If you’re planning a family trip to the Netherlands, especially during the spring season, make sure visiting Keukenhof is on your itinerary. And since you’re here, I’m hopeful that’s exactly what you’re doing!
Known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof is a spectacular floral paradise that will leave both you and your little ones in awe.
Here’s a handy guide packed with tips to ensure your family’s visit to Keukenhof is a blooming success!
When to Visit Keukenhof in 2024
I bet one of your first questions is wondering, “When is the best time to visit Keukenhof in 2024,” right? Here’s the short answer:
Keukenhof is only open during the spring. Specifically, during an eight(ish)-week window.
Specifically, the 2024 Keukenhof dates are Thursday, March 21 — Sunday, May 12, 2024.
They’re open every day (yes, Keukenhof is open on Easter and King’s Day) come rain or come shine.
And here’s the slightly longer version:
There’s no exact date that’s the best time to visit Keukenhof. If your trip is in March and early April you’ll miss the larger tulips, but you’ll still see gorgeous other flowers like hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses, and a few early tulips.
If you want to see the iconic large tulips, I highly recommend you aim to visit mid-April through early May. Keep an eye on Keukenhof’s flower report here to see what’s currently in bloom. (For reference, the majority of these photos were taken on April 18, 2023.)
Not only is the weather a bit more mild (although you may experience some windy or rainy days), but the flowers’ vibrant colors are at their peak then.
Tips for Visiting Keukenhof:
Now for all the info you need for your visit to Keukenhof. Read through the whole post or skip to the part you need with the table of contents.
1. Keukenhof is not in Amsterdam (AKA How to Get to Keukenhof)
I’m sharing this because before living out here, I had no idea that Keukenhof wasn’t actually in Amsterdam.
Keukenhof Gardens is just outside (about 30 minutes southwest) of Amsterdam in an area nicknamed “Bollenstreek,” AKA, “the bulb area,” in the town of Lisse.
The good news is that visiting Keukenhof is easy via pretty much any type of transportation.
If you’re visiting Keukenhof this spring, consider renting a car and driving. Not only does it offer flexibility, especially if you have little ones with you, but then you’ll be able to venture outside of the gardens to see tulip fields around the area.
The good news is that if you don’t want to rent a car, you can get to Keukenhof any other way you’d like.
2. Family-Friendly Features at Keukenhof
Keukenhof is designed to be family-friendly, with paved pathways perfect for strollers and wheelchairs, so bring the kids.
There are multiple playgrounds, a maze, scavenger hunts*, interactive exhibits, and even a petting zoo to keep the kids entertained. Not to mention, there’s also a fun boat ride you can take around the gardens; I’ll share more on that in a bit.
Check the schedule for special events and workshops that your little ones might enjoy. It’s not just a garden; it’s a hands-on experience for the whole family!
There are kid-friendly food options (hello, fries, and mini pancakes called poffertjes), but you can also bring a picnic for a leisurely family lunch amid the blooming beauty. I’ll talk about food down below, too.
*I’ve been told you can ask for these at the entrance. I didn’t have my kids with me when I went last time.
3. How Long to Spend at Keukenhof
Keukenhof is huge! It’s much larger than I was expecting, to be honest. If you’re wondering how long to spend visiting Keukenhof, I recommend a minimum of two hours, but, if you can manage it, you’ll want to be there for around 3-5 hours. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and lots of things to see.
When I said it’s big, I meant it. Keukenhof plants around 7 million flower bulbs annually, it’s 80 acres big, and they welcome more than one million visitors every year.
With that said, when you get to the parking lot, don’t freak out with how many tour buses you may see. Once you get through the bottleneck entrance, things will spread out a lot more.
There are tons of paths that lead you all around the gardens, and multiple pavilions filled with even more flowers and floral arrangements inside.
Get there Early!
Keukenhof is a very popular destination, so it’s wise to arrive early to avoid the crowds. Getting there early will let you enjoy the morning’s tranquility and capture stunning photos without people in the background.
In fact, in their FAQs, the Keukenhof website recommends people visit on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between the hours of 10:30 am and 4 pm.
4. Book a Boat Ride
Truth be told: I haven’t done this yet, and wish I did. The timing just hasn’t worked out yet, but it sounds like a fun way to see Keukenhof. It’s a 45-minute audio tour around Keukenhof in an electrically-propelled “whisper” boat, and it starts near the iconic Dutch windmill at Keukenhof.
Taking a ride on Keukenhof’s “Whisper Boat” is an additional charge and you must book your ticket and time slot ahead of time. Their website explicitly states that if you miss your booked time slot you’re basically out of luck.
See more info about this, and get your tickets here.
5. Food and Drink Options
Bring Your Own Food
I love places that allow you to bring in your own food, and Keukenhof is one of those places, plus they also have great options if you want to buy something to eat there.
Exploring Keukenhof can be a full-day adventure, so be sure to pack some snacks and plenty of water, especially if you have young ones with you. This will keep everyone fueled with minimal meltdowns.
There are picnic tables and benches scattered throughout the gardens. You just can’t take food into a restaurant.
Restaurants at Keukenhof
Keukenhof has restaurants and food trucks throughout the gardens, too, where you can get everything from breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just a snack and drinks.
I will say that the prices seemed pretty high for me and the lines get long during peak mealtimes, so keep that in mind if anyone is prone to getting hangry.
6. Souvenirs and Photo-ops
Before you leave, consider picking up some tulip bulbs or other souvenirs from the gift shops. Planting tulips at home can be a wonderful way to remember your visit to Keukenhof for years to come.
There is also one main gift shop at the entrance/exit just in case you forget to pick up something at another shop in the gardens.
While you’re visiting Keukenhof you’ll also find fun photo-op spots throughout the park. There may be some lines for some of them, so just be patient until it’s your turn!
One important thing to note: stay on the path. Don’t go off the path and trample the flowers. In the photo above it may look like I’m in the middle of a flower patch, but they’re actually a little stone path running through it. You can get creative with your photos!
7. What to Wear to Keukenhof
Wondering what to wear to Keukenhof? This answer may surprise you based on what you’ve seen on Instagram. The weather in the Netherlands in the spring is typically nice, but what you can’t see in pictures is that it’s usually windy.
Skip the skimpy dress unless you want to have a Marilyn Monroe moment…if you catch my drift. If you’re going to wear a dress, wear something under it or wear a long dress.
Also, pass on wearing the color green. There’s A LOT of green all around Keukenhof, so unless you want to clash, or blend in like the grass or stems, skip the green. Go for something simple and muted; the flowers are so colorful as it is that they’ll brighten up your pictures.
As for footwear, wear something comfortable, because you’ll be getting a lot of steps in while you walk around Keukenhof. Unlike traipsing around the tulip fields, you won’t have to worry about mud; the pathways are paved at Keukenhof. But, you’ll still want something comfortable to walk around in.
Depending on the day, you’ll also want to pack a light jacket since that wind can make it fairly chilly.
8. What to Bring to Keukenhof
I discussed this above, but you can bring in food and drinks. Some people brought wagons with them (they took up a lot of space, but to each their own), but most had a backpack. Strollers are also fine.
One more note about backpacks: small bags are fine inside the gardens, but skip the luggage. There are free (!!!) lockers at the main entrance for smaller items (the lockers are 25x55x45 cm), and you can leave bigger luggage at the luggage depot near Keukenhof’s entrance.
Dogs are allowed with you while visiting Keukenhof, but they must be leashed, and there’s only one dog allowed per person. Also, dogs (except for guide or support dogs), aren’t allowed into any indoor space (like restaurants or pavilions).
9. Get Outside of Keukenhof
Keukenhof is one of the most famous gardens in the world or at least Europe, but there’s something to be said for seeing the famous tulips bloom in their natural habitat.
Tulip Fields in the Netherlands
Here’s where to see the gorgeous tulip fields all around the Netherlands.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE POST
If you have time after visiting Keukenhof, I highly encourage you to get out and see the tulip fields after your morning at Keukenhof. Simply drive around, rent a bike, or hop on a tour that will take you to the fields. It’s truly a site to see.
Other Fun Things to Do Around Keukenhof
(pictures taken from the Tulip Experience; see below)
If you’re looking for fun/unique ways to see the tulip fields in the area after your visit to Keukenhof, how about seeing them via a tiny electric car? Or if you want to move around more, take a guided bike tour of the tulip fields.
There are also several super fun-looking fields and tours in the area that welcome you to take pictures and get up close and personal (within reason) with the tulips; some of them even have props out for you to use. Check them out here:
Where to Stay Near Keukenhof
While we haven’t personally stayed at any of these, they all come highly recommended. You can see the places we have used for accommodation around Europe here.
Visiting Keukenhof with your family is not just a trip; it’s an immersive experience in a world of colors and fragrances. By following these tips, I hope you’ll make the most of your time in this floral wonderland.
Please let me know how your experience during your visit to Keukenhof in 2024 went!