Your Quintessential Guide To Seeing The Tulip Fields in Holland (+Photos)

As long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with seeing the tulips in the Netherlands. After missing my first season by only a couple of days, I was determined to try again the following year. So, after saving enough money (The Netherlands is expensive, yo!) and getting my timing right, I was off to see the flowers!

Dead set on avoiding as many crowds as I could, I tried to plan a trip that was as un-touristy as possible, but spoiler alert: make peace with the crowds before you think of going to one of the most visited events in Europe.

Nevertheless, seeing the abundance of flowers stretching across the flat landscape of the Netherlands lived up to the hype and it is something that should move up a few spots on your travel bucket list. I have put together a hassle-free guide to seeing the tulips, warning you on what to avoid and sharing what not to miss!

Is It Worth Visiting Keukenhof?


Keukenhof was my biggest headscratcher. Is it worth visiting this floral fantasia? Once I drove up to the gardens and saw the traffic and more than 50 tour buses in the parking lot, I let out an audible “hallelujah”, thankful that I didn’t make this splurge purchase.

Keukenhof is 79 acres of meticulously landscaped gardens, bursting with over 7 million flowers. This sounds like a dream come true but there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Tulip Fields

Keukenhof is only open for a short window each year, and tickets sell out fast. There are more than 26,000 people visiting every day, so chances are slim to none that you will have a moment to yourself. Keukenhof is landscaped, so you won’t see the never-ending rows of tulips framed by windmills. There is one windmill and the expansive fields are outside of Keukenhof.

That being said, it might still be your cup of tea. The gardens are among some of the most beautiful in the world so it is worth a visit if landscaping is your thing. If you prefer a more DIY approach though, read on…

PRO TIP: Book your tickets in advance if you do want to visit. These are guaranteed to sell out so choose wisely.

Doing a Self-Ride Cycle Tour

Cycle Tour

By far my favorite way of seeing the tulips is by doing a self-guided cycle tour. At the gates of Keukenhof, you can rent a bicycle for a fraction of the cost of entry to the gardens. They offer full and half-day rentals and you can even rent an e-bike or a tandem bike if you want.

There are 4 routes to choose from, ranging from a short 5km circular route to the much longer 25 km route. My ignorance got the better of me and we took on the mammoth 25km route, taking us all the way to the beach and back to Keukenhof. Worth it!

These routes take you past dozens of tulip farms where you will see the flowers in all their glory! You can also expect different types of flowers at different times of the season, so you can never predict what you will see.

greenhouse café

Along the way, look out for some fun places to stop like my favorite greenhouse café, Como & Co, or the charming Het Tussenstation for a last snack and drink before you get back to Keukenhof. If you have time to spare, stop at Kasteel Keukenhof and stroll around its manicured laws.

Kasteel Keukenhof
Kasteel Keukenhof

You still need to pay a premium price to take the Keukenhof Express bus from Europaplein, but at some point, I had to give up on my frugal endeavors and just take the easy way out.

PRO TIP: Try to pre-book your bike online. They oftentimes sell out for the full-day option and you can also skip the line if you have already paid.

How to Pick Some Tulips


Picking tulips in Keukenhof and at the farms is an egregious crime, and the risk of having an angry Dutch farmer shout at me was simply too big. You are also not allowed to walk among the flowers as we introduce foreign bodies into the fields that are very harmful to the crop.

But there are a few places where picking and frolicking are highly encouraged! The Tulip Experience is one of the most popular and it is conveniently located on one of the cycle routes. You can wander through fields of tulips, learn about their history, and – drumroll, please – pick your own bouquet! It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but for flowers (sadly, no edible tulips, though).

Annemiekes Pluktuin is another charming little spot and is run by Annemieke herself, who’s the Fairy Godmother of Tulips. Her garden is a kaleidoscope of colors where you can pick your own flowers to your heart’s content. It’s a more personal experience, and Annemieke is always around to share her wisdom and flower-picking tips.

PRO TIP: Wear old shoes. The fields can get muddy, and you don’t want to spend the rest of your trip with muddied kicks.

Where Else to See the Flowers


The Bollenstreek is the most popular area for flower peeping and stretches from Haarlem to Leiden. In and around Lisse is where you will find the highest concentration of fields and flower spectators too. There is also the annual flower parade that happens around the middle of the season and you can watch colorful flower-clad floats parading from Noordwijk Beach to Haarlem. But this isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to flower peeping.

For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, check out Noordoostpolder in the Flevoland province. This area boasts the largest tulip field in the Netherlands. It’s a bit further from Amsterdam, but worth the trek for its serene beauty and fewer crowds. The annual Tulip Festival here is also a must-visit, with various routes you can cycle or drive, making it a versatile option for flower enthusiasts.

PRO TIP: One of the most unreal experiences is a helicopter tour of the flower fields. This is a view that only a few are lucky enough to enjoy each year.

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