Keukenhof, Netherlands travel guide and video in 60 seconds

Keukenhof, Netherlands travel guide and video in 60 seconds

Tulips from Amsterdam (well nearby Keukenhof)

Garth is a keen gardener and has been itching for a while to see the seasonal displays of Dutch tulips at one of the most famous and spectacular flower shows in the world – Keukenhof. So we decided to take a long weekend city break and head over to Amsterdam.

Keukenhof is located in the small town of Lisse about 30 miles south west of Amsterdam it’s only open for 8 weeks of the year from mid March until mid May. During this short window over 1 million people from the Netherlands and around the world travel to see thousands of Spring flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, it’s a huge visitor attraction as we discovered.

The hardest part for us was deciding when to go as the season varies each year depending on the weather. Will the tulips have lost all their petals? will the blooms be closed? and will the nearby flower fields been harvested? It’s a gamble but the best time to visit is considered to be mid to late April. So we opted for the end of April to coincide with the big Dutch national holiday – Kings Day (Koningsdag) held on 27th April every year.

 

A Shop Window

Outside the main entrance of Keukenhof

Outside the main entrance of Keukenhof

One of the best things - you can get up close to all the flowers

One of the best things – you can get up close to all the flowers

Keukenhof means “kitchen garden” in Dutch, it was originally a herb garden for the nearby castle. In 1949 the Mayor of Lisse decided to use the gardens to create an exhibition space for farmers across the Netherlands to display and advertise their flowers to increase export sales. Today Keukenhof is still a living shop window where next to each display a plaque tells you the name of the flower and which nursery has produced it. These proved really useful when we saw tulips that we liked, Garth busily wrote down the names so we can consider buying them later in the year.

So much inspiration to take home from all the different displays

So much inspiration to take home from all the different displays

Keukenhof's signature block colour displays

Keukenhof’s signature block colour displays

Some of the displays looks like flowing rivers

Some of the displays looks like flowing rivers

Giant carpet of tulips

Giant carpet of tulips

The breathtaking tulip display as you enter the Keukenhof park

The breathtaking tulip display as you enter the Keukenhof park

If you’ve got green fingers like Garth then you are going to be overwhelmed by Keukenhof. The gardens are massive – 79 acres, so just take your time and explore them for a good few hours. You can easily spend the best part of a day here as there’s so much to see.

7 million flower bulbs are planted by hand to form fabulous displays. We were blown away as we first entered the garden by a massive display of tulips, a great tease of what was to come. Oh and there’s also a lovely lake and over 2,700 trees!

Love these unusual fiery spider looking tulips

Love these unusual fiery spider looking tulips

An unusual white variety

An unusual white variety

Gorgeous colour and the scents are great too!

Gorgeous colour and the scents are great too!

Phil striking a pose next to an ornamental windmill

Phil striking a pose next to an ornamental windmill

Garth's turn in the tulips

Garth’s turn in the tulips

Love these planting combinations

Love these planting combinations

Every variety of tulip, hyacinth and daffodil you can imagine are on display, 800 varieties of tulips to be exact! Keukenhof is famous for mass block planting of bold colours, and everywhere appears to be carpeted with every colour of the spectrum. From unusual dark shades of hyacinths to light pastel hues of tulips, there’s always a riot of colour each path you turn.

The sheer volume of flowers on display is what makes Keukenhof so spectacular. The displays are a joy because you can get up close and personal with them, especially nice when the fragrance in the air is really strong. Even Phil being a non-gardener couldn’t help but appreciate these wonderful displays.

Not sure what these are, but the giant heads looked great

Not sure what these are, but the giant heads looked great

Patchworks of colour

Patchworks of colour

A contemporary blue, white and purple combination

A contemporary blue, white and purple combination

Love how busy and densely packed this display is

Love how busy and densely packed this display is

So many different colour combinations

So many different colour combinations

Stunning heads to these yellow variegated tulips

Stunning heads to these yellow variegated tulips

Two types of narcissus

Two types of narcissus

Some varieties of tulip are really tall!

Some varieties of tulip are really tall!

 

Annual Design theme

Keukenhof's take on Mondrian

Keukenhof’s take on Mondrian

Every year Keukenhof chooses a different theme for some displays. We went in 2017 – Keukenhof’s 68th season and the theme was Dutch Design. The centrepiece was this block floral work inspired by Piet Mondrian’s famous red, blue and yellow compositions – planted in layers to extend the flowering period.

The Historical Garden with varieties of tulips from the 17th and 18th century.

The Historical Garden with varieties of tulips from the 17th and 18th century.

Formality and perfectly clipped hedges

Formality and perfectly clipped hedges

Other gardens to explore in Keukenhof include a formal garden called The Historical Garden and at the other end of the park we listened to a lovely barrel organ playing some old tunes.

Phil thought the people watching was funny, with so many visitors bending over to smell the flowers or battling with their selfie sticks to get the perfect photo. An American couple even told us how to take a better photo by lying down on the grass back to back!

 

Pavilions

Inside one of the 5 pavilions

Inside one of the 5 pavilions

Display inside the Willem-Alexander pavilion

Display inside the Willem-Alexander pavilion

There were also 5 pavilions to explore, with different displays of plants and cut flowers. The smell was great when we first entered the Willem-Alexander pavilion, we were especially in awe of the different orchids on display and jealous of their begonias in hanging baskets, ours look like a very poor relation!

Fun photo opportunities

Fun photo opportunities

Also look out for fun photo opportunities dotted around the gardens, like these giant clogs!  and remember to take enough memory cards for your camera if you’re into photography like Garth as you’re going to need them!

 

The Windmill

Phil at the Keukenhof Windmill

Phil at the Keukenhof Windmill

View of the flower fields from the top of the windmill

View of the flower fields from the top of the windmill

From the viewing platform at the top of the windmill you can look across the canal to the many fields planted with tulips and hyacinth bulbs. At the base of the windmill you can take a 45 minute “whisper boat” trip to explore the nearby flower fields by water on the canals. Alternatively you can hire a bike for €10 just outside the entrance of Keukenhof and explore the fields yourself on 4 designated routes.

After a good few hours, feeling full of inspiration we left the Keukenhof gardens to see where these bulbs are grown in the local area.

 

Fields of Rainbows

Garth and Phil in a tulip field near Lisse

Garth and Phil in a tulip field near Lisse

Different types and colours of tulips fill this field near Lisse

Different types and colours of tulips fill this field near Lisse

Right next to Keukenhof are dozens of farmer’s flower fields, and they are just as spectacular as Keukenhof’s gardens. Our friends drove us around the Lisse area where the biggest concentration of tulip fields are. We stopped off at various places to take wonderful photos! Remember to respect the farmers fields and stick to the edge and tip-toe through the tulips!

The rows of tulips create gorgeous fabric like patterns as they are so densely planted. Some of the fields we stopped at must look amazing from the air (Phil we need a drone!) We loved the mixed tulip fields which make gorgeous rainbow stripes of colour. Phil thought the fields looked like an abstract painting.

Again timing is crucial for the best displays as the farmers dead-head the tulips to encourage healthier bulbs. If you want to see them in full bloom our advice would be go by mid April as the flower heads will all be cut off by the end of April. Another tip – fields are flat and windy so take a jacket.

Magnificent view across a field of tulips

Magnificent view across a field of tulips

Another packed field of tulips

Another packed field of tulips

Flying over some tulip fields on our approach to Amsterdam

Flying over some tulip fields on our approach to Amsterdam

If you are flying into Amsterdam like we did, make sure you book a window seat as it’s likely you will get a good view of tulip and flower fields as you descend into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

An old windmill near Noordwijk

An old windmill near Noordwijk

Noordwijk is around 15 minutes from Keukenhof

Noordwijk is around 15 minutes from Keukenhof

We finished off our day with a drink and a stroll along the beach at the lovely coastal town of Noordwijk just 15 minutes from Keukenhof, if you’re lucky you may pass the odd windmill along the way.

 

Phil and Garth’s Top 5 Keukenhof Tips

Phil and Garth in the tulip displays at Keukenhof

Phil and Garth in the tulip displays at Keukenhof

  • Tip #1: Don’t visit on a Sunday, it will be packed.
  • Tip #2: On the bus from Schiphol – sit on the right side for the best views of the fields.
  • Tip #3: Be prepared for rain, take a brolly or a poncho just in case.
  • Tip #4: Grab a free map at the entrance gate, you’ll need it.
  • Tip #5: Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.

How we did it:

  • We booked flights with Easyjet and paid for some cheap seats that we booked 6 months in advance.
  • Our friends in Amsterdam collected us from Schiphol Airport and drove us straight to Keukenhof – a 15 minute drive.
  • If you are staying in Amsterdam, it will take you about an hour to reach Keukenhof by public transport. You start with a train from Centraal Station to Schiphol and then take a bus from the airport straight to the gardens.
  • If you are travelling by train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam you can get off at Lisse.
  • We bought our tickets in advance online.
  • Entrance costs – €16 for adults, €8 for kids and parking is €8.

Share or Pin this post...

21 Comments

  1. ThriftyTrails
    3rd June 2017

    Your photos are stunning! Ever since I learned about this I’ve wanted to visit a Tulip festival. I wonder how they keep the gardens so beautiful, bright, and neat…Those gardeners must really have a green thumb.

    Reply
  2. Sarah Rees
    27th May 2017

    Absolutely STUNNING photos Garth!!! Beautiful colours has put a smile on my face this am! Thanks. Sar xxx

    Reply
  3. Sandy N Vyjay
    27th May 2017

    The screen of my laptop erupted into myriad colours as opened your post. What a splash of colours indeed. Keukenhof comes alive in all its splendour in your photos.

    Reply
  4. Albert Bond
    26th May 2017

    Oh the colors! This looks like a great day trip. Next time I’m in Holland I’ll be sure to check this out. Love the video too!

    Reply
  5. James
    26th May 2017

    You definitely picked the right time of year to visit The Netherlands. I’m happy I’ve learnt something today, Keukenhof = kitchen garden. 7 million flower bulbs being planted by hand is an incredible stat. Your photos are all amazing, my favourite is the first one at the main entrance to Keukenhof.

    Reply
  6. Travel Lexx
    25th May 2017

    Incredible colours and patterns – something I would really love to see when I am next in the Netherlands. You guys were in your element there and the photos are stunning – really bringing out the vibrancy of the flowers! Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  7. Scarlett Begonias
    25th May 2017

    Wow, beautiful shots! This reminds me of our recent tulip trip 🙂 Amazing post.

    Reply
  8. Carmen Baguio
    25th May 2017

    Oh my! I love your video. All of the color is amazing. I’ve tried planting tulips and didn’t have any success. I’ll just have to admire others’ expertise!

    Reply
  9. Siddharth and Shruti
    24th May 2017

    Wow! Simply wow! That field of tulips is so beautiful. View of the flower fields from the top of the windmill is also stunning. The colours are so vibrant! You are one of our favourite blogs! Your photography is mesmerizing!

    Reply
    • Garth
      24th May 2017

      Ah thanks guys! easy to take good photos when you have amazing colour like the tulips in front of you.

      Reply
  10. Sina
    23rd May 2017

    Wow, such a beautiful place! I’m in Amsterdam next week and would have loved to go… well, this gives me a reason to come back and I’m sure that the city has a lot to offer too. Thanks for sharing all your beautiful pictures!

    Reply
  11. Trippin' Turpins (Kelly)
    23rd May 2017

    OMG! The colour is spectacular! I love tulips… but seriously who doesn’t? Epic photos, well done!

    Reply
  12. Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)
    22nd May 2017

    Wow, the tulips look so amazing! Such stunning photos and video 🙂 Great tips plus I pinned this for later use. I so want to visit when the tulips are blooming. Thanks you shared 🙂 #feetdotravel

    Reply
  13. Shona @ paraphernalia.co
    22nd May 2017

    Absolutely incredible! I’ve not had the chance to be in the Netherlands during spring, I’ll be rectifying that next year. An explosion of colour and I had no idea such unusual tulips existed. That white one almost looks like an orchid. Wow, just beautiful, guys.

    Reply
  14. Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)
    22nd May 2017

    Wow…I thought I had seen a lot of tulips before, but no. That’s incredible! Love the Mondrian – I think I have a new gardening goal! Thanks for sharing guys – fantastic as always!

    Reply
  15. Angie (FeetDoTravel)
    20th May 2017

    Isn’t Keukenhof just spectacular! I think everyone should visit, just because it’s a sea of amazing colours and has to be seen to be believed. It’s easy to see how us photographers can take a plethora of photos isn’t it … and I also lay down on the grass and took a photo of a tulip with the blue sky as a backdrop, apparently I embarrassed Sy lol. I never had an opportunity of walking through the farmer’s fields (I spent too long actually walking through the gardens and Sy’s patience had worn thin!!). Such a gorgeous place, I want to go again! Love how they have a different theme each year. #feetdotravel

    Reply
  16. neha
    20th May 2017

    Just back from a trip to Keukenhof last month. It was such an experience. We can’t have enough of this amazing garden however time we spend between the tulips. You have covered it quiet comprehensively

    Reply
  17. Tracy
    19th May 2017

    Oh wow wow wow this was something I have wanted to do for a while – and it’s gone to the top of my wish list now!!! My husband is a keen gardener and I love flowers!!! So this would be amazing! Can’t believe we haven’t done it but glad you have so we got to enjoy your lovely photographs ❤️

    Reply
    • Garth
      19th May 2017

      Hooray, glad to hear you’ve added it to your wish list 🙂

      Reply
  18. Diana - MVMT Blog
    19th May 2017

    Your photos and video are SO beautiful! I’m not a big flower/garden person at all, but WOW this is a sight to behold. I may have to add it to my list for next spring to visit these gardens!

    Reply
    • Garth
      19th May 2017

      Thanks Diana, yes WOW is a good way to describe the gardens, Keukenhof’s vast number of flowers creates epic scenes!

      Reply

Leave a Reply