The Keukenhof is perhaps the Netherlands’ most popular tourist attraction in the spring. Literally translated, Keukenhof means ‘kitchen garden’, and is located near the town of Lisse, about a half-hour drive southwest of Amsterdam, in the heart of one of the country’s major flower-growing regions. The Keukenhof is the world’s largest flower garden and every year, about 7 million bulbs are planted. While tulips are the major attraction, the Keukenhof is also famous for its azaleas, daffodils, hydrangeas and cherry blossoms, as well as its indoor exhibitions which often feature impressive collections of orchids, lilies and other varieties.
The Keukenhof is a very popular tourist attraction so expect throngs of camera-toting visitors from around the world on any given day. You can also expect almost everything the Dutch are famous for: aside from the millions of tulips, there are the ubiquitous wooden clogs, windmills, traditional folk music, herring, pancakes (pannenkoek), mini-pancakes (poffertjes – I absolutely recommend these!) and gorgeous artwork and sculptures. In case you’re wondering, no, there are no coffee shops here. 😉 What you will find are expansive gardens filled to the brim with flower beds, beautiful landscaping and magnificent floral exhibitions. To avoid the crowds, I suggest visiting the park in the late-afternoon (around 4pm) on a week day. The park closes at 8pm, giving you ample time to explore the gardens and enjoy the stunning colours, towering trees and floral scents at a leisurely pace without being elbowed around.
Getting to the Keukenhof
It’s easy to join a tour from any of the major cities or from nearby Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. You can also take a bus or train to Schiphol Airport and hop on the Keukenhof shuttle bus from there.
The flower-growing area around the Keukenhof is absolutely breathtaking – you’ll find massive rows of tulip fields here; the ones every visitor sees in posters and postcards in any souvenir shop. If you have your own car or bicycle, there are various routes you can follow which take you past this sea of flowers, such as the “Bollenroute” (bulb route). There are signs along the roads and bicycle paths which clearly mark the routes. Check with the Dutch Automobile Association (ANWB) or one of the local Tourism Offices (VVV) for more information.
An afternoon in the Keukenhof – in pictures
I had the pleasure to accompany four fellow tweeps on a visit to the Keukenhof. Please scroll down to view a photo essay of our visit.
The Keukenhof is only open in the spring months. If you’re visiting The Netherlands, check here to see if the Keukenhof is open.
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