Keukenhof: A sweet-smelling daytrip from Amsterdam
By Audrey Sykes in Amsterdam—
If you want to know the true meaning of “flower power,” head to the Netherlands for tulip season. Over 900 million Dutch flowers are destined for the United States each year, and Holland is easily the world’s largest exporter of tulips.
And although “Tulipmania” (yes, that’s a real term) ended in the 1600s, the craze of experiencing fields of flowers is still an attraction for thousands of travelers to Holland, especially during tulip season, which spans from March to May. And if you’re one of the many dreaming of walking through an endless garden of flowers, the Keukenhof is your destiny.
Getting there: Keukenhof
Keukenhof is located just outside of Amsterdam, a short trip to a town called Lisse where nothing much goes on except for the yearly flock of flower lovers that happens every season. This means it’s not easy to get to unless you have a car, but it’s not impossible.
Your best bet is to get to the Amsterdam Schipol Airport via train and take bus No. 58 to Keukenhof. It runs Monday through Friday every 15 minutes, the last bus back to the airport leaving around 7:30 p.m. Local buses leave from the airport just outside the main entrance. The ride lasts a little over half and hour, and the bus drops you off right at the park’s entrance. A round trip ticket from Amsterdam to Keukenhof shouldn’t cost more than around €10.
Getting in and around
Keukenhof is a national landmark in Holland. Kodak deemed it one of the most photographed places in the world. Everyone knows about this place, and since it’s only open a few months out of the year it gets packed. Real packed. It might be tricky to get to on your own, but don’t forget about all the package tours that scoot to this picture perfect spot on an hourly basis.
Just get there early and make a day out of it. There are over 6 million flowers to see, but if you do it on time you’ll save yourself a lot of pushing and shoving. Keukenhof is open daily from 8 a.m to 7:30 p.m. daily, including Sundays and public holidays. If you make an effort and sight see early, you’ll be able to relax at the café or chill out on a bench and people watch the afternoon away.
What not to miss
It’s hard to pin point particular flowers as a “must see” when there are millions of them, so the best tip is to walk the 15 kilometers of footpaths and never blink, ever.
Just kidding. The best part about Keukenhof is that you don’t have to see everything. Grab a map and start by sections. The “Walk of Fame” is a popular one, and every year there are new tulip species with different celebrity names – from Hillary Clinton to Madonna. There is also a guide available, in different languages for €4.
If you’re in the mood to bike around the outskirts amongst the tulip farm fields, Keukenhof offer bicycle rentals and routes ranging from five-kilometer cruises to 25-kilometer day adventures. It’s €8.50 per day to rent a bike from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. – not a bad deal, and cheaper than some bike rental spots in Amsterdam.
There are also boat trips available through the countryside, and even photography courses are an option. In addition, check the Web site to find out about upcoming events and plan either on or around those dates. Either way, Keukenhof is a must for springtime visitors to Holland.
Adults and seniors: €14.50
Children 4 to 11 years: €7
Parking: €6 per vehicle
Also in our guide: If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam and looking for an affordable place to stay, be sure to stop by our guide to budget hotels in Amsterdam. Our editors visit, inspect and review only hotels that are central, clean and cheap. Read more in our Amsterdam hotel guide.