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This is One of the Best European Destinations to See Spring Tulips

How to get to Keukenhof Gardens, when to visit, and what festivals to look out for this year.

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‘Tis the season to scout fresh flowers. Tracking down the best blooms in the world each spring is an endeavor for those with green thumbs, the Instagram inclined, and really everyone in between. Those in search of desert wildflowers might head to southern California in pursuit of the super bloom. But the tulip fanatics among us love nothing more than heading to the Netherlands, to see the host of tulips within Amsterdam and outside the city light up the country with vibrant colors.

While Amsterdam proper puts on an abundant display of flowers, some of the most expansive tulip displays are found outside the city. Keukenhof Gardens plants no fewer than seven million tulip bulbs, which includes about 800 varieties of tulips. Each year Keukenhof Gardens has a theme—and in 2020, it’s World of Colors. The rows of flowers will span 32 hectares, and there are 10 miles of hiking trails open to garden visitors for use.

For those planning a tulip tour in 2020, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Keukenhof Gardens.

When Is Keukenhof Gardens Open This Year?

Keukenhof Gardens is only open during tulip-viewing season. In 2020, the gardens are open from March 21 until May 10, and events run throughout this seven-week period, the most popular of which is the Keukenhof Flower Parade, which happens on April 25, 2020. There are also opening weekend festivities on March 21 and 22, 2020, and celebrations for Dutch Heritage Weekend (March 27 and March 28 of this year), and King Dag’s (a Netherlands national holiday) on April 27. Finally, over Mother’s Day weekend, the gardens present Romance at Keukenhof on May 9 and 10, 2020.

When Do the Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens Peak?

When visiting Keukenhof Gardens during the seven weeks they’re open, there is no wrong time to go. That being said, from March 21 to May 10, the flowers are bound to evolve. While every year the blooms’ trajectory is different, the tulips of Keukenhof Gardens are likely to peak in mid-April. However, seeing the blooms toward the end of March might also mean catching Keukenhof Gardens’ daffodils. Toward the beginning of April, in addition to tulips, visitors might find narcissi and hyacinths blossoms, and in May, Keukenhof’s lilies may be visible.

Getting to Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens are in Lisse, which is less than 30 miles from Amsterdam; an easy day trip from the city. Driving is very doable in the Netherlands—they drive on the right side of the road, just like we do in the U.S., and there are plenty of car rental companies to choose from, from accessible and affordable Enterprise rentals to luxury, premium car rentals with Sixt. The drive from Amsterdam to Lisse takes about an hour, and during high tulip season, you can expect some traffic. To rent a car in the Netherlands, you have to be over 21 and have a valid driver’s license and an additional form of identification (i.e., a passport).

You can also take a direct bus from Amsterdam Schipol Airport to Keukenhof Gardens. It’s bus line 858, and you can find the bus at Arrival Hall 4. The bus ticket is about €5 each way. It’s easiest to buy a Bus + Skip the line entrance ticket, which costs €27 for adults in the 2020 season and covers your transportation and entrance fee.

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