What began as the small kitchen garden of a 15th century countess has grown into one of the world’s greatest flower extravaganzas. Every year, Keukenhof Gardens are replanted with more than 7 million bulbs! Hundreds of tulip varieties are on display, along with daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths. Flower beds flow through the park like the rivers of candy in Willy Wonka’s factory. A place this magical must be hard to get to, right? But it’s actually very easy to visit Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam!
The Keukenhof Express bus is a convenient way to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam. Buses depart from Schiphol airport, outside arrivals area 3-4. (Look for the inflatable tulips.) The ride to the gardens took about 30 minutes. I purchased a combination ticket which included round-trip transportation and a Keukenhof Gardens ticket at a discounted rate. You can find more information on their website.
When is the best time to visit Keukenhof Gardens? The park is open every year from late March until mid May, but the weather of the preceding months can greatly affect the blooming season. I went during the first week of April and only a few tulips were blooming. The middle of April is probably a safer bet. If you want to plan ahead, check out the weekly bloom forecast at Tulips in Holland.
Large pavilions host an assortment of floral shows throughout the spring season. I was most impressed by the tulip exhibition inside the Willem-Alexander Pavilion. Delighted visitors were greeted with row upon row of vibrant blooms and I could easily have spent several hours admiring them all.
Every year Keukenhof Gardens boast a new theme. When I visited, the theme was the “Dutch Golden Age,” a period of history in which Holland achieved great artistic success and economic prosperity. This was supposedly demonstrated by a mosaic made of flowers, but it wasn’t well marked on the map and I missed it completely. However, I did stumble upon a sweet little garden created using broken bits of Delft Blue pottery.
If you want to explore the neighboring flower fields in Lisse, give yourself plenty of time. I was exhausted after many hours spent wandering through Keukenhof and contented myself with blurred glimpses through the bus window on the return to Amsterdam. Bike rentals are available near the entrance to the gardens.
Do you plan to visit to Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam?