of living in Holland, you can visit any time 🙂
One thing to know about the Dutch is that they LOVE to plan ahead. So, when it comes to tulip season in Holland, they don’t mess around with a visit when the tulips aren’t in full bloom. You can plan your trip just like a Dutchie too by checking the weekly flower updates here.
If you don’t live in Holland, as most of my readers don’t, just take what you can get when you visit, it will be fun no matter what.
Tulip Facts to know before you go
- Tulips are almost symmetrical
- Tulips only bloom for a few days: typically 3-7. That’s why you have to be selective about when to visit Holland!
- Tulips actually come from central Asia
- Tulips have a fascinating history: did you know the first financial crisis was Tulip Mania? People were selling their homes to buy tulips from Turkey!
- No surprise, Holland is the biggest exporter of tulips
Got tulip fever? If you can’t get enough of the tulips in Holland, check out Iamsterdam’s list of 10 ways to take in the tulips
What to bring to the Netherlands
Looking for more tips on what to do in the Netherlands in spring? Check out these posts
- How to captain your own boat in Amsterdam
- Discover the secret side of the Netherlands: the best hidden gems
- The best outdoor bars in Amsterdam
Did this post help you plan your visit to see the tulips in Holland? If so, please let me know in the comments below or let me know what I missed!
Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.