The Most Colourful Day Trip From Amsterdam: Keukenhof Gardens

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I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Keukenhof Gardens twice in my life; once, in 2009, back when I had no idea how to use a camera other than to point it at things and hope for the best, and another in 2015, when I had a better understanding of what the hell I was doing.

I have to state right away that besides being the largest flower garden in the world, Keukenhof is also a photographer’s idea of paradise. With its 32 hectares of flowers encompassing every colour of the rainbow and its meticulously laid out arrangements, Keukenhof will turn anyone into a flower person – all you’ve got to do is pick your favourite among the 800 varieties. No biggie.

Rain or shine, the gardens are definitely a must-do day trip from Amsterdam in the spring. After all, aren’t tulips so quintessentially Dutch?

Keukenhof Gardens in Photos

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The Keukenhof Gardens – also known as the Gardens of Europe – first opened in 1949 in an effort to publicise Holland’s growing tulip industry (see what I did there?). And it worked! The Netherlands are now the world’s largest exporter of flowers, and Keukenhof went on to become one of the top attractions in the country with more than 7 million bulbs in bloom every year.

But if you think Keukenhof is only about tulips, you would be wrong. The iconic bloom certainly is the main draw of this show but there are many more flowers and plants to admire on site (like daffodils, carnations, hyacinths, lilies, orchids, roses, and irises), including a lush English garden and a surprising Japanese garden.

The technicolour displays and aromas are almost overwhelming at times – how can a single set of eyes observe everything?

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Keukenhof Gardens: Know Before You Go

  • The gardens are located in Lisse, one hour south of Amsterdam.
  • You can either get there with a shuttle bus from Amsterdam (and skip-the-line entry ticket) or by public transit.
  • They are open from March 24 to May 16, 2016.
  • The best time to visit Keukenhof Gardens is mid-April; I visited the day before the gardens closed and while the displays were still absolutely beautiful (as demonstrated above), many flowers were wilted and tired.
  • Plan between 2 and 3 hours to visit the gardens, the greenhouses, and the shops, more if you plan on photographing every single flower (like I did).
  • Photography: you will want to have a good selection of lenses for your day trip. I had a wide angle (to capture the essence and vastness of the gardens) as well as a prime 25mm lens, which allowed me to get really good close-up shots of the flowers and their many intricate details.
  • Don’t worry about lunch; there’s a fairly-priced and delicious restaurant on site.
 

17 Comments on The Most Colourful Day Trip From Amsterdam: Keukenhof Gardens

  1. Katherina
    April 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow, lovely pictures, Marie!!

    Reply
  2. JoAnna
    April 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m so smitten for macro flower photos. I’ve done a few photo essays of them myself on my blog as well.

    Reply
  3. Alexa Meisler
    April 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Beautiful. Lovely. I’m sure they smell as amazing as they look! Great shots.

    Reply
  4. Andrea
    April 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm (4 years ago)

    These flowers are just stunning – the first few look so interesting with their toothed petals – never seen those before!

    Reply
  5. Hawaii Vacation
    April 19, 2012 at 9:26 am (4 years ago)

    I absolutely love the Keukenhof gardens. Agree it is one of the best places to make macro pictures though making landscape is also pretty impressive there as you can choose the angle so that it captures different colours.

    Reply
  6. Christy @ Technosyncratic
    April 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm (4 years ago)

    You’re getting me SO excited to visit! Unfortunately the weather forecast for the Amsterdam area is showing rain for the next week, but I’m hoping we get some sunshine. The flowers look so much prettier with sun on them. :)

    Reply
  7. MikeG
    April 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Nice Pics, i live 4km from the Keukenhof, i visid it every week, i think that every one who visit the Keukenhof has a camera ;-)

    Your (macro)pics are great.

    Greetz from The Netherlands.

    Reply
  8. Laurence
    April 24, 2012 at 11:24 am (4 years ago)

    Spectacular macro shots :) I visited the Keukenhof about 20 years ago, remember it being very flowery!

    Reply
    • Marie
      April 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much – I’m glad you like them! Funny how Keukenhof changes but remains the same.

      Reply
    • Marie
      May 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm (4 years ago)

      Especially with such pretty subjects!

      Reply
  9. Lucie
    May 10, 2012 at 12:52 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you for this beautiful article, I’m going to Amsterdam in one week, and seriously considering a trip to go see the tulips…

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm (4 years ago)

      You should :-) It’s the most amazing thing ever! You’re going to be a bit late for the flower fields in the countryside but the garden will be quite lovely.

      Reply
    • Marie
      May 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you! :)

      Reply
  10. Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun
    March 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm (6 months ago)

    I’m heading here next month and cannot wait!! Thanks for inspiring me to up my photography game while there :-)

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      March 11, 2016 at 11:12 am (6 months ago)

      Wonderful! Enjoy your visit :-)

      Reply

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