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Visiting Keukenhof

We will be in Brugge for an extended time starting the end of April 2017. I would really like to see Keukenhof as a 2-3 nights trip from Brugge. Any suggestions as to where we should look for accommodation. We have been to Amsterdam before and would prefer not to stay there. Are there accommodation available close (walking distance if possible) to Keukenhof.

I read that Keukenhof is a very big place. Any recommendations as how to have an enjoyable visit.

Thanks.

Posted by
2487 posts

If you want to have it practical: the Hampshire and Ibis hotels are very close to the railway and bus stations. They get positive reviews. For more atmosphere have the Doelen Hotel on the Rapenburg, a 10-minute walk.

Posted by
5592 posts

It's quite a long trip from Brugge, Belgium, so you are wise to make it multi-night. You might stay at a worthwhile nearby city, like Leiden. I can't imagine even an Ibis within walking distance, and if there were, you would have little choice of dining or transportation. But you don't have to ask us; the internet is your friend. Some people try to combine it with the Aaslmeer Flower Auction, but that's almost impossible by public transportation.

Keukenhof is very big compared to a city botanical garden. You have left your home country and city off your Profile, so we can't give you good comparisons. It is not huge compared to Huntington (CA) Gardens or Longwood Gardens (PA.) Visits are very, very crowded, so you should try to go on a non-weekend day. Investigate special bus routes (i.e. from Amsterdam and Leiden) as well as the local bus company. You'll have to queue for food or even a beer.

Don't go the first week. Regardless of the (unpredictable ... ) actual climate and weather, the perennial plants (as opposed to the bulbs) will not be vigorously blooming. But you certainly need to book your room in advance, without hope of making a last-minute weather decision. This attraction is worth the effort.

We went by car, on the way from the Hague to Amsterdam. So I can't give more transit advice.

Posted by
490 posts

We probably won't make this side trip from Brugge until the first or second week of May. And yes, I would like to have our accommodation booked way ahead of time. I am looking at Haarlem and Leiden as our base to visit Keukenhof.

Posted by
12040 posts

Any recommendations as how to have an enjoyable visit. Yes, get there early and hit the indoor displays first. These have some of the most impressive tulips and by noon, will be packed shoulder to shoulder. Even at it's most crowded (and I can't imagine how it could be more crowded than it was on the day I visited), you can usually enjoy the outdoor flower beds at a leisurely pace.

Posted by
3714 posts

Be sure to visit the Keukenhof website for more info. Note that the gardens close on May 21. I've never been there that late, so if anyone else has, they can tell you how the gardens look at the time you are likely to go.

We stayed at the Huys van Leyden in Leiden. As already mentioned, it's a charming, easily walkable town with lots to see there and with good bus service to Keukenhof. I loved visiting the windmill museum in Leiden.

Posted by
436 posts

Arrive when the gates open and you can have a quiet walk through amazing flower gardens. When we arrived there were no buses in the parking lot. I do not know if you can get there that early if you do not stay in Lisse.

We stayed at Hotel de Duif (?) and could smell the flowers when we got out of the car. The short walk in the morning to the gardens was easy and very quiet. Remembering that day makes me smile. Beautiful flowers and flower mosaics around every bend in the trail. The windmill with a view over the flower fields was beautiful! Early in the day it was very quiet and later there were many people - it was fun watching the people taking photos of the flowers and the many family groups both of tourists and locals. The indoor exhibits are also beautiful and can be insanely crowded. I don't recall lines for food but we preceeded the crowd by arriving early. We ended up spending most of the day there.

We had little trouble finding dinner and enjoyed walking around the small downtown area near the hotel. The next day we drove around the flower fields in the area - very amazing and so colorful. We drove a bit, stopped and walked and took photos, then repeat, and chatted with the stream of people participating in a "Walk to Keukenhof" event, another great day :-)

Stay in Lisse, then visit Lieden on another day.

Enjoy the planning and the trip.

Posted by
490 posts

Maybe we will try to be there the first week of May. We will just be arriving in Brugge in the last week of April and we will be busy that week.

Posted by
37 posts

Tim - you said NOT to visit Keukenhof the first week it opens, but I will be visiting Amsterdam in mid-March 2017, and will actually only be available to visit the gardens on March 24, the second day they will be open. Just curious why you recommend not going in the first week, because nothing is in bloom or because it is really crowded? Should I skip going altogether or take a chance and go anyway? My gut tells me to go anyway.

Posted by
2829 posts

Normally, many displays are not bloomed in March. However, this depends heavily on weather. In 2013, I think, we had a really, really cold winter and they even brought planters to conceal part of the desolation of the garden which only blossomed full force late in April. However, the year before we had a warm winter and things were in full swing by March.

If one can choose when to visit, then, yes, mid-April to early-May are safest bets. If you can only visit at other periods, do it.

Crowds depend more on day of the week and time of the day. I've visited Keukenhof several times, early mornings are often uncrowded. Buy tickets online to beat the ticket line. Saturdays and Sundays with good weather are peak times.

Posted by
5592 posts

krafty, you are perfectly right that if your schedule is not adjustable, you should go in the first week. As Andre wrote just above, the issue is blooming, not a big difference in crowds, which are a constant. I noticed delayed blooming in perennials and azaleas as well. We didn't go just for the bulbs. We also had the same experience at a Floriade's first week. (In fairness to Keukenhof, "all" the plants at a Floriade are newly established, which is not the same thing.)

Posted by
490 posts

Update: We booked a vacation rental in Haarlem for five nights in the second week of May. I am looking forward to seeing Keukenhof and will plan to be there when it opens.

Are there taxis from Haarlem to Keukenhof?

Posted by
12 posts

There's a combo bus / train/ entrance tickets at https://keukenhof.nl/en/plan-your-visit/how-to-get-there/

You've love Haarlem - be sure to see the Frans Hals Museum (closed Mondays - and perhaps Easter ) http://www.franshalsmuseum.nl/en/

Teyler's Museum also good - not the greatest artwork, but interesting collection and the building is amazing. Buy a combo ticket (€ 17,50) for the Frans Hals Museum and Teylers Museum. The ticket is valid for 48 hours. https://www.teylersmuseum.nl/en

Posted by
221 posts

I'll be in Amsterdam the first week in May and of course want to visit Keukenhof. I know that there's a bus to the airport, where you can get another bus to Keukenhof, and there are also bus tours that take you directly there. Any thoughts on which is easier of better? I would not want to book a tour much in advance, though, since I'd like to be able to visit on a day with good weather, and that might mean a tour wouldn't work. I've also read advice that it's best to try to get there as early as possible, before large tour groups arrive. What time would you need to leave Amsterdam for an early arrival?

Posted by
2829 posts

It is easier to just use the combo ticket between Schiphol and Keukenhof. These are not date-specific, so you can coordinate with weather forecast during your visit. Travel by train instead of bus from Amsterdam to Schiphol (it is cheap, 4 Euro).

Posted by
221 posts

Thanks--if I wanted to get there on the early side, what time should I plan on leaving Amsterdam?

Posted by
7 posts

Hello, I am visiting Amsterdam in April, and planned to visit the Keukenhof on April 13. I am travelling with my wife and a kid of 8 years, so we planned to drive there. We will perhaps spend an hour or two here, then I am thinking whether to go to either Haarlem for a short stay or The Bollenstreek, then head back to Amsterdam and walk around the city. Would this plan do for a day?

Posted by
28145 posts

To the last poster above, new to this thread (you can start your own, too)

Seems like a lot of money to waste on a long journey to try to "see" Keukenhof in an hour. You may be able to see a tiny corner, but Keukenhof is at least a half day experience.