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 (map), 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.
Visiting the Keukenhof Gardens
The Keukenhof is a very popular tourist attraction so expect throngs of camera-toting visitors from around the world on any given day. Open from late-March till mid-May, the expansive gardens are filled to the brim with flower beds, beautiful landscaping and magnificent floral exhibitions. 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.
Best time to visit Keukenhof Gardens
The Keukenhof is a great day trip from Amsterdam in spring. The best time to visit the Keukenhof (and to avoid the crowds) is in the late-afternoon (around 3-4pm) 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.
How to get to the Keukenhof
It’s easy to join a Keukenhof tour from Amsterdam or from nearby Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. You can also take a bus or train to Schiphol Airport and hop on the Keukenhof shuttle bus (no. 858) from the airport. The bus runs several times an hour.
Keukenhof in photos
Please scroll down to view a photo essay of one of my visits to the Keukenhof Gardens.
The Keukenhof is only open in the spring months. If you’re visiting The Netherlands, check here to see if the Keukenhof is open. You can also stay near the Keukenhof. Check the map below for availability:
The tulip fields in the vicinity of the Keukenhof
The flower-growing region in which the Keukenhof is the closest to Amsterdam. Here, you’ll find massive rows of tulip fields here, the ones every visitor sees in posters and postcards in any souvenir shop. The best time to visit the tulip fields is around mid- to late-April. Read more about other tulip areas in the Netherlands.
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. Read about a drive around the Lisse tulip fields. I recommend hiring a car to explore the tulip region and beaches at your own leisure.