The Ultimate tulip guide: How to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands

All the colors. All the flowers. All the smiles! Seeing tulips in the Netherlands is a must-do activity in the spring. Holland and tulips are basically synonymous and for good reason! In the early part of the year, they are everywhere. And I mean…everywhere.

Mills with tulips in Alkmaar

We are so lucky to live in a place where I can easily buy 50 tulips for 10 Euro. Yes, that’s right. Find the flower stands around Amsterdam that aren’t in the center of the city or in the train station and you’ll get a great deal on flowers. I’d recommend the Albert Cuyp Market for a popular attraction with a great price on flowers. While you’re there, take a little DIY street food tour. Why? Because everything is delicious. That’s why.

Did you know that tulips actually came from Turkey and the central Asia area. In the 16th century, they were brought to the Netherlands, where the trade and love for these flowers bloomed! If you are looking for alternative places to see tulips, then definitely check out Turkey. They have their own tulip festival!

Let’s get back to the Netherlands, shall we? Tulips may have originated in another part of the world, but they’ve taken over here…and that’s why you want to visit.

Jess by tulip fields in the Netherlands

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Tulip field

Best time of year for tulips + Tulip events in the Netherlands

There are a few ways to see tulips in the Netherlands. I’ll cover them all just in case you aren’t able to visit when the tulip fields are in bloom. Don’t worry, we will still cover everything about the tulip fields!
Best time to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands

Mid-April to mid-May is the general consensus of when the tulips will be blooming in those big beautiful fields full of stripes of color. If you can, make it a point to visit mid- to late-April for the best chances to see the fields.

Bulb field

Best time for tulips in Amsterdam

We have the National Tulip Day event in January, so from then until mid-May is when you’ll find tulips in Amsterdam to buy. As you might imagine, the tulips the use for National Tulip Day on Dam Square are grown in a greenhouse. I haven’t found any greenhouses you can visit yet, but this does mean that even before the tulip fields are in bloom, you can buy fresh tulips all over the city!

Then, in April, we have the…


Tulipfestival 2016

Tulip Festival in Amsterdam

Yes, we even have a tulip festival in this city. That cannot surprise you! From March 31-April 30 the city plants one tulip for every Amsterdammer. Can I get a collective “awwwww!”? During this time, you’ll see flowers planted on bridges and along the Museum Square…anywhere and everywhere throughout the whole city in 85 different spots.


Flower Market, Amsterdam

Buying Amsterdam flowers

From grocery stores to stand-only flower shops, you’ll find tulips for sale all over Amsterdam from January until May.

And they are cheap. I’ve seen a bunch of 50 tulips for €10. The best prices are going to be found at the corner flower stalls typically found in the neighborhoods outside the center of the city. So, explore more of the local side of Amsterdam through our neighborhood guides and stumble along a local, small flower stand and admire the perfect flowers. Buy some and take them back to you hotel to brighten it up.


Find the perfect accommodation in the Netherlands for your trip


Flower parade

Flower Parade in the Netherlands

For one epically full day of flowers in April, check out the Flower Parade that rides from the seaside town of Noordwijk, through Lisse, to Haarlem’s town center.

A lesser-known, but no less spectacular flower parade can be found in September at the Flower Parade Zundert. These floats only use dahlias…but I thought you might love it anyway.

Looking for a floating flower parade? I ALWAYS am, obviously. It’s the Netherlands. Everything should be on water! Well, here’s one in July, called the Westland Flower Parade.


Keukenhof Flowers

Visit Keukenhof — the Garden of Europe

Sometimes people get confused and think that Keukenhof is full of tulip fields. While it has a huge amount of tulips, it’s just in the same region as the tulip fields. If you like flowers, then you’ll love Keukenhof. Just buy your ticket early, get there early, and learn the rest of my tips for visiting Keukenhof in my other big post on it!

How to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands without crowds

Now, let’s get into the good stuff. The tulip-shaped heart of it all. How do you see the tulip fields in the Netherlands? Well, first of all, remember that these are farms, first and foremost. They are not an attraction in their own right. They have become an attraction simply because they are so beautiful…and probably because a bunch of people trespassed on farms to take their tulip pictures. DON’T TRESPASS! For pictures with tulips, stick with me, I’m getting there. If you enter a farm, you can unintentionally destroy their crop and not even know it. Don’t be that person. Be the person who loves tulips and respects farmers.

I’m going to cover so many ways to see that tulips, that one will be perfect for you! I guarantee you that you might be surprised at some of these options. And I love doing that! I want to give you the best opportunity to see the fields, and at the same time, help you discover the real Netherlands. That’s special.

Tulips fields in the Netherlands

Are there tulips fields in Amsterdam?

People ask this question a lot…probably because it would be much easier to visit tulip fields if they were in, or right next to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, there are no tulip fields in Amsterdam. But, within an hour, you have plenty of options! Keep reading for some awesome ways to see the tulip fields.


Tulpenroute Dronten

Rent a car and follow a tulip route in Flevoland

If you’re doing a road trip around the Netherlands, then you’re in luck. There’s a great car route and tulip festival to help you explore this lesser-known area of the country. Flevoland is one of twelve provinces in the Netherlands. You probably know about North and South Holland, and this one is just east of North Holland. Obviously, just watch out for bikes and enjoy the scenery. I’d recommend staying up in this area as well. You’ll get a totally different experience than in Amsterdam…and you do not want to bring your car into Amsterdam. Ask literally anyone.


Jessica on scooter

Rent a bike or scooter and follow a tulip route in Flevoland

Are you fit and love to cycle? Then there are some GREAT bike routes in Flevoland! Also, read up on the festival that surrounds the Tulip Route Flevoland. It’s not the easiest place to rent a bike, so I’d bring your own or rent one from a different city and travel with it on the train. Here’s the bike ticket you’ll need to travel with. I love having the bike because of the freedom. If you need a small bike repair kit, you can grab one here.

If you’re more like me and love to cycle, but the idea of cycling long distances scares you, then rent a scooter. During the Tulip Route Flevoland festival, you can rent a scooter here and make your life much easier.


Tulips and windmill

Rent a bike and follow a tulip route in North Holland

Yep, I’m suggesting riding a bike again! This route is a little more friendly than the ones in Flevoland, in my opinion. The fields aren’t too far from the train station, so if you aren’t super fit or it’s been a while since you’ve been on a bike, then it won’t be too difficult. You’ll still need to rent a bike in Amsterdam or a bigger city and you’ll still need the bike train ticket. But I think this route is just about perfect.


Twizy in Beemster

Rent a Twizy and find the tulips in Beemster

Have you heard of Twizy?? It’s a little car that fits two people, the driver can be normal-size but the person behind the driver probably has to be pretty small because it’s a pretty small space. But it gives totally electric-car freedom to visitors. Then you can pull over at your leisure and take pictures. You can follow a suggested route, or explore as you wish. I’ve ridden in them before and they are so much fun! Beemster is an area just north of Amsterdam with so many scenic places to see…including tulip fields! This is the perfect job for the Beemster Twizy.


Rent a Twizy and follow the tulip route in Lisse

Yep, it’s another Twizy and this time it’s in the popular area of Lisse. I wanted to give you the option of going off the beaten path, or, if it’s easier, follow that path. Renting this Twizy is a new way in Lisse to explore the flower fields, and it’s definitely worth mentioning. You’ll be set up with an on-board GPS with a pre-programmed route to help you find the tulip fields. Pretty awesome, right? These are a bit more expensive than the ones in Beemster, so that’s something to think about, too. But if you are headed to Keukenhof, then renting the Twizy here makes more sense.


Tulip fields in Lisse near Keukenhof

Rent a bike and follow the tulip route in Lisse

Again, if you want to stay in the Keukenhof area, this is also an option. You can rent a bike in Leiden and ride towards Keukenhof, or you can rent a bike right by Keukenhof, as well. No matter what you do, definitely pre-book! This website has a map that’s super handy to see how long the routes might take, it’s good to take a look to see how long you might want to rent the bike for.


Tulip fields from above

See the Dutch tulip fields from above on a helicopter ride

Not gonna lie…this is my favorite way to see the tulip fields. While I saw the ones in North Holland towards the very end of the tulip season, there are a couple of options for you. Oh, and watch my YouTube video from when I went in the helicopter. EKKK! I had so much fun. And so can you! The company I flew with was HeliFlight and you can also book this one specifically for flying over Bollenstreek (the tulip fields by Lisse). If you can swing the cost, please do it. It’s one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done.

Tulip field rows

Take a guided bike tour through the tulips

If you’re a bit uneasy figuring it all out on your own, then take a guided cycling tour in the Lisse area. This tour starts and ends at Keukenhof, so you’ll have to get yourself there which you can do with the bus. This ticket includes entrance to Keukenhof, so you could visit the gardens after or before your bike tour. What’s extra special about this tour is that the guide will take you to a farm where you can take pictures in the rows of flowers. She has a special agreement with the farmer, which is awesome!


tulips in bloom

Pick your own tulips in the Netherlands

Why stop at a guided tour? How about picking your own bunch of tulips? You can do that! These kinds of farms are called a “Pluk Tuin” or picking garden. They are a little bit out of Amsterdam and accessible by public transportation. I love the idea of rounding out your tulip experience by going to a picking garden. They will also have a summer garden, so if you’re in the Netherlands in the summer and you want to pick flowers, you can pick some lovely ones. Here’s one to check out, and here’s another.


Selfie tulips

Take your photo in tulip fields

This may be what you were most interested in. Since I mentioned before that you definitely should not go into a farmer’s field for photos, it might be surprising that any of them let you roam around for the perfect Insta-shot. But hey, I figure there’s demand, so someone’s gonna do it! FAM Flower Farm is one of the most popular places to have photos taken in the tulip fields. I love how they do it–you book a time slot, so there’s a limited amount of people in the field at any time. You can also book a photographer who has agreements with local farmers and will drive you from Amsterdam for the photo shoot.


Like I said, there are so many ways to see tulips and the tulip fields in the Netherlands. It might take a little planning, but you can see a spectacular display of what makes the Netherlands so popular. You’ll see why this country is known by one flower. You’ll see farmers’ pride. And you’ll return home with some wonderful memories!

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Visiting the Keukenhof – Holland’s flower garden
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