How To Enjoy The Vibrant Tulip Fields In Lisse

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Lisse is a picturesque Dutch village known as one of the best places to see tulips in the Netherlands, primarily because it is home to the famous Keukenhof Gardens.

Keukenhof is one of the largest flower gardens in the world and showcases a spectacular array of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring flowers for six weeks every year. 

But there is so much more to Lisse than Keukenhof, especially during tulip season.  Keukenhof Gardens is just one way to experience the lovely Dutch tulips, but it’s actually my least favorite, mostly thanks to the large crowds and the way the flowers are laid out, making selfies a little hard.

Don’t get me wrong, the gardens are beautiful, and you can get amazing photos of all the flowers at Keukenhof, but I wanted to be immersed in rows of beautiful tulip fields, and since the flowers are strategically placed around walkways and in gardens you can’t stand in, selfies with rows of tulips surrounding me were hard to come by. 

While I definitely recommend visiting Keukenhof Gardens (go at 8 a.m. before the crowds) I discovered many other areas in Lisse that are excellent for soaking in the best of spring (and getting the best selfies) and want to share them with you, so you too can live out your tulip dreams!

How to Get to Lisse

You can get to Lisse by car, bus, or train + bus from major cities in the area, including Amsterdam, Haarlem, the Hague, and Leiden. The best way to get to Lisse from Amsterdam depends on your preferences in terms of convenience, budget, and travel time. 

Car

The most convenient option is by car. Whether you are coming for a day or spending the week, having your own car will allow you to explore the area without limits. You will have to pay for parking if you visit Keukenhof Gardens, but parking in the small tulip towns like Lisse and Hillegom is mostly free. Although limited, the public tulip fields have free parking.

Bus

If you don’t have a car, taking the Keukenhof Express bus line 858 is the next best way to get to Lisse during Tulip season. The bus goes from the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport directly to Keukenhof Gardens in about 30 minutes, with multiple buses an hour. This is a great option for a day trip to Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam. You can buy a combo ticket for the gardens and transportation.

The bus drops you off at the main entrance to Keukenhof, so if you want to tour the tulip fields or visit one of the tulip attractions, you will need to walk a lot or rent a bike to get around the area. Read more about bus transportation to Keukenhof Gardens here

Train

There are no direct trains straight to Lisse. The closest station is Nieuw-Vennep, about 6 km away. You can take a bus from the station to the heart of Lisse.

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What to Know Before You Go

The production fields in the Netherlands grow tulips for their bulbs, not for the flowers, so once the tulips bloom, they cut the flowers off to harvest the bulbs. This means timing is everything. If you arrive too late, you will see fields of green, not beautiful colors.

Tulips bloom in the Netherlands in April, sometimes lasting until mid-May. It all depends on the weather. 

All the research I did said tulip season is from late March to mid-May, but when I visited in early April, the tulips had not bloomed. On my second visit, I went in late April, and the tulips had already passed peak bloom, and a lot of fields had been harvested already. It changes every year, but to be safe, the middle of April is the best time to visit to ensure the tulips have bloomed and have not been cut yet. 

Above are photos of what the fields look like after the flowers have been cut.

There are fields of daffodils and hyacinths in early April

One thing that sparked my desire to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands was the beautiful photos of people running through massive fields of tulips in all different colors. 

Well, it turns out that visitors are not allowed to walk freely amongst these large fields. There are hefty fines for trespassing on private fields and I understand why. 

With increased tourism,  many visitors trample over rows and pick flowers that are not meant to be picked. Walking in the fields can spread disease and kill the bulb. The tulip fields are the farmers’ livelihoods, so they must be respected. Don’t overcome the barricades along the entrance to the fields, and never pick the tulips! There are public picking gardens for that.

You are only allowed to enter these private fields with permission, and most of the time, no one is there to give you permission. 

But, thanks to growers wanting to share their pride and joy with the masses, many growers initiated tourist fields, show gardens, and picking gardens for visitors to walk through, take photos in, and pick their own bunches of tulips. Because of this, there is no reason to illegally tresspass onto private fields. The public fields are lovely and offer many photo opportunities and a chance to learn about Dutch culture and speak to the local families that operate the tulip fields.

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What is The Best Way to Get Around Lisse?

Self Driving

Having your own car is the best way to get around Lisse, even with the crowds and increased traffic during the tulip season. There are local buses but public transportation will not take you to the most desirable areas to see the tulips. A car will allow you to see as much as you can, and it will be easier to see multiple fields in one day. 

Biking

Aside from having your own car, taking a bike tour or renting a bike yourself and cruising around the tulip route is a fantastic way to see the tulip fields in Lisse. Of course, your experience will depend on the weather, and April is known for its unpredictable weather, so renting a bike is best done at the last minute.

Rent a Bike Van Dam is the main rental company with over 500 bikes to rent during tulip season and rents different kinds of bikes, including electric bikes, tandems, and electric scooters. They rent bikes from the main entrance of Keukenhof Gardens.

There are other pop up bike rentals in the area during tulip season and many paved bike routes you can use to explore the area. 

There are guided tours available, but most of the farm roads that run through the fields in Lisse are single-lane roads with bike lanes, so you can easily cycle around Lisse on your own. 

Taxis & Ubers

There are taxis and Ubers available in Lisse and the surrounding towns. I didn’t see any official taxi stands, so this may be a service you have to call for. There are not a ton of Ubers, but if you download the UBER app, you will be able to schedule rides around the area during tulip season. 

Above is a Google Map showing all of the public fields and tulip experiences in Lisse and the surrounding villages.

Where Can I See The Best Tulip Fields in Lisse? 

What is great about Lisse is that they have tourist fields just for visitors in addition to the commercial fields. The growers plant the tulips at different times to ensure there is something in bloom all season long. They have props for photos, cafes, and snack stands, and some offer small museums and other activities for families to enjoy a complete Dutch tulip experience.

With a car, you can easily travel outside of Lisse to enjoy other tulip attractions like The Tulip Barn and The Tulip Experience. Both of these are open to the public and require a paid timed ticket for entry.

Show Garden Tulip Store

The Show Garden located at Loosterweg Zuid 23 is my favorite public field in Lisse. You can walk around the show garden to view 500 varieties of tulips and take photos in the fields and garden with various props like a tractor, swing, and flower-adorned bicycle. 

The best part is that it is free to enter and enjoy. Their tulip shop offers bulbs, fresh flowers, gifts and souvenirs for purchase. While the shop is open only during certain times, the tulip garden and fields are accessible 24/7.

Keukenhof Gardens

The famous Keukenhof Gardens is located in Lisse. Renowned for being one of the largest flower gardens in the world, its specialty lies in its stunning displays of tulips, with over 7 million bulbs planted every year.

The gardens are meticulously landscaped, with winding pathways, serene water features, and themed gardens that create a picturesque backdrop for the vibrant tulip displays. Each year, the design of the gardens is carefully planned to a specific theme to offer visitors a unique and memorable experience.

Keukenhof is only open from mid-March to mid-May during the blooming season.

Aside from flower gardens, Keukenhof offers various cultural events and activities throughout its opening season, including art exhibitions, history museums, flower arranging demonstrations, and live music performances. Enjoy a boat ride among the tulip fields, walk through specialty greenhouses, and enjoy local snacks and refreshments while touring the gardens.

The gardens are big, with almost 80 acres of floral displays to enjoy. You could easily spend the whole day at Keukenhof. They offer snacks, food trucks and dining pavilions. I spent close to 6 hours walking around and taking photos of the millions of gorgeous flowers. 

You should purchase a timed ticket in advance if you arrive during peak bloom, but the gardens are blooming throughout the season, so it is not as important to visit these gardens during peak bloom as they are groomed and upkeep so well. No matter what time you visit during the season, I am sure they will be beautiful.

Parking is 10 euros at the flower fields. Arriving at 8 a.m. before public transportation and the day trippers are in full swing is the best way to have a more relaxing and enjoyable experience. 

Bloemencorso (Flower parade)

The Bloemencorso, or Flower Parade, is an annual event in the Bollenstreek region (bulb region) of the Netherlands. Participating towns and villages spend months planning and preparing their floats, involving volunteers, local businesses, and flower growers in the process.

The Bloemencorso follows a designated route through the villages and towns from Noordwijk to Haarlem, including Lisse. Spectators line the streets and enjoy the procession of floats adorned with flowers up close. In addition to the parade, there are festivities such as live music, food stalls, and entertainment, making it a festive occasion for anyone wanting to experience a fun local celebration. 

Self Guided Tour 

From guided tours to biking and even helicopter rides, there are a multitude of ways to see the tulip fields once you arrive in Lisse. 

By Bike

As I mentioned before, there are plenty of designated bike routes in Lisse, but you can easily rent a bike and cycle wherever you want. The Netherlands is known for their bike culture, so motorists are used to sharing the road with bikes- of course, many motorists during tulip season may be tourists, so always take precautions and stay on the designated bike paths and quaint farm roads that have dedicated bike lanes.

There are four cycle routes that start in Lisse and explore not only Lisse but neighboring villages and towns.

Find detailed information about the biking routes here.

By Car

With a car, you can easily access many tulip areas in Lisse and drive outside the popular Keukenhof region where there are fewer tourists. Since Lisse is small, (you can drive through town in 10 mins), you won’t have to drive around for hours hoping to see some vibrant tulip fields, they are everywhere!

Head to the outskirts of town to see the fields.

Since the tulip fields change location slightly each year, exact locations are tough to recommend. Your best bet is to pull up Google Maps and put it on satellite mode to see where the tulip fields are and what roads run along them.

With that said, here are a few roads I drove down that were lined with fields. 

  • Zwartelaan
  • Loosterweg Noord
  • Loosterweg Zuid south of the intersections with Spekkelaan
  • Van Lyndenweg, west of Stationsweg 
  • Essenlaan

A drive to the Tulip Shop Show Garden from anywhere in Lisse will take you through some beautiful fields. 

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Self Drive Audio GPS Tour

You can do a Self Drive Audio and GPS tour in a fully charged electric Renault Twizy. The small cars are suitable for 2 people and include GPS navigation with a 20km fixed route available in Dutch, English, and German. The audio guide shares all the ins and outs about the area with cool tulip facts and stops at a bulb farm.

A Helicopter Tour

A helicopter tour will give you a unique perspective on the tulip fields. There are different companies that operate scenic flights over the tulip fields from Amsterdam, Lelystad, and Keukenhof Flower Park.

These tours are very limited and only operate for a few days each season. They cost around 170 USD to 300 USD per person and last about 15 mins to 1 hour, depending on the company and where they take off from.  

Guided Bike Tour

If you feel more comfortable with a guide or just like talking to locals, opt for a guided bike tour. You will tour the Keukenhof area, including Keukenhof Castle, and cruise past more tulips than you can count. They also stop at a tulip farm for photos, refreshments, stunning views and options to purchase souvenirs. 

Where Should I Stay To See The Lisse Tulip Fields?

The best place to stay will depend on your preferences and budget. Local boutique hotels and B&Bs in Lisse do get booked quickly, often months before tulip season. If you are not able to book far enough in advance to stay in Lisse, there are guest houses and bed and breakfasts in surrounding towns like Hillegom and Voorhout that are just as good and close to Lisse’s tulip fields.

Because my top 2 hotel choices were sold out, I stayed in two different air B&Bs, since neither had availability for the entire week I visited Lisse. Both were suitable for a solo traveler and provided basic essentials and free parking. But I would recommend staying somewhere else for more comfort. While the Air B&Bs were ok, they were small, had shared bathrooms and didn’t provide anywhere to prepare or store chilled food. I booked about a month out, so book as early as possible to get your first choice.

During my first visit to Lisse, I stayed in Amsterdam and drove to Lisse on day trips. For the best tulip experience, I recommend staying a few nights in Lisse (or surrounding areas) so you can enjoy the fields in the morning or at sunset without the day-tripping crowds.

Because I am a photographer and wanted to make sure I had some good weather days, I stayed 5 nights in the area, but you really do not need that long to visit the gardens and tour the fields. A couple days will do, you just run the risk of the weather not cooperating if you are only there for a short time. 

The Best Stays in Lisse 

Staying in the town center is a good idea if you do not have a car. You can easily walk to restaurants, shops, and markets if you are staying in town. Most hotels in Lisse offer bike rentals and are within walking distance of Keukenhof Gardens.

A few cons of staying in town are that prices are higher and some hotels do not guarantee parking (it’s usually free street parking). You would save money by not renting a car so the costs are pretty similar between in town and outside town.  

Here are some accommodations I found on Booking.com. I use booking to do research and find reviews before booking a stay. Because a lot of the local websites are in Dutch, booking.com makes everything so easy in your native language and includes detailed information from former guests that cannot be found on the property’s own website.

These were all sold out during my visit, but all look like fantastic places to stay.

Suite 137 – A one-bedroom apartment With free Wifi, a washing machine, and a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and oven.

Heerehuys Lisse -A two-bedroom villa with all the amenities, including an outdoor fireplace, heated pool, fast Wifi, and free private parking.

Boutique Suites Lisse-This hotel is right in town and has a French restaurant on its property. Rooms all have private baths and wifi but no elevator, and rooms are on multiple levels. 

B&B Blossom-This was one of my top choices but was sold out over a month in advance. The rooms are in an old barn surrounded by tulips. It has air-conditioned rooms, with a shared kitchen but private baths and wifi.

The Best Stays Outside of Lisse 

If you do have a car, consider staying outside of town, as the limited parking can be tough during high season. Since you have transportation, you can easily drive to places of interest. Public parking is mostly free in many of the tulip towns along the streets.

LODGE & LOFT– This one came highly recommended. It has air conditioning, wifi, and free parking but also has a 3-night minimum during tulip season. 

De Groene Bollenschuur– Another one of my top picks that was sold out, this is a bed and breakfast in Hillegrom, in a fully restored old barn surrounded by tulip fields. From the photos, it looks like you can walk out among the fields from your room- how dreamy! 

Pergamo Bed and Breakfast– Another bed and breakfast with three themed rooms in a 100 year-old farmhouse in the middle of tulip fields. They have a focus on wellness and offer wellness packages during your stay.

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While there are more areas in the Netherlands perfect for seeing beautiful tulip fields, Lisse is my favorite because of the different ways you are able to experience the fields. It is close to other tulip towns, offers wonderful B&Bs, and has a ton of scenic views. Make your reservations as early as possible and during peak season to see the vibrant fields in all their glory! As with all things Mother Nature, peak season is hard to predict but the middle of April is your best best.

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