Where To Find The Best Tulip Fields In The Netherlands

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Looking for the best tulip fields in the Netherlands? You’ve come to the right place!

Tourists come to the Netherlands for many different reasons, but those visiting in April want nothing more than to see the best tulip fields in the Netherlands!

Come spring, millions of tourists flock down to the Netherlands to soak in as many tulip fields as possible. It’s peak travel season for the country, with fields of tulips blooming from late March to mid-May, depending on the weather.

I knew I wanted to visit the tulip fields from the first Instagram photo I saw. After a few years of hoping, I finally made it a reality. I ended up traveling to the fields twice in one season while on a two-month solo trip through Europe

I arrived the first week of April and stayed a week in Amsterdam, one of the best cities for solo travel. I was with a few friends during this leg of my European trip, so we went when everyone’s schedules worked (and right after seeing the Northern Lights in Norway the week before). Otherwise, I would have chosen to go the second or third week of April for peak bloom. The tulips had yet to bloom in most of the production fields by the time I left.

fields of hyacinths

We visited Keukenhof Gardens, and the flowers were gorgeous, but the crowds were thick, it was raining the entire day, and photos were challenging. I imagined seeing rows of tulips, acres long, in blocks of vibrant colors, so I knew I had to try again. At the time, the tulip fields were all green, but we did see yellow, white and purple fields of daffodils and hyacinths that were stunning!

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field of daffodils

I returned to the Netherlands that same month after a road trip through Germany. I returned 15 days later and can you believe most of the tulips had not only bloomed but had already been harvested for their bulbs, which means the flowers had been clipped off.

It was essentially a tulip massacre in almost all of the fields I had marked to return to. I talked to a few growers, and it turns out the tulips bloomed two weeks earlier than expected and they didn’t last as long due to the weather. I couldn’t believe it! The peak season was only about a week, whereas the blooms lasted well into May in other years.

A look at what the fields look like right after the flowers have been cut

But, all was not lost. I still managed to get some good photos and see some beautiful fields, but some of the tulip areas in Northern Holland and Flevoland had already shut down for the season.

Because I missed the season in two of the three areas known for tulip production, this post is going to focus on the areas I visited in South Holland.

What To Expect in Tulip Country

There are many commercial tulip fields in Holland. Over three billion bulbs are exported every year. These fields grow tulips for their bulbs, not the flower, so once the tulip blooms, the farmer cuts the bloom off to harvest the bulb. It’s a practice that allows the bulb to produce quality blooms in its next cycle. Unless you time it just right, you’ll see a field of green leaves and plucked stems rather than vibrant flowers.

These fields are known as the production fields and are not open to the public to wander around freely. There are gates, signs, and barricades on most production fields to protect them from tourists trying to get their perfect Instagram photo. Walking through the fields can spread diseases and harm the bulbs crumbling any chance of a successful tulip season for the farmer. 

The wonderful thing is, you do not need to enter these fields to get amazing photos and have a lovely Dutch tulip experience. 

After extensive exploring, talking with growers, and with the help of a few locals- I found the best tulip fields in the Netherlands (that you are allowed to walk through), and I want to share them with you! 

But first, I’d like to share more information about my experience in the tulip fields to help you have the best experience. If you want to jump to later sections of the post, use the drop down table of contents above to get there quick!

What To Know Before You Go

The Netherlands comprises 12 provinces. Holland is a region within the Netherlands that consists of two provinces, North Holland and South Holland. The best regions to admire spring tulips in the Netherlands are Flevoland, North Holland (where Amsterdam is), and South Holland.  

The best time to visit the flower fields is from early March until mid-May. The tulips are in full bloom sometime in April, so I suggest visiting in the middle of April and staying for at least a week. You never know what Mother Nature has in store for you so staying a week is plenty of time to visit multiple fields in different provinces and hopefully get a few sunny days in.

Spring in Holland is characterized by highly unpredictable weather with rolling rain showers. They usually don’t last long, but being prepared with what to expect is key. Temperatures can range from the 30-50℉. Bring a warm coat, a waterproof jacket, and shoes that can walk through mud that you don’t mind getting dirty. 

Renting a car is by far the easiest way to get around the popular tulip towns. Your own car allows you to be on your own time, venture to less touristy fields and gives you somewhere to hide if the weather does not cooperate. It also makes life much easier if you want to bring 25 pounds of camera equipment with you. I take my own photos, so I always carry a tripod and a few lenses that can get heavy quick!

However, if you are just looking for a day trip and do not want to stay overnight in the bulb region, you can easily reach the bulb villages by public transportation from Amsterdam Central. Just be prepared to walk (alot) or rent a bike to get around the fields.

Types of Tulip Fields in the Netherlands

I touched on this briefly but wanted to explain a bit further. There are different types of tulip fields and tulip experiences in the Netherlands.

Production Fields 

There are large commercial fields meant for production that are off-limits to tourists. You are welcome to enjoy the views from the roadside or along the edge of the rows, but if there is a barricade, do not overcome it. Even if there is no barricade, you are not permitted to walk through the fields. These are the fields that surround you as you drive through the bulb region. Often they are surrounded by a water ditch.   

With that said, there are production fields that farmers will allow you to walk through, but only with permission. I was told there are hefty fines if you are caught in a private field without permission. If there is no farmer present to ask for permission, consider your request denied. Don’t walk blindly into the flower fields. 

Tourist Fields and Show Gardens

There are tourist fields that have been grown with tourists in mind. You are welcome to walk through these fields and take all the photos you want. Some you have to pay for, and others are free. These fields were introduced to help minimize the impact of increasing tourism on the vulnerable production tulip fields. 

Some of these fields offer guided tours of the production fields and a more well-rounded tulip experience with cafes, museums, and other activities aimed at visitors wanting to immerse themselves in Dutch culture.

Floral Gardens

Lastly, you’ll see gardens that offer a public space to relax and enjoy.

Keukenhof (koo·kuh·naaf) Gardens is the most famous garden in the Netherlands and is the place where most people, if not everyone, who visit Holland for the tulips will end up. It’s 100% touristy, 100% packed and 100% beautiful! They plant over 7 million bulbs and have almost 80 acres of flower gardens, including orchids, hyacinths, daffodils, lilies, roses, carnations, and irises.

The gardens are different from the tulip fields, mainly because they are cultivated for aesthetic reasons with careful planning of color schemes, arrangements, and overall landscape design for the purpose of tourism.

While the production tulip fields and floral gardens are both beautiful, you may prefer one’s appearance over the other. I was on a mission to photograph both!

Now that we have some knowledge of the tulip fields and what to expect during tulip season, let’s jump into the Best Areas To See Tulips In The Netherlands.

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Above is a Google Map with all of the public fields and tulip experiences marked

South Holland Tulip Fields

Bollenstreek (translated into bulb area) is located just below Amsterdam in South Holland. It is known as the Bulb Region of the Netherlands and officially consists of six towns, four of which are known to have the highest concentration of tulips in the region: Lisse, Hillegom, Teylingen, and Noordwijkerhout. 

All of these villages are quaint, primarily residential, with many single-lane, two-way streets. Some have walkable downtown areas and bike trails between them. 

Lisse

Lisse is the most well known area in Holland to see the best tulip fields. This quaint town is enriched with more fields than you can imagine plus fields just for tourists, so its popularity is more than justified.

Lisse is a fantastic area for a self-drive around the colorful fields. You really do not need any special directions as you can just drive through town and spot what you came to see. Regardless, here are some of the roads I drove down to see thousands of flowers:

  • Zwartelaan
  • Van Lyndenweg, west of Stationsweg 
  • Essenlaan

To reach Lisse from Amsterdam Centraal (the main train station) take the train to Schipol Airport. Once you’re in Schipol, hop on the Express bus 858, which will take you to Lisse in 20 minutes. This option is best in combination with a bike rental: Rent-a-Bike Van Dam; I believe it is the only bike rental company in Lisse.

Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens, the Disneyland of Tulips, is located right in Lisse. This is one of the largest flower gardens in Europe, and it is only open for six weeks during the entire year. You’ll want to book tickets in advance to ensure they do not sell out. They operate on a timed entry schedule. Once you enter, you are allowed to stay for as long as you want. There are multiple entrances, which helps with the crowds and parking, but you’ll still want to go as early as possible to get the most out of your experience. Crowds really do dampen the atmosphere. 

I went to Keukenhof with my group and spent over 5 hours walking around, taking photos and eating stroopwafels! So, if you take as many photos as my friends and I do, plan a whole day to enjoy the gardens and the surrounding fields.

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Tulip Store Show Garden 

One of my favorite fields in Lisse is at the Show Garden Tulip Store. This location offers a retail shop, a tulip garden, and a large tourist field all in one- plus it’s free entry! They sell bunches of fresh tulips, bulbs and a variety of gifts but also have a large field of tulips that you are able to access 24/7, perfect for sunset photos. 

Their show garden displays over 500 tulip varieties with name plaques so you can choose your favorites and offers some props for photo taking like a decorated bike, tractor and swings overlooking the fields. 

Although most of their fields had been plucked before I visited in late April, I was still able to get some good shots!

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Hillegom

Hillegom, a little town located in the northern part of Bollenstreek, has little to no tourist attractions, but thanks to its tulip farms, it’s one of the most visited places in the Netherlands. 

Most of the flower fields are located on Hillegom’s outskirts and require tickets or a reservation to visit. 

A drive down Veenenburgerlaan will offer many fields to admire if you do not want to pay to play and do not mind admiring from a distance.

Pro Tip: Pull up Google Earth or Google Maps on satellite mode, and you can easily see hundreds of tulip fields and the best streets to drive down that run right along the fields.

Fam Flower Farm

Fam Flower Farm is a grower of Dahlias in late summer and tulips in spring. They open their fields for guided tours and photoshoots on select days of the season, sometimes only 2-3 days during the month of April. 

For 1.5 hours in the tulips fields, they charge $55 dollars per person, which includes coffee, tea, stroopwafels, and a bunch of tulips. They also have photo props like baskets, hats, watering cans, and bikes and limit entry to 15 persons to ensure you will be able to capture your best photos. 

It’s a field you’ll want to check out if you are dying for your own (non-crowded) tulip field photoshoot. They do not allow access to the fields without permission, so make sure to make a reservation on their website if you happen to be visiting Hillegrom when they are open. 

The Tulip Barn

The Tulip Barn was launched in 2021 to give tourists a safe and fun place to enjoy tulips without damaging the fields that are cultivated for harvest. 

The family-owned and ran farm plants over 175 varieties with a mix of early, medium, and late blooming tulips so their tourist gardens stay vibrant all season long. You can enjoy taking as many photos as you want in the garden and also get to tour their production fields. Tickets are 8.50 euros each and they operate on a timed entry system. You can buy tickets in advance on their website. 

They also have food and drinks in their greenhouse and special events throughout the tulip season. 

The Tulip Experience 

Located right on the border of Hillegom and Noordwijkerhout, The Tulip Experience is another show garden created especially for tourists, with over 1 million tulips in over 700 varieties. There are plenty of photo opportunities in their selfie/show garden, complete with props like swings, frames, baskets, and wooden Dutch shoes. You can buy tickets online. They also have a timed entry system but sell tickets in person for available time slots as well. They also have a museum and cafe inside their warehouse. 

Their website says it only takes an hour to go through the Tulip Experience but I spent an hour just walking through the fields and ran out of time to self-tour the museum and other attractions inside, so plan accordingly. It gets busy in high season, so the best way to avoid the crowds is to go first thing, right when they open and take photos in the fields and then go back inside to enjoy their interactive tulip displays. 

Annemieke’s Pluktuin (a tulip picking garden)

Located in Hillegom at Haarlemmerstratt 15a, this garden is especially for picking. They have many varieties and colors available for picking each year. The season lasts about 7 weeks from the time the tulips start to bloom. Visit their website or Facebook page for updated picking season information.

Road N206 in Noordwijkerhout (a small town)

This road south of Ruigenhoek, where “Bulbs4you” is located on google maps, runs along a series of tulip fields. There are stands and gardens along the side road, Oosterduinen, offering fresh tulips and bulbs for sale along with picking gardens. While these look like production fields, which you should not enter, you are allowed to stand along the edge of the fields and take photos. The side road gives these fields easy access for admiring and they were some of the most colorful I saw during my time in the Netherlands.

 De Tulperij

De Tulperij is another tourist pick with something special, you are allowed to pick your own bunch of tulips in the picking garden. They offer guided tours for a fee with growers, Daan or Anja and also have a shop filled with souvenirs and locally made products. Enjoy their show garden with many varieties of tulips and buy some bulbs to plant yourself. Entry to the show garden is free! They also offer some special activities for kids with a minimal fee.

Van Der Slot Tulips

This farm is located right down the road from the Tulip Store Show Garden. They mostly grow their tulips for production and are best if you want to admire some colorful fields from afar. They also offer a retail store and sell bunches of fresh tulips in covered carts out front.

Another fantastic area to see the Tulips in the Netherlands is Noordoostpolder in the Flevoland province. It has the highest concentration of production tulip fields in the Netherlands. Noordoostpolder hosts an annual Tulip Festival and there is a signposted biking and car route through the tulip fields in Eastern and Southern Flevoland during peak bloom. Once the farmers cut the flowers off they close the access roads which means you have to time it just right. The year I went they closed the scenic route the day I arrived so it was not worth going, but sounds like a great experience!

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Despite rain, wind and colder than normal temps I still enjoyed my trip to Holland to see the tulips! Even though I missed peak bloom there was still plenty to see thanks to the tourist fields and show gardens. I’ll definitely be back to explore other areas in Holland, but South Holland did not disappoint.

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4 Comments

  1. Catching these colors in Holland has been on my bucket list for YEARS! As always, you’re resource rich post will be bookmarked for the future. Thanks for the post! Great images btw 😎

    1. I hope its useful! I’m glad I finally got there- I for sure will be back in hopes of better weather and more tulip fields-you can always count on Mother Nature to be unpredictable!

  2. I did a great job especially staying for a week. We were only there three days and we saw two different fields. One field were just the field, but you could go through the fields and pick up OK never have been able to do that then we went to
    The Famous Pl., Kukanoff Do you know where I mean and that was beautiful I mean, tulips as big as your hand it was fabulous that was bucket list. I’m so glad I went.

    1. Sounds like fun! I visited Keukenhof and went in the green house with tulips and other flowers as big as my head! I know what you mean!! So glad you had a great time!

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