Keukenhof Gardens: Tulips, Tulips, Tulips

Spring is here and the Keukenhof Gardens have thrown their doors open to the public. Keukenhof is the largest tulip garden in the world and is totally worth your time if you are in love with flowers. I went to Keukenhof last year in May and spent the entire day walking around the place, yet I could not see the whole garden! It was an exploratory day, where I tossed out the map and wandered as per my free spirit. In hindsight, maybe if I would have followed a track using the map, I would have been able to see much more. Regardless, I had a great time and would love to revisit the gardens sometime soon. If you are planning to visit Europe in the months of March, April or May, try and spend a day in the gardens and explore the fields around it. Trust me, it will be worth the time, the effort and the money!

Getting there:

Keukenhof is about 25 km from the Schiphol Airport. Hence, it is a good idea to visit the gardens when you land at Schiphol or when you are exiting Netherlands from Schiphol. There are day trips that are organised from Amsterdam as well. Keukenhof can be reached from Amsterdam City Centre using public transport. It takes about 1.5 hours and can be done as a day trip.

Where to stay:

As Ankur and I had seen Amsterdam a few years ago, I was more keen on seeing the Dutch country side. Hence, I decided to stay in the little town of Haarlem. I took a bus from Schiphol to Haarlem, which took about one hour. At Haarlem, I grew my Dutch wheels and rented a bicycle. I cycled from Haarlem to Keukenhof, which took about 1 hour. I went through tulip fields and stopped a hundred times to take a thousand pictures. I saw plenty of windmills and canals. I saw the big healthy Dutch cows grazing and little hares hopping. Cycling through the Dutch countryside showed me how stunning the country is and that Amsterdam

I spent three nights in quiet little town of Haarlem. The town centre had some great restaurants and coffee shops. Having an elaborate breakfast in the sun in a busy cafe was one of the highlights of my trip. I stayed in ‘Hello, I’m Local’ hostel. The hostel was absolutely clean and located a few minutes away from the town centre. The breakfast was delightful and the staff was very friendly. They also had bicycles to rent, which I used for my day trip to Keukenhof.

Another option could have been to stay in the town of Lisse. The town is surrounded by tulip fields and has beautiful lanes and picture perfect houses. Staying in an Air BnB in Lisse might be good option too. Possibly, I will explore this option when I revisit the gardens, this time with Ankur.

When to go:

Keukenhof is open for about two months in the entire year. The dates are available on the website. Typically, the garden opens from the third week of March to the third week for May. I went in the second week of May and the garden had loads of tulips in all their glory. However, most of the fields were cut. Hence, it makes a lot of sense to visit the gardens towards the end of April when the fields and the gardens, both are in full bloom.

Entrance Tickets:

Tickets to the garden can be bought online. I reached the garden at about 11 am, when it was thronging with people. However, it took less than ten minutes to get a ticket and I would recommend buying the ticket on arrival. The tickets cost about EUR 17-18. There are parking charges for motorised vehicles but bicycles can be parked free of charge.

There is also an option of buying a spring pass that allows unlimited access to the gardens. This might be a good idea if you want to revisit the gardens more than 3 times during the season.

What to carry:

Remember to carry a water bottle when you visit the garden. There are a few fast food and snack stall and a few restaurants in the garden. So, you will be able to have access to food and a drink when you are there. But as I am a vegetarian, I prefer carrying a quick snack so that I dont end up surviving only on fried and mashed potatoes. That being said, I had some delicious fries with mayo at the park.

What to wear:

Remember to wear comfortable shoes…you will walking a lot. Also, a hat or a cap is a must have – the sun can be really strong. I carried a light jacket with me and was happy about the same as it suddenly got cloudy and cold in the evening. Lastly, if you are cycling to the garden, wear gear that makes you feel comfortable on a bicycle. And a little tip for those who love getting photographed – wear white. It will help you stand out amongst the bright coloured flowers. 

Now that you are all set for the gardens, pick up your camera, pack your picnic basket and enjoy the day.




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