After Amsterdam, we headed south to Haarlem, which became our base for a few days as we explored more of the Netherlands. Our first goal, and arguably the reason we came to the Netherlands at this time of year, was to experience spring in the best way possible. So off we went to Keukenhof Gardens.
The gardens are only open for only eight weeks, from mid-March through May. From Haarlem, it is only a bus ride and a stroll away. If you’re coming from Amsterdam or Schiphol, you can also take a bus straight to the gardens.
In Keukenhof are dozens of colors, hundreds of varieties, thousands of flowers–not just tulips but crocuses, narcissi, hydrangea, hyacinths, daffodils, and orchids. Scattered around the 32 acres are many flower beds and manicured lawns, as well as six pavilions containing a variety of featured displays. Each pavilion has a restaurant or café to fuel your stroll around the gardens. At one end of the park, you can ride little boats through a small canal, and there’s also a windmill with a lovely view of the famous tulip fields. These are privately-owned and not really part of Keukenhof, but they’re still pretty!
It can be tricky to time your visit (the beginning of April was a little too early to see the fields in full bloom) but the gardens are well-designed. A flower bed will have a couple different types of flowers with one blooming before the other, and if you’re lucky, you might catch both.
I had a wonderful time taking pictures of my favorite flowers and watching the swans. David shoved his nose into what seemed like every flower (and thus discovered his new favorite, the hyacinth). The wealth of photos in this post only capture small moments in the enjoyable day that we had at the gardens, and we definitely felt that the 18EUR per adult was a fair price for the lovely time we had.