Since April is when Dutch tulips come into bloom, for this month’s Top 10 List we give you ten different ways you can experience the surreal beauty and magnificence of South Holland’s iconic bulb fields in full colour.
1) Train: One of the easiest and quickest ways you can get a great view of tulip fields in bloom is to take the train to Sassenheim. Once off the train, stay on the platform and walk all the way to the north end. Off to the right you will have a lovely view of tulip fields and further back, sailboats on the Kaag lakes.
2) Bicycle: This option is one of the most commonly used for viewing the Dutch tulip fields because it offers easy mobility to stop for picture taking as often as you want. This may not seem to be a great option if you live a distance away from South Holland’s Dune & Bulb region (such as in Rotterdam, Amsterdam or Gouda) but rest assured, there is an easy way around that. Just purchase a bike supplement ticket for the train (cost €6) and take it with you to one of the stations in the tulip-growing area (such as Voorhout, Sassenheim, Hillegom or Nieuwe-Vennep). You can take a circular route, ending back at the same station you started, or along a path which eventually connects to different station. For example, a nice route you could do is from the Voorhout station, through the fields to the Sassenheim town center, then cycle south to the Sassenheim train station.
3) Scooter or E-bike: Another 2-wheeled option is to leave the bike at home and instead, rent a scooter or e-bike at or near the train station where you will be getting off. The additional benefit this offers is that you don’t have to worry that if you go too far, you won’t have the energy to cycle back to the station. This will allow you to explore further into the Dune & Bulb region and still maintain that stop-as-often-as-you-want flexibility when photo ops present themselves. Here is a list of scooter rental shops in South Holland.
4) Windmill: Visiting Holland’s famed Keukenhof gardens is a no-brainer way to view the magnificence of Dutch tulips in bloom, not just for the overwhelming quantity you’ll come across, but the variety of breeds and colors. One of the best places to see tulip fields in bloom is from the viewing deck of the Keukenhof windmill. In terms of getting to Keukenhof gardens, the absolute easiest way is to purchase a combination ticket online which includes admission to the park plus round-trip coach transport from either Leiden Central Station, Schiphol Station or Haarlem Station. The combination ticket costs €24 for adults, €12.50 for children (ages 4-11 yrs).
5) Whisper Boat: An additional way to view the Keukenhof bulb fields, but this provides orchestra seats. These flat bottom boats with electrically-powered motors are super-quiet (thus the name) and don’t move very fast, but they get you where you want to be, just an arms reach from those colourful Dutch tulips. For this boat trip you must buy a separate ticket (available from the ticket window located at the bottom of the windmill). The whisper boat trip lasts approximately 45 minutes and costs €8 for adults, €4 for children (ages 4-11 yrs).
6) Plane: Flying over South Holland Dune & Bulb region when the tulips are in bloom is amazing. It’s not inexpensive, but as it is likely to be an experience that will stay with you the rest of your life, the cost may be worth it. Here’s an option from Rotterdam-The Hague Airport for €265 for up to 3 people and another option for €129 p.p.
7) Helicopter: There are some who think a helicopter ride over the tulip fields is better than a plane ride because you have more glass which offers better views. If you think that may be true, then opt for one of those. These helicopter rides over the Dune & Bulb region are being offered every Saturday during April.
8) Kayak: Here’s an interesting way to not just see the tulip fields, but to immerse yourself in them. You can rent a peddle-operated kayak in Hillegom and spend a leisurely day kayaking through the tulip fields of the Bulb & Dune region. The peddle operation is what makes these especially user friendly, rather than standard paddling which can get old really fast. With these, you can take a picnic lunch with you and stop anywhere along your route for a nice lunch and photo op. Annemieke’s Pluktuin rents peddle kayaks and they give you a detailed map you can use to navigate the waterways. The cost ranges from €10/hr for a 1-person kayak to €65/day for a 2-person kayak.
9) Bus: There are several regular bus lines which crisscross South Holland’s Dune & Bulb region. At this time of the year, simply taking a ride on one will likely provide multiple opportunities to snap some pretty incredible photos of multi-coloured flower fields. Check out these suggestions:
A) Take Bus 90 from Den Haag Central Station toward Haarlem. The route goes through Wassenaar, Katwijk, Noordwijkerhout, De Zilk, Vogelenzang, Aerdenhout and then stops at Heemstede where you could get off and catch the train back to Den Haag Central Station
B) Bus 57 from Leiden Central Station toward Nieuw-Vennep. The route goes through Oegstgeest, Sassenheim, Voorhout, Noordwijkerhout, De Zilk and Hillegom where you can exit and catch the train back to Leiden Central Station.
10) Flower Parade 22nd April: The annual Bollenstreek Flower Parade is a unique way to see the magnificence of not just tulips, but wide array of colourful flowers which are grown in the Dune & Bulb region. The parade is made up of over 30 floats completely decorated with flowers, petals and leaves. It takes hundreds of volunteers nearly 3 days to complete them (Wednesday to Friday, 19-21 April). On Friday evening, 21st April, the completed floats will be lined up in Noordwijkerhout from 16:00-20:30. At 20:30, the floats will be illuminated which is the start of the Illuminated Flower Parade through the town of Noordwijkerhout and on to Noordwijk. On Saturday morning, 22nd April, the regular Flower Parade begins and will follow a northernly route that winds through many of the towns within the Bulb & Dune region (including Voorhout, Sassenheim, Lisse (Keukenhof) and Hillegom before crossing into Noord Holland and passing through Bennenbroek and Heemstede before finally arriving in Haarlem on Saturday night. The floats will remain on display all day Sunday 23rd April in Haarlem.
As you can see, there are MANY different ways to experience the beauty and aura created when Dutch tulip fields In Holland explode into full bloom.