If you love flowers and springtime (are there people who don’t?) then maybe you’ve heard of Keukenhof, one of the best and most popular flower gardens in the world!
One of the things that makes Keukenhof so special is that it’s only open for 8 weeks every year. Heads up: it’s open right now! The dates usually range from late March through late May.
What is Keukenhof?
Imagine the biggest, most colorful, most epic garden you’ve ever seen, and that’s basically it. Keukenhof is actually several gardens within a garden — basically, there are themed gardens scattered throughout. So you can visit a beach-themed garden, a Dutch-themed garden, even a proposal garden! Across these 32 hectares of gardens, there are over 7 million bulbs in bloom and over 800 varieties of tulips.
The term “keukenhof” actually means “kitchen garden,” and the garden dates back to the 15th century. Countess Jacqueline of Bavaria gathered fruit and vegetables from the woods for the kitchen of Keukenhof Castle. Eventually the estate grew to an area of over 200 hectares and in 1857 it was redesigned by Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who also designed Amsterdam’s famous Vondelpark.
In 1949, a group of twenty flower bulb exporters proposed a plan to use the estate for a permanent exhibition of spring-flowering bulbs. The park opened to the public in 1950 and was an instant success, with over 200,000 visitors in the first year alone!
How to get to Keukenhof?
If you’re arriving to Amsterdam by train and you’re going straight to the garden, then head towards the Schiphol station in Amsterdam (this is the airport train station). If you’re already in Amsterdam city center and you want to visit the garden, you can take a train to the Schiphol station (it takes about 15 minutes and is covered by a rail pass). Once you arrive at Schiphol, you can buy your tickets for Keukenhof and the direct bus that travels there (it takes about 20 minutes). If you don’t see the Keukenhof stand inside the train station, just ask at the info desk, they’re super helpful!
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What to do at Keukenhof?
After you wander through the various gardens by foot, you can also opt for a cruise around the little lake within the park. You can buy tickets for this boat trip once you’re inside the park. There are also a few places to eat scattered throughout the grounds (we were there on a slightly chilly day and we can’t recommend the hot chocolate enough!) and there are several play areas for children as well. If you want to take some flower bulbs home for a friend (or yourself), you can buy them at several locations around the park.
Some Practical Info
- Dogs are allowed in the park, provided they are kept on a leash. They are not allowed inside the restaurants or indoor pavilions.
- The park is wheelchair accessible! Wheelchairs can also be reserved for use in advance from this page.
- There are free luggage lockers available near the entrance of the park
- Free WiFi is available in the whole park, so you can Instagram in real time!
If you want to make sure your trip to Keukenhof is all set before you leave, you can book a tour on our website. And make sure to tag any Instagram photos you take with #raileurope so we can follow along!
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