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The Amsterdam tulips are one of the most anticipated spring spectacles. Don’t get us wrong—Amsterdam is a good idea all year-round. From biking along the canals in the summer to exploring the winter festivals with a cone of fries in hand, Amsterdam is an extraordinarily livable and welcoming city. And in March, April, and May, Amsterdam welcomes crowds of flower aficionados eager to see the tulips that bloom across the Netherlands. You can see plenty of tulips in the city proper, but there are also smaller towns scattered throughout the country that put on quite a display of blooms (and flower festivals and parades). Here’s your guide to the Amsterdam tulips—where to see them, how to get there, when to go, and where to stay.
Where to See the Amsterdam Tulips
Perhaps the best tulip-scouting spot is Keukenhof Gardens, which is a day trip from Amsterdam. In the Netherlands town of Lisse, Keukenhof is said to be the world’s most expansive flower park, with seven million flowers blooming over 80 acres. For the 2020 tulip season, Keukenhof is open from March 21 to May 10. Keukenhof is just under an hour by car from Amsterdam, and accessible by a direct bus leaving from Amsterdam Schipol Airport.
One of the largest flower festival parades is Bloemencorso Bollenstreek. The parade travels from Noordwijk to Haarlem and, most importantly, goes right through Keukenhof Gardens. In 2020, the parade falls on April 25.
To see tulips in the city proper, Amsterdam’s Tulip Festival runs for the duration of April and boasts 85 tulip-viewing locations. The 85 tulip-covered areas, from the Amsterdam Tulip Museum to Garden Erasmuspark to Vondelpark, are all outlined on the Tulp Festival's interactive map.
Outside the city, Keukenhof isn’t the only place to search for tulips. Another Netherlands destination during flower season is Sassenheim, easily accessible via trains running frequently from Amsterdam Centraal. The ride is 35 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal. Sassenheim greets you with rows of tulips right as you get off the train (on the north end of the platform), and the view is framed by the Kaag lakes in the background. You can also find tulips blooming in Sassenheim’s town center.
In the western Netherlands, you’ll find Noordwijkerhout, which like Lisse falls in the Duin-en Bollenstreek, or the Dune and Bulb Region. Nestled between the cities of Leiden and Haarlem, Noordwijkerhout has extremely fertile soil, yielding vibrant tulip bulbs along the coast. If you bike around the quaint Dutch seaside town in the spring, you’ll see the coastal dunes and bulbs in full force. Getting to Noordwijkerhout from Amsterdam takes about 40 minutes by car and an hour and a half by bus (take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Hillegom, and bus 57 from Hillegom to Noordwijkerhout).
When are the Amsterdam Tulips in Full Bloom?
The end of March to early May is the best time to see the Amsterdam tulips. Of course, the blooms are entirely nature-dependent, but mid-to-late April is when the tulips are typically in their prime.
Of course, mid-April also tends to be when the Keukenhof Gardens are busiest because the tulips are at peak. If you opt to visit the famous gardens early in the season, you’ll catch the narcissi and hyacinths blossoms. And at the tail end of tulip season, you’ll see Keukenhof’s stunning lilies.
Where to Stay During Amsterdam Tulip Season
The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is right in the Canal District, walking distance from The Rijksmuseum, the Museum Van Loon, and the Negen Straatjes. The property is lavishly decorated with 17th-century artwork and home to Michelin-starred restaurant, Spectrum. Book their king one-bedroom suite with a canal view.
Right on the canals, The Hoxton, Amsterdam is a chic yet relaxed escape. Their restaurant, Lotti's, is a popular hangout, between the lively atmosphere, great people watching, and innovative cocktails. Book one of their three concept rooms—only available on request. As a complimentary amenity, guests of The Hoxton can borrow bikes to see the city as the locals do.
On the Keizersgracht canal in the nine-streets district, The Dylan Amsterdam, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Partner, is home to Michelin-starred Restaurant Vinkeles, housed in an 18th-century bakery. The hotel's Les Clef d’Or Concierges can help guests with excellent local recommendations and bookings. And The Dylan’s four room types—luxora, serendipity, loft, and amber—are each distinctive and posh.