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Guidance coming from Frankfurt for Keukenhof

Hi,
We are currently living (haven't been here long) in Frankfurt and am interested in coming to the Keukenhof festival in May. I would really appreciate some input/advice on a couple of things:
--first, would you drive (app 4.5 hours) or take the train? Traveling with me would be, 3 kids (13,11,9), my mom and aunt. I like the idea of the train as it would be more relaxing, but I don't know how easy/difficult it would be to get from the train station to a hotel and then the gardens. Does it make more sense to have our own car?
--where/what area would you stay in if the purpose of the trip is the Keukenhof? I anticipate being there over 2 days. That said, what else is a must see/do while in the area? I saw a canal tour in Haarlem, but have no idea what the proximity of that area is to where I'm looking.
--is it worth it/advisable to purchase tickets ahead of time and should I get them specifically for the garden or I've seen someone else mention a combi (?) ticket.

Sorry if the questions seem elementary. It's difficult to plan a trip where you have such limited knowledge of the area yourself. I really appreciate the help.

Lesley

Posted by
25104 posts

Lesley,

The Keukenhof closes on 17th May, but in May you are really at the tail end and many beds will be empty. There will always be a good show, but April is much better.

Haarlem is very close, but parking can be tricky in Haarlem.

With that many people if you have your own car and don't need to worry about rentals, I'd drive. That's a lot of train tickets and with the car you can stop at interesting things along the way and get the kids their McDonalds along the way. Parking at Keukenhof can be a long walk if you get there late but is not too late its pretty easy.

Posted by
16832 posts

I also would drive, if you have a car that fits all 6 of you. If you took a train to Leiden, then you'd catch bus #854, the Keukenhof Express, according to p. 275 of Rick's Amsterdam+ book. The car would also make it easy to visit the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, or served by bus, open weekday mornings, which may not be around forever.

Posted by
3491 posts

Not sure what Keukenhof "festival" you mean... This is the link to the website -- http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/. And this is the link to the events -- http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/discover-the-park/events/.

IMHO, the Flower Parade is the biggest event 25 April (http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/discover-the-park/events/flower-parade/). But perhaps you mean the Shanty Choirs Festival, 14-17 May (http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/discover-the-park/events/shanty-choirs-festival/).

In 2013 we stayed in Leiden, drove to the parade area, easily parked and watched the parade on Saturday. Wanting to miss the hoards that weekend, we didn't go back to the Gardens until the following Monday, again in our car. But we did drive around the area to see the fields and loved our visit to the Molen de Valk (http://molendevalk.leiden.nl/en/homepage/). The kids might like it better than the adults, but look closely at the pictures in this posting I did on it -- http://travelswithtrout.blogspot.com/2013/08/benelux-april-2013-molen-de-valk.html -- especially the ones of the "stairs."

My husband insisted that I do a posting of our drive from our B&B to the Gardens and back, so here's a link -- http://travelswithtrout.blogspot.com/2013/07/benelux-april-2013-driving-to-and-from.html -- to it. You are welcome to explore any of the other postings that might interest you. Click on the pictures to see them bigger, or only them.

I do think driving is the best thing to do. I also think that 2 days (3 nights?) won't give you much time to do a whole lot. The Gardens themselves can take a whole day. By the way, I drove up there from Nuremberg when I lived in Germany and camped for my first visit to Keukenhof. It was well worth the trip, but I was by myself. Your group will likely see things at a much slower pace than I did that first time or than my husband and I did 2 years ago.

Where you stay may be determined by your budget. Three adults and three kids are a lot of people. We stayed at the Huys van Leyden (http://www.huysvanleyden.nl/eng/home-english.html), but it might not be appropriate for you. Booking.com (http://www.booking.com/) can be a good resource for finding lodgings in the area for all of you. Be sure to click on "more options" in the "Guests" box to get to a place to put in the number of adults and kids and the ages of the kids. The ages can affect the types and prices of lodgings that come up in the results.

I probably have too many links in this response, but I hope they are a help and not a bother. Assuming good weather, and even without it, you will have a great time.

Posted by
433 posts

We visited in April last year and it is an amazing place.
We stayed in Lisse, at the Hotel De Duif http://www.hoteldeduif.nl/en/
It is walking distance to Keukenhof with parking at the hotel.
They have rooms for three people and we saw families with children.
Clean rooms and great breakfast too!

Enjoy the trip!