Riding my bike along the quiet and scenic roads of Holland with a bouquet of tulips strapped into my backpack, I couldn’t help but think…am I Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love?
Visiting the tulip fields in Holland has been on my bucketlist ever since I saw my first photos of sprawling colorful flower fields. Last week, I wrote an article about How to plan your trip to the Netherland Tulip Fields. In the article, I shared a lot of details about the logistics of getting there, when to go, and which farms to visit.
Today, being wiser after visiting the fields, I will tell you how my visit went. I will break down the costs and tell you what I’d do differently. Let’s start:
I opted to get to Keukenhof via one of their express busses. After landing in the Amsterdam airport around 2:30 PM in the afternoon, I immediately went to the designated area for the bus. I admit that I struggled a bit to find it. Unlike the other arrival halls, arrival hall 4 was out to the right side of the airport. I went out the front and was faced with many bus stops. Unsure of which to choose, I retraced my steps and found the correct hall. You’ll know your there when you see all the big tulip Keukenhof signs 🙂
I didn’t have to wait long before a bus pulled up. The bus was about 1/3 full but there would surely be longer lines and a wait during peak season or earlier in the mornings. The bus was comfy and took between 30-40 minutes to arrive at Keukenhof Gardens.
Day 1: Keukenhof Gardens
Arriving to Keukenhof Gardens, I didn’t really know what to expect. In my head I was picturing long, colorful rows of flowers stretched out as far as the eye could see. This was in fact, wrong. Keukenhof Gardens was actually similar to a botanical garden. It had several distinct areas serving various purposes such as a sculpture garden, a lake, a windmill, a nursery, and of course the main attraction, a greenhouse with many varieties of tulips!
It was a lively Saturday afternoon in the park! Though it wasn’t what I expected, walking around the gardens was breath-taking and very peaceful. The gardens were perfectly curated and many things had started to bloom. You could easily spend a half or even a full day enjoying the gardens. There are also some stalls where you can grab a bite to eat or drink including some bbq, coffee, fries, pizzas, and of course – freshly cooked dutch waffles.
Day 2: A Bike Ride ARound the Tulip Region
After doing my research on the flower fields of Holland, I knew that I couldn’t spend just 1 day in the area. Sorry, but one and done at Keukenhof gardens just wasn’t going to work for me. In order to take my experience to eleven…I rented a bike to explore the surrounding areas at my own leisure.
Best decision ever! I rented my bike from Rent-A-Bike Van Dam for the whole day. They recommend several routes to take in the surrounding scenery. I knew that I wanted to visit the Tulip Experience, The Tulip Barn, and De Tulperij so I opted to follow the Green Route and then the Purple Route. 25 km of beautiful flowers? I am coming for you!
It says it will take 2-4 hours for 25 km. However, it will take longer if you plan to stop to take photos, eat, and enjoy. I rented a bike for the entire day and my trip took from 9 am – 4 pm.
The Tulip Experience
My first stop of the day was at the tulip experience. Here, I learned a lot about the history of the wonderful flower! Here are some fast facts I learned:
- Tulips were originally discovered in Kazakhstan
- Because the tulip looked a lot like the original turban, the tulip name is derived from the Persian word ‘tulipan’ which means turban.
- There was once a point in history called tulip mania. During this period, tulips were traded as speculative assets!
- One of the most sought after tulips, the Semper Augustus, has its distinctive look due to a virus.
I also got to see the difference in how tulips and bulbs were grown and distributed in the past versus today! Needless to say, I learned a ton! The farm itself didn’t have many tulips yet. However, there were a few photo spots setup for when the busy Easter times come!
Bonus of this experience was that Simon Pennings, managing director of one of the largest bulb exporters in the region, helped me to hand select my bulbs to take home.
5 Stars for Customer Service!
The Tulip Barn
My second stop was the tulip barn. This stop had the most tulips already blooming of the places I visited the second day. They also had the cutest photo spots setup. Other highlights here were the food truck and an indoor cafe.
If you are planning to visit here, check out their event calendar. They had a petting zoo when I visited and honestly the kids looks like they were having a blast. Bring the whole family 🙂
De Tulperij was the last official stop on my route. By this point, I admit that I was super tired so I didn’t take many photos. They had a cute little store and flea market area. There were some beautiful yellow flowers blooming already but not too many other flowers.
Miscellaneous Stops in the Holland Flower Region
Time for the bonus stops! Some of the most beautiful flower fields I saw, I found just along the route. In fact, it was in these spots “in between” that I lived that fairytale moment I was chasing.
Enjoy the ride explorers. You might just see something incredible along the way.
Visiting the flower fields in Holland was a dream come true. Here’s the break down of costs and advice for those of you wanting to do a similar trip.
Costs for 2 Day / 1 Night Holland Experience
- Transport *Roundtrip* from Airport + Entrance to Keukenhof – €29
- Dutch Waffle and Hot Chocolate in Keukenhof – €6
- AirBnB in Lisse – €120 for 1 night
- Groceries in Lisse Dinner and Breakfast – €10.35
- Bike Rental + Helmet – €17
- Entrance into Amsterdam Experience including coffee and 5 bulbs – €12.50
- Entrance to Tulip Barn Fields – €5
- Food at Tulip Barn – €6.50
- 1 Hour metro pass in Amsterdam – €3.80
Total Cost for 2 day/1 night tulip experience was €210.15.
What I’d Change
There are 2 changes to my itinerary that I’d recommend to travellers:
1) As you can see in the costs above, the accommodation was the majority of my costs. If you are more budget conscious, you could stay in Amsterdam and travel back to the flower region for a 2nd day.
Accommodation in Amsterdam in cheaper and more available. Likely you could reduce your cost from ~€120 to €40 per night + €20 transportation back to the flower region. It would likely make your day 1-2 hours longer door to door but could be well worth it to save the extra cash and have this amazing experience for ~€150.
2) Visit later in April to truly get the tulips in full bloom. Although the region was bright and colorful, many of the tulips were barely starting to bloom. I’d imaging that going 1-2 weeks later would have been even more beautiful. You will surely face the crowds but it would likely be well worth it.
So there you have it!