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Tiptoe Through the Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens Near Amsterdam

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If you plan to visit Amsterdam during spring, escape the city and retreat to the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens. Here you can tiptoe through those Dutch tulips for which Holland is so very well known. This sprawling botanic garden is filled with every varietal of tulips you could imagine, and so much more.

Tiptoe through the Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens - A Day Trip from Amsterdam

Tiptoe through the Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens – A Day Trip from Amsterdam (Photo credit: Keukenhof Holland)

History of Holland Tulips

There seems to be confusion among Americans about Holland versus the Netherlands. Before visiting Keukenhof Gardens, I incorrectly thought the Holland and the Netherlands were interchangeable. In fact, Holland is a region within the country of the Netherlands. And that region is renowned for growing tulips. Nearly 90 percent of all tulips are grown in the Netherlands – a whopping 4.3 billion bulbs annually.

Originally cultivated in the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey), Holland began importing tulips in the 1500s. In the seventeenth century, tulips were so popular that they created the first economic bubble, known as “Tulip Mania” (Tulipomania). As people bought the bulbs like crazy, tulips became so expensive that they were used as money until the market in them crashed.

A beautiful and unique black tulip in Keukenhof Gardens

A beautiful and unique black tulip in Keukenhof Gardens (Photo credit: Keukenhof Holland)

Tulips and Beyond at Keukenhof Gardens

The Keuhenhof Gardens are home to seven million bulbs in bloom in the spring. The grounds are dotted with ponds and fountains atop which ducks and swans swim. While tulips are the main draw, expect to see and smell daffodils, hyacinths and other beautiful plants as well. For children, there's a treasure hunt, petting farm, maze and playground.

Daffodils at Keukenhof Gardens

Daffodils at Keukenhof Gardens (Photo credit: Keukenhof Holland)

The gardens open to the public in late March and host many events like flower shows, parades, and concerts until Keukenhof closes in mid-May. Although you can purchase tulip bulbs in the many souvenir shops, you can't bring them on board international flights so you're better off getting something non-perishable. An art show featuring local artists' work took place when my husband and I visited last spring and we purchased a painting of the tulip fields as a souvenir of our trip to Holland.

An art show at the Keukenhof Gardens

An art show at the Keukenhof Gardens (Photo credit: Keukenhof Holland)

Dining at Keukenhof Gardens

After you've built up an appetite from tiptoeing through the tulips, choose from seven restaurants on-site. There are also food stalls peddling goodies like stroopwafels, Dutch pastries made from two thin waffles and filled with caramel. Or, you can pack your own food and dine al fresco at the picnic area near the windmill.

A windmill surrounded by tulips at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, The Netherlands

A windmill surrounded by tulips at Keukenhof Gardens (Photo credit: Keukenhof Holland)

Exploring the Gardens and the Bulb Fields

Situated on over 79 acres, Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in the world. Wear comfy shoes and plan to do A LOT of walking during your visit. For a more relaxing option, explore the bulb fields surrounding Keukenhof Gardens via a 45-minute whisper boat tour. You can also explore the fields via a rented bicycle, but bikes are not allowed inside the gardens. Even children's bicycles and tandems are available. Book a boat or bike near the main entrance of the gardens.

Fountains and ponds add to the beauty at Keukenhof Gardens

Fountains and ponds add to the beauty at Keukenhof Gardens (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Getting to Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam

The gardens are about an hour's drive from Amsterdam. If you're renting a car, you can drive there yourself. Keukenhof is located between Amsterdam and the Hague and is easily accessible via motorways A4 (exit Nieuw-Vennep) and A44 (exit 3, Lisse). Look for the Keukenhof signs after the exit.

Most travelers, however, don't need a car in Amsterdam because it's a very walkable (and bikeable!) city with excellent public transportation. Instead, do as we did and book a bus tour to Keukenhof, which includes bus transport to the gardens and entrance tickets. Book your Keukenhof bus tour now.

A sea of pink tulips at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, the Netherlands

A sea of pink tulips (Photo credit: Keukenhof Holland)

Why Visit Keukhenhof Gardens

Despite my utter lack of a green thumb – or maybe because of it – I am a huge botanical garden enthusiast, making a point to tour gardens in nearly every destination I visit. Keukenhof Gardens made me giddy with its abundant beauty and stands out as one of the most memorable I have ever explored. This easy day trip from Amsterdam gives travelers an opportunity to see the lovely Dutch countryside just outside of the city and recharge with a refreshing dose of nature's beauty.

My husband and I visited Keukenhof Gardens after our Viking River Cruise. Read about all of the incredible ports we visited during our Viking River Cruise on the Rhine River.

Would you like to tiptoe through the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: I did not receive any compensation or media discounts related to this post. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. John @ Pretravels says:

    I absolutely love Netherlands and Amsterdam this time of the year. The tulips decorate the city like it was Christmas in the spring! Amsterdam is indeed a wonderful location to either take a weekend getaway or a week or two of vacation.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Agreed! I’m so glad we were able to visit in spring and see all of those gorgeous tulips!

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