The Bollenstreek (Bulb Region) and it’s tulip fields are one of the most famous and popular places to visit in the Netherlands. The Keukenhof, located within the Bulb region, attracts about 800.000 visitors each year by itself. It must be worth visiting if a few hundred thousand people do so each year, but even though we’re Dutch, visiting the Bollenstreek was on our bucket list for quite some time. For some reason we never managed to visit the flower fields.
Since travel was still on the back burner, now was the ideal time. We very recently visited the Bollenstreek and the famous Dutch flower fields and wrote this guide for Traveltomtom.
About the Bollenstreek (Bulb Region)
The Bollenstreek is located in the Western parts of the Netherlands. The region features coastal dunes and of course the famous flower fields of the Netherlands. This is where the flower bulb cultivation originated and where the name of the region comes from.
The Bollenstreek is located roughly between Leiden and Haarlem. However, some only count the traditionally Catholic bulb villages, such as Lisse, Voorhout, Hillegom, Noordwijkerhout, Sassenheim and Vogelenzang as the Mecca of the flower fields in Holland.
The area is most popular and best known for the cultivation of tulip bulbs, but also the crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths. Bulb cultivation started at the end of the 16th century, but the large-scale cultivation in the Bollenstreek developed in the second half of the 19th century. Nowadays it’s one of Holland’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the Netherlands every year.
Best time to visit the flower fields
It’s hard to put a label on the Dutch climate, it can have cold winters and hot summers, beautiful spring and wet autumns. Good weather is never guaranteed when visiting the Netherlands, so be prepared for that.
The most popular time to visit this region is from Mid-March until Mid-May, that’s when the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are in bloom. It’s also the time of year the Keukenhof normally opens its doors.
It’s probably the tulips that make this time of the year the most popular to visit the Bollenstreek. However, if you’re visiting late summer the gladiolus, dahlias, carnations and asters provide a second colorful period.
Tips for visiting the Tulip Fields in the Netherlands
Here are some tips to get the most out of your trip to the Tulip Fields in Holland.
1. Visit Keukenhof
Besides all the flower fields, this is the biggest tourist attraction in the region. Keukenhof, known as the Garden of Europe, is one of the largest flower gardens in the world, located in Lisse.
Keukenhof covers an area of 32 hectares and approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted in the gardens each year. It’s widely known for its tulips, but it also features numerous other flowers, including hyacinths, roses, daffodils and more.
Keukenhof is only open to the general public from mid-March to mid-May for a world-renowned 8 week tulip display. The peak in the number of visitors is mid-April. In 2019, Keukenhof welcomed 1.5 million people, equivalent to 26.000 visitors per day!
Unfortunately Keukenhof was closed in 2020 and 2021, but hopefully it will welcome visitors again in 2022!
2. Keukenhof Castle
Keukenhof Castle is a country house dating back to the Dutch Golden Age. It was built in 1641. Located near Lisse, this luxurious estate is also home to the famous Keukenhof Gardens. However, Keukenhof Castle is an attraction itself. The castle and its Golden Age collections are open to guided tour groups. The gardens and the park are open throughout the year for you to explore.
Normally the estate also hosts a variety of special events, such as festivals and Christmas markets. Entry to the park and the gardens is free. Guided tours have an admission of €10 for adults, and €5 for children. A bonus, parking at Keukenhof Castle is free of charge. You could leave your car here and explore some adjacent tulip fields.
Lisse is regarded the center of the flower bulb region! The village of Lisse is located in the middle of the Dutch flower fields. The flower village is the historic center of the worldwide flower bulb trade and home to Keukenhof. Lisse has a pleasant center with many restaurants and shops. The famous flower parade, the Bloemencorso, also passes through Lisse every year.
4. Bloemencorso Bollenstreek
The Bloemencorso flower parade is a huge annual flower spectacle. The parade starts in Noordwijk and ends in Haarlem, following a 42km itinerary. The parade has a different theme every year, which is used to make the most beautiful creations. Dozens of creatively designed floats filled with daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and other flowers are part of the parade. Cars decorated with huge flower bouquets join the parade through the Bollenstreek accompanied by music and entertainment.
The Bloemencorso attracts nearly one million visitors and spectators. As visitor you can stand along the route to enjoy the many beautiful floats. Unfortunately there was no parade in 2020 and 2021, but hopefully the parade will be back in 2022!
5. Renzy GPS Tours
The Bollenstreek and its flower fields are ideal to discover on foot, bike, scooter, e-chopper by solex. The region offers plenty of choices and options. By far the coolest and most excited option of them all has to be Renzy!
Renzy offers fun and informative self-guided GPS tours. Their tours are driven with a 100% eco-friendly and electric Renault Twizy! Amongst these tours is the famous ‘Tulip & Flower fields tour’. It’s the one we decided to do, and it was two hours of pure fun! The preprogrammed GPS and audio tour take you on a journey through the Bollenstreek.
Check out our extensive blog about the Renzy tulip field tours for more about this cool thing to do in the Dutch tulip fields!
6. Tulip farm De Tulperij
De Tulperij, one of my favorite places to visit in the region. Next to their flower bulb company, the owners decided to set up ‘De Tulperij’. They want to show you their company in Spring and Autumn.
Why I like this activity so much? It’s an authentic bulb company who invites you to have a look around their company and flower fields. They host guided tours in and around their tulip farm. During your visit you can enjoy the many beautiful flowers on their land. There is an opportunity to take pictures among the tulips, hyacinths or daffodils. They even have the tulip pick-bed, where you can pick your own tulips! Entrance is €6,95 per person, but includes coffee/tea and a Dutch waffle.
7. Tulip Store Show Garden
The Tulip Store has their own show garden with more than 500 different varieties of tulips and mixtures. The show garden shows many normal tulips but also some new varieties of tulips, so colorful. The owner also makes some beautiful and unique mixtures himself. The show garden is located in the middle of the tulip fields. You can also buy your own bouquet of tulips here, direct from the grower.
Also, there are no entrance fees to the show garden, free access, open 24/7.
8. The Tulip Barn
The Tulip Barn calls itself an outdoor Instagram-experience, an Instagram paradise even. They have very colorful tulip fields, where you can take some great photos. They have over 400.000 tulips and have placed over 20 Instagrammable photo objects in the tulip fields. So you can make that perfect Insta-shot where you sit behind a piano in a tulip field for example. You have to buy a ticket before you can enter the field to take your photos. It will cost you €4 per person to enter the flower photo field, and it will allow you access for one hour.
It’s all a bit too commercial for me to be honest. They’re mainly focused at the younger (Instagram) target group. If you’re looking for that one perfect insta-shot, this is definitely your place to be!
9. Noordwijk aan Zee
The great part of the Bollenstreek region is that it is partially located along the Dutch coastline. So you can combine visiting the the flower fields with a beach holiday, perfect! Noordwijk aan Zee is one of the many popular seaside resorts in the Netherlands. In general it’s less crowded and less built up than the most popular one, Scheveningen.
Noordwijk aan Zee is a more luxurious and quieter seaside resort, with beautiful beach bars and beach clubs.
Something I really liked about the Bollenstreek are the many tulips and flower outlets just along the road. Buy from the local grower, the best flowers guaranteed!
The flower fields are the perfect place to fly your drone. Shots from above are even more impressive. If you do have a drone you have to bring it, remember to use it wisely! Visit and enjoy the flower fields, but do not enter the fields where this is not allowed, and do not destroy tulips! Make sure the people after you can enjoy it too.
Cities, beaches, lovely villages and endless flower fields, the Bollenstreek is absolutely worth a visit. I now fully understand why it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world each year. Seeing these colorful rainbow flower fields is something magical, and it never gets boring.
This blog was written by travel writer and Traveltomtom team member Ashley. She visited and explored the Dutch Bollenstreek with its beautiful flower fields and wrote this blog about her adventures.