My husband and I will be staying in Amsterdam March 28-April 4. We are planning to use three days to take day trips. On one of the days we want to go to Keukenhoff and would like to combine it with another city or site since I hear that Keukenhof only takes 1/2 day. Other than Haarlem, which we plan to spend a full day in on another day, please give suggestions of places to combine with Keukenhof via public transportation.
I think it depends on your tolerance but Keukenhof can take more than half a day. I'd think with getting transportation out and back you're looking at more like 3/4 a day. I visited as part of a RS tour on a transit day from Delft to Amsterdam so no direct experience on taking public transportation out there and back. We arrived at 830-ish and left at 1230 or so and I did not cover the whole garden area.
I agree with Pam. We used the train there and back from A'dam, got there fairly early in the morning, and didn't get back to the city til later in the afternoon. But then I'm a gardenoholic.
It may take more than 1/2 day to visit Keukenhoff if you start from Amsterdam. It took me about an hour+ to get to Lisse by bus on a weekday, around eight in the morning, from my hotel location in the Museum District. Depending on what draws your attention, you can speed-tour the garden and be done in half a day even with the commute. But Keukenhoff is much more than rows of neat flower beds. However you chose to plan your day, make time to stop at the garden’s cafe and taste their apple cake.
The Keukenhof Express bus, which you probably have taken to arrive at the Keukenhof, also goes to Leiden, terminating at the railway station. Leiden is a most attractive historical university city, which most overseas visitors enjoy. Trains back to Amsterdam take around 40 mins.
tonfromleiden: Thank you for your thoughts. Leiden sounds like a nice idea. I had not read about this Keukenhof express. Is it the one that is on the Keukenhof website? We would like to go to Keukenhoff early in the morning and then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening doing something else. If you have any specific places or restaurants in Leiden to recommend, that would be great.
The »Combiticket« for Schiphol airport to the Keukenhof is also valid for the trip from the Keukenhof to Leiden. At the station Leiden Centraal you can buy train tickets back to Amsterdam (from the machine or at the window).
In Leiden I think you'll especially enjoy the area around the Pieterskerk, the oldest part of the city, with the Rapenburg as the most beautiful canal. An all-time favourite is the windmill De Valk, still original from the mid-eighteenth century, which you can't miss when walking from the station to the city centre.
Leiden is well served by restaurants. A classic is the Chinese-Indonesian Woo Ping in an alley near the Pieterskerk.
How do you feel about bikes? I'm not a huge fan since I got old and overweight, but we rented bikes in the Keukenhof parking lot (rent a bike van dam) and spent a few hours cycling around the tulip fields - great fun. We did the medium trail, but there is a longer one.
Leiden is a superb visit, but it can't be well covered in a half-day. It's a rich destination. Although it is difficult by public transportation, a stop that pairs physically with Keukenhof is the weekday early-morning flower auction at Alsmeer. We combined them by car, although I'm not urging anyone to rent a car in the Netherlands. We still had the car from a long drive and had not yet dropped it for a stay in Amsterdam.
I agree with other posters. Keukenhof takes at least 3/4 of a day including transportation time.
The combitickets for the express bus and entry to Keukenhof can be found on the Gardens website.