The Garden of Europe is a popular moniker for Keukenhof, which was originally Slot Teylingen castle’s kitchen garden dating back to the 15th century. That is not to be confused with Castle Keukenhof, a manor house built on the estate later in 1641. The castle’s grounds went through various restructures in the subsequent years, including a comprehensive 1857 effort to recast the gardens in the English style, popular across Europe at the time. The garden is now a vibrant showcase of the Dutch gardening industry’s incredible array of flowers, with millions of bulbs planted every year.
While the grounds of the castle are open for most of the year, the impressive floral display is only available for eight weeks in spring, from late March to early May, making this undoubtedly the best time to visit. During that period, Keukenhof is constantly in bloom, with tulips making for the most dazzling of vistas. Tours to Keukenhof from Amsterdam are a great way to experience the gardens in a day, while letting someone else take care of organising the tickets and transportation. There are plenty of good options, ranging from cheap tours to full-day tours that incorporate a few other sights into the itinerary. Here are three of the best.
From €39/ per person
Given that people only get an eight-week window to see one of the finest flower-displays in the world each year, waiting times can be quite a drag. That’s why this skip-the-line ticket is a fantastic option. Roughly three hours are allocated at Keukenhof, making this a half-day tour, with the journey to and from Amsterdam’s Central Station lasting roughly an hour each way. During the journey, you will be able to watch a video presentation, in English, about the region’s history and how flowers became such an important part of the country’s agriculture. Transport and tickets are covered by the tour price.
From €59/ per person
Another tour offering skip-the-line tickets also combines an additional experience of cruising along the canals of Amsterdam. The trip to the Keukenhof gardens itself is a half-day tour with a private guide, although while there you are free to explore the gardens at your leisure, ambling past riots of colourful daffodils, tulips and other bulb-based flowers, which have been planted the autumn before. There is also time to explore Keukenhof Park’s sculptures and various walkways. A ticket for a one-hour canal cruise is also provided, which can be used at any time during your stay in Amsterdam.
FROM €85/per person
This full-day tour is about as stereotypically Dutch as you can possibly get. Tulips, cheese, windmills and clogs all feature on the itinerary, with a canal cruise in Amsterdam also thrown in. The day begins by boarding a bus in central Amsterdam. At Keukenhof, skip the lines and get right to the floral action, with a guide who can provide insight into the history and significance of the garden. The next stop on this full-day tour is Zaanse Schans, where things get doubly Dutch. This open-air museum is really a small village with numerous working windmills, period wooden houses, and traditional crafts like clog-making and a cheese farm. Back in Amsterdam, board a canal boat and take a tour of the city’s famous attractions.