Today I decided to write about my last year experience at Keukenhof. Some of you might know about this amazing park but there may be some people out there who never heard about this place before. Regardless of what your knowledge about this place is, I want to write about my experience and maybe one tip or two: when to go, how to reach that place on your own and not through an agency and things like that. Remember: every time you call an agency to help you with something, you’ll pay a % as agency fee!!! Sum all those amounts and you’ll get a quite a decent amount spent for something you could spend on something else or just save it 😉
Now, what is Keukenhof and WHERE it is?
Keukenhof or the “Garden of Europe” and is the world’s largest flower garden. According to the official website, in this park are approximately 7 million flower bulbs planted annually. The whole garden covers an area of 32 hectares (therefore be prepared to walk and discover some amazingly beautiful places there!)
Keukenhof is situated on 15th century hunting grounds. Some of the owners were Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut‘s castle, governor Adriaen Maertensz Block and the Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt and only in 1949, the garden was established by the then-mayor of Lisse.
The whole park was thought and designed by father and son J.D. and L.P. Zocher. Nowadays, even though the basis of an English landscape garden are kept, you will find many other gardens and styles at Keukenhof. In the Historical Garden you can see many old types of bulbs. You can visit a nature garden, which consists of a water garden, where shrubs and perennials are combined with bulbous plants. And the Japanese country garden, a playful non-traditional garden in a natural environment.
Another exciting and unique experience is to go for a boat trip around Keukenhof.
I think that many of you, when are thinking about Netherlands are seeing the long and wide fields of tulips. Well, this is the case in late-April , mid-May, but do not expect to see this at Keukenhof. You’ll see this through your bus windows on the way to the park, tough! 🙂
If you stop in Haarlem (distance 15km from Keukenhof) or if you find an accommodation in Lisse (it’s the name of the small village where the park is) then you can rent a bike and explore the surroundings as you like. You can do it from Amsterdam too, but it’s kind of far (36km) and I’m not sure if there are lines designed for bicycles.
If you don’t want to bother about your bike (parking, safety, etc) then you can take a bus either from Schiphol (bus 858) or from Leiden (bus 854) to Keukenhof. You can buy a special Combi ticket for these routes and also for those traveling from Haarlem and Amsterdam. A Combi ticket is a convenient two-in-one ticket that includes your return bus fare and entrance to Keukenhof. This means that when you arrive at Keukenhof you don’t have to queue for a ticket, but you can go straight into the park. You can buy your ticket (s) here.
When is the RIGHT moment to visit Keukenhof?
Well, it depends on the winter! We wnet there in the first week of May (2013) and there were some parts of the garden where the tulips were still on the growing phase and a week or so from blooming. If the winter is long and cold then most likely you’ll have to postpone your visit to sometime in mid-May, if the weather is mild then end of April should be a good time to go. Also, you should avoid weekends, because it’s crowded and if possible go there in the morning!
You can see this info on the official website , but I’ m going to mention it anyway. The park is open to public from 20th of March to 18th of May! Do not miss one or more of the events planned for this year and for that check and take notes of the events!
Ah, yes! Talking about 2014…this year the theme of the park will be dedicated to Holland. This year you’ll be delighted by exhibitions on the history of the tulip, 17th-century tulip mania and modern tulip cultivation. Spectacular features will include the flower mosaic depicting Amsterdam’s canal buildings, planted using 60,000 tulip bulbs.
I hope that this post will make you eager and impatient to visit Netherlands in April – May and especially Keukenhof!
Travel safe and wise!