When you’re in The Netherlands during the blossom period of the Tulips, it is a must-visit to go to the tulip fields. Let’s find out the exact location of the most beautiful tulip fields, how to get there, and the best time to visit!
Most Tulip Fields in The Netherlands are located in two regions; Noordoostpolder in Flevoland, which is east from Amsterdam, and the largest bulb cultivation area of The Netherlands. And Bollenstreek, a region between Leiden and Amsterdam, where you can visit many tulip fields, and Keukenhof Gardens, which is the largest flower garden in the world.
Between March and May, a large part of The Netherlands transforms into a sea of flowers; it’s the blooming season of the famous Dutch tulips and other flower bulbs. You’ll probably want to know where you can find these tulip fields? We’ll tell you all about in this article.
Location of the Tulip Fields
There are basically two areas in The Netherlands where you can find the best Tulip and flower fields; Bollenstreek (between Leiden and Amsterdam) and Noordoostpolder (East from Amsterdam).
Throughout the country you can find a lot of other places with smaller tulip fields, however, in these two areas, you’ll find the most and largest tulip fields. During the blossom period, it is a sea of colors! And in both the Bulb region as the Noordoostpolder, there are a lot of unique activities to do, which you can’t find anywhere else.
Bollenstreek (Bulb Region)
The Bollenstreek is an area in between Leiden and Amsterdam. In The Netherlands, it’s better known as Duin en Bollenstreek (Dune and Bulb region). The area roughly stretches from the Northern Sea inland to Leiden and then up north to Amsterdam. Some people say that the area stretches from Amsterdam to The Hague. However, between The Hague and Leiden, you don’t find many flower fields. So it is safe to say that the area is located between Leiden and Amsterdam.
Lisse is a small village in the Bulb region, but don’t underestimate its role. Lisse is literally the heart of the Bulb Region, it’s known as the flower strip. Around Lisse, you’ll find the most significant amount of flower fields, and its also where Keukenhof Gardens is located. We tell you later more about Keukenhof Gardens.
The location of the bulb region is perfect for the bulb growers. For them, it’s only around half an hour’s drive to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, which is the biggest flower auction in the world.
How To Get To The Bulb Region
Reaching to the Bulb region is straightforward. You can arrive in the region by car, coming from Amsterdam, in like 45 minutes. Your best of following the highway A4 in the direction of Leiden/The Hague. Make sure you get off the highway at the exit that says Nieuw-Vennep. From there, you can follow the signs to Keukenhof.
Alternatively, you can take the Highway A44, when you’re using this highway, you’ll need to get off at Exit 3, Lisse.
The most flower fields in the bulb region are located close to Keukenhof, so when you’re traveling by car, we recommend to set Keukenhof as your location. From there, it is easy to drive around the area and explore the beautiful tulip fields.
When you need to rent a car for your trip to The Netherlands, make sure to check out our recommendations to find the best rental tips!
Public Transport to the Bulb Region
When you’re using public transport to reach the bulb region, it’s best to hop on a bus. During the blossom season, buses from both Amsterdam Central Station and Leiden Central Station, are leaving several times a day in the direction of Keukenhof.
During this season, there are special buses which are called Keukenhof Express, these buses leave several times an hour, from central locations in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Hoofddorp, and Leiden.
You can find a complete schedule with the most recent timetable on the official website of Keukenhof.
When you’re using regular public transport in The Netherlands, you’re obliged to use an electronic public transport card (which is called an OV-Chipcard). It can be a bit confusing where to buy those cards and how to activate them. We explain more about purchasing an OV-Chipcard in our article How Many Days Do You Need in The Netherlands.
Bicycle Routes Bulb Region
One of the best ways to explore the bulb region is by cycling around. There are many cycle routes you can follow, which all start from Keukenhof Gardens. So it’s a perfect thing to do while in The Netherlands! You can easily take a bus to Keukenhof Gardens as we described in the previous section. From there you can rent a bicycle for a day, which costs around € 20,- for a full day.
On the website of Bollenstreek, you can find a link to the booking form for renting a bicycle.
Boat Tours Bulb Region
A very popular thing to do in The Netherlands is hopping on a boat and explore a city from the water. Most cities are built around water, and you find many canal belts within the large cities. The most famous canal belt is, of course, the canal belt in Amsterdam, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. You can read more about this unique must-visit in our article What is Amsterdam Famous For?
Many people don’t realize is that it is also straightforward to explore the Dutch countryside while going around in a tour boat.
Many city canals are connected with the large rivers in the country. These rivers have smaller river branches, reaching the small villages, and tulip fields!
The Bulb Boat located in Hillegom is a great way to explore the tulip fields within the Bulb region. You can find more information on their website. Unfortunately, their website is only available in Dutch, but you probably manage with automatic translate.
During the blossom season, between March and May, the Bulb boat leaves two times a day between Wednesday and Saturday. You can hop on the boat at the dock at Hoftuin in Hillegom. The tour boat leaves two times a day around 10.30 AM and 1.30 PM. A tour takes around 90 minutes and costs about € 15-.
We mentioned it a few times now, Keukenhof Gardens. And maybe you know what we’re talking about, but maybe you don’t. So let us tell you a bit more about the biggest flower garden in the world!
The Keukenhof Gardens are located in Lisse, in the heart of Bulb region, and every year the Keukenhof Gardens open their doors between March and May for only 8 weeks. During this period they’re welcoming millions of visitors from all over the world.
Keukenhof plants annually over 8 million flower bulbs, from which most are tulips, in a different pattern. It officially started as a showcase to the world, kind of a business event. But in the last years, it developed to one of the biggest tourist attractions in The Netherlands. Read more about Keukenhof in our article What is Keukenhof Famous For?
The other area where you can visit the Tulip Fields is also ideally located from the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. For the bulb growers coming from Noordoostpolder, it is only a 1-hour drive to the auction. The Noordoostpolder is lesser known by many people visiting The Netherlands, but the area is actually much larger than the bulb region. It is the largest bulb cultivation area of The Netherlands.
Did you know Noordoostpolder is actually an artificial island? They created the area with reclaimed land from the Zuiderzee. Today, the Noordoostpolder consists out of 2000 hectares of flower fields, from which the most are tulip fields.
How To Get to Noordoostpolder?
Reaching to Noordoostpolder is straightforward, both by car and public transport. However, to reach Noordoostpolder quickly it is probably most convenient if you can travel by car. It’s way faster than using public transport. Regular public transport takes almost two hours from Amsterdam Central Station.
It’s like a short hour drive from Amsterdam Central Station to Noordoostpolder. You can use this map on Google Maps for directions. Leaving from Amsterdam, you need to follow Highway A6 in the direction of Emmeloord.
It is exceptional to visit this area. You can follow a special route throughout the polder that takes you alongside all the highlights. The visitor information center creates different visitor routes every year throughout Noordoostpolder. Whether you want to travel by car, bicycle or foot, it is all possible! The routes vary every year because the flower fields that are used are also changing yearly. You can find the most recent routes on the website of Tourist Information Noordoostpolder.
Cycling Routes alongside the Tulip Fields
Once you arrived in Noordoostpolder, it is probably best to park your car and go the Dutch way; rent a bicycle to get around! Riding on a bicycle is the best way to explore and enjoy the area of Noordoostpolder, and the beautiful tulip fields. It is the largest bulb cultivation area of The Netherlands, and the garden route, which leads you to the different Tulip and Flower fields, is around 100 kilometers long.
Tulip Festival Noordoostpolder
These different routes along the garden route vary every year for another reason; The Tulip Festival.
This festival takes place between the last weeks of April and the beginning of May. Dates slightly change every year. During these weeks, the tulip fields are in blossom, which is the best time to see these beautiful flowers. Many unique activities are taking place during these weeks. When you have the change to visit The Netherlands in this period, we can certainly recommend doing that!
It’s not only the Tulip Festival and Keukenhof Gardens that are great for a visit during this period. April and May are the months which we consider as the best time to visit The Netherlands. During these months, many national events like Kingsday and Liberation Day are taking place. By attending these events, you can experience the authentic culture of the Dutch. We tell you all about it in our article Best Time To Visit The Netherlands.
Activities during the Tulip Festival
Of course, it is great to rent a bicycle and cycle around the beautiful garden route. There are many options to choose from, so you’re not obliged to ride the full 100 kilometers if you find that too long. Which it probably is by the way, especially when you’re not used to riding a bicycle!
A very unique route to follow is the Mosaic Route, which is available during all the weeks of the festival. Following this route, you’ll not only see the beautiful large flower fields. Also, you come across true artworks made of different tulips and flowers. And you’ll see much more of the famous Dutch countryside. Some unique historic windmills are placed in this area, which is lovely to see.
Did you know over 1000 historic windmills built between the 15th and 18th centuries are still standing in the Dutch countryside? When you like to explore more of the Dutch country, we recommend reading Best Place To See The Windmills, an article where we explain the history of windmills in The Netherlands, and the best location to spot the historic windmills.
Other activities that taking place during this week are helicopter and balloon flights over the flower fields. Photo workshop for tulip photography, tulip art workshops, and many more. You can find all the different activities on the website of the Tulip Festival.
Tulip Picking Farms
There are many picking farms located close to the different Tulip fields. These picking farms are basically large tulip gardens, where you can walk through the fields and choose your own tulips and other flowers. It is very popular among the locals to go to a picking garden and get your own bouquet of flowers.
Some famous picking farms are:
Tulip Picking Farm “De Boerenshop”
Located in Marknesse, a small village in Noordoostpolder, you’ll find the Tulip Picking Farm. It was the first picking farm in The Netherlands.
The Tulip Picking Farm “Boerenshop” is basically a flower field of around 5000 square meters, with over 50 variations of Tulips. They open every year between April and May, find the latest information about opening hours on the website of tourist information Noordoostpolder.
Tulip Picking Farm “Annemiekes Picking Garden”
Located in Hillegom, in the Bulb region, you’ll find Annemiekes Picking Garden. A flower garden from around 3000 square meters, where you can pick your own flowers. Every flower you pick costs 0,25 Eurocents.
Annemieks Picking Garden is located at Haarlemmerstraat 15a in Hillegom.
Hanneke’s Picking Garden
A locally trendy picking garden in Noordoostpolder is Hanneke’s Picking Garden. With one hectare of flower fields, you’ll find over 250 different flowers here! There’s always something you’ll like. A truly small sea of flowers!
They only open during the blossom season between March and May.
Buy Your Own Tulip Bulbs
It’s lovely to walk around a picking farm, and select your own bouquet of Dutch Tulips! Unfortunately, these blossomed flowers only last for a few weeks, but you can also buy a few Dutch Tulip Bulbs online (check the latest price on Amazon), or at one of the many flower shops you’ll spot on the way. Maybe you can recreate some tulips back home!
The Perfect Tulip Selfie
So, walking over the fields and picking the flowers are both forbidden by Dutch law! By doing so, you’re basically entering a private property from the bulb growers, which is not allowed except when you have their explicit permission. But how to make that perfect Tulip Selfie?!
Everyone is doing it, and it is not that you can get a fine or something by entering the flower fields. The problem is that most people are careless walking into the flower fields and destroying the tulips and bulbs.
Visiting the flower fields became so popular in the last few years, that some flower fields are closed for the public. Luckily many flower fields are still open, and in some flower fields, it is allowed to walk alongside the tulips and make that perfect selfie for your Instagram #dutchtulips picture. As long as your careful where you step.
The Dutch tourist organization made this funny movie, and guide of how to make the perfect tulip selfie;
Best Time To Visit The Tulip Fields
The blossom period of the Tulips is during Spring. Tulips only blossom for a few weeks a year, roughly between the end of March and the beginning of May. Every year it is different. However, if you use the opening weeks from Keukenhof Gardens as your guideline for the best time to visit the Tulip Fields, you can’t go wrong.
In 2020 Keukenhof opens from the 21st of March to the 10th of May. Like we said, this period is also the best period to visit The Netherlands.
History of The Dutch Tulip
So, the national flower of The Netherlands is the Tulip. Which we all call the Dutch Tulip. A Dutch Tulip comes in many variations. Different sizes, colors, and even mixed colors or different flowers once they blossomed.
But did you know, the Tulip isn’t originally Dutch? Tulips were imported at the end of the 16th century from the Ottoman Empire, what we now know as Turkey. It was during the rise of the Dutch Eastern Company, which became the world’s largest maritime trade company during the 17th century. The trading company created a lot of wealth and prosperity in The Netherlands, this period is known as the Dutch Golden Age.
Tulips quickly became a symbol of wealth within the Dutch community. And because of the Dutch climate, it was easy for growers to grow and produce tulips. The demand for tulips quickly grew. This flower became so popular, people started to sell tulip shares, tulip bulbs, and a lot of related products. This trade, which is based on speculation, quickly grew in the first economic trade bubble in history.
As quickly as the tulip trade grew, as suddenly it went down. Within a few days, the tulip trade stopped, and people lost millions of Dutch Guilders (the former Dutch currency). This period is referred to as Tulip Mania. We wrote an extensive article about the history of Tulips and Tulip Mania, which you might find interesting to read; Why Is The Netherlands Famous For Tulips?
Tulip Fields Map
We created a map within Google Maps, which contains the location of the best Tulip Fields, and picking gardens, so you can easily navigate getting around The Netherlands while visiting the Tulip Fields.
Recommended Articles About The Netherlands
Traveling around The Netherlands is a great thing to do! There’s so much to explore in this small country. You can easily spend a few days in our capital Amsterdam. But when you have enough time to go around, we recommend spending a few days exploring other cities and villages in The Netherlands.
We wrote several articles about our home country to help you get more information about the best things to do in The Netherlands. You can find all our articles about The Netherlands lined up at the category page.
Some specific articles you might find interesting are;