In bloom: The beautiful Keukenhof flower gardens near Amsterdam

In bloom: The beautiful Keukenhof flower gardens near Amsterdam

What is your favourite flower?

I love peonies but tulips run a close second. They are so bright and sunny and when they start appearing in shops you know spring is in full swing and summer is on its way. Also, our small daughter loves all things floral so when we planned our trip to the Netherlands visiting the tulip fields and the Keukenhof flower gardens was right at the top of the list as well as staying on a houseboat in Amsterdam.

Quick tulip facts*

tulips for sale in amsterdam

✪ Tulips are not native to the Netherlands but originated in Eurasia in Tien Shan range on the border between China and Kyrgyzstan

✪ As the Ottoman Empire grew they brought tulips to Holland where they flourished in a climate with cool springs

✪ Holland dominates the global floricultural market supplying 44% share of the world’s flowers and flower products

✪ Over 4.3 billion tulip bulbs are produced each year in the Netherlands and just over 50% of these are grown into cut flowers

✪ The Netherlands exports 1.1 billion cut tulips every year

* Source: Holland Trade

The tulip fields and gardens near Amsterdam

tulips at keukenhof

All of the major tulip growing areas of the Netherlands are found within a half hour drive of Amsterdam. I would have loved to have hired bikes to ride through the commercial growing areas of Kop van Noord-Holland or the Noordoostpolder area famous for its tulip festival but time was not on our side. We chose to visit the Keukenhof flower gardens near Lisse in the Bollenstreek or Flower Bulb region between the cities of Leiden and Haarlem.

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Keukenhof flower gardens

flower beds at keukenhof

The gardens of Keukenhof are manicured and cultivated gardens covering 32 hectares. Laid out in a semi formal style the gardens are designed to showcase many hundreds of colours and varieties of tulips and other flowers. There are over 800 varieties of tulips alone!

The main activity for visitors to Keukenhof is to wander around the grounds enjoying the flowers that are planted around waterways, fountains and statues. If you are a garden and flower lover then a visit to Keukenhof should be on your must visit list.

Related  Chelsea Flower Show 2015

What? No Tulips?

Colourful Keukenhof near Amsterdam

We visited on the first weekend in late March 2016 and while there were some incredibly beautiful displays of flowers most of them were crocuses and daffodils. There were only a few tulip varieties in bloom. The scene is still incredibly pretty. All the flower beds and displays are beautiful and colourful and they were the perfect antidote to what was a somewhat grey and chilly spring day.

If you are intent on seeing tulips there is a large greenhouse where many varieties are on display but actually the crocuses are lovely.

When do tulips bloom in Holland?

Tulips at Keukenhof

Obviously the best time to visit Keukenhof and the Dutch tulip fields is when the tulips are in full bloom. The season for tulips is very short lasting only about 8 weeks from the end of March to the end of May each year.
The park opens in line with the tulip season and even then there is no guarantee you will see the full bloom of tulips in the gardens and fields during your visit.

The very best time to see tulips in the Netherlands is mid April towards the end of spring.

Keukenhof with kids

wandering around keukenhof netherlands

Wandering around a Dutch flower garden may not immediately spring to mind as a great activity for kids but we were thrilled to discover how child friendly the gardens are. The Keukenhof website is woefully inadequate with this information so here is a summary.

I am a big fan of wide open spaces for kids to run off steam and the Keukenhof gardens has this in abundance.
Once the novelty of row upon row of flowers wears off and trampling blooms looks like it is going to become the favourite activity of the day there are several activities for kids that will keep them entertained.

keukenhof petting zoo

Head toward the giant windmill to the right of the main entrance.  You can climb the windmill for views of the park or try on some on some enormous wooden clogs. Close to the windmill there are several playgrounds and a petting zoo with the cutest baby goats, pigs and llamas.

Our kids were already big fans of Miffy after visiting the Miffy Museum in Utrecht so they were thrilled to go inside her house at Keukenhof to do some drawing and have their photo taken with her again.

miffys house at keukenhof

Lastly, there are many kid friendly eating options with an emphasis on Dutch cuisine – hotdogs, pretzels and the little dutch pancakes poffertjes.

Related  Miffy museum in Utrecht, Netherlands

Practical information for your visit to Keukenhof

daffodils at keukenhof

Plan on spending at least 2 hours in the gardens which you will want to do to make the most of the €16 entry ticket for adults and €8 for children aged between 4 and 8 [2017 prices]

Activities at Keukenhof

Apart from the main displays throughout the spring season there are weekly flower shows showcasing different varieties.  Each weekend the park adopts a different theme including Dutch heritage, a weekend for kids and even a romance weekend when many marriage proposals are made among the tulips.

dutch icons windmill and clogs at keukenhof

Throughout the park there are many eateries with a focus on Dutch cuisine. I loved the cheese shop where I discovered the delicious gouda with black truffle that I have been thinking about ever since!

You can hire bikes at the park to explore the area and there is a little boat ride along the waterways which we didn’t do but looked peaceful. Those activities are in addition to the ticket price.

Getting there

blooms at Keukenhof Lisse Netherlands

We drove from Amsterdam but you can also get the bus or train and bus from Schipol airport or the centre of Amsterdam.

The carpark at the gardens is huge so make note of where you parked your car otherwise you may have a bit of searching to do. I always like to take a photo of our car registration and location on my phone when I am visiting new places and this tip came in very handy at Keukenhof.

If you would prefer to relax you can also take a tour to Keukenhof from central Amsterdam.

Related  10 reasons to hire a local tour guide and take a tour on your travels


More information on visiting the flower gardens on the Keukenhof website


Keukenhof flower gardens in summary

Keukenhof flower beds

A visit to the Keukenhof flower gardens is a short day trip from Amsterdam and it is where, at the right time of year, you will find row upon row of beautiful vibrant tulips. The gardens are magnificent and we were impressed by the range of activities at the park for visitors of all ages. I can imagine on a sunny weekend day in Spring it is simply heaving with people.

Despite the lack of tulips we were not disappointed to be sharing our experience with a smaller crowd. I thought we would spend about an hour and a half there but we ended up staying over three hours as there was so much to see and do.

And we kept stopping to smell the flowers.

smelling the flowers at keukenhof

For those looking for rows upon rows of flowers stretching into the distance as far as the eye can see this is not the right place to visit. Head north to Kop van Noord-Holland instead where you can ride a bike among the tulip fields past traditional windmills.


Have you visited the Keukenhof flower gardens when the tulips were blooming? What do you think, should we go back and experience the gardens in all their tulip glory?


Keukenhof flower gardens near Amsterdam, Netherlands

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53 Comments

  1. 31st January 2017 / 10:40 AM

    I like tulips too:) these are beautiful gardens!

  2. 31st January 2017 / 1:03 PM

    Beautiful photos and great tips! We went last Spring and had a wonderful time.

  3. 1st February 2017 / 4:26 AM

    What a beautiful place! Reminds me how much I like flower displays (I haven’t seen decent ones in some time). Without a doubt, I will like to visit Amsterdam during the tulip season. Feels like you want to visit a magical place. #citytripping

  4. 1st February 2017 / 5:04 AM

    Fun to see all of the varieties and colors of tulips! I was fascinated to learn they are originally from Eurasia. It was intriguing to learn about how they moved over to Holland and became a significant part of the country. #citytripping

    • 1st February 2017 / 9:36 PM

      Thanks Brooke. I’m glad you enjoyed that pop of colour

  5. 1st February 2017 / 8:20 AM

    I have heard of this carpet of tulips in Netherland, but never been at the right time. I was in the North of Netherland two summers ago and the weather was just fantastic. I loved it very much. Sometime one day I will visit the Tulip parks in the Netherlands

    • 1st February 2017 / 9:39 PM

      The timing is so difficult Juli. I think we missed the full bloom by about 2-3 weeks but I still enjoyed all the crocuses

      • 1st February 2017 / 11:41 PM

        Netherland is beautiful, you can go shopping to other town by cruising on the river for a change if your don’t want to take trains, buses or by car. It is such a beautiful country. I visited Amsterdam briefly but I really love the north and most people go up north for holidays in the summer.

  6. 2nd February 2017 / 4:03 AM

    Tulips are my favourite flowers! It’s my dream to visit Netherlands during tulips season. But oh, that Miffy Museum sure caught my attention. #CityTripping

  7. 2nd February 2017 / 8:20 AM

    I saved this a couple of days ago when I saw it but didn’t have time to read it! I REALLLY want to visit the Kreukenhof Gardens, hopefully for our 4 year anniversary in April, but we’ll see. Long way to go just for flowers haha but I know it’ll be worth it! These are great tips! #FarawayFiles

  8. 2nd February 2017 / 8:27 AM

    Gorgeous flower pics, those pigs are pretty cute too! Think my daughters would also love to go inside MIffy’s house

  9. 2nd February 2017 / 8:33 AM

    We were at Keukenhoff around April 22nd last year and it was perfectly timed, but also extremely crowded. My kids loved the petting zoo too (even the teens!). I would have to say just driving the countryside near Haarlem and admiring the fields and fields and fields of tulips was just as lovely! And we even caught the #TulipParade in neighboring village.#FarawayFiles

  10. 2nd February 2017 / 9:09 AM

    I’d love to see the tulips in Holland; it’s on my never-ending list of places to go things to see…. Those piggies are an absurdly cute shape by the way! #farawayfiles

  11. 2nd February 2017 / 10:28 AM

    I went to Keukenhof pre-kids and was blown away by all the flowers – especially the ones in the hothouse. I never knew there was a Miffy House there. I’d like to take m little family back some time! #FarawayFiles

  12. 2nd February 2017 / 11:15 AM

    Tulips are so beautiful, but Netherlands is not the only place to have a tulip festival. Here in Perth, Western Australia we have a sea of tulips in springtime at Araluen.

  13. 2nd February 2017 / 11:31 AM

    Oh my how stunning. I love tulips. My kids will be sold on the Miffy Museum alone. #Farawayfiles

    • 7th February 2017 / 9:48 AM

      The Miffy Museum is fab! At the cafe across the road they have a Miffy themed lunch for kids too – very cute

  14. 2nd February 2017 / 11:38 AM

    This looks like the quintessential thing to do when visiting The Netherlands, and if you can get the timing right, it looks so beautiful! those gardens are stunning. It looks super family friendly too! #FarawayFiles

  15. 2nd February 2017 / 1:04 PM

    This reminds me of the tulip fields a few hours from my home in Washington State. I’ve never been to it but the pictures look gorgeous. I’d definitely want to see the Keukenhof flower gardens. Thanks for sharing. #farawayfiles

  16. 2nd February 2017 / 1:22 PM

    We visited Keukenhof two years ago and it was amazing! Worth braving the lines and crowds to see the gorgeous fields of flowers.

  17. Clare Thomson
    2nd February 2017 / 2:13 PM

    A sea of tulips must be a wonderful sight! I’m sorry now to be missing this when we visit in a couple of weeks – it’ll be far too early to see those gorgeous flowers. Tulips are one of my favourite flowers so I must make a point of coming here one day. Thanks for brightening up my day, Katy. #FarawayFiles

  18. 2nd February 2017 / 3:30 PM

    I love tulips and have always wanted to see the Keukenhof gardens in bloom. Adds another to the list! #FarawayFiles

  19. 2nd February 2017 / 4:01 PM

    We visited when the tulips were flowering about 5 years ago, before I started blogging. Coincidentally I happened to be looking through my stored photos at the weekend (for a photo of a European park!) and came across all of my flower photos, they really are an incredible sight. We also hired bikes and cycled around the local fields, which was great – but we didn’t like the very cold north wind. #Farawayfiles

    • 2nd February 2017 / 4:13 PM

      Ooh I’m so jealous Christine. Guess we will just have to go back! It’s nice to reminisce and I don’t know about you it we have way too many photos!!

  20. tracycollins2016
    2nd February 2017 / 5:13 PM

    I love flowers – any ? and would really like to visit – in fact just asked my husband if we can get there by train! Definitely looks like my kind of place – I would be taking a lot of photographs!

  21. 2nd February 2017 / 7:17 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing this. A day trip from Amsterdam is a great idea the tulip fields are nothing less than stunning. I love flower arranging and floral art – the only thing with tulips is they keep growing after you cut them! Miffy was a childhood favourite of mine what a lovely visit. Thanks for hosting #faraway files

    • 7th February 2017 / 9:47 AM

      So glad you enjoyed reading my post. I didn’t know that tulips keep growing after they are cut. Interesting!

  22. 2nd February 2017 / 8:11 PM

    I love tulips too – one of my minor extravagances is always to have a (bargain) bunch of them in my house, such a little thing but lifts my spirits. I would love to see the fields in bloom here but have never been in the city at the right time. Discovering how child-friendly it is, I am starting to think a return trip should be in order! Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  23. 2nd February 2017 / 10:59 PM

    Such wonderful colors and a beautiful area to visit. I live peonies too but they last so little time.

  24. 3rd February 2017 / 5:01 AM

    I’m so jealous! I sadly just missed the window when the flowers were in bloom at Keukenhof when I visited Amsterdam and missed this beautiful sight 🙁 But I love Amsterdam so much, I’m sure I’ll make my way back and I’ll make sure I can see it then!

    • 7th February 2017 / 9:45 AM

      Oh me too! I loved Amsterdam. Such a fun, relaxed city with something for everyone

  25. 3rd February 2017 / 1:25 PM

    I’ve been to Amsterdam twice in the spring and both times I was too early for the flowers!! I guess I need to try again, they are stunning!

    • 4th February 2017 / 9:56 AM

      Hannah the flowers are so bright and colourful, not that I need an excuse to go to Amsterdam but this is as good as any

      • 4th February 2017 / 1:38 PM

        haha take any excuse you can get!

  26. 3rd February 2017 / 3:13 PM

    I love botanic gardens. These look fab. You Tupi photos are lovely #farawayfiles

  27. 3rd February 2017 / 6:08 PM

    Well this certainly brightened up my day! I love gardens in general, but the tulip gardens in the Netherlands reign supreme. Even if you can’t visit, just looking at this post is a treat :). #farawayfiles

  28. 3rd February 2017 / 6:25 PM

    Oh what a shame – we’re there in March, a bit too early. How was the weather when you were there? I really don’t know how to pack!
    Shame cos I love tulips too, they’re one of my favourite flowers, they just don’t last long enough! #farawayflies

    • 3rd February 2017 / 7:19 PM

      I wont sugar coat it Alex, it was pretty cold! Definitely coat weather but still lovely.

  29. 4th February 2017 / 2:08 AM

    I visited Amsterdam in June so missed the tulips’ bloom. Will keep the gardens in mind, if I revisit in April.

    • 4th February 2017 / 9:58 AM

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Much appreciated

  30. 4th February 2017 / 10:57 AM

    My mum and aunt both spent many years living in Holland. I went there for the first time when I was 14 and was blown away by the tulip fields. All the different colours, all neatly lined up next to each other. So beautiful 🙂

    • 7th February 2017 / 9:43 AM

      I loved the tulips field and the little I saw of Holland too (mainly Amstersdam). Looking forward to exploring some more. Sounds like you had some fun times with your family there – any recommendations?

  31. 4th February 2017 / 3:01 PM

    I hope you don’t mind me being honest: We visited Keukenhof one sunny Saturday in mid-April 2015… and had a horrible experience. Quite simply, it was obscenely overcrowded and we were in constant fear of losing our kids amongst the masses. We queued for one hour just to get into the car park, and couldn’t buy anything to eat inside due to horrendous queues (luckily we had brought a picnic AND managed – by some small miracle – to find a free bench to eat it on).

    The flower displays were, of course, wonderful, but for us it just wasn’t worth the hassle. Tip: Go, by all means, go. But not on a sunny weekend day in peak tulip season with four kids in tow… #FarawayFiles

    • 5th February 2017 / 8:05 PM

      Thanks Jonny. Appreciate your candour. I suspected that Keukenhof would be crowded on a day like that and I can imagine that all the pretty flowers in the world would not compensate for grumpy kids. Looks like the trick is to get there on a less than ideal day in April. It’s almost an intellectual challenge just to get the timing right. I think next time we’ll choose the bike tour!

  32. 5th February 2017 / 11:24 AM

    That’s such a great thing to do and interesting to hear how the tulip came to the Netherlands. It’s made me think we need to go back to the Netherlands especially now my daughter is getting into Miffy #citytripping

    • 5th February 2017 / 8:03 PM

      We had a great time and Miffy rocks!

  33. 6th February 2017 / 3:47 AM

    The tulips and the gardens are beautiful! Good to know that Keukenhof is a short trip from Amsterdam, so it’s great to make a day trip to the gardens. And interesting to note that tulips are not native in Netherlands 🙂 #farawayfiles

    • 7th February 2017 / 9:41 AM

      The gardens are so beautiful Kat. The trick is to time the visit to get the blooms, some sunshine and minimal crowds!

  34. Christy
    8th May 2017 / 2:32 PM

    Hi thanks for sharing. The Keukenhof garden apparently closed after May. Does anybody know if still worthwhile going that area despite the garden is closed during July? Thanns

    • 8th May 2017 / 9:07 PM

      Hi Christy, unfortunately the tulips are gone by then but Leiden and Haarlem are lovely. So lovely in fact that we will be there around that time. Utrecht is nice too. Let me know if you need anymore info

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