If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you might have noticed that my travel schedule has been (for lack of a better a phrase) pretty f*cking hectic lately. In April I had guests or work travel every week, with the exception of one stunning long weekend, right at the end of the month. My boyfriend, who I had been neglecting due to work obligations and guests, sweetly suggested that we enjoy the long weekend together. And so I took a red eye back from NYC, napped for a few short morning hours, and packed yet another bag. Thankfully, we had decided to forgo planes and enjoy a mini-European road trip, with an overnight in Antwerp, Belgium and some spontaneous pit stops along the way. Road trippppp! :)Springtime is my favorite season in Holland. In the spring, the weather is often warmer and more reliably sunny than in the summer, and!! you have the tulips. Miles and miles of endless colors paint the horizon, as Holland’s flagship crop begins to bloom. As Kai had never seen the Dutch tulips in all their vivid glory (which I’ve done before, many times! here and here) I suggested that we take our first road trip pit stop in Lisse, where the rainbow-colored tulip fields are both abundant and magnificent.
If you are also interested in visiting the tulips in Holland, here are some tips on when to visit, what to do, and how to get there (along with some photos from our adventure!)
WHEN TO VISIT
If you have your heart set on seeing the tulips bloom in Holland, the best time to visit is during either the last two weeks of April or the first week of May. While the season starts in mid-March and ends in mid-May, the exact dates can be unpredictable due to the weather. Sometimes, the daffodils begin to bloom in January, while in other years, the canals are still frozen into March! Visiting towards the end of April is typically your safest bet, unless it’s an abnormally hot or cold winter.
Whether you’re going by bus, train, or car, visiting the tulip fields mid-week is usually best, as there will be fewer tourists out and about, and there will undoubtedly be less traffic on the roads.
WHAT TO DO
If it’s your first time visiting the tulips in Holland, consider stopping by the Keukenhof in Lisse. Also known as the Garden of Europe, the Keukenhof is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, with more than 9 miles of walking paths, over 800 varieties of tulips, a windmill, and more than 7 million flowers in total! The garden is a stunning art piece, with dozens of photo opportunities, water features, and manicured flower displays. While breathtaking, the Keukenhof is also a huge tourist trap, so be prepared to wait in line and roam amongst a myriad of other visitors (as mentioned, best to visit on a weekday!) In 2017 the Keukenhof will be open from the 23rd of March until the 21st of May, so plan your visit accordingly. More info can be found here and their address is Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands.
While the Keukenhof offers beautifully crafted flower displays, the real Dutch masterpiece lies outside the walls of the Keukenhof, where farmers have diligently planted miles upon miles of vibrant tulips. Biking or strolling through the tulip fields should be a prominent must-do on your travel bucket list!
HOW TO GET THERE
Amsterdam is a great base for visiting Holland’s tulip fields – you can enjoy the art, culture, food, and nightlife of Holland’s capital city, while the stunning tulip fields are only a stone-throw away. Plan on spending at least one day dedicated to tulip sightseeing :)
By Car . . . Renting a car is by far the easiest option. My favorite car rental place in Amsterdam is Europcar as they usually have the cheapest rates and located right in Amsterdam’s center. Once you have a snazzy vehicle, there is a 25-mile Flower Route (or in Dutch, Bloemen Route) you can follow that runs from Haarlem (the city just south of Amsterdam) to Leiden. This route travels through a multitude of dense of tulip fields, and will provide many splendid photo opportunities! You can find more details on the Bloemen Route here.
If you don’t want to follow the Bloemen Route, just pop the address of the Keukenhof into your GPS (as mentioned above), and head on down to Lisse. You can visit the Keukenhof (if you so please) and then drive around Lisse, where you are bound to stumble across endless fields of colorful tulips.
By Bus . . . If you’re staying in Amsterdam, you’re in luck, as there is a combination ticket that will cover the bus ride from Amsterdam to Lisse (and back!) as well as entrance admission to the Keukenhof for around €23 in total. You can pick up these magical tickets in Amsterdam at: AKO Amsterdam CS – Stationsplein 13 G, 1012 AB Amsterdam, Holland Tourist Information – Aankomsthal 2, 1118 AX Schiphol, Leidseplein – Leidseplein 26, Amsterdam, or Amsterdam CS – Stationsplein 10, Amsterdam. There are also ticket vendors in Haarlem and Leiden, so check on the Keukenhof website to find the ticket window closest to you.
If you want to make the bus journey on your own without buying a Keukenhof park pass, take a train or bus to Schiphol airport, and then hop on the Keukenhof Express (bus 858) at the airport. This will take you directly to the Keukenhof, and you can then roam around Lisse at your leisure.
By Bike . . . Ridding through the tulip fields on a bike is perhaps the most Dutch experience one can have. At the Keukenhof, they have bike rentals right outside the park (website here). You will be provided with a bike and a map (outlining where to ride to see the flowers), and can then cruise through the tulip fields on two wheels!