A visit to the Netherlands in Springtime is not complete without a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens and tulip fields. While there are many places to see the tulips in the Netherlands, you must absolutely visit Lisse, which is where the Keukenhof Gardens are located. Also known as the “Garden of Europe”, it is the world’s largest flower garden, with more than seven million flower bulbs planted each year. Definitely add it to your bucket list.
In this guide, we’ll share some practical information and tips about visiting Keukenhof Gardens, what you can do inside the gardens, our opinion about the place, plus more things to do nearby for an unforgettable day in the area.
Visiting Keukenhof: Quick Tips
- Opening dates: usually from the end of March to the middle of May – check the official Keukenhof website for specific dates.
- Best time to visit: for fewer crowds avoid weekends and school holidays; for Tulips full blossom is better from the end of April, but check the official website – it changes slightly every year.
- Location: Keukenhof Gardens are located in Lisse.
- How to get there: by car, by campervan or motorhome (they have specific parking spots), by bus from Leiden or Haarlem, or by day tour from Amsterdam.
- How long does it take: consider spending three to four hours in the gardens, and consider spending one full day in the area.
- Things to do: Keukenhof Whisper boat tour; explore Keunkenhof’s different pavillions, rent a bike to explore the flower fields (outside the gardens); visit Keukenhof Castle (outside the gardens).
Visiting Keukenhof – Table of Contents
- When to Visit Keukenhof?
- Buying Tickets to Keukenhof – What You Need to Know
- How to get to Keukenhof?
- How long does it take to visit Keukenhof?
- What do to in the Keukenhof Gardens?
- Things to do around Keukenhof Gardens
- What a Day in Keukenhof Looks Like? Example Itinerary
- One day in Keukenhof – How much did we spend?
- Watch our videos about Keukenhof
When to Visit Keukenhof?
The Keukenhof Gardens open its gates from late March to the middle of May. The announced dates for 2024 are 21 March to 12 May.
Weather conditions and the time you visit will influence the flower displays you’ll see and which type of flowers are in full bloom. For example, for tulips in full bloom, it is usually better from the end of April. We visited in early April, and most tulips weren’t blooming yet. It was the hyacinth and daffodil season when we visited, but it was still beautiful.
Keukenhof Gardens is the world’s largest flower garden and more than one and a half million tourists visit the garden each year. So, it’s usually pretty crowded. So, for a pleasant experience, avoid weekends and school holidays.
We went there the day before Easter and it was really busy, but we still had some peaceful moments one hour before it closed.
Buying Tickets to Keukenhof – What You Need to Know
It’s very important that you buy your ticket in advance to secure your spot especially if you’re considering visiting on busier days.
You can buy a ticket at the official website plus a parking ticket for a car or motorhome. If the tickets are already sold out, you can try websites like Tiqet, Headout, GetYourGuide, and others.
You can also visit the Keukenhof Gardens as a day trip from Amsterdam. In that case, it’s more practical to buy a combo ticket that also includes transportation. There are several options on GetYourGuide.
Here’s what happened to us: we completely forgot to buy our tickets ahead of time. We bought the tickets on the day of our visit (it was the day before Easter) on a website that we’d never heard of (for double the price). It was the only place where we could get a ticket. We had a rented car, but that ticket also included transportation and the entry time was 18:30—the garden’s closing time was 19:30. We went to the gardens around 17:00 (and it was fine, they didn’t look at the entry time) and we didn’t use the included transportation because we had a car. In summary, just buy your tickets in advance and pay the fair price. Don’t be like us.
How to get to Keukenhof?
There are several ways to get to Keukenhof.
Getting to Keukenhof by Car
If you have a rented car, you won’t have trouble getting there. It’s just a 40-minute drive from Amsterdam. You can buy a combo ticket that also includes a parking ticket for a car.
If you don’t want to pay for a parking ticket, you can park your car at TOP Lisse. We parked our car there without any issues. It’s around 25 minutes walk to the entrance of the gardens.
If you’re on a road trip in a motorhome or campervan, they also provide parking for this type of vehicle.
Getting to Keukenhof on a Guided Tour
For a hassle-free experience and additional insights, joining a guided tour of Keukenhof Gardens is an excellent choice. Numerous tour operators offer organized day trips from Amsterdam, including transportation and entrance tickets. Some tours also include other interesting destinations like Zaanse Schans or Giethoorn.
You may also like: One Day in Giethoorn: What to Do and See
Getting to Keukenhof by Public Transportation
The easiest way to get to the Keukenhof Gardens using public transportation is via the Keukenhof shuttle bus. There are various Keukenhof bus lines available from cities such as Amsterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Haarlem, and Leiden.
For example, bus number 858 departs from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and bus number 854 departs from Leiden Central Station. I found the following picture that explains pretty well how to get there by public transportation. You can check this website for more information.
How long does it take to visit Keukenhof?
It depends on your interests and on how crowded are the gardens. On average, visitors spends three to four hours exploring the gardens. We spent around three hours inside the gardens and it was a bit rushed. I would say that four hours would be the perfect time.
Consider reserving some time in the day to explore the flower fields by bike outside the gardens.
What do to in the Keukenhof Gardens?
You’ll spend most of your time strolling around beautiful gardens with amazing flower arrangements. There are also several pavilions with flower shows and exhibitions, a maze, a beautiful mill with tulip fields in the background, and much more. Additionally, there are several cafes/restaurants and street food where you can have a bite if you get hungry.
Here’s a list of some of the highlights of Keukenhof Gardens:
- Explore the themed gardens
- Visit the different pavillions
- Take a picture with the Keukenhof molen
- Explore the surrounded tulip fields by whisper boat
- Get lost in the Keukenhof maze
Explore the Themed Gardens
Keukenhof features several themed gardens, including the Japanese Garden, English Landscape Garden, and Historical Garden. Each garden offers a unique ambiance and showcases different styles of landscape design and plant compositions.
At the time of our visit, at the beginning of April, the hyacinths were in full bloom, while the tulips were not yet fully opened. Fortunately, we could see lots of tulips in full bloom inside some of the pavilions.
Visit the Different Pavillions
There are different pavilions inside the gardens, featuring different exhibitions and flower shows. Here’s a quick description of each pavilion.
Beatrix Pavilion – Orchid and Anthurium Show
There is one pavilion just for different types of orchids and anthuriums. It’s amazing to see the huge variety of orchids, most of which I’ve never seen before.
Juliana Pavillion – Tulipomania
If you want to learn more about tulips, there’s an interesting pavilion that features the history of tulips: how they got into the Netherlands (they came from Turkey), interesting facts about the life cycle of tulips, interesting facts about the Tulip Fever in the seventeen century, the story of the black tulip, and much more. I learned a lot about tulips in this pavilion, it’s like a tulip mini museum.
Oranje Nassau and Willem-Alexander Pavillions
There are two more pavilions that are also interesting to visit. The Oranje Nassau showcases different flower shows every week.
The Willem-Alexander pavilion, which was one of my favorites, features different and rare types of Tulips and other flowers, including the black tulip and the Semper Augustus tulip. Additionally, it showcases a beautiful flower mosaic with some of the most beautiful tulips I’ve ever seen.
Take a Picture with the Keukenhof Molen
Don’t miss the Keukenhof Molen during your visit to the gardens. It’s one of the most beautiful spots for pictures inside the garden.
You can get inside the molen and go up the stairs to the top of the molen and admire the views of the beautiful flower fields around the area.
Unfortunately, when we arrived, there was a huge queue for the Keukenhof Molen, so we decided to get back around closing time. However, by the time we returned, the molen was already closed. Take that into account if you intend to visit the gardens.
Explore the Surrounded Tulip Fields by Whisper Boat
You can go on a 45-minute whisper boat trip through the canals to see the flowering bulb fields surrounding Keukenhof.
We didn’t do this activity. We explored the surrounding flower fields by bike that you can rent right outside the gardens.
Get Lost in the Keukenhof Maze
Inside the KeKenhof gardens, you’ll find a maze that will surely keep the little ones entertained. We also had a great time going through the maze.
Things to do around Keukenhof Gardens
There are other things to do in the area besides visiting the Keukenhof Gardens.
Explore Lisse Tulip Fields by Bike
One of the best experiences to do in the area is to rent a bike and explore the tulip fields in the area. You can rent a bike right next to the entrance of the Keukenhof Gardens. Please note that you can’t ride the bike inside the gardens.
Once you rent the bike, they’ll provide a map showing recommend routes that vary in length, from 5km to 25km. They’ll recommend the best route depending on the fields that are blooming at the moment. We rented a bike for 11€ each for three hours and we took the 15km route.
Please note that the lines to rent a bike can be quite long. We had to wait 30 minutes in line to get a bike. It’s possible to reserve a bike online, it will be better to reduce waiting times.
When exploring the flower fields, please don’t go inside the flower fields unless otherwise stated. The fields are private property and the farmers don’t want to see their crops ruined.
Visit Kasteel Keukenhof
Next to the Keukenhof Gardens, you’ll find the Keukenhof Palace inserted in a beautiful big park where you can go for a stroll.
There is no entrance fee and there’s also a little farm with animals and the LAM food art museum (entry fee). We didn’t visit the museum.
During the Keukenhof season, there is a nice restaurant and an outside terrace where you can grab something to eat. The prices were very reasonable taking into account its location. It was lunchtime when we visited, so we took the opportunity to eat something there with a beautiful view of the castle. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of dutch food.
What a Day in Keukenhof Looks Like? Example Itinerary
Here’s a summary of how we spent our day in Keukenhof:
- Arrive at Lisse in the morning;
- Visit the Keukenhof Castle and its park;
- Have lunch at the cafe/restaurant in Keukenhof Castle Park;
- Rent a bike at the entrance of Keukenhof Gardens and explore Lisse tulip fields by bike;
- Visit the Keukenhof Gardens in the afternoon.
You may also opt to visit the Keukenhof Gardens first thing in the morning and do the other activities in the afternoon.
One day in Keukenhof – How much did we spend?
Here’s a summary of how much we spent on our day in Keukenhof. Please note that you can get Keukenhof tickets for a better price if you purchase them in advance at the official website.
Keukenhof ticket with transfers
Lunch next to Keukenhof castle
Diner (kebab in a nearby town)
75.80€ per person
Watch our videos about Keukenhof
Watch our videos about Keukenhof and the beauty of the Netherlands in spring.
In this guide, we’ve shared everything you need to know about visiting Keukenhof Gardens and how to spend a great day in the area.
This was our first time visiting Netherlands’ flower fields and we loved our time there. The Keukenhof Gardens are beautiful and the flower fields in the area create a pretty unique landscape.
Keukenhof is one of the most popular gardens in the world and because it’s only opened a very limited time of the year, there will be a significant number of visitors all the time. So, be prepared for large crowds. Consider spending the whole day in the area to explore the gardens and nearby flower fields at a more leisurely pace.
If you’re planning a trip to Keukenhof, you can use the links below to find accommodation, book activities and find cheap flights. By using our links, you won’t pay more for it and you’re supporting our work.