Discover where to see tulips in Holland with this guide detailing where to see tulips in Amsterdam, where and how to see Holland tulip fields and how to plan a day in famous Keukenhof gardens suitable for all ages.
They are one of the symbols of Holland. They grace the covers of travel brochures, colour Instagram accounts and even star on national stamps: they are the tulips, the undisputed protagonist of spring in The Netherlands.
Tulips in Holland come in all colours and sizes. From small pots on windowsills to extended fields expanding in the distance like flags in the wind, tulips in Holland in spring are so frequent you may be hard pressed not to see any.
However, if you want to truly enjoy them and bring home photos, bulbs and blossoms, some ways are better than others.
In this guide, we share our advice on where to see tulips in Amsterdam, where to see the tulip fields of Holland and how to see the tulips with kids in tow.
When is tulip season in Holland
Tulip season in Holland is spring and in particular the months of April and May. The exact dates of tulip season change each year and depend on weather patterns and temperature. However, if you travel between the first week in April and the first one in May you should be able to get your tulip fix.
While exact dates are impossible to predict with much notice, you can keep an eye on the bulbs progress on a few websites: a good one is the official website of Keukenhof, which only opens when the flowers are in bloom and is therefore a good indication on when you can expect the flowers to be at their best.
As well as tulips, flowers season in Holland sees the blossoming of other beautiful varieties of blooms.
Crocuses blooms early as March and are soon followed by daffodils and hyacinths, before leaving way to the famous tulips. These other flowers usually get less attention but they are equally as impressive and colour large fields exactly like their better known counterpart. This means that while the exact variety of flower you see may vary, you are likely to see gorgeous fields anytime between March and May.
Why tulips grow in Holland?
Holland is particularly conducive to tulip growth both because of its long spring season and its moist yet well drained soil. Tulips originally came from the Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey) and Holland started to extensively import and grow them in the Sixteenth century.
Over the course of the century they became a fundamental part of the Dutch economy and they gave rise to what was called ‘Tulipomania‘ (tulip mania), a real economic bubble with tulip prices at a premium!
Nowadays tulips are still extensively cultivated and exported and this is something to be aware when visiting the tulip fields in Holland. As spectacular as they are, the fields are not a natural phenomenon but commercial flower growing enterprises: this doesn’t take away any of their beauty but it does mean the visitor needs to be aware that what they are photographing are commercial entities and strict rules apply.
Simple things such as asking for permission before stepping in and not picking flowers unless explicitly authorised will go a long way yo make you welcome on the fields.
This is exceptionally important if you are visiting with kids: some locations do allow flower picking (see below) but others forbid it: make sure you check with the fields owner before letting your kids loose on a flower picking daze!
Where to see tulips in Holland
When deciding where and how to see the tulips in Holland you first need to decide is what you want to see is tulips as such, specifically tulip fields or a tulip garden.
Where to see tulips in Amsterdam
If you want to see tulips in vases, bouquets and flowerbeds, all you need to do is to take a stroll around Amsterdam during the month of April. During this month the city dresses itself in tulips and you can see them adding colour to most streets, squares and public places all over the city (provided they are in bloom of course).
The city takes care of its tulip display with the Amsterdam tulip festival and enjoying them is easy: the city provides an interactive map with flower displays and shops and restaurants add to the effort with an extravaganza of flowers on windows and tables.
If visiting with kids, our favourite place to see the tulips are Vodelpark (always wort visiting with kids on a sunny day, even outside of this spring event), Museum Plein and the terrace of Nemo, Amsterdam’s science museum.
This last location was probably out favourite, during our last trip. Nemo has a gorgeous terrace overlooking Amsterdam and you can get coffee and light snacks in the sun while the kids play safely between the tulip displays and the museum’s water fountains. Just make sure you bring a change of clothes as kids are allowed and even encouraged to enter the fountains! Despite this, it is a good location also if you don’t have children with you: the access is free, the beer chilled and the view amazing.
Where to see the tulip fields near Amsterdam
If what you are after is the iconic view of the tulips fields expanding the horizon and beyond, the place to go near Amsterdam is the area around Lisse.
Located to the South West of Amsterdam this region is the perfect destination for a day trip to see the tulips and can be very easily enjoyed with kids too. There are several ways to explore it, by bike, car and train.
How to see the tulip fields near Amsterdam by train and bike
The most enjoyable way to visit the tulip fields near Amsterdam is, I believe, by bike.
On a nice day, the bike will allow you to see some gorgeous countryside and will add to the experience of seeing the fields a new dimension: the sense of smell!
While the fields are stunning to see, what photos cannot portray is that getting close to them also overwhelms you with a gorgeous perfume of flowers. When we visited last, the smell impregnated the air and made a visit to the tulip fields a very sensory one with our sense of smell, sight and touch endlessly tickled.
Holland is famous for being a bike friendly country and indeed this area is very well served with bike rental shops and bike lanes.
If you are based in Amsterdam, a lovely way to visit the countryside and enjoy the fields is to leave early-ish in the morning from Amsterdam and catch the train to Haarlem to then head to Lisse by bike.
Haarlem is less than 30 minuted by train form Amsterdam and is a lovely, historical town. The city has several bike rental shops providing you with bikes for all needs and levels of ability and maps of the area. The city is equipped with good bike lanes and this means that you can very quickly and safely leave the urban area and find yourself in lovely countryside along the famous Dutch canals.
If travelling from Haarleem it is important to know that you will not find yourself straight away immersed into tulip fields. The first fields will start in Hillegom and will become more and more frequent and large as you get close to Lisse.
However, I believe it is worth starting from Haarlem as the countryside here is beautiful and you also have the chance to stop and see the city on your way back.
The cycle between Haarlem and Lisse will take a little over an hour and on the way back you can either cycle or take the train: if you choose to take the train back, make sure you get a ticket for you and one for your bike.
At present, it costs 6 Euro one way and the bikes go in a specialised train compartment; make sure you mark your bike in a recongnisable ways, the train is a very popular option!
Cycling Holland tulip fields with kids
Older kids and teenagers will have no problem cycling safely along the tulip fields but if you are travelling with small kids, it is safe to have them in a child carrier rather than on a kids’ bike.
While overall safe, the cycle lanes do go along main roads and cross roundabout and traffic junctions so it is important that your children are aware and used to abide by street rules if they want to have their own bike.
Personally, I felt the best way to explore the tulip fields near Amsterdam with kids is to get them into a kids carriers and foresee some child friendly stops along the way.
Some stops I felt were particularly appealing to kids were the:
- The Annemieke Pluiktuin, where you don’t just see the flowers but pick your own
- The many food establishments along the way
- The lovely city of Haarlem itself, which turn its Grote Markt square into a fun fair on spring weekends
- The ‘largest playground in Europe’, Linnaeushof
- De Zwarte Tulip museum in Lisse which is also free for kids under 5
How to see the tulip fields near Amsterdam by car
If you have a car you can venture further afield and discover the region of Flevoland. This area is located a little over an hour away from Amstedam and is home to the ‘Tulip Car route’, the longest tulip route in The Netherland crossing nearly 2500 acres of tulips in bloom!
The route changes slightly every year to allow the best view over the fields and during the tulip festival is well signposted. Information can be found here.
If travelling by car in The Netherlands with children, be aware that regulations apply for the use of car seats and may not match the regulation of other European countries. For up to date information and to make sure your car seat does meet Dutch safety regulations please check the official Government website on the matter here
Holland flower parade
Another really fun way for the kids to enjoy tulips in Holland is to see the flower parade. The Dutch flower parade is a yearly event that involves the creation of impressive flower displays and floats.
The parade can be seen in several locations and official information on each year event can be found here
Anther way to see tulips near Amsterdam is to head to the famous Keukenhof gardens. Located in Lisse, Keukenhof are arguably THE place to see tulips and one of the most popular destinations in Holland for flower lovers.
Keukenhof gardens are indeed a sight to behold and are very well equipped for families or all ages. Entrance to the gardens is ticketed (advance booking and skip the line tickets a must) and they are a gorgeous space with several flower gardens, streams, pathways and passages.
They are a safe place for kids to run around (crowds permitting!) and have some structures that are specifically for them such as a playground, a petting farm and a picnic area. This is also a lovely place for grandparents and therefore a lovely option for a multigenerational family day out.
Restaurants on site cater for kids and kids activity sheets such as treasure hunt clues or colouring are available. You can find more information on the official children section of the Keukenhof website here.
Keukenhof is extremely popular and while very child friendly it can easily become overwhelming due to the crowds.
To minimise the risk of tuntrums and extreme tiredness for kids and adults, it is highly recommended to book tickets in advance and opt for skip the line options.
Here there are some popular options for tickets and organised tours in the area:
Conclusion: should you brave the crowds to see the tulips of Holland?
I adore Amsterdam and its region in all seasons and at all ages so the answer to this question from me is a resounding YES.
While places like Keukenhof are jam-packed at this time, if you go early in the morning or explore the fields, you are still able to enjoy the colourful countryside without feeling you are in a can of sardines. We even got some tulip fields just for ourselved on a Saturday, so definitely do not be put off by the popularity of this activity!
If you have children, while just seeing the tulips is likely to be boring for kids, the opportunity to pick them in selected locations, interact with them and play surrounded by them will make them truly engage with this special flower and experience Holland like never before.
I hope you enjoyed our tips on how and where to see tulips in Holland. Safe travels!
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