Visit to the World’s largest Tulip Garden – Memories of spring at Keukenhof
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the Tulip Garden at Keukenhof is the famous song from the famous Bollywood film SilaSila. A mega success from at the box office in the 70’s, this Yash Raj film saw the popular screen couple Amitabh Bacchan with Rekha at the gardens, Bacchan serenading his lady love, surrounded by a sea of stunning tulips and the melodious title track playing …..sighhh…
Even today, that song remains one the most popular song from that era. And as you can now imagine, I have been dreaming of visiting these beautiful gardens forever. Finally this year, we made the trip to Holland, especially for the Tulips.
It was still early spring but most of the blossoms were in full bloom. But no matter how many pictures you see online, nothing compares to the feeling of walking into Keukenhof Gardens for the very first time.
We managed to leave as early as possible from our hotel, made our way to Schiphol airport/railway station and took the shuttle to the gardens. A quick 30 minute journey and you will be at Lisse, where the garden is located. When you are about to approach the gardens, you will be greeted by huge fields of tulips in all possible colours, we saw stunning shades of lavender and cream and rows and rows of bright red and yellow tulips.
I was a bit apprehensive when I saw a large number of tourist buses parked outside, but it was peak season for the tulips and a bank holiday weekend so crowds were to be expected.
Once inside we were greeted by friendly staff and handed a handy free map of the gardens.
History of the world’s largest Tulip garden
The worlds largest spring flower garden which is home to a mind boggling variety of tulips was originally a kitchen garden! Dating back to the 15th century, this was once home to a Bavarian countess whose kitchen was supplied by produce from these gardens. Hence, the name – Keukenhof which in literal translation means kitchen garden. After being passed on from the Dutch noble family, in the 16th century, an admiral took over the estate and built the Keukenhof Castle in 1641.
In the 19th century, landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son, famous for their work at Amsterdamn Vondel park re-designed the castle grounds to what we see today. Later in 1949, the then mayor of Lisse, threw open the gardens to floricultural commerce and even today more than 500 exhibitors showcase their plants, bulbs and blossoms in over 20 shows. So do make sure you don’t miss out on the custom made floral displays and do go and see the indoor exhibits. Be prepared to feast your eyes on not just tulips but stunning roses and a huge variety of flowers and potted plants.
Millions of spring blooms that grace these gardens give picture postcard perfect opportunities for budding photographers.
Though the best time to visit the gardens is mid- April, when we did, over the Easter break, the garden is open to the public from March end to mid-May.
Because the gardens are massive it is essential you chalk out a route for yourself and it is possible to walk through the whole garden in a few hours while packing in a quick lunch. That is, of course, possible if you do not linger around too much at any one spot – or you could if you like walk around and pick a favourite spot (like the one below) and spend some quality time there admiring the blooms and the grounds.
This was the best half a day spent outdoors during our trip to Netherlands. And although I did resist the impulse to run through the tulip fields pretending to be Rekha to my Bacchan, I did manage to tick off one of top 5 places to see in the world, also one of the first places that ever made it to any such list! ( and yes we did manage to get this picture clicked, that’s about as much of a Bollywood posing I can force out of the hubby)
Next year the flower parade for 2018 will be held on the 21st of April 2018. To plan your trip and make the most of your vacation, here are some important details:
Where: Keukenhof gardens are located in Lisse, Netherlands (Holland)
Opening Times: 8 am – 7:30 pm
Dates: 22nd of March 2018 until the 13th of May 2018
Keukenhof is located at Lisse in Netherlands, a 30-minute bus-journey from Amsterdam. There is a bus leaving every 15 minutes from Schiphol airport to the garden. There are good transport links from all the major cities of the Hague, Haarlem and Leiden. Hoofddorp is a popular tourist location to stay during peak season too with loads of hotels in the town with regular shuttle services to Schiphol.
Coming up soon on Travelsfortaste Blog:
- Top 5 tips to make the most of your visit to Keukenhof Garden, Holland.
- Photo-blog of the Graden of Europe and Tulip fields.
- Top 5 travel and stay tips to plan your visit to Amsterdam.
- Cheese and wine tasting at Reypenaer Amsterdam.