If you travel to the Netherlands in the spring, you can’t miss the country’s most stunning natural attraction: the Dutch tulip fields.
The Netherlands is one of the world’s largest exporters of flowers, where the tulip fields in particular are famous and attract tourists from all over the world.
The tulip fields are one of the most popular sights in the Netherlands in spring, attracting tens of thousands of tourists every year. The magical colors and scents of the tulips in the Netherlands are a breathtaking experience for all visitors. The constantly changing color variations combined with other flowers and plants offer an incredible sight.
The annual Tulip Festival in the gardens of Keukenhof in the Netherlands is one of the world’s largest flower gardens and a tourist highlight in the country, but many smaller towns and villages also have colorful tulip fields or even entire tulip farms.
Visiting the tulip fields is a fascinating experience and one of the best tourist destinations in the country. The beautiful tulip fields are not only a wonderful sight, but you can also discover other attractions and interesting places in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is an ideal destination for flower and nature lovers, but the tulip fields are not just for those who love nature and gardening. Visiting the tulip fields is also a great way to immerse yourself in Dutch culture and learn about the country’s history. You can also stop during your trip to explore the city of Amsterdam, walk along the Dutch coastline, visit the interesting Dutch windmills and try Dutch dishes.
In this article, we have gathered what you should know before visiting the tulip fields in the Netherlands.
A holiday to the tulip fields of the Netherlands should be mostly informal and relaxing, but there are a few things to keep in mind when planning a trip.
So here are a few things to know if you plan to visit the tulip fields of the Netherlands in spring.
When is tulip season in the Netherlands?
The tulip season in the Netherlands starts around the end of March and lasts until mid-May. Most tulips are found in April. However, it is worth noting that you can also discover many other flowers when visiting the Netherlands at this time: daffodils, hyacinths… etc. Their flowering period may differ from that of tulips.
Best time to visit the Dutch tulip fields
We recommend mid-April, but late April is also a great time to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands.
In March, tulips are rarely in full bloom in the Netherlands.
In May, some tulip fields have already dropped their flowers.
So the second, third and fourth weeks of April are ideal in most years.
Our tip is not to book your trip to the Netherlands too far in advance, just a few weeks. Then you will know whether spring has arrived early or late in the Netherlands (or even in Europe).
Also look out for Easter and other Dutch holidays and school holidays. Avoid these dates as there will be huge crowds everywhere in the Netherlands. Even if you only visit tulip fields, the crowds can be unbearable if you book your trip for the wrong time.
Weather when the tulip fields are in bloom
It’s worth noting that the weather in the Netherlands is extremely changeable and rainy, and this is even more true in spring. Sometimes you can’t even trust the weather reports 1–2 days in advance.
Daytime temperatures average between 10°C and 20°C, with sunny and rainy periods actively changing. Most evenings are already cold, between 0-10°C.
The advantage of the spring weather in the Netherlands is that you can photograph beautiful clouds and the light is ideal for taking photos. In addition, it gets dark late, around 8-9 pm on average.
Amsterdam hosts an annual tulip festival, which is followed with great interest by locals and tourists alike. The festival usually starts at the end of March and runs until mid-April, with colorful tulips and other flowers in many locations throughout the city.
During the festival, many of the city’s parks, gardens and squares, such as the Museumplein and Dam Square, are transformed into tulip fields.
During the festival, the city is also full of tulip souvenirs and decorations, which are also popular among tourists.
Flower Parade in Holland
In the Netherlands, a Flower Parade is held every year, usually in mid-April. It is the most famous parade in the Netherlands and is unique because the floats are decorated with spring flowers such as hyacinths, daffodils and tulips. More than a million people from all over the world admire the colorful flower floats. The Flower Parade can also be viewed from covered stands, which are available for a ticket.
Where to stay when visiting the Dutch tulip fields
Since most people combine a visit to the tulip fields in the Netherlands with other Dutch destinations, such as Amsterdam, it’s a good idea to book a hotel in the city.
We can recommend two four-star hotels in Amsterdam:
Best places to see tulip fields in the Netherlands
There are many tulip fields in the Netherlands, and the number of them varies from year to year. Usually these fields are located in quite hidden places, so you have to check where exactly you should go to look for tulip fields.
The best-known areas with beautiful tulip fields can be found mainly in and around Bollenstreek, notably in Alkmaar, Lisse (Keukenhof), and there are also famous fields a little further afield in Noordoostpolder in Flevoland. Of these, the tulip fields around Lisse are the most famous.
We have created a map showing you where to find the most amazing tulip fields. Of course, the list is not complete and if you have more ideas, please share them with us!
How to get to the best tulip fields in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has one of the best road networks in Europe, so the Dutch tulip fields are easily accessible by car. Highways are free, roads are of excellent quality and parking is easy everywhere.
Therefore, a car is recommended, but travel by public transport is not impossible.
For example, to Keukenhof, detailed below, there are numerous bus services from several points in the Netherlands. The other tulip fields are more challenging to visit without a car, so Google Maps may help.
How much time to spend visiting the flower fields in the Netherlands
The duration of a visit to the most beautiful flower fields in the Netherlands depends on many factors.
- If you just want to see the Dutch flower fields once in a lifetime, for a quick getaway, 2–3 days can be enough.
- If you want to see something else in the Netherlands or see several tulip or other flower fields in different parts of the country, it will be more time-consuming. In that case, we recommend a minimum of 4–5 days.
- If you want to return with the absolute best photos and videos of the tulip fields, which is why most people come to the Netherlands during tulip season, you should also plan to spend more days there.
As the weather is quite unpredictable in the Netherlands, it’s worth taking this into account when planning your trip. An unexpected rainy or windy day can come along at any time, making a trip to the tulip fields more difficult.
Is it allowed to walk into the flower fields?
Entering the flower fields is only allowed in places where there’s a designated garden or farm for tourists. However, in most places, it’s forbidden to enter the flower fields.
There was a time when we also got chased away while taking photos. 😀
Keukenhof: The most famous Dutch tulip garden
Keukenhof is the largest garden park in the Netherlands, where millions of tulips and other spring flowers grow every year.
The main theme of Keukenhof is mostly the flowers planted in a forest park, but there are many other things to be found there too.
Keukenhof doesn’t just provide a fantastic tulip experience, it also features attractions like the Willem-Alexander Pavilion, tours of Dutch windmills, activities for kids, and numerous flower and souvenir shops. It’s an ideal spot for people of all ages to unwind.
Where is Keukenhof Garden and how to get there?
Keukenhof is located in the town of Lisse in the Netherlands, along the road N208. It is easily accessible from the A4 and A44 highways in a few minutes.
The easiest way to get to Keukenhof is by car, but the organizers have provided a number of alternative transport options. Buses are available from Amsterdam and several towns in the area. For more information, visit the official Keukenhof website by clicking on the link.
What to consider before visiting Keukenhof?
Keukenhof is a highly visited flower park. As it is only open for a limited part of the year, which is less than two months to be exact, it is very crowded.
We do not recommend visiting Keukenhof on weekends or public holidays. Always check in advance that the day you are planning to visit is not a public holiday or a school holiday.
Personally, we visited Keukenhof on what seemed like a normal weekday, yet the crowds were so big that it was almost impossible to walk around in comfort.
What was the problem? We chose to visit too close to the 1st of May holiday, meaning that those who didn’t get tickets for the 1st of May went before or after, and in addition it was a school holiday.
So it really is worth going on a simple weekday. For example, a usual Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Also, we recommend going early in the morning or a few hours before closing time in the evening, when the crowds are smaller.
How long does it take to visit Keukenhof?
Depending on your interest, a tour of Keukenhof can take from 1 hour to 4–5 hours. If you are less interested in flowers, 1–2 hours will be enough. If you love tulips and want to take a lot of photos, you will need much more time. On average, we would say, plan 2–3 hours to visit Keukenhof Gardens.
Entry tickets to Keukenhof
It is highly recommended to buy tickets for Keukenhof in advance. You can do this very easily on the official Keukenhof website.
After purchase, you will receive a QR code that you can print or show on your mobile phone to enter the park.
Where to park when visiting Keukenhof?
Parking is well managed when visiting Keukenhof. Just follow the instructions of the staff on site. The two main car parks, from where you can walk to the entrance, are located on the east and west side of Keukenhof.
It is worth noting that if you are visiting Keukenhof by car, you will also need to buy a parking ticket, which will be checked at the exit.
Pro tip: If you buy a parking ticket on the spot, parking is a few euros more expensive than the online ticket.
Other activities besides visiting the flower fields
The Netherlands has a wide variety of tourist attractions and offers many interesting opportunities for visitors. Here are some ideas of some of the best tourist attractions in the Netherlands that you should visit when you travel to the Netherlands.
Walk along the canals of Amsterdam
The capital of the Netherlands is famous for its museums, historic buildings, canals, street food and cafés. When you visit the Netherlands, make sure you take a few days to explore Amsterdam.
Strolling around the city and admiring the interesting, unique buildings along the canals, as well as the decorated colorful bicycles, is an enjoyable activity in itself.
During the tulip season, many places in Amsterdam are decorated with tulips, which makes the city even more charming.
Amsterdam is also famous for its nightlife. If you’re looking for the best things to do in Amsterdam at night, read also another article by clicking on the link.
Furthermore, if you plan to spend a few days here, we recommend this Amsterdam itinerary.
Visit the Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is one of the most important museums in Europe. The building houses many outstanding works and treasures of Dutch art and history.
The museum exhibits works by many of the country’s renowned artists, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Hals and Steen.
The Rijksmuseum is open all year round, and visitors are advised to buy tickets online in advance to avoid long queues and waiting times.
Pro tip: The square in front of the Rijksmuseum is decorated with tulips and other spring flowers during the tulip season, so a visit is highly recommended even if you are not a big museum fan.
Visit Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Netherlands, where people can experience a trip back in time and learn about traditional Dutch culture.
Historic windmills and distinctive green chalets have been installed here to recreate the look of an 18th-19th century village. Walking around the windmills, you can also see interesting museum exhibitions.
Pro tips: The area has its own car park, but private parking nearby usually charges a cheaper daily rate.
With a ticket, you can see inside some of the windmills, but beware that the stairs are very steep. In Keukenhof, for example, there is a windmill too, and it is free (which means you don’t have to pay extra, just the Keukenhof entrance fee) and much easier to get around.
Discover the Castle De Haar
Castle de Haar in the Netherlands is an imposing building and one of the most impressive castles in Europe.
The Castle de Haar offers visitors a wide range of attractions, including beautiful gardens, parks, lakes, fountains and, of course, the castle building itself, which is open to the public to explore its interior. The building’s rich and unique interiors are beautifully decorated, with frescoes, carvings and chandeliers.
The Castle de Haar is an excellent place for couples looking for romantic walks and relaxation, who will enjoy the beauty of the building and gardens, as well as for those interested in history and culture. It is worth taking at least a few hours to discover this fascinating place.
Pro tips: It is worth arriving at opening time, as the castle is very popular. The park opens a few hours earlier than the castle. You can buy tickets online or on the spot, either for the park only or also for the inside of the castle.
If you are arriving by car, you can pay for parking together with your entrance ticket. The barrier will let you in, and you can drive out with the code you receive.
Castle de Haar is located about 20–30 minutes drive from Utrecht. If you are also planning to explore the city, you can find the best things to do in Utrecht here.
Trip to the village of Giethoorn
Giethoorn is one of the most magical villages in the Netherlands. The village is also known as the ‘Venice of Holland’, because of the many small canals and bridges that lead from one part of the village to the other.
The village is car-free, so visitors arrive in a quiet and peaceful place.
The canals of Giethoorn can be navigated by small boats, which are available for hire and can be driven by yourself.
Giethoorn also has a small museum, where visitors can learn about the history of the village and its old traditions.
In the village, there are many restaurants and shops where tourists can taste traditional Dutch food and buy handmade products.
Giethoorn is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Netherlands, an ideal place to spend a pleasant holiday.
Pro tip: If you come to Giethoorn by car, the best option is to leave your car in the P1 parking lot. From there, the attractions can be reached with a short walk.
Visit the windmills of Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk is one of the best places in the Netherlands, where you can see traditional windmills. The 19 windmills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Kinderdijk windmills can be visited on foot, by bicycle or by boat. Visitors can learn about the life of the millers and the workings of the windmills, and experience the beauty of Dutch rural life.
Visitors will find a variety of services in the area, such as restaurants and gift shops, as well as museums that present interesting details about the windmills and Dutch history.
Pro tip: Payment is only required for parking and for visiting the inside of the windmill, and it is recommended to bring cash with you.
Overall, exploring the iconic tulip fields and other natural wonders of the Netherlands guarantees an unforgettable experience for every visitor.
Whether it’s the famous Keukenhof, where millions of spring flowers bloom, or the canals of Amsterdam, where urban life and history meet, everyone can find something special amidst the spring colors of Holland. In addition to the flower fields, historic castles, charming windmills, and centuries-old culture await visitors.
So, a springtime trip to the Netherlands is a true adventure that shouldn’t be missed.