Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Keukenhof With Kids
If you are visiting Amsterdam, tulips will probably be one of the first things that comes to mind. However, you will need to get out of Amsterdam to really see and enjoy the tulips. The best place to do this is the Keukenhof Gardens and tulip fields in Lisse.
This is the most beautiful flower garden we’ve ever visited in Europe. I knew I had to go here upon first seeing pictures of it. The brightly colored flowers in intricate designs are truly a sight to behold. This is the perfect place to visit if you have a green thumb but even if you don’t (like me), you will love seeing the flowers.
We loved it so much after our first visit, we decided to visit the Keukenhof again a few years later! After visiting twice, we have figured out what the keys are to maximizing your experience. Read on to find out everything you need to know about visiting the Keukenhof and the Dutch tulip fields.
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WHAT IS THE KEUKENHOF?
The Keukenhof is a 32 hectare garden in Lisse, Netherlands. This amazing garden features over 7 million flower bulbs and 800 different varieties of tulips. It opened in 1950 after leading flower growers coming up with the plan to make this former castle grounds into a spring garden open to the public.
HOW TO GET TO THE KEUKENHOF
Driving to the gardens is easy and convenient This is my preferred method of transportation to the Keukenhof because it gives you the ability to get to the gardens early before many other tourists arrive. Parking in the lot costs €6.
From Amsterdam to Keukenhof will take about 30 minutes by car. Leiden is another close city to the gardens and is only a 20-minute drive. We stayed in Leiden when we visited.
The Keukenhof is also easily reached from Amsterdam, Schipol Airport and other nearby cities via public transportation. You can take a combination of trains and buses to get to the gardens and even purchase combination tickets to include your transportation and garden ticket. Click here to plan your public transportation journey.
2161 AM Lisse
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Leiden for both visits. We thought the location was great, the hotel is modern and included a nice buffet breakfast. You can also use booking.com below to find a nearby hotel. There are many cities within a reasonable drive to the gardens. We like staying in Leiden.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE KEUKENHOF
The Keukenhof is a seasonal garden and is only open in the spring. This year it is open from March 21-May 19. Each year the time where the garden is in peak bloom shifts slightly depending on the weather. We have been twice in mid to late April and each time the garden was fully in bloom and beautiful.
If you visit early, the flowers may not all be in bloom, and therefore the garden may be less colorful. Conversely, late in the season many of the flowers and surrounding tulip fields will be past their bloom time. For this reason, aiming for the middle of the season is ideal.
Visiting the Keukenhof on a weekday is ideal. The gardens are immensely popular and are much more crowded on the weekends. The gardens are open from 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM.
The best advice I have is to arrive at the garden gates a few minutes before 8:00 when it opens. Arriving at this time you will have the garden almost all to yourself. The tour buses will start showing up around 10:00 and then the paths become crowded quickly. For your best chance to enjoy the gardens while they are peaceful and to be able to get photos without tons of people in them you need to arrive early. The Keukenhof may also be less crowded later in the afternoon around 4:00 PM once tour buses have started departing.
If you’re looking for a lesser known alternative to the Keukenhof check out this post from Skylar Aria’s Adventures about Groot-Bijgaarten in Belguim!
Keukenhof tickets can be purchased online in advance. I recommend doing this so you are able to walk right into the gardens when you arrive, instead of having to wait in considerable lines to buy tickets. Purchase tickets HERE.
Child (4-17 years old) €8
Combitickets can also be purchased that include transportation from surrounding cities.
WHAT TO BRING
Camera and extra battery. This is one of the most beautiful things you will ever see so you will want to capture it.
Read more about How To Take Great Pictures While Traveling.
Layers. The weather can be quite chilly in the morning and evenings but warm during the afternoon. Dress in layers so you are able to be comfortable.
Proper Shoes. This is most important if you also plan to visit the nearby tulip fields or if you plan to do some biking outside the gardens. If you are only visiting the gardens, the paths are paved and you won’t have to worry about your shoes getting dirty.
Snacks and water. If you are visiting with children it is always a good idea to bring some snacks. There are restaurants and cafes in the garden but sometimes it is nice to have your own supply of food and your own water. Water bottles are expensive at places like this!
Stroller. The garden is stroller friendly with flat, paved walking paths.
Bikes. If you have the ability to bring bikes, you should! You can not ride them in the garden but you can ride to nearby tulip fields before or after your visit. If you cannot bring bikes of your own, you can still rent them if you would like to go biking. Read more about this below.
WHAT TO DO AT THE KEUKENHOF WITH KIDS (OR WITHOUT KIDS)
Wandering the grounds of the Keukenhof is almost like walking in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. It is so colorful, with whimsical designs. There isn’t anything like it! Enjoy looking at all the different varieties of tulips and other flowers. The tulip colors are bright and span the entire rainbow. Don’t forget your camera, you will want to take a lot of pictures!
I know you're there for the tulips, but don't miss the orchid display in the Beatrix Pavillion. It is overflowing with orchids and absolutely gorgeous! We saw a small exhibit demonstrating the life of an orchid and I surprised to learn it takes about 5 years for an orchid plant to mature and flower. So there is a lot of time, work, and care that goes into this display.
PETTING ZOO & PLAYGROUND
If your kids are getting antsy and need to burn some energy head to the playground. Near the playground, there is also a petting zoo. Our kids loved visiting the petting zoo full of baby goats, bunnies, and chickens.
CLIMB THE WINDMILL
Holland is known for its windmills and you can find one right inside the Keukenhof! Admire the windmill from the ground as it backs up to vibrant flower fields, or you can even climb up inside the windmill! Take in the view from higher up on the viewing platform on the windmill itself. The kids will be impressed getting to see the giant arms of the windmill up close.
WHISPER BOAT RIDES
Near the windmill, you can board a whisper boat for a 45-minute ride around the tulip fields just outside the garden. This is a unique way to see the fields and the boat ride is a fun novelty for kids. The tulip fields are bright and colorful and this is a unique perspective on them. Adult tickets cost €8 and a child’s ticket (ages 4-11) is €4.
EAT A STROOPWAFEL
This is a quintessential (and delicious) Dutch snack! You can buy packaged ones many places, but head to the snack stand near the windmill to get a fresh, warm, stroopwafel. If you’ve never had one, you’ll thank me later. If you have, then I don’t even need to tell you this because I’m sure you already know how tasty they are! This is the best way to cheer up grumpy kids who might need a break from walking or picture taking, or both!
BIKE THE TULIP FIELDS
You can rent bikes directly from the parking lot of the Keukenhof to bike to nearby tulip fields. They even have children’s bikes, bike trailers, child seats, and helmets! See the website for pricing, routes, and to book. It doesn’t get more Dutch than riding a bike to look at tulips!
I highly recommend getting out to the tulip fields, whether you do it by bike or car. Seeing the vast fields of brightly colored flowers is jaw-dropping! It’s amazing to see rows and rows of vivid colors in nature. You definitely do not want to miss seeing the fields, there is nothing like it! Just remember when you are enjoying the fields, be respectful. Do not trample or pick the tulips.
Need more help planning?
For more on the Keukenhof you can visit my Instagram profile and look for the highlights titled “Keukenhof”. If you have any more questions about visiting, please leave them below and I’ll be happy to help you find an answer!