Barack Obama in a field of tulips

Our 2024 Guide to

Tulip fields near Amsterdam

In 2023 Barack Obama chose us to show him Dutch tulip fields and we can do the same for you in 2024. However, if you think no, I’ll see them on my own then you might want to read this guide!

Spoiler alert, though. You’ll need your own car. If you don’t have one and will be travelling to Keukenhof by bus, then you might want to check out our:

six American in a flower field outside of Amsterdam
A tourist in a giant flower field near Amsterdam
Four friends by a field of orange tulips near Keukenhof

About this guide to tulip fields

We’ve been doing tulip tours from Amsterdam since 2015. In that time we’ve met a lot of guests, and we’ve found that the range of knowledge they have of about Dutch tulips and tulip fields ranges quite considerably… Okay, that was a bit diplomatic. Most people don’t know that much, and that’s okay – you’re not from here. 

We’ve put together this guide to help people get a better understanding of how they can see Dutch tulip fields when they come to Amsterdam.  The internet is full of people selling you things and the tourism industry is no different. Of course, wed love you to come on one of tours, but regardless we think there is a need for an honest and hype-free guide. Also, it’s short and to-the-point.

Here it is. We’ve broken this guide down into a series of questions that a visitor might ask, starting at the most basic and getting more specific as we go. We hope you find it helpful.

Rory, 
Amsterdam Tulips Tour 

When will the tulip fields be in bloom?

We can’t say for sure, but generally mid to late April, and usually the very early bit of May.

In an average year, tulips bloom in mid to late April. The fields stay in bloom for two to three weeks before the farmers cut them. Additionally, there are man different varieties of tulips and some bloom earlier or later. This means there is generally about a five week spread when you can see tulip fields in bloom.

However, bang in the middle of that five week spread is when you’ll see the greatest density. At the outer end of the window you have to really know where to look to find a field. If you have the benefit of planning your holiday, then targetting April 20 or the few days after it is the safest policy.

However, there are also hyacinth fields and these flowers bloom a couple of weeks earlier. Hyacinth fields are just as spectacular as tulip fields!

Are there tulip fields in Amsterdam?

No. There are no tulip fields in Amsterdam.

Luckily, the Netherlands is a very small country so  you are not actually that far away from tulip fields, but won’t see any in the Amsterdam itself.

  •  The area in and around Keukenhof / Lisse, circa 35km south-west of Amsterdam.
  • The Beemster, Alkmaar, & West-Friesland regions of Noord Holland (to the north of Amsterdam). Beemster is 35km away.
  • Flevoland, to the east of Amsterdam, circa 40km away.
  • There are other spots too, but these are the main ones and the ones closest to Amsterdam.
A classic picture of an Amsterdam canal
No tulip fields in sight!

Okay, but there are tulip fields in Keukenhof, right?

Actually, no.

Many people assume that Keukenhof has tulip fields, but it doesn’t. It’s a set of beautifully manicured gardens, but no tulip fields. The gardens do look out onto one flower field, but you are at quite a remove from it and you have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other visitors.

However, the area surrounding Keukenhof is full of tulip and hyacinth farms. It’s incredibly picturesque in Spring, however these are not accessible by foot. Neither are they sign-posted. If you’re the type who doesn’t mind venturing down a little backroad, and you have a car, then you’ll almost certainly happen upon some.

Keukenhof flower gardens
Keukenhof gardens.

Does this mean I need to have a car to visit a tulip field?

Yes… (Or  take one of our tours!).

Our Tulips Field from Keukenhof Tour was designed for people already travelling to Keukenhof by bus.

Our Keukenhof & Tulips Tour from Amsterdam incudes transport to Keukenhof and a tour of the surrounding flower field area.

Our Off-The-Beaten-Track Tour whisks you to the tulip fields north of Amsterdam and away from the crowds of Keukenhof.

In general, mass tourism hasn’t cuaght hold of tulip fields yet. We hope that it stays that way. There are likely a few other independent companies or individual guides who offer a similar service to us. If you find them on Get Your Guide or Viator please try to find their actual websites to book – those big companies take a rather large commission.

Okay, enough about your tours - I have a car and I'm going to Keukenhof anyway,
how do I see tulip fields?

Ooh. Someone’s a bit touchy, but okay! It’s actually quite straightforward:

The flower field growing area around Keukenhof extends beyond the details provided here, but let’s keep it straightforward. Head to Keukenhof, then explore the backroads nearby. That might feel like a terrible plan and one ripe for an argument in the car, but it’s the only way to do it.

The specific fields rotate from year to year and they don’t all bloom at the same time. Plus, if we gave actual coordinates then that one field would get too busy and it would defeat the exercise. 

However, the area is so dense with flower fields in April that if you veer down backroads you will stumble upon some. We do recommend staying west of the N208 as the concentration is higher on that side of the road.

For instance, if you’re at Keukenhof, input the nearby town of Hillegom into your navigator. Opt for the backroads instead of the N208 (the yellow road in the picture, the main connector). This is safer for stops, as backroads are more conducive than main roads.

Apply a similar approach for the neighboring towns of De Zilk, Vogelenzang, and Noordwijkerhout. Enjoy your scenic drive!

Also: don’t worry about getting lost when you travel down backroads! It’s a very small country, and you’re never too far from a bigger road. As long as you have GPS you’ll be fine.

Right, I have a car but I'd like to avoid the
crowds of Keukenhof. Now what?

Travel north to the Beemster! 

This where our Off-The-Beaten-Track Tour goes to. We can’t give you that route as it’s too much off the beaten track and you’d get lost! So simply, enter Middenbeemster into your navigator and take the main freeway.

Once you reach Middenbeemster, you should then enter the nearby towns of Noordbeemster and Westbeemster into your navigator (the Dutch aren’t overly exuberant with place names!) and then travel the backroads in between. 

This roads of this region are actually laid out in a grid formation (it used be a lake and was drained by windmills in the 1600s), so the backroads are all straight. 

You will find tulip fields along these roads.

There is also a nearby windmill which is open to the public so that is nice to add as a sightseeing stop: Noordervaart 2, 1636 VL Schermerhorn. Museummolen.

Map of the Beemster
35km from Amsterdam to Beemster

Other Northern Options For Tulip Fields

Yes, but it’s a bit more complicated! 

Just like the area around Keukenhof, the area to the tulip fields area to the north of Amsterdam is (much) more extensive than the above text details. We mainly go to the Beemster and Keukenhof / Lisse, so we’re not as intimately familiar with how to find the flower fields in the following areas or towns. But in case you feel like Googling a bit more, the following can be good places to start: Anna Paulowna, Alkmaar, Zwaagdijk West and Zwaagdijk Oost.

 

Some other areas

What about Flevoland? (To the east)

Sure, but it’s not our forte so we won’t give specifics about how to find tulip fields there.

However, Flevoland is a new region -it was literally created in the 1950s and 60s. At the risk of offending its good citizens, in general we find it less interesting and historic than the Beemster and the region around Keukenhof. So, we’ve never been tempted to bring guests there. However, we imagine that its tulip fields (like the Beemster’s) are generally free of visitors.

A map of Flevoland
40 - 60 km east of Amsterdam

What about bikes at Keukenhof? Will that do the trick?

A little bit.

You can rent bikes in the Keukenhof parking area to explore the surrounding area (you can’t actually bring them in to the Gardens). They will give a little map too with some routes plotted. These will get you to tulip and hyacinth fields. The one problem is that these are the fields closest to Keukenhof and everyone gets the same map.

Our Tulips Fields From Keukenhof Tour competes a little bit this service. Maybe you like a minivan tour or maybe you prefer to get some exercise. The bike costs e16 for the day or e11 for three hours. 
More info here.

Bike rental at Keukenhof
Keukenhof bike rentals

Okay! I found a tulips field. Now what?

Congratulations. You’re about to enter private property.

Any tulips or hyacinths field you find is private property. They’re real working farms with an actual (and FYI – the crop is the tulip bulb, not the flower) agricultural product. Most farmers don’t mind visitors to their fields – they understand the attraction. However, some farmers in the Keukenhof region, put a barrier, fence, or gate up around their fields. This means you’re not welcome.

Please exercise common sense when entering a flower field. And if you don’t have common sense, then the following applies:

  • Stay at the very end of the field
  • Don’t walk in betweent the rows of tulips. Most people can’t help but walk a metre or three in. This will probably be tolerated, but no more than that!
  • Definitely don’t pick any flowers
  • Definitely don’t trample or stand on the flowers
  • If you don’t take 1.5 million photos for Instagram, then it didn’t happen!

 

 

Betsie inspecting tulips for viruses
This is Betsie, our favourite tulips farmer.

What's all this about hyacinth fields?

This is the big secret of Dutch tulip season!

There are also lots of hyacinth fields in the Netherlands and they bloom a bit earlier than tulips. They are absolutely as spectacular as tulip fields – and well, this might be a heresy but one could argue that they are more spectacular as hyacinths have a much stronger scent: When you step into a field of hyacinths on a sunny Spring day, it’s like stepping into an aromatherapy bath!

This means that if you’re in Amsterdam in early April and you’re a bit too early for tulips, you’re actually in time for hyacinths. And just in case you think, it’s hype from a tour business, here are some pictures of last year’s hyacinth field, which we visited early in the season:

4 tourists smiling in a flower field near Amsterdam
Hyacinths field
A tourist in a giant flower field near Amsterdam
Two Americans in a field of hyacinths near Amsterdam
Tourists standing by a field of Hyacinths near Alkmaar