For six weeks during April and May millions of tourists throng the tulip route of Netherlands. Accommodation and car rental prices shoot up and all accommodation gets sold out pretty quickly. Sounds manic? It is! But that’s exactly why we’ve penned down a detailed guide to visiting Netherlands during tulip season.
We’ve tried to include every single thing we learnt when we visited Netherlands during tulip season this year. We hope this guide to visiting and photographing tulip season in Netherlands makes it easy to plan your trip and get some memorable photographs of the tulip fields in Netherlands. And that’s not all – there’s entire fields full of lavender, daffodils, and hyacinths too. Let’s start.
Best time to visit & photograph tulips in Netherlands
Every year tulip season covers the countryside of Netherlands in resplendent blooms for 6 weeks during the months of April and May. The exact dates of the bloom vary each year, so we’d suggest checking before making final bookings. As a thumb rule, the last week of April and the first 2 weeks of May are usually the best time to visit if you want to catch the tulips in full bloom.
Accommodation and getting around during tulip season in Netherlands
If you’re in Netherlands to see tulips and photograph tulip fields, we’d suggest keeping aside at least 2 days for this. During this time, avoid staying in cities like The Hague or Amsterdam. Instead, stay in an Air BnB apartment or cottage somewhere around Haarlem, Lisse, or the outskirts of The Hague . During this time, you can rent a car if you’re comfortable driving. If not, you can also rent bikes to explore the area. Bikes are easily available for rent in Netherlands.
Packing for tulip season in Netherlands
If you’re thinking of renting a bike to explore tulip and hyacinth fields in Netherlands, then make sure you pack a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable clothes. If you’re renting a car, then I’d suggest packing at least 1-2 flowy dresses in white. The tulip fields are too pretty not to snap a dreamy photo or two.
Irrespective of whether you’re on a bike or in a car, I’d suggest wearing comfortable shoes (preferably sneakers or sandals) that you are willing to dispose at the end of the trip. That’s because tulip fields are pretty but it can get pretty muddy in there. If you intend to walk into a few of them (please take utmost care not to trample the tulips), rest assured you’ll be left with grubby shoes at the end of your trip.
5 best spots to photograph Tulip Season in Netherlands
1. Keukenhof Tulip Gardens
The first places that comes to mind almost as soon as someone mentions ‘tulips in Netherlands’ are the iconic Keukenhof Tulip Gardens. The gardens are home to 7 million bulbs of Tulips, so they put up quite a show each year. There are plenty of walking paths and restaurants on site, so if you have just one day, then Keukenhof Tulip Gardens are probably the best bet. But do beware that Keukenhof Tulip Gardens entertain over 1 million visitors each year within a span of 6 weeks. Entry is expensive and the gardens are immensely crowded on most days, so if you’re in the Lisse area for more than a day, we’d suggest skipping the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens and visiting the fields in the surrounding villages instead. It makes for a cheaper and better experience but you do need to have at least 2 days at hand for this.
The town of Lisse isn’t just home to the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens. It also boasts of dozens of tulip and hyancinth fields. Just drive off the main road into the alleyways and you’ll spot several such fields. Some of them are barricaded by farmers, so make sure you don’t overstep the boundaries can farmers can get quite worked up about it (understandably so!). There are several vantage points in Lisse from where you can see stretches of lavender, pastel pink and lavender hyacinths, and tulips. Magnificent doesn’t begin to describe it!
Start driving towards Noordwijkerhout as you leave Lisse. The 4 kilometre street from Lisse to Noordwijkerhout has several flower farms. You will find several flower fields, which are not barricaded in the area. That’s because a lot of farmers are ok with tourists clicking photographs of their fields. If you do go inside the fields, make sure you don’t trample any flowers and do be respectful as a lot of effort goes into making them look the way they do. This area has a lot of hyancinth and tulip fields but it’s the vast stretches of daffodils that are a real surprise. We loved it!
4) Warmond, Heemstede, and Hillegom
These towns are ideal if you are biking from Haarlem or Lisse. They have some of the quietest pockets during peak season and it’s easy to find entire fields full of tulips here. You will spot plenty of pink, yellow, orange, and red tulip fields. But try to find rainbow like fields, that have several different colours of tulips. They make for some gorgeous photographs.
5) The fail safe option for those short on time
As more and more tourists look for options other than Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, some enterprising farm owners have started landscaping and preening their farms for photography purposes. Fam Flower Farm is one such farm but there are several others you can find. This is ideal if you’re short on time because for a small fee you can enter the tulip fields and take as many photographs as you want. This is an ideal option if you don’t want to ride around exploring little towns and looking for tulip fields which aren’t barricaded.
Photography tips for getting memorable shots during tulip season in Netherlands
Irrespective of whether you’re an amateur or a pro, it’s hard to take bad photos of the tulip fields in Netherlands. It’s easy to take some great shots just with your mobile phone. However if you’re an avid photographer, here are a few tips for you.
- Try to capture the fields during sunrise or sunset. The mellow morning/evening light makes the proceedings so much more magical. Additionally, I would suggest choosing orange or yellow tulip fields to photograph at these times of the day
- If you own a DSLR, make sure you carry a fast wide-angle lens, such as Tamron 15-30 f2.8 or Tamron 24-70 f2.8, so you can capture motion of a flowy dress amidst tulips
- I also carried a zoom lens (28-300) to get some nice shots of Savi in the middle of the fields
- If you own a drone, make sure you carry it with you. You will be unable to fly it in crowded spots but the more offbeat fields are ideal for it. However drone laws in Netherlands keep changing, so make sure you check before flying your drone.
- Carry a 90mm macro lens if you’re into botanical photography and enjoy clicking lots of close-ups of flowers. However if you want to click just the occasional close-up, then there is no need to carry a separate lens for it. A standard portrait lens such as the 50mm or even 24-70 can click some great shots.
That’s it. We tried to include every single thing in this guide to visiting Netherlands during tulip season. But if you have any questions feel free to leave them down below. We’ll answer them soon 🙂
Going to Netherlands? Combine your trip to the tulip fields with a city break in The Hague