Visiting Keukenhof, The Garden of Europe

The name of the park, “Keukenhof”, written in flowers

Seeing the tulips in the Netherlands and visiting the park Keukenhof has been on my travel bucket list for years! But with a peak period of only a few weeks, year after year passed and somehow once again I found that I had missed my opportunity to go. But not this year! With a new car and a relatively easy driving time of less than 5 hours, we decided to drive up to the Netherlands for a few days to see their famous spring flowers. And it’s difficult to say that you’ve seen the tulips in the Netherlands without visiting Keukenhof, one of the world’s largest flower gardens.

The History of Keukenhof

The word “Keukenhof” literally means “kitchen gardens” in English. And that’s because it was once the Castle Keukenhof’s kitchen gardens, in the 15th century. It was later transformed by its owners into a park and then, in 1950, an association of bulb growers and flower exporters decided to use this park to showcase their products to a worldwide audience. 73 years later, Keukenhof remains one of the top attractions in the Netherlands, but only for a short period of time, as it’s only open about 8 weeks out of the year, from mid-March to mid-May. Despite its short tourist season, in 8 weeks, Keukenhof received 1.5 million visitors (approximately 26,000 per day!) in 2019 and generated €25 million in revenue. I expect that they likely will have just as many visitors this year, and possibly even more.


Keukenhof is in the town of Lisse, about 20 miles southwest from Amsterdam. Lisse is in the Bollenstreek region, which literally means “Bulb” region, a nod to the many tulip fields located in the area. (Fun fact: This region is not the largest tulip-growing region in the Netherlands, but its proximity to Amsterdam and easy access makes it one of the most popular.). Keukenhof, although not containing any tulip fields within the park, is easily the most popular attraction in the region. There are many different options for getting to Keukenhof from Amsterdam and other main cities in the Netherlands, all which can be found here. Since we were staying outside of Amsterdam and had our car, we decided to drive there. Parking was well-organized and easy to find, especially since we arrived relatively early.

Although Keukenhof doesn’t have tulip fields (it’s more of a manicured garden), it overlooks some beautiful tulip and hyacinth fields nearby.

Our Visit

In my research, I found that the best time to visit the park was either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, as the park fills up quickly. We bought tickets online for a 9am time slot (which for me, was quite early), but seeing the number of people there at 9 made me wish that we had bought tickets for 8am, when they first opened. As the hours went on, the crowds got progressively worse and worse. After 4 hours, we had had enough of the crowds and made our way towards the exit. Despite the crowds, what we saw along the way made our visit to Keukenhof well worth it.

Although Keukenhof mainly has tulips in their gardens, other flowers can be seen throughout.
Some of the last remaining cherry blossoms holding watch over colorful tulips
I love how they coordinate different types and colors of tulips together

In typical spring fashion, the weather alternated between sunny, blue skies and cloudy rain showers

Although the photos make Keukenhof look peaceful, there were actually people everywhere. Here, you can see hoards of people in the distance.
It almost looks like these tulips are painted on.

In addition to the beautiful landscaped tulips outdoors, there’s also several indoor pavilions. Our favorite was the Willem-Alexander Pavilion with different types of tulips that likely wouldn’t survive outdoors. These tulips were stunning and so unique – in fact, it was hard to believe that some of these were even tulips!

I loved how delicate these looked, almost as if they were made of tissue paper
“Drumline” tulips
“Cheerleader” tulips

Despite the crowds, we really enjoyed our visit to Keukenhof. I’m not sure if I would return, though, just because the crowds were so intense. If I went again, maybe I would go at 8am and try to leave by 11am at the latest. Or maybe I would try to go at 3 or 4pm after a lot of the crowds leave. But if you’re in the Netherlands around this time of year and follow these tips, I highly recommend visiting Keukenhof. It truly is a tulip paradise!

Until next time,


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