There’s nothing quite like spring in the Netherlands—winter’s gray days fade away and we’re left with sunshine, blossoming trees, and flowering fields. Living in Leiden, we’re lucky to be close to the Duin- en Bollenstreek, the “dune and bulb region,” of South Holland. Getting to the heart of the Bollenstreek is just a short bike ride away.
How To Get There
The Bollenstreek stretches from Katwijk in the south to Hillegom in the north, and includes the towns of Lisse, Noordwijk, Noordwijkerhout, and Teylingen. Keukenhof, the most famous Dutch flower garden, is located in Lisse, but the areas surrounding the park are also full of flower fields, generally with a fraction of the crowds.
You can rent bicycles at many locations within the Bollenstreek. For people with an OV-fiets subscription, you can rent bikes at many convenient locations like Leiden Centraal, Voorhout, and Hillegom train stations. Visitors without an OV-fiets subscription can also find bike rental companies at Keukenhof and near Leiden Centraal station.
The Dutch cycling paths are well marked, and important intersections will be labeled with a number in a green circle. Falk produces a specific Zuid-Holland-Noord map of the bike paths, including the intersection numbers and indications on the map where you can find flower fields. Additionally, this cycle route planner uses the same number coding you will find on the Falk map.
From Leiden, we cycle north to Warmond, and head towards intersection 68, passing under the A44 highway. Once we’ve passed under the highway, we prefer to cycle between the towns of Voorhout and Sassenheim to head directly to the fields.
When and Where to Find Flowers
April is generally the best month to see the flower fields in bloom. The timing for the tulip blossoms can vary year-to-year depending on the weather. In some years there may be great tulips early in the month, and in other years they may not bloom until mid-to-late April. Before the tulips bloom, you can find fields full of fragrant and colorful hyacinths and daffodils. You can always check the latest conditions on the bloemen radar, a crowd-sourced website showing what is currently in bloom in specific locations.
We have found our favorite flower fields in the area south of Keukenhof and north of Voorhout and Teylingen. Using the bike intersection codes on this map, there are spectacular fields in the area northeast of intersection 59, and southwest of intersection 57. The area northwest of Voorhout and south of intersection 74 is also a good place to spot flowers, as is the area east of Noordwijkerhout southwest of intersection 48. Keep in mind that there are more places to cycle than just the trails denoted on the bike map. There are also many small roads between the fields that are great places to explore.
For a more detailed guide of where to find our favorite fields, see this map:
Flower Field Extras
Besides cycling through the fields, you’ll find a few more interesting places to stop in the Bollenstreek. There are many stands selling pre-cut flowers, plants, and bulbs. For €5, you can bring home an armful of fresh-from-the-field tulips!
If you’re more interested in pick-your-own experience, De Pluktuin in Noordwijkerhout allows visitors to cut their own bunch of flowers. In Voorhout, De Tulperij is a greenhouse that welcomes visitors for a tour of their fields, and also has a gift shop and cafe with tea, coffee, and fresh stroopwafles.
Although the rows and rows of flowers are beautiful and it’s tempting to walk into the field to get the perfect photo, visitors are reminded that it’s best for the flowers if people don’t enter the fields. We hope you enjoy your hunt for the perfect Dutch flower fields!