Amsterdam in bloom: cycle through the colourful Tulip Festival

ianthe kleine staarman, author of Exploreo Magazine
20 Mar 202410 min
By Ianthe Kleine Staarman
Amsterdam Canal Bridge With Bunch of Red Tulips on Bicycle in Holland Photograph by Sergiimostovyi

Amsterdam, the beloved capital of the Netherlands, is already known for its vibrant culture, historic charm and typical canals. But during the tulip festival, the city is transformed into a veritable flower paradise, with more than half a million tulips in full bloom, brightening Amsterdam's streets with their brilliant hues at over 85 locations in April.

Amsterdam's Tulip Festival is a celebration of colour, fragrance, history and beauty, attracting visitors from all over the world every year. Stroll through the streets and parks and enjoy the beautiful tulips that adorn the city. You can also opt for a leisurely bike ride through the area. 

Thanks to the favourable climate and fertile soil, tulips thrive particularly well in the Netherlands. The polders, where the soil is constantly drained, provide ideal conditions for the growth of these beautiful flowers. Explore the secrets of tulip farming on a fascinating excursion, where you will learn more about the age-old traditions and techniques used to grow these flowers. 

Whether you travel alone, with your partner or with your family, Amsterdam's tulip festival promises to be an unforgettable experience. Be surprised by the tulips and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this city. 

Amsterdam Canal and Red Tulips on Bridge in Holland Photograph by Extravagantni From Getty ImagesAn Amsterdam canal bridge decorated with red tulips. Photograph by Extravagantni, Getty Images.

A piece of tulip history 

Originating in Kazakhstan, the tulip was discovered in the 16th century and soon became a favourite flower among the rulers of the Ottoman Empire, such as Sultan Suleyman the First. The beautiful flower became a symbol of power and prosperity and was often worn on the turbans of Ottoman sultans, hence the name "tulip" derived from the Persian word "tulipan" meaning "turban". 

In the same century, Sultan Suleyman the First gifted some tulips to important guests, including Ogier Gisleen van Busbeke, an Ottoman ambassador to Vienna. Van Busbeke, in turn, introduced tulips to his friend Carolus Clusius, who later became a professor at Leiden University and planted the first tulips in the Netherlands there. The 17th century brought with it the infamous tulip craze, with prices of tulip bulbs reaching unprecedented heights. This speculation ended abruptly in 1637 when the government instituted the ban on speculation, resulting in many winners but also losers. 

Originally, tulips showed flamed petals due to a viral infection, as seen in paintings from the 17th century. Although Rembrandt van Rijn did not paint tulips, modern flamed tulips such as Helmar and Rem's Favourite are healthy varieties whose mottled patterns are genetically determined. 

Dutch Windmills and Tulips at the Zaanse Schans Photograph by Anastasia CollectionDutch windmills at the Zaanse Schans. Photograph by Anastasia Collection.

Tulip adventure and activities 

While exploring the tulip fields, you can also take advantage of Amsterdam's eco-friendly transport options to effortlessly navigate the landscape and enjoy the view of the tulips in bloom. 

For those who like to be active, there are several cycling routes available that will take you past the most beautiful tulip fields in the Netherlands. 

Explore the quiet paths and discover the region's hidden gems while enjoying the fresh air and colour palette around you. 

Besides exploring the tulip fields, you can also take part in various events and activities during the tulip season. An absolute must-visit is the world-famous Keukenhof, where you can enjoy the beautiful flower gardens and unique flower shows from 21 March to 12 May. Take your time to stroll through the various gardens, breathe in the wonderful fragrances and unwind. 

Another experience not to be missed is the annual flower parade, which takes place on 20 April 2024. This cool event offers a unique opportunity to enjoy beautifully decorated floats and colourful floral creations as they pass through the region's streets. 

In short, whether you choose to take a leisurely stroll or visit one of the many events, there is something for everyone during tulip season in Amsterdam! 

Keukenhof Tulip Field in Holland Photograph by Ivanica Monica From Getty ImagesA tulip field at the Keukenhof in Holland. Photograph by Ivanica Monica from Getty Images.

The most beautiful tulip fields and bulb fields in the Netherlands 

Can't get enough of the tulips? No worries, below is a top-5 list of the most beautiful tulips and bulb fields in the Netherlands! 


In the north of Flevoland, below the IJsselmeer, near the villages of Emmeloord, Swifterbant and Creil, are several large tulip fields. Agriculture is very important in this region, which is why most of the tulip farms in the Netherlands can be found here. As a result, you will find over 2,000 hectares of bulb fields here. 

Thus, the Tulip Experience Field in Creil has been a regular part of the Tulip Festival for many years. It is the ideal location to take a walk, have a drink and enjoy the surroundings. Besides admiring the beautiful tulip fields, it is also possible to pick tulips yourself in the picking garden. There are several businesses to visit along the route, including: the Tulip Picking Garden in Marknesse, at Steenwijkerweg 36. 

Kop van Noord-Holland and West Friesland 

The largest continuous flower bulb field in the world is in De Kop van Noord-Holland. If you cycle or walk between Petten, Den Helder, Nieuwe Niedorp and Wieringerwerf, you will see endless tulip fields. 

In West Friesland, you will find the bulb fields around Enkhuizen, Andijk, Wieringerwerf, Venhuizen, de Goorn, Obdam and Bovenkarspel and Hoorn. 

Keukenhof, Lisse, South Holland 

Keukenhof is like a colourful fairytale unfolding for eight weeks. Here you can see Dutch ornamental horticulture at its best, with seven million flower bulbs blooming. More than a hundred flower bulb companies proudly display their assortment, while five hundred growers present a feast of cut flowers and potted plants. It is an enchanting experience not to be missed! 

Tulip route Dronten, Flevoland 

Discover a world of enchanting experiences, ranging from fascinating workshops to friendly encounters with local growers who are happy to share their passion for tulips with you. Don't forget the chance to pick a beautiful bouquet of tulips with your loved one in one of our charming picking gardens, a delightful and romantic outing to enjoy together. 

Schagen, North-Holland 

Discover the beautiful flower fields around Schagen with the "Rondje bloemenvelden" cycling route. Enjoy a leisurely ride of about 56 km along colourful fields and picturesque villages such as Kolhorn. At the KlusKeet, children can have fun with flower crafts and face painting, and Tilly Tulp will drop by for a fun meet & greet. Also don't miss the spring event "Bloeiend Zijpe", where you can take unique rides through the flower fields. 

10 fun facts about tulips

  • There are more than 8,000 different types of tulips.
  • Tulips do not mix well with daffodils, because the toxins secreted by the daffodil are harmful to the tulip.
  • As thanks for the help during the liberation in World War II, the Netherlands sends 10,000 tulip bulbs to Canada every year.
  • In spring, coach tours of the beautiful tulip fields our country has to offer are available.
  • The Netherlands exports about 2.5 billion tulip bulbs every year, which is a whopping 77% of all tulip bulbs worldwide.
  • There are no blue and black coloured tulips.
  • Tulip bulbs are edible. During the Hunger Winter (late 1944) during World War II, they were widely eaten. There were even recipes in circulation for preparing tulips.
  • In the 17th century, tulip mania caused the first economic crisis. At the height of the madness, one tulip bulb could even buy you a canal house in Amsterdam.
  • Tulips are classified into 15 different groups. This makes it easier to navigate through the wide assortment of tulips. This classification is based on flowering time and flower shape.
  • There are tulip varieties that flower annually and even reproduce, known as botanical tulips or 'dwarf tulips'. They are small and delicate in size. These tulips are headliners because they are usually the first to flower in the season. Some well-known botanical species are sylvestris, tarda and turkestanica. 

Dutch Windmill and Tulip Field in Netherlands Photograph by Ye Han From PexelsA typical Dutch windmill and tulip field in The Netherlands. Photograph by Ye Han from Pexels.

Nature in the Amsterdam area 

If you are already fed up with all the beautifully coloured tulips, there is also the option of seeking out the peace and beauty of brown and green coloured nature.

Some examples are: 

Spaarnwoude: Easily accessible from the Haarlem Spaarnwoude train station. Follow the signs and be surprised by the peace and beauty of this area. 

Amsterdamse Bos: Discover the diversity of the Amsterdamse Bos with seven different walking routes that lead you along beautiful nature trails.

's Graveland: Enjoy enchanting walks from the visitor centre, where you will be immersed in the tranquillity of the forest and have the opportunity to do scavenger hunts.

Noorderplassen: Take a leisurely walk around the Noorderplassen near Almere and enjoy the serene views of the water and surrounding nature. 

Oostvaardersplassen: Explore the nature reserve around Oostvaardersplassen near Almere, where you can enjoy the various scenic routes and perhaps spot wildlife. 

Het Twiske: Discover the charm of Het Twiske, known for its festivals and perfect for a relaxing walk or a refreshing dip in summer.

Het Vliegenbos: An oasis of calm in Amsterdam Noord, accessible by bike or public transport, ideal for an invigorating walk along the nature trails.

Zeist: Explore the beautiful walking routes around Zeist, including the Sprengenroute, which takes you past enchanting country houses.

Lage / Hoge Vuursche: Be enchanted by the enchanting forests of Lage and Hoge Vuursche, perfect for a walk with a stop at 'Buiten in de Kuil' for something tasty.

Schoorl Dunes: Discover the breathtaking dunes near Schoorl, a true paradise for nature lovers, with enchanting walking routes for every season.

Baarnse Bos: Take an enchanting gnome trek with the kids in the Baarnse Bos and enjoy a magical walk through nature.

Naardermeer: Experience the green splendour of the Naardermeer, an ideal place to spot otters and enjoy peaceful walks around the lake.

Waterleidingduinen: Be amazed by the enchanting walks in the Waterleidingduinen, where you have the chance to see deer and even foxes.

Groene Hart: Just a stone's throw from Amsterdam is the Groene Hart, a vast and green area at the heart of the Netherlands. Explore hiking trails along vast meadows, babbling rivers and charming villages, and be enchanted by the serene beauty of nature. With its quiet waterways and expansive views, the Green Heart is the ideal destination for a relaxing walk and an invigorating escape from city life. 

Whether you choose a leisurely stroll, an adventurous bike ride or an exploration on the water, the natural environment around Amsterdam offers endless opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure. So head out and discover the wonderful natural treasures this region has to offer!

Dutch windmills at the waterline of De Zaanse Schans, near Amsterdam. Photo by Moritz Kindler, Unsplash.Dutch windmills at the waterline of De Zaanse Schans, near Amsterdam. Photo by Moritz Kindler, Unsplash.

Accommodation in and around Amsterdam 

There are numerous options for accommodation in and around Amsterdam at reasonable prices. The Exploreo website showcases various sustainable accommodations in the Netherlands, including cosy chalets, unique tiny houses and comfortable houseboats.

These accommodations are spread across several beautiful locations, such as the green regions of Drenthe, Friesland and Gelderland, as well as picturesque spots in Limburg. Guests can enjoy peaceful nature, breathtaking views and modern amenities during their stay.

With accommodation suitable for various group sizes and budgets, you can enjoy a relaxing and eco-friendly holiday experience. 

Can't wait to plan your trip to Amsterdam and the surrounding area already? Book your accommodation and eco-friendly tours with Exploreo today and be part of the green revolution as you explore the city and enjoy all its splendour! 

Book Stays and Tours in Amsterdam

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