Best time and places to see tulip fields in the Netherlands

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With complete certainty, I can say the most beautiful thing you will see in the Netherlands is the tulip fields. Tulips and Holland are words that go together, you can’t go to the Netherlands in spring without seeing tulips. There are very few places in the entire world that have such beautiful flowers, it becomes a must for tourists. Good thing, it’s super easy to check out some tulip fields from Amsterdam! So, what is the big deal? Can’t you find tulips everywhere?

Having grown up here, both Nanet and I have been able to catch some awesome blooms. A special place called Goeree-Overflakkee is an island and next to the famous beaches is also becoming more and more populair because of the massive tulips fields.

You have probably seen photos already on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram, just did not realize it was the Netherlands. Nowhere else will you find giant fields of these flowers, creating for some awesome moments. Which you certainly cannot find everywhere!

Tip: For actual information about the tulip fields check this website.

The unfortunate part of visiting the Netherlands for the tulips is they are not year-round. Visiting in the winter will only bring jealousy when you see all the postcards and photos of the fields of flowers. So we suggest visiting in the spring, from the end of March to mid May. When it comes to where you should see the tulips, there are a ton of choices!

Tulips In The Netherlands: The History

Like many people, when I hear the word tulip, I immediately start thinking about the Netherlands. It’s the same with windmills, wooden clogs, cheese and what about Haring (the raw fish).But the tulips are not original to these little and flat country.

This iconic flower came originally from the high mountains of the Caucasus and the Tien Mountains, this is where China and Tibet meet Afghanistan and Russia.

Tulips were originally imported from Turkey and they came to the Netherlands in the late 16th century and this iconic flower took hold of the popular imagination right away. From then Tulips were so popular, they were on paintings from famous Dutch artists.

Carolus Clusius was the person which was responsible for the popularity of the tulips. In his garden the tulips were so rare and difficult to find that sometimes his garden was raised. He studied the colouring from the tulips and later they discovered that the colouring was fact by a virus.

In the 17th century people were using seeds and bulbs for exchanging ,even for properties, but then when it became obvious that the tulip bulbs(especially the ones affected by the virus) were more popular, the price and demand were raising extremely.

When this all happened Tulip Mania was born, also called Tulip Craze. Where people used bulbs and seeds like money, this financial bubble, Tulip Mania, did not turn out well for many.

So this was your history lesson, now it’s time for you to discover the Tulips in the Netherlands.

Did you know? During the war, people ate tulip bulbs. The only reason for this was hunger. As the country suffered a great famine in the winter of 1944-1945.

The National Tulip Day in Amsterdam: The start of the season

How it all starts

The official opening of the tulip season in the Netherlands is at the third Saturday in January, called National Tulip Day in Amsterdam or National Tulpendag. Even that it’s still winter by then, thinking of the colourful I can smell the spring allready. Yes, I know that’s really positive, I love the spring so much and can’t wait!

What to expect from National Tulip Day?

Bulb growers from all around the country bring around 200.000 tulips in crates to Amsterdam and set them out in a pretty pattern in Dam Square, this is right in front of the Royal Palace.

People who are around, like locals and tourist will line up behind the gates and can photograph this amazing scene. All of them are invited to take some tulips go home, so when the gates are open, people run there and pick a nice bunch of flowers. It’s all for free! P.s. be friendly for others and don’t try to go home with a big amount of.

If you want to be there yourself next time this is what you need to know:

8am – The growers starting up, making tulip patterns

1pm – Gates for picking will open, keep in mind that you have to be early otherwise you have to wait before you reach the garden.

4.30pm – The garden will close.

Note: Right before the winter hits in October-January bulbs are planten as they need the cold.

Best time to visit the Netherlands to see Tulips

End of March to Mid-May is the best time to see the tulips.

Tulip season is technically the end of March to mid-May. But your best chance at seeing the tulips in full bloom is from Mid April to the first week of May. Around the end of March you will likely see buds and a few petals, but depending on the year it may not be the perfect time. Aim for the end of April to make sure you can see the fields when they are in full bloom.

If you have some flexibility, there are tulip trackers that will let you know how the tulips are doing. This makes it easy to wait untill they are in full bloom before heading out to the fields. 

As it is a pretty narrow window, you should plan ahead and consider some tours that will help give you the best experience. If you would like some more information on the best time to visit the Netherlands, check out this article.

Top 5 places to see tulips in the Netherlands

1. Keukenhof

I guess Keukenhof really don’t need an introduction as you close your eyes and wonder a place full of colourful tulips, well that is Keukenhof!

Nearest city: Haarlem

When to visit for tulips? Late March – Early May

Ticket price: € 19 adults – € 9 kids

Distance from Amsterdam: 45 min by car and 1.5 hour by train

Click here for: more information and tickets

Tours Keukenhof

The tulips are such a popular attraction in the Netherlands – there are so many different tours you can consider. There is something for everyone as well. Whether you want something simple, a full day trip, or even if you are looking for a bit of adventure, you should be able to find a completely unique way to see the tulips.

Drive-it-Yourself Tulip Fields GPS Audio Tour

If you want something a bit more exciting, you can drive a little Twizy along the tulip fields. This can be fun if you want to see all the flowers but don’t want to walk all the fields – hell, if you just want to go fast, it’s fun!

The twizy cars all are electric and have GPS, so you don’t get lost or have to drive over the tulips to find your way back home. Also, some would rather see the tulips this way since there are fewer crowds and you can go a bit farther on your own.

The tour is in Keukenhof and can be easily reached from Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, Leiden or Den Haag. It is also important to note that the price is per Twizy, not per person. So it is a bit more affordable if you are on a budget!

The price for this tour is $98 / €90
You can book the tour here: Drive-it-Yourself Tulip Fields GPS Audio Tour

Guided Half-Day Keukenhof Tour and 1 Attraction

Keukenhof is one of the most popular spots in The Netherlands for tulips. This tour is a guided half-day tour and includes 1 traction, either a river cruise in Amsterdam or the 5D flight experience. It starts in Amsterdam and drives you out to the location. There is a ton to do out there and tulips is not all they grow!

The price for this tour is $86 / €78
You can book the tour here: Guided Half-Day Keukenhof Tour and 1 Attraction

Fast-Track Keukenhof Ticket and Transfer

If you do not want a guided tour, there is the option of just getting a ride to Keukenhof and skipping the line. Technically, it is not a tour, but does make visiting the tulip gardens much easier if you just need a ride out to the fields with no fluff.

This tour is an option, but the Netherlands has a lot of transportation options that can take you to the tulip fields. If you want to learn more about transportation in the Netherlands, check this out.

The price for this tour is $43 / €39
You can book the tour here: Fast-Track Keukenhof Ticket and Transfer

2. Noordoostpolder

Did you know that the biggest flower bulb area of the Netherlands is in Flevoland? The Noordoostpolder is really unique by the beautiful tulip fields.

Nearest city: Emmeloord

When to visit for tulips? Late March – Early May

Ticket price: Free for the most of the fields

Distance from Amsterdam: 1 hour by car and 1.5 hour by train

Tulip Tours Noordoostpolder

As mentioned above this is the biggest area of tulip fields, as the distances are to big for a cycling trip, take the car and do some walking on the distance itself.

Our ultimate favorite:

  • Tulpeiland (Tulip Island) a must visit in Flevoland is this peninsula with the shape of a tulip you can find this island on the coast of Zeewolde. It will be full with tulips next season and it has to be spectacular especially from above, as you can see the shape of the island as best.

Click here for an amazing tour

Note: The Tulip Fields are private property and the farmer is allowed to ask you to leave his property.

3. Amsterdam

In Amsterdam there is always a way to find tulips, so you have the floating flower market, the tulip museum and so much more.

Nearest city: Amsterdam

When to visit for tulips? All year around

Ticket price: Different prices

Distance from Amsterdam:

Don’t forget to check out the Tulip Museum in Amsterdam

Tulip Tours Amsterdam

Dutch Countryside and Tulips Field Tour

If you are only in the Netherlands for a short time, this can be a nice tour to quickly see a lot of the countryside. It has a good variety of scenery, you will see things like windmills, the Afsluitdijk, cute villages, and of course, tulip fields. It is a little bit of everything so you won’t feel like you missed out on anything!

The tour starts in Amsterdam, but does not focus on the city. It also includes a traditional Dutch lunch, which makes the scenery a bit more special. 

The price for this tour is $176 / €160
You can book the tour here: Dutch Countryside and Tulips Field Tour

4. Noordwijkerhout ( Bollenstreek )

This place in right in center of the bulb fields also called ‘bollenvelden’ and is famous for the fantastic colours. Especially the area between Lisse, Hillegom and Noordwijkerhout are wonderful. You can make some tours to discover the fields, or cycling next to fields, but another nice thing you can do is picking your own tulips and bring them back home. So nice to have some entertainment during your roadtrip!

Tips voor een tour door de tulpenvelden in de Bollenstreek:

Nearest city: Leiden

When to visit for tulips? Late March – Early May

Ticket price: Different prices

Distance from Amsterdam: 1 hour by car and 1.5 by train

Try it yourself and visit: Tulips picking garden in the spring

Noordwijkerhout ( De Bollenstreek )

This area is unique as all the places are so close to eachother, this makes is perfect to visit all the places by bike. You can rent a bike at Keukenhof or by train stations like Lisse.

TIP: Last year we did the cycling trip using the junction routes which is pretty easy to follow along. The trip is 37 km long and don’t be afraid there are multiple routes you can take, for more information you can always visit the tourist information centres. For this area I would suggest to visit the one in Lisse. Our start and finish junction was 91.

5. Goeree – Overflakkee

Goeree – Overflakkee is an island in the province South-Holland, I lived there my whole live and for me tulips are pretty normal. The island is getting more populair every year as tourist found out that this island has way more to offer then just the beautiful beaches and dunes.

One of the most nicest things about the place is: because the distance from let’s say Amsterdam most of the people avoid this place and go straight to the most populair places like Keukenhof. I would suggest book an accommodation in Middelharnis or Rotterdam and you can the tulips fields almost for yourself and for Free!

As this is the area I grew up I can give you some insider tips: Middelharnis, Nieuwe Tonge, Oude Tonge, Stad aan het Haringvliet and Dirksland are the best places to find tulip fields.

My favourite spot is: click here

Nearest city: Rotterdam

When to visit for tulips? Late March – Early May

Ticket price: Free

Distance from Amsterdam: 2 hours by car and 2.5 by train

Don’t!!! Walkthrough nor damage the tulip fields!

Tulip Tours Goeree – Overflakkee

This island is not as touristic as the places above and as the distances are small it is really nice to visit the tulip fields by bike or you can rent a scooter by the tourist information center in Middelharnis.

Tulips In Amsterdam

It is pretty popular for people to plan on staying in Amsterdam when looking for tulips. There is a ton to do, in addition to visiting the tulip fields! But even if you cannot catch one of the tours listed above, you have a few chances to see the tulips in the city.

Most of the tours use Amsterdam as the pickup location, so whether you are looking at tulips nearby or farther away, it is a good place to stay. If you do plan on staying in the city, check out this article where we list some of the best places to stay.

Best time to see tulips in Amsterdam

Just as we mentioned above, the best time to visit the tulip fields is going to be from mid April to the first week of May. Amsterdam is going to be a pretty popular place for people to visit during this time, so we do suggest a few day trips if you ever feel the need to escape the crowds.

If you are already planning on visiting Amsterdam during the off season, you have a few other options. Sometimes you will see tulips in stores or markets. These probably are not grown in the famous tulip fields, but greenhouses. A nice option if you cannot visit when the tulips are blooming.Then there is of course, the tulip museum.

Amsterdam Tulip Museum

Another option for seeing tulips in Amsterdam is the Amsterdam Tulip Museum – yup, we even got a museum! The museum is open every day, except for King’s Day (April 27th) and Christmas Day. The hours are from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Admission is also pretty inexpensive, but if you have the ‘I Amsterdam card‘ or ‘Holland Pass‘, that works too!

You can find the museum a short ways away from the Amsterdam Centraal train station, even closer to the Anne Frank house. 

Once you arrive you will be able to see every sort of tulip product available. From tulip art to bulb artifacts, even short films on the history of tulips in the Netherlands! If you love gardening, tulips, or history, you will probably love the museum. It is a fun way to spend the evening, but the best part is the gift shop!

The museum gift shop has every object with a tulip on it you can imagine. There are jewelry pieces, bags, art, aprons, towels, books, bowls, plates, cups, child’s toys, seeds, and bulbs! The Netherlands is known for its tulips but we are actually pretty good at growing all sorts of flowers. Some other popular seeds and bulbs you can find include:

Yup – that’s a lot. Honestly, we don’t even know all those flowers – but we can promise you one thing. You will find quality seeds and bulbs at the museum. If you do have your heart set on one of the flowers listed above, know they can be seasonal. 

  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Alliums
  • Lilies
  • Amaryllis
  • Paperwhite
  • Dahlias
  • Begonias
  • Galtonia

Related content: When is the best time to travel to the Netherlands?

Floating Flower Market

If you cannot make a tour or are visiting when the tulips are not in bloom, another good option is the floating flower marketing. This market has been around since 1862 and is popular with tourists and locals. 

When you visit you will have no trouble finding bulbs, seeds, fresh flowers, traditional Dutch souvenirs, and a few snacks. 

The market is located in central Amsterdam and open from Monday to Saturday, so it is easy to find and visit. 

Amsterdam Tulip Festival

There is a lot to decide on and we probably make things even harder for you now by telling about the Amsterdam Tulip Festival. The festival has tons of sightseeing tours, farms to walk through, a flower parade, a museum, and forecasts to time everything just right. 

The festival is held just outside of Amsterdam in a town called Keukenhof, about an hour and 15 minutes by train. This makes Amsterdam the perfect spot for people to stay. Just like we suggest the best time to visit is from mid-April to early May, the festival is usually around March 20th – May 10th, depending on the year. 

Whether you love tulips or think they are the strangest looking flower, all visitors should make a point of seeing the Amsterdam Tulip Festival. It is so unique and something different you will never get to do anywhere else. 

We love to hear from you

I hope this blog helped you figure out when and where you should visit in The Netherlands to see the tulips fields in full bloom! There are tons of ways to experience our favorite flower. Have you gotten to explore any other flower fields around the world? Please leave a comment below!

For more Dutch travel inspiration, check out our Netherlands page or have a look at our general travel tips.

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