In this complete guide you will find all the information you need about visiting the most beautiful flower gardens in the world – the Keukenhof tulip gardens in the Netherlands. It is also packed with practical advice and I’ll be sharing with you some insider tips, as I have been visiting Keukenhof park each year for the last 10 years.
- What is Keukenhof?
- When is Keukenhof open?
- Is Keukenhof going to open in 2021?
- When is the best time to visit Keukenhof?
- How to get to Keukenhof?
- Are there tours to Keukenhof?
- How much time to spend in Keukenhof?
- How to skip the crowds in Keukenhof?
- Is Keukenhof only about the tulips?
- Is Keukenhof and the tulip fields the same?
- What to do in Keukenhof?
- Final Words
What is Keukenhof?
Keukenhof is the largest spring flowers garden in the world. Spread over 32 ha, this beautiful park showcases not only tulips, but also daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, lilies-of-the-valley, bluebells, snowdrops, and irises among others. Located near Amsterdam, this tulip garden attracts 1.5 million tourists per year, actually for a month and a half when it’s open. Each year, in the autumn, there are planted more than 7 million bulbs and 800 different sorts of tulips, so that the next year we can enjoy the magic, called Keukenhof.
When is Keukenhof open?
Keukenhof is NOT open all year round. Keukenhof is a spring garden, as tulips bloom only in the months March-May in the Northern hemisphere. So, if you are visiting the Netherlands between half May and half March Keukenhof will be closed.
The Keukenhof is open between around the 20th March until mid May.
Is Keukenhof going to open in 2021?
Important: Keukenhof was supposed to open on 20 March. However due to the COVID-19 measures, the park remains closed. It is not clear whether and when Keukenhof will open this year. They have announced from the park, that they are ready to open when they are allowed to do so. Closing date will be 9 May (Sunday) in such a case.n 2021 Keukenhof tulip gardens will be open from 20 march till 9 May.
When is the best time to visit Keukenhof?
This is the most difficult question of all. In general, at the end of March only the early tulips and bulb flowers will be in bloom, but if it’s been a very cold winter, the early tulips won’t be open in full. On the other hand, if the spring has been extremely warm, there’s a big chance that most of the tulips will be already gone by the beginning of May. So it really depends on the weather.
For example, in mid April all trees will have their blossoms but at the beginning of May the trees will be green and the rhododendrons and other bushes will be in bloom. So you see, it’s hard to say when the best time is to visit Keukenhof. The park just goes through all stages of spring and they are all beautiful in their own way.
If I still need to give an answer to this question, then towards the end of April will be the best time to visit Keukenhof.
How to get to Keukenhof?
Keukenhof is easily accessible by both car and public transportation. If you are going by car, you should consider that traffic can get pretty busy on a warm-ish weekend day, as locals love visiting the park. Quite often, there are traffic jams on the way to and from Keukenhof. Still, this remains a comfortable way to visit the tulip gardens.
Practical info: The address of Keukenhof is Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse.
If you are using public transportation and you are not staying in one of the places near Lisse, the best way is to get first to Schiphol Airport. There is a very handy website/app where you can check whether there is direct connection between the place where you are staying and Keukenhof. Click on the button to plan your trip!
How to get from Amsterdam to Keukenhof?
That’s pretty easy, although you should be considering the transit time and that you will need to change buses most likely. It takes however more than half an hour to get to Keukenhof. Depending on where you are in Amsterdam, you’ll need to get either to RAI metro station and then take bus line 852 to Keukenhof, or to Hoofddorp Station and then take bus line 859.
Tip: There’s no direct connection from Amsterdam to Keukenhof and you will always need to change at least once or even twice. That’s why I highly recommend that you take a tour, if you are staying in Amsterdam. Thus you can enjoy Keukenhof without any hassle.
As you can see, it can be quite a hassle to reach Keukenhof from Amsterdam. Therefore I can highly recommend the following option. It includes an entry ticket to Keukenhof and a transfer from Amsterdam.
How to get from Schiphol to Keukenhof?
Going first to Schiphol Airport and then to Keukenhof is the best and the easiest way to get to Keukenhof. No matter where you are in the Netherlands, there are pretty good connections to Schiphol Airport. From Schiphol there is a direct bus to Keukenhof – line 858. There are 8 buses per hour and the trip takes about 30 minutes. If you are staying in the country and will rely on public transit, this is the way to get to Keukenhof.
Are there tours to Keukenhof?
There are quite a lot of tours to Keukenhof offered from Amsterdam. Most of the tours are combining a visit to Keukenhof with a visit to the tulip fields. There are also tours that include other attractions like Zaanse Schans, Kinderdijk or Madurodam. If you are short of time, this could be a good option to see the as much as possible when visiting the Netherlands.
Tip: A combined tour of Keukenhof and another must-see place in the Netherlands, is the best option if you want to visit as many places as possible during a short stay in the country.
How much time to spend in Keukenhof?
Another difficult question. The park spans on 32 ha, so you can’t visit it in an hour. You will need anywhere between 4 to 8 hours to see the whole park, to visit all the pavilions and to make millions of photos. My advice is to spend about 4-5 hours at Keukenhof, if you have the time. Spending less time in Keukenhof is still OK, but you won’t be able to see everything.
How to skip the crowds in Keukenhof?
The tulip gardens can be a bit crowded. If you can choose, it’s better to avoid visiting the park on weekends, bank holidays, and during the spring break (end of April – beginning of May). Dutch love Keukenhof and it is a favorite day trip for the locals. Early in the morning before 11:00 am and in late afternoon after 16:00 pm the park is almost empty.
Is Keukenhof only about the tulips?
Although Keukenhof is famous because of the tulips, it is not only about tulips. It’s a showcase of the Dutch bulb growers and there are other bulb flowers featured in the gardens: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, lilies-of-the-valley, bluebells, snowdrops, irises. Beside the park gardens, in the 3 of the 6 pavilions (Beatrix Pavilion, Oranje Nassau Pavilion and Willem-Alexander Pavilion) there are different flower shows – orchids, gerbera daisies, callas, amaryllises, and many more.
Is Keukenhof and the tulip fields the same?
No. The experience is totally different. The tulip fields are actually farms, where the they grow and harvest tulip bulbs. On the other hand, in Keukenhof the tulips and other spring bulb flowers are arranged in meticulously manicured gardens, creating intricate designs and patterns. The park is beautifully landscaped with water features, rocks, trees, and small hills.
If you want to visit the fields as well, there are combined tours to Keukenhof and the fields. Another option could be to rent a bike at Keukenhof and make the tour yourself, or to take a ‘whisper boat’ tour.
What to do in Keukenhof?
Professional photographer or just an amateur, Keukenhof is perfect for taking great pictures, especially for macro photography. Think of all the colours and shapes, and the bees that love the tulip petals!
Take a ‘whisper’ boat tour
At Keukenhof you can also make a boat tour through the fields with one of the so-called ‘whisper’ boats (fluisterboot). You will see the tulip fields from a different angle – as if you are moving through a forest of tulips. The ‘whisper’ boats depart at the windmill in the park.
Rent a bike
At Keukenhof you can rent a bike and explore the surrounding areas with the tulip fields and even go to the sea and the dunes! You will get also a map with various biking routes – from 1 up to 25 km.
Visit one of the special Keukenhof events
Each year there are organized special events and festival at Keukenhof. Usually, there’s an annual theme and everything revolves around it. Special attention though is always paid to the Dutch heritage.
Visit one of the flower shows at the pavilions
The flower shows are amazing. So much inspiration and creativity at one place! When visiting Keukenhof, take the time to visit the pavilions and you won’t be disappointed.
Visit the Keukenhof Castle
The Keukenhof castle is just outside of the park and can be visited for free. The tours, however at this moment are on hold due to the ongoing reconstruction works, but the gardens and the castle park are still accessible. It’s better if you visit the castle after the tulip gardens, as the tickets for Keukenhof are single entry.
Admire the Flower Parade
If you want to see something truly amazing, then the Flower Parade should be on you bucket list. A dozen of floats decorated with the most stunning figures made out of bulb flowers, will parade through the streets in the so-called Bollenstreek (Bulb region) and will pass by Keukenhof.
Climb the windmill of Keukenhof
When you visiting the Keukenhof park, you should climb the windmill of Keukenhof. From the top, there’s an amazing view to the tulip fields and the garden. Also you will learn how the windmills function and what they were used for, as there are nice information boards along the way to the top.
The Keukenhof Gardens are a true bucket list item if you are visiting the Netherlands. If you really want to visit Keukenhof, you should plan a trip between around the 20 March and mid May, as the tulip gardens are open only a limited time per year.
- The best time to travel to the Netherlands and see Keukenhof and the tulip fields is the end of April.
- Keukenhof is not in Amsterdam, but can be easily visited from the Dutch capital. I highly recommend taking a tour to optimize your time.
- You can combine a visit to Keukenhof with one of the other attractions in the Netherlands – Zaanse Schans, Kinderdijk or Madurodam.
- You will need anywhere between 2-5 hours to see the park, depending on whether you want to see every little corner of it and spend some time in the cafes