How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

Amsterdam in Bloom: Where to See Tulips in Holland

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If you’re like most travelers going to the Netherlands, you have one goal: to see the tulips in Holland. I don’t blame you; they’re quite the sight and well worth seeing—if you can catch them at the right time, that is. We were lucky to do so on two different occasions and are sharing where to see flower fields in Lisse and how to do so for free.

I hope you don’t have allergies, because if so, you’re very well going to need a box of tissues by the end of this post.

How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

This post was last updated in April 2024 and contains affiliate links.

A history of tulips in Holland

As it turns out, tulips haven’t been in Holland all that long—at least not in comparison to Europes’ rich history. In as recent as the 17th century, they were considered a novelty and had been introduced to the Netherlands from Asia via Turkey the century before.

How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

The trade in tulip bulbs reached critical mass in 1636, only to crash the following year, leaving many traders and farmers completely broke. In the centuries since, tulips have popped up frequently in famous paintings that hail from Holland and become a bit of a marketing schtick for the small country as a whole.

How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland
How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

When to go to Holland to see tulips in bloom

Here’s the catch about seeing tulips in Holland; it’s like any natural phenomenon in that, ultimately, Mother Nature makes the call. I’ve been to Holland three times in March, only to not absolutely nothing in bloom, and on this recent trip to the Netherlands in April, we were there at the very beginning of the season. Right now is actually optimal time to see tulips in Holland.

How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

Plenty of other flowers (crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths) were already out in all their colorful glory—and oh so gorgeous to see—but we only really saw the early bloomers of tulips starting to pop out. If you want to be guaranteed to see tulips in Holland, plan your trip for late-April (but also know you’re going to be up against the crowds if you choose to visit during peak tulip season).

How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

Visiting Keukenhof Gardens

Now, there’s a catch. If you’re OK paying to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, as my friend Layne and I did many years ago, you can see tulips anytime during a two-month span in the spring.

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The cold, dreary weather actually worked out in our favor that spring as we were visiting Holland in mid-May when tulip season is usually on its way out, but the tulips were such late bloomers that year, we hit at the perfect time.

How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland
How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

This botanical garden in Lisse, just 25 minutes outside of Amsterdam, is beautiful and well worth the trip, but just know that  thousands of tourists will also be making the tulip pilgrimage here. We drove by there again a few weeks back, and the parking area was absolutely packed with cars.

You can reach Keukenhof Gardens by bus or take a full-day tour of tulip fields in Holland. Keukenhof is only open eight weeks of the year, a schedule which changes annually depending on the weather. Millions of visitors hit the park each year during this tight window. You can easily hop on a tour group out of Damrak in Amsterdam, but you can just as easily save a few bucks, take a bus out from Schipohl for a couple euro.

How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland
How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

With 32 hectares—and more than seven million flowers—you need a solid few hours to see everything worth seeing. Layne and I just had two and didn’t even make it to half of the park. Even though the whole place is a bit like Disneyland, we didn’t care. It was insanely gorgeous, and I couldn’t have imagined just how much I would have loved this tourist theme park.

How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland
How to visit Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

It’s well worth paying the $20 entry fee to see this magnificent garden. If you’re in Holland for just a day on a cruise and want to see more than just Keukenhof Gardens, there are plenty of tour options for that, too:

Where to see tulip fields for free in Holland

Now the good news is that even if you don’t want to visit Keukenhof, there are plenty of places to see tulips for free in Holland if you have access to a car. We drove north from Den Haag along A44, and once we neared Lisse, there were flower fields in every direction!

How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

A popular pastime is to rent bikes and cycle all throughout the Lisse region. There are bike paths everywhere, and were it not raining our whole trip, we would have done this, too. You can rent bikes here.

How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

There are also plenty of tulip festivals around the country like in Amsterdam, as well as Holland’s longest tulip route: more than 100 kilometers of 2,500 acres in the Noordoostpolder in Flevoland. I’d love to go back during Tulpenroute Flevoland, which usually takes place over several weeks in April.

How to see tulips in Holland during the spring

To find the free fields, we followed this handy map created by Bollenstreek, which led us past thousands of flowers. This site also tells you what is in bloom when.

Have you ever visited Holland in tulip season? Is it on your bucket list?




Where to see tulips in Holland during tulip season
Where to see tulips in Holland during tulip season
Where to see tulips in Holland during tulip season
  • June 5, 2013

    These days the park includes 7 inspiration gardens (ideas for you to try in you own, somewhat smaller, plot at home!); bronze sculptures by Dutch artists scattered around the place; changing exhibitions of flowers; and tents or kiosks from local bulb growers where you can order your favorites, which will then be delivered around September when the bulbs are in their deepest hibernation, gathering strength for next year. Every year about three billion (that’s 3,000,000,000!!) tulip bulbs are produced in Holland.

    • June 5, 2013

      That is insane! I think I probably only saw 30,000 of them in my brief time there 😉

      Thanks for the added facts!!

  • June 5, 2013

    OMG!! I need to go back with my new camera! We went to Keukenhof in 2006 and had a marvelous time though with a very crappy camera!

  • June 5, 2013

    We, too, got to see the flowers in bloom, and they were gorgeous! Though Keukenhof was amazing for the sheer number and variety of flowers, I enjoyed our bike ride to and from the gardens better than the gardens themselves. We rode from Haarlem, and there were so many fields along the way, and I loved seeing them with the towns and canals and such as backdrops or with farmers walking through them. Plus the hyacinths made it the best-smelling bike ride I’ve ever been on. Heavenly!

  • June 5, 2013

    Gorgeous! A friend of mine is an artist who specializes in painting oils of tulips, this reminds me of a lot of her work.


  • June 5, 2013

    So much color almost boggles my senses. Glad you were healthy enough to enjoy this.

  • June 6, 2013

    Thanks for all the great photos. I was in Amsterdam in early April and couldn’t make it out to the gardens. That was my biggest regret, and seeing your photos makes me want to get back sooner rather than later.

  • June 6, 2013

    So, so, so, so, soooooo very pretty and colourful.

  • June 6, 2013

    Wow–this looks incredible! Such amazing colors. No idea this existed. Now, I’m going to have to keep it in mind for future travels!

  • June 6, 2013

    Best time of year to visit the Netherlands! Did you to see the black tulips?

  • June 7, 2013
    Nadin Davis

    Wow, love the colours, really been meaning to go back to Holland because I blooming LOVE it 😉

  • June 7, 2013
    Step to the Good Life

    The best blog ever! Love your photos! 🙂

  • June 8, 2013

    thanks SO much for the great pictures of Layne!!

  • June 9, 2013

    The colors are gorgeous! This has always been on my bucket list. We have some flower fields near our house in San Diego, but they aren’t tulips and they don’t let you walk in the flowers to take pictures, which is clearly the reason everyone wants to visit flower fields. 🙂

  • June 10, 2013

    LOVE these pics, there is just too much beauty!

  • June 10, 2013

    so pretty!

  • June 10, 2013

    I really like your pictures, they are really beautiful.

  • June 10, 2013
    Natalie T.

    So gorgeous! Sigh.

  • June 11, 2013

    i visited amsterdam is bloom a couple of years ago… towards the end of the season, and it truly is a marvellous sight to see… loved Keukenhof Gardens too!

  • June 12, 2013
    danee sarman

    Hi Kristin,

    This post made my day. NYC has been pretty gloomy lately and I needed a huge dose of flowers. So pretty!

  • June 13, 2013

    Beautiful! My mom and I went to Amsterdam a few years ago to see the tulips but the fields had already been cut. The region was experiencing a freak heat wave and all the flowers had bloomed much earlier than normal. Talk about disappointment! We’ll just have to try again 🙂

  • June 16, 2013
    Jeremy Norton

    Oh I am so glad I don’t have allergies of any sort. The tulips are all so amazingly beautiful. It is like you are in paradise of flowers.

  • June 16, 2013

    Looks incredible – tulips are my absolute favorite flowers – they’re just so beautiful!

  • June 18, 2013
    Nicole @ Suitcase Stories

    Wow what amazing photos! My hubby and I went to Amsterdam last July and LOVED it! Its such a beautiful city. It was the wrong time of year however for the tulips. And we are going again this year, August this time but still not the right time for the blooms. Next year we will definitely go again and this time during the right season!

  • June 21, 2013

    Loooooove these tulips! It’s very much alive than what I found in Singapore (for sure!).

  • June 24, 2013
    Nicole @ Green Global Travel

    We are in Amsterdam in August, unfortunately not the right time of year. We will have to make it there at the right time next time to see the tulips as they look beautiful.

  • July 5, 2013

    I am really intrigued by these shots. I am now motivated to try something similar. Thanks!

  • May 4, 2022

    One of my bucket list! The tulips are just so pretty! Thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures!

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