It has been my dream to see the tulips in Holland since we moved abroad, and we FINALLY made it happen. Three years later. It was worth the wait and completely lived up to the hype. It was obviously incredible to visit Keukenhof, but the best part of the trip was driving around and finding open tulip fields that you can explore. I had heard a lot that you can't really walk into the fields because they are basically like people's backyards, but after driving past lots and lots like that, we found some fields that were completely open, not by any houses, and right off the side of the road. Here are a few of my tips if you are considering a trip here next year, or the year after that, or the year after that!
- Go to Keukenhof at 8:00am RIGHT WHEN IT OPENS (and buy your tickets before so you can walk right in). It becomes a zoo an hour or so later, and makes it kind of hard to enjoy the place. Walking around and having the place to ourselves really felt like a dream.
- Rent a car! If you are just going to Keukenhof, you won't need this (there are shuttles from every hotel), but as I mentioned, we loved driving around and looking at the big fields the very most. There are no fields at Keukenhof, it is just gardens and smaller bunches of flower displays.
- Drive the Bloemen Route! Start in Haarlem and take the N208 south to Lisse (this is where Keukenhof is). Continue on the N208 until you hit the A44 and you will find Leiden. The Botanical Garden is here, and many people call it a mini-Keukenhof (which is certainly less crowded). From there, take the A4 south and turn west on the N222 until Naaldwijk. This route takes you through the highest concentration of flower fields in Holland and is such a treat!
- To get to the open fields that were super easy to walk out onto, you have to go off the beaten Bloemen Route a bit. We found a gold mine by driving down Van Lyndenweg, which is a road just south of Keukenhof.
- Go mid-April to avoid miles and miles of cut flowers! While we did see so many flowers, I couldn't help but feel a little bit bummed when we drove past fields of green that had surely been blazing red or yellow or pink just weeks earlier! I think it is different every year, but I would err on the early side so you don't show up to find a bunch of cut flowers!