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How to Plan a Day Trip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof for the Ultimate Tulip Season Experience
Tulip season is the number one reason to visit Amsterdam in the spring. It’s this time of year that tulip fields are in bloom. The iconic Dutch image of brightly colored landscapes that seemingly, if not actually, stretch for miles come alive. If you are one of the lucky travelers heading to Amsterdam during tulip season, surely you’re visiting Keukenhof Gardens!
If you’re wondering how to get from Amsterdam to Keukenhof, you’ve come to the right place! Keukenhof isn’t far from Amsterdam and getting there doesn’t have to be difficult. You can save some cash as plan a day trip to Keukenhof on your own. If you prefer group tours, I’ve included a few of those options as well. Whether you choose DIY or book a Keukenhof tour, your Amsterdam tulip season day trip will be epic. This post will help you navigate your options and plan an easy and amazing day in one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
How to Get from Amsterdam to Keukenhof
Keukenhof Gardens is actually located in the nearby town of Lisse. There is no direct public transportation from Amsterdam to Keukenhof, but the journey is relatively simple. Still, it helps to understand the travel details to avoid feeling overwhelmed in a foreign country. Personally, I recommend purchasing a Combi Ticket directly from the Keukenhof website. This ticket covers return bus fare and skip the line entrance. However, we all have unique travel situations so I will explain the various Keukenhof travel options.
Amsterdam to Keukenhof by Car
If you are traveling by car, the journey to Keukenhof from the Amsterdam City Centre is approximately 40 minutes. Amsterdam Schiphol will be your halfway point. Once beyond Schiphol Airport, you will travel approximately 20 minutes. Be sure to plug in the address to your preferred navigation app for proper and up to date directions. Typing “Keukenhof” into you map should be enough to pull up the location; however, the exact address of Keukenhof Gardens is as follows:
2161 AM Lisse
Daily parking at Keukenhof Gardens is €6. The parking lot closes one hour after park closure. You can pay for parking with your ticket in advance. I will explain that further throughout the post and you can find the link with to purchase Keukenhof tickets at the bottom of this post.
Amsterdam to Keukenhof via Public Transportation
If you opt for public transportation, you will pick up the Keukenhof Express Bus 858 at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. So, if you’re staying in Amsterdam, you will need to first take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Amsterdam Schiphol. Once you arrive, you will find the bus station just in front as you exit from Schiphol Plaza from Arrivals Hall 4. The Keukenhof Express bus runs annually with the Keukenhof Gardens schedule. In 2019, the Keukenhof Express (again, bus 858) will operate from March 21 to May 19. There are other buses you can ride from Amsterdam, but using the Keukenhof Express bus is definitely the most straightforward process.
Keep time a consideration. Plan to arrive 30 minutes to an hour early due to the long line of other travelers making their way to Keukenhof. You will have the best luck with the bus line early in the morning. The biggest advantage to arriving at the park as soon as it opens is the thinner crowds. Tour group buses will begin to arrive later in the morning. The early morning is also one of the best times to capture beautiful Keukenhof photos with the glow of the morning sun.
Amsterdam to Keukenhof by Taxi
Traveling from Amsterdam to Keukenhof by taxi is by far the most costly way to visit. Expect to pay upwards of €50 from Schiphol or close to €100 for a one way trip from Amsterdam Central. A less expensive ride alternative is book an Uber. Use code jennal4569ui when you sign up to get a free ride*.
*amount varies by location
If group tours are more your style, there are a variety of options available. The benefits of a tour include a meeting place, scheduled times and the ability to combine other activities in a structured environment. For example, if you’d like to visit other tulip fields along the way, there are tours that include this. The advantages to visiting Keukenhof with a tour group are also disadvantages if you prefer more freedom. Scheduled times means limited time in the gardens. Two to three hours may seem like plenty but Keukenhof is an expansive park that you can easily spend an entire day wandering, sitting, playing, and marveling.
In addition to an expansive park, there are a variety of activities in and around Keukenhof that may be of interest. Some examples include boat rides around the park and renting a bicycle (just outside of Keukenhof Gardens) to explore the village of Lisse. If this is the case, a tour may not be the best option for you. Then again, you may find a tour that encompasses all of your interests for the day. Either way, here are a few excellent tour options to look into for your trip.
Best Time to Visit Keukenhof
The best time to visit Keukenhof is typically the end of March through mid May when the park opens to the public. The length of winter weather will determine the best time to actually plan your visit. Since this can be hard when planning a trip from abroad, such as from the United States, it is best to aim for mid to late April. This will give you the best chance to see the most flowers in bloom. However, if you have the opportunity to plan a trip earlier (or later) in the season, you should definitely visit!
The great thing about Keukenhof is that the flower fields are continuously blooming once the season starts. What you see one week will be entirely different than on another week! You can check the weekly flower update on the Tulips of Holland website. My last visit was during the third week of April and, while many flowers had not yet bloomed due the long winter, many had also come and gone. Despite this, there were still more flowers than you can imagine. I had my fill with four hours in the gardens and still didn’t cover all of the grounds.
Keukenhof Gardens 2019 Dates and Hours
Dates: March 21 through May 19
Hours: 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM
When NOT to Visit Keukenhof
There are many flower parades and festivals throughout Holland each year, but the largest and most popular event falls in mid to late April. This particular flower parade, or Bloemencorso, passes Keukenhof as it travels more than 42 kilometers from Noordwijk to Haarlem through the flower fields of Lisse. A premier spot to view the parade is Keukenhof Boulevard just in front of Keukenhof Gardens. While the Dutch flower parade is an amazing experience in itself, it makes for a very busy day at Keukenhof Gardens as many viewers combine these activities.
If you don’t mind heavier than normal crowds, you may still enjoy your day. Otherwise, I recommend visiting Keukenhof at a different time. This year the Dutch Flower Parade falls on April 13 and begins at 9:00 AM in Noordwijk. It ends at approximately 8:30 PM in Haarlem. The flower parade is expected to reach Keukenhof around 3:30 in the afternoon.
How Long to Spend at Keukenhof Gardens
Determining how long to spend at Keukenhof Gardens is totally up to you. I love flowers and could absolutely spend an entire day here! If you’re hungry, there are restaurants (albeit expensive) and if you need to relax you can take a break on a bench or even the grass. It unusual to see folks catching a quick nap or reading a book on the lawn. Alternatively, you can enjoy cruising the grounds on a boat. Spaces for that fill up fast though so sign up as soon as you enter the park!
Perhaps you’re on a tight schedule or maybe you don’t enjoy such a long time in a park. In this case, I would say to allow yourself no less than two hours to explore. This means, if you are traveling from Amsterdam to Keukenhof, you will want to devote at least half of a day once you consider travel time. Whether you opt for a group tour or go on your own, a time block of six hours is appropriate.
Purchasing Keukenhof Tickets
You can save time and money by purchasing your Keukenhof tickets online prior to your trip. There are several ticket options to choose from. I will explain each option so you can easily understand which choice would be the best for your particular travel plans. There is no reason you shouldn’t purchase your tickets to Keukenhof in advance. Keukenhof tickets are not personal and they are not required to be used on certain days. Purchased tickets must be used for the current season but they can be used on any single day you wish. I have also included a link near the bottom to purchase your Keukenhof tickets directly from the website.
Note: Once the purchase of your tickets to Keukenhof is complete, they are non-refundable. However, they can be used by anyone for any day during the current season.
If You’re Traveling by Car or Taxi…
If you are driving yourself, you will need to purchase Keukenhof entrance tickets as well as a parking ticket. Currently (as of 2019), the Keukenhof entrance ticket for adults is €17 if purchased in advance, children 4-17 are €8, and children 0-3 are free. If your group is 20 or more, you can receive a special rate of €14,75 per person. After you select the appropriate number for each adult and child ticket, you will need to select to add a parking ticket. You will need one ticket per vehicle. Worth noting is that Keukenhof does have designated parking for motorhomes; however, they do not allow overnight parking. The parking lot closes one hour after park closure.
If You’re Traveling by Public Transportation…
If you would like to travel to Keukenhof via public transportation, the best option is to select the Combi Ticket. The Combi ticket is €25 per adult and €13,50 per child. This option includes a skip the line entrance ticket to Keukenhof as well as a return ticket to Schiphol on the Keukenhof Express bus. There are no stops or bus changes involved. You can also book the Keukenhof Combi Ticket if you are traveling to Keukenhof from Harlem (bus line 50, Hoofddorp (bus line 859), or Leiden (bus line 854). You should verify the bus line for your specific place of departure while planning.
Need More Amsterdam Ideas?
If you’re looking for more day trips from Amsterdam, consider Bruges! Bruges is small but incredible medieval town just across the border of Belgium. I highly recommend spending a night or two to experience it’s magic. Here are some fun ways you can spend 24 hours in Bruges. One of my favorite reasons is the chocolate!