It is said that Sweden is the country in the world that buys the most tulips per inhabitant and year. In our country alone, 150 million tulips are grown each year, which corresponds to almost 20 tulips per inhabitant per year. A fairly substantial sum. And then I still don't include the large amount of imported flowers that are also sold here at home every year.
That we Swedes are such big consumers of tulips is probably not really that strange. Tulips symbolize the longing for spring, warmth and bursting buds. For me, putting a bouquet of crisp, pink tulips on the kitchen table before the weekend is almost a sacred ritual from when the snow starts to melt until Easter. A welcome of light and warmth. But if you really want to get into the spring mood, there's only one trick. You need to go to the Netherlands and to the magnificent flower park Keukenhof – the park with over 7,5 million flowering onion plants. Whether you love tulips or not, it's hard not to love the cavalcade of colors that Europe's largest flower park offers.
Ever since 1950, the gates to the Keukenhof gardens have been opened to visitors every year from end of March to beginning of May (different dates each year). Nowadays, during these two months, over a million visitors from all over the world pass through the park's colorful exhibitions. The first half of the season offers crocuses, daffodils, irises, hyacinths and early tulips. Later in the season, the big tulips break out and replace the early bulbs, all very well planned and synchronized.
In addition to wandering around the English-inspired park and being easily overwhelmed by all the flowers (and photographing the smallest bud), there is also a Japanese garden, greenhouses with exciting exhibits and large blooming flower fields. One of the most popular activities by far is boating on the water channels around the flower fields outside the park. It really is exactly how you imagine the Netherlands in spring, with endless tulip fields and the occasional windmill.
How do I get to Keukenhof?
Keukenhof is located approximately three miles south of Amsterdam and the easiest way to get here is with the park's own combo tickets that you buy on Keukenhof's official website. The combo ticket includes a return bus from either central Amsterdam (several different stops) or from Schiphol and costs 25-30 Euro - much cheaper and easier than booking the trip from one of the travel agencies in the city. Taking your own car to Keukenhof is possible, but be prepared that the car park can be very full. Read more about how to get here at Keukenhof.nl.
Is there anything fun for kids in the park?
There is plenty to do for children, but despite all the games, treasure hunts and competitions, it was still the sea of flowers that proved to be the coolest for our little girl. Running around the narrow corridors among flowers, bushes and trees turned out to be sooooo much fun!
When do I need to book tickets? I want to go now!
Tickets for next spring can be pre-booked from the first of December.
When is the best time to visit Keukenhof?
Nature cannot always be controlled and tulips are of course dependent on the weather. A cold spring brings late bloom and a warm spring brings overbloom, so it's a pure gamble to manage to book plane tickets for the perfect weekend. The safest bet is of course to go here sometime in the middle of the season (beginning of April), but not entirely unexpectedly, most visitors think the same.
Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.