It’s always a treat to fly into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the spring as you’ll have the chance to see the flowering tulip fields from the air, provided you opt for a window seat view of course! It was no different when I flew back home recently. The view of the tulip fields around Lisse was simply stunning! As the plane made its final approach into Schiphol Airport, I noticed other flower fields to the west of the Polder runway. I made a mental note and decided to go for a drive around the tulip fields the next day.
A drive around the tulip fields southwest of Amsterdam
I started out by driving along the A9 highway towards Haarlem before turning off the highway in the direction of Vijfhuizen. I know this area quite well as I often visit the plane-spotters area next to Schiphol’s Polder runway (map). What I saw from the plane window quickly came into view, except these weren’t tulips but fields of hyacinths.
The weather was wild: within a short space of time, rain, hail and snow fell to the ground whisked around by high winds. Ever so often, the sun would pop out and the bright blue sky revealed itself. The contrasts between the vivid colours of the flowers and the dark threatening clouds were amazing! Despite the strong winds, the strong, sweet scent of the hyacinths filled the air!
From here, I headed south towards the tulip areas around the towns of Hillegom and Lisse. Lisse is especially popular as this is where the world-famous Keukenhof gardens are located.
The bright colours of the tulip fields soon appeared on both sides of the road as I approached Hillegom. I parked the car and went for a stroll around the fields, careful not to step on the rows of flower beds. I’ve seen this many times before but I’ll never tire if it! The fields in full bloom are just spectacular!
Please refrain from touching, plucking or trampling on the flowers!
From Hillegom, I drove around in the general direction of Lisse. It doesn’t matter as there are so many fields that you’ll spot them in any direction you drive, as long as you keep within the Hillegom-Lisse-Noordwijk axis (see map below).
You can also opt to visit the famous Keukenhof gardens in Lisse – I recommend going early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the busiest hours. Keep in mind that if it’s a sunny day, or a weekend, the roads around the Keukenhof will be clogged up with traffic, so if you’re not planning on visiting the gardens, I suggest you avoid the vicinity of the Keukenhof on these days.
Lunch at the beach
After circling the fields for a few hours, I drove towards the coast, passing the expansive dunes which form an important protection of the Dutch coast. I ended up at a beach café called Nederzandt at the end of the Langeverlderslag road, a loungy place for lunch. After a lazy lunch, I strolled down to the beach and watched the kite-surfers. It was a stunning sight and the kite-surfers happily showed off their moves to the small band of spectators.
It was the perfect end to an amazing day! My favourite tulip areas are in the region north of Amsterdam but this region around Hillegom/Lisse is just as good, but with many more tourists – on sunny days, you could be stuck in a traffic jam around the tulip fields. They’re closer to Amsterdam though: about 30 minutes from the city and 20 minutes from Schiphol Airport.