Let’s face it, there’s two main things tourists want to see when they go to Holland, tulips and windmills. I have to say, I’m not the exception to that rule! Dutch tulip fields are an amazing sight in the spring, it’s like a rainbow fell out of the sky and splashed itself all over the Dutch landscapes for a short springtime nap. Beautifully bright bands of color stretching off into the horizon, it’s just an incredible sight to see. And while you can visit the Netherlands and be dazzled by the hue and colors most of the year, there is really only one time that you should try and visit to experience the tulip festival of the Netherlands.
Watch this video to get a good idea of what to see at the Bloemencorso or annual Dutch Flower Parade.
When is Tulip Season?
The Dutch flower season starts in late March and goes through the end of April, sometimes early May. Those first few buds pop through the cold soil and open their eyes to a new world. Then, for about seven or eight weeks the tulip fields are a riot of color. This is the best time to see tulips in the Netherlands. The flowers are growing in earnest!
Forget about April showers bringing May flowers, you really can’t wait until May. It is still a little bit chilly, and there is certainly a chance for a light snow dusting but April is the time to go to see Dutch tulips. Of course, this is also a time to celebrate. Another cold, wet winter has been chased away by all of the shining hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips.
Where are the Best Places To See Tulips in the Netherlands?
The first thing that comes to mind is Keukenhof gardens. These beautiful gardens have been pleasing spring tourists for decades. After your visit to this famous park, you really should have your own set of wheels to get out and see the tulips growing in the fields, what a sight! Most hotels rent bicycles and, since biking in the Netherlands is a natural choice, my advice is to get on your bike and ride! You can ride anywhere in the Netherlands safely and comfortably (most of the country is completely flat).
I also recommend that you go for a drive if you have a car. There are flower fields all around the Keukenhof area, stretching from Noordwijk to Haarlem. Just be aware, flowers are a major industry in the Netherlands and they don’t let these precious jewels die in the field. Workers will be cutting, bagging, boxing, and selling flowers and faster than you can believe.
In fact, one of the reasons flowers are headed (tops cut off) is for decorating floats. That’s right, the biggest and longest flower parade in the world takes place every April in the Netherlands. We’ll let you decide for yourself what you think of the floats, and you can leave us a comment after checking out the video!
Practical Information for Seeing Dutch Tulip Fields
- When to go – late March to mid May – I would say the second two weeks of April are the prime time.
- Where to go – along the coast between the Hague and Haarlem is our choice for tulips – Keukenhof is a must.
- Keukenhof is open between mid March and late May, 23 March to 21 May (2017) open everyday between 08:00 AM – 7:30 PM (8.00 – 19.30 hrs). The ticket office closes at 6 PM.
- The world famous Dutch Flower Parade, the Bloemencorseo occurs in late April (21 April 2018) – Click here to visit the official website for more information.
- Where to stay – we really liked our stay at the Van der Valk Hotel Sassenheim. It was comfortable, classy, and a short walk from the parade route.
- Planning for the Flower Parade – check the website carefully for exact dates, times, and the route. Consider reserving a seat in the grandstands in Sassenheim. It’s definitely worth the cost.
- What else to do in the area – Go see windmills, of course. There is one on the north side of Keukenhof, or take an hour long drive to Kinderdijk to see the largest collection of historic windmills.
Have you been to see the Netherlands’ tulips? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with our readers?
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.
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