I did a search of the forum and am wondering if anyone has attended the parade more recently than the posts I found (2016). I read that its easy just to view along the route without booking a grandstand seat in one of the towns. Seems like things everywhere have become so crowded in recent years and I want to mitigate hassle. We will be driving and could pull off at an advantageous place if that is still recommended. Thanks for any input you have!
The closer you get to Keukenhof, the more crowded it will be. But the route is long and there are many places to park and to watch from. No seats though, so you'll have to stand. And you'll need to go at least an hour before the parade passes your chosen location, because the route itself will be blocked.
The last time I was there was in 2013. It was only slightly more crowded than when I was there in 1984! Both times I parked down a side street between #2 and #3 on the route.
This is a link to the map of the 2019 route. Scroll down the page to see specific times for specific locations. The route for 2020 will be the same or very similar At some point the route map for 2020 will be posted here.
One great thing about viewing the parade from a place like this is that it's very casual and there are no barricades. People got out on the street and took pictures of the floats and bands and other parade participants. That's easy to do because the street is narrow and even if you're standing on the sidewalk you're within 20 feet or so of the the participants.
Another great thing about being close is that you can smell the scent of the flowers as they go by. The hyacinths in particular are absolutely intoxicating.
If you haven't already, do a Google Images search for the parade using the Dutch name. There are lots of pictures of parade participants.
We stayed in Leiden and it was about a 20 minute drive to where we parked. I'll send you a PM with links to my old blog posts about the parade and the drive from Leiden -- if I can find them.
Edited to add: If the parade took 10 hours to pass by or all get to Mona, it must slow down substantially between Lisse (Keukenhof) and Haarlem. It took about 2 hours to pass by us.
In 2017 we went to see the 10 hour long flower parade roll into Haarlem at the end of its route from Lisse. It arrived right after dark. The next day we went back to Haarlem to see the floats up close as they park for the one day on a closed off street near the city center. I recommend seeing the parade as it passes by to get the full effect of all of the musical groups and people who make this parade happen. I also recommend seeing the floats the following day if you can as they are on display in Haarlem.
If you can’t attend the flower parade in the Bollenstreek, early September there is every year a spectacular flower parade in Zundert, the birth place of Vincent van Gogh. https://corsozundert.nl/en/home-2/
Oh my, I did go to Zundert for the Flower parade.... what an experience. I really enjoyed it.
We stayed there a few nights. Beautiful surroundings and I didn't feel like there were many tourists. Got a little of a village feel to it.
Mona, great information about seeing floats the day after the parade. Growing up in Los Angeles my family would go look at the Rose Parade floats a day or two later - no crowds, able to get close.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and information!