Many travel bucket lists feature a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens and it is easy to understand why. Most famous for its tulip beds, Keukenhof is a massive 80 acres park, in which more than 7 million flower bulbs are planted very year. They all bloom in phases and often together, thus turning this park into a Garden of Eden. Apart from tulips, many beautiful flowers like narcissi, daffodils, cherry, azalea etc can be found growing abundantly at Keukenhof and the garden is a visual delight. Pretty places make awesome pictures and Keukenhof Garden is one very photographed site.
Needless to say, flowers and beautiful photos tempt millions of tourists to visit Keukenhof every year and during spring, the expansive grounds get super crowded. This waters down the beauty of Keukenhof a bit and not all the visitors are intelligent or compassionate travellers. While all these factors mar the fun of the visit, Keukenhof Gardens indeed is once in a lifetime travel experience. It has the “see it to believe it” kind of floral beauty and is not to be missed if visiting Holland in spring. Sharing some first hand tips for visiting Keukenhof along with pictures from our last visit. Hope you enjoy the virtual tour, minus the hassle of the crowd.
1. Timing is crucial – Every year, the Keukenhof Gardens are open from mid-March to mid-May. Although the peak flowering time varies a bit every year, mid April usually guarantees the maximum blooms. An early visit will show you tulip buds and if your visit is timed late, expect to see flower beds past their prime. However, because of the varieties of flowers being planted in the park something will always be found blooming and it can be hyacinths, daffodils or narcissi. Follow the flower forecast and weekly bloom updates on the official website of Keukenhof
Recommended Read – Trailing tulips in Holland
2. Go with time on your hands – Keukenhof is a lot about timing and this includes the minimum duration of your visit. Unless, you are going there to zip through or take some tulip selfies, set aside at least half a day for your visit. The park is quite big and to enjoy it to the fullest (plus getting full value for the entrance fee), you will need minimum 3-4 hours. There are a lot of recreational areas inside the park, where you can simply relax, have a picnic lunch or just shop, and you can easily spend a day there.
3. Plan it right with pre booked tickets – The combination pass of airport or city central transfer with the entrance ticket is easy peasy cheap. The price of the combo ticket, which includes both entrance to the gardens and transfer on the Keukenhof Express bus from the Schipol airport is €24, while the one with central Amsterdam connection is €29. On the other hand, an individual adult entrance fee to Keukenhof is €16. You can also opt for a combi ticket which includes train and bus travel to Keukenhof from any station in the Netherlands. The prices per person are €35 for 2nd class an €40 for 1st class. These tickets can be purchased online at ns.nl/spoordeelwinkel. The only problem of the pre booked ticket is that your date of visit is fixed. It may entail, that your Keukenhof date is rain splashed.
4. Grab the free map – Keukenhof Gardens offer excellent free maps at the entrance and make sure, that you grab one. The park is huge and filled with attractions. The map can help you make a bee line trail of the spots you are interested in the most, leaving you later with enough time to stroll at a leisurely pace. There are many restaurants, cafes, indoor floral exhibitions and a working windmill inside the garden, along with winding canals and pretty wooded groves.
5. Be prepared that it will super crowded – Avoiding the crowds at Keukenhof is a crazy thought. The park remains open for only 2 months in a year and it is also at its prettiest at that time. This means that it will be packed with visitors during that time and it is best to be mentally prepared for it. However, the park opening hour (that is 8 am) and a few hours before the closing time of 0730 pm see less traffic and you will find emptier spaces for relaxing.
You may like – Flower power of Srinagar
6. Don’t miss the installation art and indoor exhibits – Keukenhof features many sculptures and installation art, which can be found amidst the flower beds. It is always an exciting game of seek and hunt for these elusive art pieces scattered throughout the park. Plus, there are always some flower exhibitions held inside the garden‘s 5 large indoor pavilions and some floral designer artwork. At the time of our visit, the indoor pavilion held a most amazing orchid show, where some of the most exotic blooms were on display. There was also the interesting multi coloured flower mosaic.
8. Child friendly space – Contrary to the notion, that Keukenhof might bore the little Duracell bunny travellers, the park aims at pleasing it‘s tiny visitors. Apart from the walks, trails and flowers, there is are play grounds for the little ones which come complete with a petting zoo. It has a small menagerie of sheep, rabbits, turkey and a maze. Kids also love climbing up the functioning windmill and solve the scavenger hunt which requires them to use various landmarks inside the park to solve the puzzle. There are prizes to be won, if successful and then there are adorably ridiculous giant Dutch wooden clogs as photo ops.
TRAVEL INFO – Keukenhof is the middle of the tulip growing region and the most beautiful flower fields stretch all around it. The best way to explore them is by bicycle and there are plenty bike rental kiosks around the park. They also supply maps of the area, which can also be found at the park‘s tourist information office.
How to Reach – Amsterdam‘s Schipol airport is closest to Keukenhof and it offers excellent international connections. The coast and the town of Noordwijk is sound 15 minutes drive from Keukenhof and it has some of Holland‘s iconic dunes. It is also connected by a direct bus service from central Amsterdam.
Opening Period – Every year Keukenhof is open mid-March to mid-May. The best time to visit is mid April. The park office is open daily 0800-1800 hours and the gardens remain open from 0800-1930 hours.
Cost – Entrance tickets cost €16 for adults and €8 for kids aged from 4-11 years while kids under 4 go free. Parking on site costs €6. Food is expensive inside the park, so it is advisable to bring your own picnic hamper.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE