When we were in Japan, chasing cherry blossoms, we noticed our Instagram feed was full of beautiful photos of the tulip fields in Lisse, that look like they go on for miles and miles. I had first looked into this, along with the Keukenhof Gardens, when we visited Amsterdam back in November (we have two blog posts relating to this trip, if you want to check them out: What to See & Do in Amsterdam and Birthday in Amsterdam). However, they were out of season in the winter months, and we planned to maybe catch them another time. Well, this was the time!
We decided to book a very last minute, weekend trip to Lisse, to try and catch the flowers, before they disappeared! We left Glasgow on Friday morning, and returned on Sunday night. This blog post will give you all the information you will need for planning a trip to see the tulip fields – so make sure you bookmark this post, if you’re already looking into tickets for next year!
PS: We’ll let you know now, that we travelled during the final week of the Keukenhof Garden (it was the only weekend we could make it), and by this time all the local tulip fields were already de-flowered, apart from just one patch of a field we will mention later.
What To See
The Keukenhof Garden is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, in Lisse, Netherlands (but probably the world’s biggest tulip garden). It is usually open between mid-March to mid-May (with the best tulip blooming time being around mid-April), but we would advise checking the website closer to the time, to confirm the exact opening and closing days. This year (2018), we visited Keukenhof literally on the penultimate day of its opening (sorry guys, it is now closed for the year).
This year, the ticket price was €17 pp with parking costing €6 per car. You get a free park map, but you can also buy a more detailed guide for €5. Every year there is a different theme, with this year’s theme being ‘Romance at Keukenhof’ – this was reflected in the flower displays, flower exhibitions, artwork and other shows at the garden.
There are numerous cafes and restaurants at the garden. There is ample parking for everyone, but we would advise getting their earlier in the morning (park opens at 0800) or going later, and staying till closing (closes at 1930) if you want to avoid the crowds. We spent around 5 hours in the park ourselves, walking around quite leisurely and stopping to grab a bite.
Apart from the Keukenhof Garden, you have to visit the local tulip fields around Lisse and Noordwijkerhout. This is where you will find the colourful, vibrant tulip (and other flower) fields stretching out in front of you. All these fields are local businesses owned by and taken care of by their farmers. Some of them will have signs asking you not to enter the fields. You might be able to get around this by asking them for permission before entering. There are other fields, you should be able to enter freely.
Before we arrived in the Netherlands, we found out that due to the weather and timing, the local fields were already in the process of being deflowered. And in fact, all the tulip fields in Lisse were flower-less, much to our disappointment.
However, in Noordwijkerhout, where we were staying, we found one small field, which still had its tulips in bloom, and the owners of which, were allowing people to take photos. We were so glad that our journey hadn’t been totally futile!
Top Tip: The last remaining field we found in Noordwijkerhout is situated at the Google Maps co-ordinate 52.238946, 4.506198 (just copy and paste this into your Google Maps).
Or follow the map below!
Where We Stayed
As we’d already previously visited Amsterdam, we decided to stay closer to the fields, either in Lisse or a nearby town, for the whole weekend. Nearby hotels were generally almost fully booked, or too expensive for the season. We found a lovely Airbnb flat in Noordwijkerhout – our first Airbnb stay, and we couldn’t have found a nicer, more well placed flat – click here for the listing of the flat! It was just a 10 minute drive to the Keukenhof Garden in Lisse, with a similar duration drive to the nearby local tulip fields.
Top Tip: If you are a new Airbnb guest, and would like £25 off your first trip, send us a message or drop a comment below, and we can sort that out for you 🙂
If you’d rather stay in the center of Amsterdam, Lisse is around a 50 minute drive from there.
How We Travelled
We rented a car for the duration of our trip – our first time doing this – and it was the best decision, for getting around. You drive on the right hand side of the road in the Netherlands, with the driver sitting on the left hand side of the car. I must give credit to Jonny for doing a fine job of this (after the initial hiccups, hehe!)
We picked up our rental car directly at Amsterdam Schipol Airport, where we landed. We used Google Maps on our phone to navigate, and it was pretty handy that the car came with Android Auto, which you can use to connect your (Android) phone to the car (using a USB cable, so make sure you have this with you), so that Google Maps shows up on the car’s screen.
It was a 20 minute drive from the airport to our Airbnb flat in Noordwijkerhout, with most of the journey making use of the motorway, and the latter part using a lot of roundabouts, where we had to remember to drive the opposite direction! We found that the roads and lanes in the Netherlands were very well marked, especially at the roundabouts, which made it much easier for visitors to get about. Just remember to always watch out for cyclists!
Renting a bike is the other option here if you prefer. There is a bike rental place, at the Keukenhof itself, where you can also pick up a local map with cycling routes to visit the local tulip fields.
There is also a dedicated bus service taking you from Amsterdam Schipol airport to the Keukenhof Garden – the main Keukenhof website offers you combination tickets for both entry to the garden plus bus travel from the airport.
We hope you enjoyed our travel guide to visit the tulip fields in the Netherlands. Let us know if you found this handy, and if it has inspired you to make the trip next year!
Love, DJK x