I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – a trip to the Netherlands never disappoints! This is a gorgeous, clean and very friendly country! I couldn’t wait to go back especially during the spring to try to catch a glimpse of those famous tulips. Honestly, catching the fields in full bloom was a little tougher than I thought it would be, but hopefully what I learned can help when planning your next trip to Holland!
What to know before you go:
- The biggest variable is how unpredictable the tulip season can be in Holland. How cold the winter was and how many warm days there have been that spring will affect the peak time. Generally late March through early May is the best time to visit Holland for increased chances of vast tulip fields in bloom. This year we planned a trip smack dab in the middle of April 2018, and it was slightly too early because of the colder than normal winter. As the Netherlands is a quick drive from Cologne, we went again at the beginning of May and although there were still field of flowers, you could tell it was the end of the season. The best advice I have heard is, when the daffodils start to die, it will be peak tulip season! If you are planning a trip, check this website for Holland tulip updates.
- Keukenhof Gardens, the famous tulip park in Lisse, will get extremely crowded. If you want to visit the beautifully landscaped gardens, be there right before it opens and plan to leave by noon to avoid the crowds.
- For a more personal experience, you can rent bikes from Rent-a-Bike Van Dam from two locations (Keukenhof or Noordwijkerhout) for 10 EUR each and ride around different suggested routes of the flower fields outside of Keukenhof. All of our pictures came from Route 2 which can also be done by car.
- Even if you just drive through the Keukenhof parking lot to rent bikes, you will pay the 8 EUR parking fee. Therefore, we suggest renting from the Noordwijkerhout location for the free parking and avoidance of the crowds.
- You must respect the farmers’ tulips. If you take the bike approach and do a self-guided tour of the fields, please remember that these tulips are the farmer’s crops which they use to make a livelihood. Don’t venture too far into their fields and always be aware where you are stepping.
- Even though the area fills with tourists during the spring, the residents and farmers are very friendly and welcoming. While taking some pictures early in the morning, one of the tulip farmers drove by us and nodded with a smile.
- Maximize your chances of seeing the tulips by visiting more than one area. Lisse is not the only town to see the tulips, it is just the most famous because of Keukenhof. You can also plan to explore a region north of Amsterdam called Noordoostpolder.
Where to stay:
You can easily visit Lisse on a day trip from Amsterdam, but there are also many other charming cities outside of Amsterdam to explore and save on hotel costs (Amsterdam is generally very expensive).
- Our number one choice so far is Utrecht. An hour drive from Lisse, on the south east side of Amsterdam, Utrecht is a very young and vibrant city. This is a great city to retreat for the night after a day of exploring flowers and enjoy a nice dinner.
- On of the closest places we have stayed to Lisse, roughly 20 minutes away, was in Oegstgeest. We stayed at the Landgoed Kasteel Oud-Poelgeest hotel which had been transformed from a 20th century coach house, with a castle right on the property!
- If you want to add some beach to your visit, you can stay on the sea-side city of Zandvoort. We stopped here for lunch one day and had the most perfect meal on the beach at Ubuntu Strand Bar.
What to bring:
- A camera to capture this bucket list experience.
- A flowly dress or shirt looks best when pretending to tend to your tulip field.
- A hat. Most times I wear a hat I look like a farmer, but when else is that more appropriate than in the middle of a tulip field?
- A jacket or sweater, especially if you are going in March or early April. The temperatures in the Netherlands are still a bit brisk.
- Some appropriate shoes if you plan to bike around.
We can’t wait to return and explore some new areas in Holland next Spring!