Netherlands is famous for its tulips and is truly beautiful in spring time. With many fields blooming in red, yellow, pink, purple, and other colors, Holland (part of the Netherlands) is a very popular tourist destination during tulip season. Apart from tulips there are many other blooming fields – such as hyacinths and daffodils – making Holland an ideal destination to visit in spring.
In this post I have gathered all necessary information and our experience on tulips season in the Netherlands – when is the best time to see tulips in Holland, where to find tulip fields in Holland, and other practical information.
When is the best time to see tulips in Holland
Tulips blooming season in the Netherlands generally starts as early as the end of March and lasts until the beginning of May. However, time of the blooming varies from year to year and is highly dependent on the weather. I would say the best month to visit the Netherlands to enjoy tulips season is April.
First flowers starting to bloom are daffodils and crocus (with already lots of blooming trees by that time), then hyacinths, followed by tulips.
Full bloom of flowers lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. Obviously not all tulips bloom at the same time, some sorts of tulips start blooming earlier than others. In commercial flower parks such as Keukenhof they plant many sorts of different flowers in such a way, that there is always something blooming – from the very start to the end of tulips season in Holland. Same with tulip farms and fields – while some of the flower buds are only starting to open, the others are already blooming.
Besides flower fields you can also enjoy different festivals and a flower parade happening in April. (see below for the info on spring flower parades and festivals)
We have lived in the Netherlands for more than 2 years by now and have experienced tulips season twice – in 2018 we went to see many different fields with tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, and in the following year – 2019 – we went to Keukenhof and few tulips fields right around it. Both years the flower buds started to open as early as March, reaching full bloom around mid April, and then we still enjoyed the colorful tulips and other flowers up to the middle of May. Winter of 2020 has been really warm, so one would expect an early tulip blooming season this year.
All in all, April is the best month to visit Holland to see tulips, but you’re almost guaranteed to see blooming flowers if visiting any time between end of March and beginning of May.
Where to see tulip fields in Holland
When it was our first tulip blooming season in the Netherlands and we wanted to see flower fields, first of all we searched the Internet to find information on the subject. There were so many websites writing about tulip season in Holland, but almost none of them had information on actual locations of the fields. Yes, of course, most of them mentioned location of Keukenhof, but as for other places it was only reference to regions of Holland, and almost never exact addresses or names of the roads. We had to drive around finding by ourselves the flower fields, good spots to park and take pictures. It was really ineffective – much time spent driving and searching, and I wish I had a guide like this one to help me back then.
To make your experience better and your planning easier I would like to give you a few routes and addresses where you can go see the flowers.
There are three main regions where you can see tulip fields in the Netherlands. They are:
Noordoostpolder of Flevoland
Noordoostpolder of Flevoland is the biggest area of tulip bulbs industry. You can find many huge fields with all sorts of tulips there. Flevoland was previously covered by sea (Zuiderzee) and its land has been reclaimed not that long ago – in the 20th century. The soil is still rich with minerals and nutrients making it perfect to grow tulips. There are many bulb growing farms in this region and the longest tulip route is in Noordoostpolder. You can:
Typical Holland – canals and tulips
Go to one of the gardens in the area. E.g. Pegasushof Gardens or Goldhoorn Gardens. During the Tulip Route season they are open every day. Otherwise, if you wish to visit one of the gardens outside of Tulip Route season then make an appointment in advance.
Visit a tulip picking farm to pick your own flowers from mid April to mid May. E.g. Hanneke’s Pluktuin (at Ellerweg 18, Biddinghuizen) or De Tulpenpluktuin (at Steenwijkerweg 26, Marknesse).
South Holland used to be main tulip area of the Netherlands. The region rich on good soil for growing flowers and a home of many flower farms, and it remains the most popular one to visit.
Countryside area around Hillegom, Voorhout, Lisse
Lots of fields of blooming tulips, hyacinths and daffodils can be found around town Lisse, which is also the home of the biggest flower garden – Keukenhof. You can rent a bike at Lisse and cycle around to see the flower fields.
Another town that can be your starting point for cycling around tulip fields is Noordwijkerhout. Go to roads such as Westeinde, Kraaierslaan, Schulpweg. Also, Zilkerbinnenweg road has tulips and hyacinth nurseries next to each other, you can drive on Zilkerbinnenweg between Hoogduinweg and Delfweg roads to see tulip and hyacinth fields on both sides of the road.
If you don’t bike and don’t have a car, you can come by train and get off at Hillegom Station. Right from the station you can see big tulip farm in front of you. Walk just 2 minutes from the station on 2e Loosterweg straat and on your left you will see more tulips and next to it hyacinth fields too.
You can then take a train and ride one more stop to Voorhout. You will see tulip fields even from the train. From Voorhour station walk towards Jacoba van Beierenweg to see colorful tulips fields there.
Keep in mind, that if you’re driving by car then it’s not always possible to stop safely as the roads are narrow and often shared with cyclists.
One of a kind, Keukenhof is the largest tulip garden in the world. In 2020 it will be open from the 21st of March to 10th of May. Every year Keukenhof is opened for a short period of time, but more than a million people visit it. With millions of bloomings flowers and hundreds of different types of tulips Keukenhof is the most popular place in Holland to experience tulip season.
Tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and other flowers planted in alleys and fancy shapes, sculptured mini gardens and lawns, fountains and canals, flower shows and exhibitions – you can spend a whole day in the park admiring flowers in all their variety of colors and shapes.
Plan your visit to Keukenhof at their website.
If you prefer less crowded locations to see tulip fields then head to the North Holland. Area between Alkmaar and Den Helder have hundreds of flowers fields, which you can visit by bike or by car (or even by foot if you don’t mind long walks).
Up do Den Helder
If you are driving then go north from Amsterdam towards Alkmaar, then to Nieuwe Niedorp and Dirkshorn, continue to Schagen and then to Anna Paulowna, then Julianadorp and then as far as Den Helder. You don’t need to visit one and each of these towns, just pick a few. Don’t drive on the shortest route suggested by Google Maps, but instead go around and drive on less major roads in the countryside to get most of the tulip fields sightseeing.
If you want to do it a Dutch way, then go by bike! 🙂 You can choose any of the above towns as a starting point. For example, arrive to Schanden by train and then rent a bike there. Ride towards De Stolpen and around it. Or visit fields between Schaden and Oudesluis. Or go south-east from Schaden towards Nieuwe Niedorp taking local roads among the fields – it can be from 40-60 minutes cycling and up to… well, depends on how often you stop and how fast you cycle 🙂
If you feel confident enough to cycle even longer then go all the way from Nieuwe Niedorp to Petten – you will see lots of tulip fields on the way.
North from Schaden
You can drive or ride a bike from Anna Paulowna to Julianadorp town. Just don’t forget to ignore shortest route suggested by Google Maps, and instead take a route via Grasweg (road) and then Schoolweg (road).
While in Julianadorp you can visit their tulip picking farm – Floratuin (the address is Rijksweg 85, 1787 PK Julianadorp). Besides picking your own flowers, you can buy tulip bulbs and simply admire their flower garden.
While in Anna Paulowna visit their Flower Days (see below for details on the festival).
Please note, picking tulips in the fields (not at the dedicated tulip picking farms) is not allowed! Stepping on the tulip beds, breaking flowers or laying on top of them is not allowed either (I’ve seen quite a few people trying to lay down in the fields for the sake of a better picture)! Please be a responsible tourist and respect private property and simply the work of the farmers who grow the flowers.
Flower parades and festivals
In spring there are many festivals and events dedicated to flowers all around Holland. It’s a good idea to combine seeing tulip fields with visiting one of the spring events. Here are a few of them:
Flower Parade Bollenstreek. 25th of April 2020. One of the biggest and most famous in Holland – the route of the parade goes from Noordwijk to Haarlem and is about 40km long. There will be lots of decorated with flowers cars and installations, music and lots of fun. You can take a spot anywhere along the route, check the route for 2020 on their website.
Amsterdam Tulip Festival. During tulips season Amsterdam city will be filled with large pots with tulips. Tulips can be seen in public places, such as parks, streets, squares, etc. Just walk around the city to see various types of tulips blooming everywhere. See the tulip festival website for exact locations of the blooming pots and displays.
Bloemendagen (Flower Days) in Anna Paulowna. 18-22 April 2020. Anna Paulowna is a small town in the North Holland, where you can find many tulips farms and bloomings fields. The town also hosts Flower Days event every year with lots of colorful mosaics and decorations on display, streets, houses and bridges are covered in different flower installations. Bloemendagen website.
Bloeiend Zijpe. 29th of March – 26th of April. If in North Holland area, go to Bloeiend Zijpe (flowering in Zijpe) to participate in one of the organized events from the 29th of March to 26th of April 2020. They usually have walking and biking routes, and also Bulb Field Express – suitable for mobility-impaired people. Check their website for details.
Other places to visit during tulip season in the Netherlands
If you came to the Netherlands to see blooming tulips fields or visit the gardens of Keukenhof, why not make your flower experience even more saturated by visiting one of the following attractions (or even all of them):
Amsterdam Tulip Museum
A small museum in the center of Amsterdam where you can learn the history of tulip industry in Holland. Plan your visit.
Cherry blossom at Amsterdam forest
Part of Amsterdam Bos (Amsterdam forest in Amstelveen) is a Kersenbloesem park, which has about 400 cherry trees. When all of them start to bloom at the end of March to the beginning of April it’s a sight you won’t want to miss! Head to the Kersenbloesempark with a picnic and a camera to enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms. Address: Doorweg 32, 1182 DB Amstelveen
Flower trade center
The Netherlands is a market leader in trading flower bulbs. Why not visit FloraHolland – the world’s biggest flower auction – and see how millions of flowers from all over the world are traded there. The auction is open to the public only in the mornings every day Mon to Fri. Check the tickets and opening hours.
Museum Black Tulip in Lisse
Visit de Zwarte Tulp (Black Tulip) museum in Lisse to learn about the history of the tulip trade and see some art work related to tulip growing. Check the tickets and museum opening hours (in Dutch).
If you are staying in the Netherlands for longer and want to explore beyond the flowers then check my post on What to see in the Netherlands to find more travel inspirations.
I think spring is the most beautiful time of the year in the Netherlands. With warmer temperatures and longer days, with all the blooming flowers and blossoming cherry trees, it’s a perfect season to visit the Netherlands. I hope the pictures and information in this guide inspired you to visit Holland during the tulips season.
Me, Yuriy and the boys are definitely going to see tulip fields again this year – it doesn’t get less exciting year after year! 🙂