Where to see tulips in and near Amsterdam: a practical guide to the best tulip gardens and tulip fields in Holland – Updated 2020
They are one of the symbols of Holland.
They grace the covers of travel brochures, color 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 colors and sizes.
From small pots on windowsills in Amsterdam 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.
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How to see the tulips in Holland: quick tips
If you are visiting the Netherlands during the tulip season, you will see tulips everywhere.
However, if you really want to enjoy them and get the best opportunities for tulip photos, these are some practical tips that will come in handy.
To see the famous Dutch tulips I recommend you:
- Go in the right season (see below)
- Stay more that one day to maximize the chances of a sunny day
- Get outside of Amsterdam
- Mix and match garden visit, market visits and trips to the fields
- Embrace cycling for a full-senses experience
- Dress appropriately good walking shoes and layers are a must – you can see my packing list for Amsterdam in spring here, it is good fora tulip trip too!
When is tulip season in Holland
Tulip season in Holland is spring and in particular the months of April and May, the best months to see tulips in Holland.
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 this one for Keukenhof tickets, available only for 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 bloom as 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 color large fields exactly like their better-known counterpart.
This means that while the exact variety of flowers you see may vary, you are likely to see gorgeous fields anytime between March and May.
Why do 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 of when visiting the tulip fields in Holland.
Need to know: 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 authorized 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 owner of the field before letting your kids loose on a flower picking daze!
Where to see tulips in Holland: Tulip fields and gardens
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 up in tulips and you can see them adding color to most streets, squares and public places all over the city.
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 Amsterdam with kids, our favorite 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 is one of our favorites.
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 tulip fields near Amsterdam: the areas of Lisse
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 and you can explore it by bike, car or 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 minutes by train from Amsterdam and is a lovely, historic 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 traveling from Haarlem 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 specialized train compartment; make sure you mark your bike in a recognizable way, the train is a very popular option!
Good to know: you do not need to be an expert cyclist not super fit to take the cycling route between Harleem and Lisse. The road is flat and you can take your time: do, however, bring suitable clothing and water!
The best tulip fields in Holland: the area of Flevoland and the North
If you have a car you can drive around the area of Lisse, go to Keukenhof (see below) or venture further afield and discover the region of Flevoland.
This area is located a little over an hour away from Amsterdam and is home to the ‘Tulip Car route’, the longest tulip route in The Netherlands 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.
The flower bulb fields along the coast of The Hague, and towards Alkmaar are also worth it.
Alkmaar is also pretty and famous for cheese: another Dutch specialty!
Visiting the Dutch tulip fields with kids
The easiest way to visit Holland tulip fields with kids in tow is to go by car.
However, if you are more adventurous and want to cycle, I believe it is possible.
Older kids and teenagers will have no problem cycling safely along the tulip fields but if you are traveling 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 by bike with kids is to get them into a kids’ carriers and foresee some child-friendly stops along the way.
Need to know: if you are planning on taking your bike on the train, please double-check the type of carrier you have is allowed on. Not all are. You can find some info (takes a bit of patience) on the official Ducth railways network website here
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
Holland flower parade
Another really fun way 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
The most famous place to see tulips in Holland are the world-renowned gardens of Keukenhof.
Located in Lisse, Keukenhof are arguably THE place to see tulips and one of the most popular destinations in Holland for flower lovers.
They are a large collection of several gardens and pavilion laid out by master florists and they look like a painting made of flowers.
You have small flower beds, very large ones, greenhouses, flower arrangements, exhibitions and you can of course buy tulip and tulip bulbs to bring home – just don’t overboard as they are surprisingly heavy!
Keukenhof gardens are indeed a sight to behold and visitors from all over the world agree: the place is packed!!
Entrance to the gardens is ticketed (advance booking and skip the line tickets a must, see below) and they are a gorgeous space with several flower gardens, streams, pathways and passages.
Keukenhof is popular with visitors or all ages and families will be happy to know the gardens are well equipped for kids with a playground, a petting farm and a picnic area and a family friendly restaurant on site.
No matter what your party age is, I highly recommend you book skip the line tickets and get to Keukenhof early in the morning.
Some links for your convenience:
- Skip the line Keukenhof entrance with transport from Amsterdam
- Skip the line Keukenhof tickets
- Flowerfields and Keukenhof Half day tour
- Volendam/Marken, Zaanse Schans & Keukenhof with Canal Cruise
Where to see windmills in tulip fields
Tulips and windmills are both typical of Holland, however, finding a place to take the quintessential Holland photo, with the tulip field and the windmill in the background is all but easy (turn out, many such photos are photoshopped or not from Holland!).
Your best chance to take that photo is Keukenhof, where they have a windmill just for visitors interested in that shot.
Conclusion: what is the best place to see tulips in Holland?
In conclusion, the best places to see tulips in Holland depends on the type of experience you are after.
If you want to see pretty tulips without having to drive or venture into the countryside, Amsterdam is the best place for you
If you want to see pretty tulip fields close to Amsterdam, the area of Lisse is the best one.
If you want to see some of the most famous and impressive tulip fields and don’ ming to drive, head to Flevoland
If you want to see stunningly laid out gardens, then the famous Keukenhof gardens are the place for you
If you want to see tulip fields wich children, then I recommend you go to one of the pick-your-own tulip farms in Hillegom for maximum fun.
I hope you enjoyed our tips on how and where to see tulips in Holland.
More Holland Travel Resources
- For accommodation in Amsterdam, find our favorite areas here
- Our go-to accommodation booking site for the Netherlands is booking.com
- For train and bus tickets and transport solutions, I like Omio App
- For our tips on how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam, click here
- If you need to store your luggage in Amstefdamfor da yin the fields, check our Luggage Hero