We are planning on a trip to the Netherlands in May, provided that it seems safe with pandemic conditions. We originally were planning on arriving somewhere between the 19th and the 22nd and are meeting friends for a Scandinavian cruise from Copenhagen on June 6. However, I noticed that the Keukenhof Gardens are open until May 15, 2022. Would it be worth it to arrive on the 12th or 13th to see them, or will they be a disappointment at the end of the season? I'm sure we won't have any trouble filling the extra days of the trip, but just want to know if we should plan our arrival around the gardens' schedule. Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
They will be far past their peak. I would be disappointed.
Twice I've been to the garden on it's very last day of the season, and there was still plenty to do and see; go for it! While it's only open to the public for a few months, in other parts of the year the complex is used for trade shows, so it's maintained year-round. Even on the "last day" staff was still busy planting new brand flowers beds from their green-houses.
We went May 9, 2017 and the gardens and pavilions were still very enjoyable and so lovely. I would love to see it again. Plants are weather dependent and the bulbs are planted to bloom at different times. There are several pavilions with beautiful displays of potted plants and cut flowers. I wrote a trip report with mostly pictures in this Slow Europe travel forum.
I looked up ‘Keukenhof May’ on YouTube and found this:
It put me firmly in the ‘go for it’ camp.
This question is asked every year, so a search (top center) will reveal multiple points of view. Without meaning any insult, Keukenhof is a product. Just like Longwood Gardens, NYBG, or Huntington Library is a product. They know how to plant multiple bulbs and replant beds so that they are tarted-up for the entire season. Other aspects of Netherlands life, like commercial bulb production farm fields will vary much more over the course of the season.
Edit: I remember that Keukenhof has substantial non-bulb exhibitions, for example an Azalea/Rhody area, and lots of perennials. I would never omit it if I were in the area during the season. It is quite busy on most days, even lines for the beer taps. Try to go on a weekday. I think we paired it with the Alsmeer Flower Auction, but that is difficult by public transportation.
We've been to visit Keukenhof many times over the years. Unfortunately, in 2020, it never opened due to COVID. In 2021, as the blooming period was at the height of a COVID wave, it opened, but with restricted entry numbers. For 2022, it appears they may use a similar, limited ticket allotment to maintain social distancing - although that's pretty far off, so who knows. I'd check out the website: https://keukenhof.nl/en/ regularly, in case advance, time-slotted tickets are required (again) in 2022.
As far as optimum bloom, based on the advance plantings, it's generally in mid-to-late April. I've been often the first week of May and perhaps 70% of the park is still blooming. Generally, the fields around Keukenhof - in Lisse - would not be as colordul in mid-May. Yet, this IS weather-dependent. This year (2021) we had a colder - and wetter - winter and thus fields bloomed much later. We had fields blooming until very late in May 2021, the latest I've seen in many years, Thus, if 2022 is also colder... you may see more blooms in May than April!
We usually have NEVER bought advance tickets to Keukenhof....primarily because we wanted to make sure it was a sunny day before we headed over. But this year was different and advance tickets were required. Not sure how 2022 will play out yet. This week, the NL is suffering another COVID wave and the Keukenhof/Lisse area, like most parts of the NL, has been labeled RED by the EU. We will see next week if there are new "restrictions" forthcoming from the NL government --- or worse -- other countries.
As multi-time visitors, we generally try to avoid weekends - especially Sundays - as the traffic can be a bear! We travel to Keukenhof by car, bus, or bike (depending on who is with us). For a non-local traveler, the bus seems to be the best option - with direct bus options from multiple locations. (For us, we ride the train to Leiden and take the bus from there). Again, 2022 visits will undoubtedly be impacted by COVID restrictions - whatever those might be next year (which probably won't be determined until a couple of months out).
Thanks so much for your input! We will plan on arriving before the gardens close for the season and I'm sure we'll find them enjoyable.
Although the Keukenhof website had said tickets would be available starting in late November, they are available NOW for purchase -- and you need to pick an entry time.
We’ve made several visits from mid April to mid May over the years. Our most recent visit was during the last week and it was beautiful. I had rehearsed apologies to our first time visiting friends and scrapped my speech as we walked in. Weather varies of course but these folks know something about bulbs. Have a wonderful trip.
Thank you for your input. It is encouraging to hear about your experiences.