There are so many beautiful places on Earth, crafted by nature, shaped by forces of universe, unaltered by humans; places that overwhelm and inspire, that take one’s breath away by their sheer and often rugged beauty. Volcanos and waterfalls of New Zealand and Iceland, Norwegian fjords and Brazilian rainforest. And then there is Keukenhof, a place of a different kind of beauty – cultivated, yet powerful in its magnificence. The park, whose name translates from Dutch as “kitchen garden”, is tucked away in South Holland and can only be visited during two months a year, from mid-March to mid-May, to witness an unforgettable explosion of colors streaming from millions of flowers. Although there are different varieties of flowers including orchids, lilies, and roses, the main attraction is 800 varieties of tulips that come in impossibly gorgeous colours and shapes.
Since Keukenhof is only opened for a limited time each year, it’s critical to plan your visit as to catch the peak of blooms. Unless spring arrives uncharateristicly early to windy Netherlands, it’s unlikely to find tulips in bloom in March even if the park has already opened. Based on multiple reviews, it seems that the best time to visit is between mid-April to early May, although you might still catch the last wave of blooms right before Keukenhof closes in the middle of May. A word of caution: don’t be fooled by sunny skies and colorful meadows and grab a warm jacket even if traveling in May. Weather in Netherlands can be notoriously chilly even when summer is right around the corner. Also, an umbrella is a must. Fortunately, there are several pavilions where one can find shelter and most exquisite flower exhibits. Each year, Keukenhof has a theme that is used to transform one of its pavilions in a particular fashion. 2015 was the Van Gogh year in honor of Dutch artist’s 125-year death anniversary. Vincent’s art was replicated in life-size scenes that allowed one to step right inside the painting for a selfie or a plain old photograph.
There is not much to add other than to encourage you to come to Netherlands and discover this kingdom of flowers next spring. Of course being a world-famous attraction, the park gets almost a million of visitors each year so be prepared to enjoy tulips while surrounded by crowds of tourists with selfie sticks. Don’t let that stop you though. It is absolutely worth it!