The Netherlands is famous around the world for its flowers, especially its tulips. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world travel every year to the flower fields and world-famous flower auctions, FloraHolland, that are held in Aalsmeer, Rijnsburg and Naaldwijk. We will tell you what time of year you can visit the flower fields and how to get to them as well as all about the flower barge. Your trip will be even better with our audio guide tour of Amsterdam. Download it!
First, it's worth noting that the flower fields are not chaotically spread throughout the country. The largest ones are near the locations of the flower auctions and around the park Keukenhof. The proximity to the auctions is extremely pragmatic, letting the farmers quickly deliver their products for sale. Tourists most frequently visit the tulip, dandelions and hyacinths around Keukenhof, specifically in Lisse. This is because of the world fame of the park itself, but also because Lisse is very easy to get to on a bus from Lieden.
We will look at the most famous flower fields and how to get to them.
- In Lisse the flower fields are on the streets Zwartelaan, Essenlaan, Loosterweg-Zuid and Herenweg. You can get to Lisse easily: take the #50 bus from Leiden towards Haarlem.
- In Hillegom they're at Veenenburgerlaan, Zuider Leidsevaart and Derde Loosterweg. You can get there on a train from Amsterdam Centraal.
- In Noordwijkerhout they're at Herenweg and Westeinde. You can get there from Lieden on the #57 bus towards Hillegom.
- In Zilk they're at Zilkerbinnenweg. You can get there the same way as Noordwijkerhout but go a few stops further to Hoogduinweg.
An alternative is taking a bike ride along the same route, called the Bloemenbollenroute "Flower route." If you're not sure what the best way to go is or if you have problems with cancelled or late transport, you can plan your trip "from door to door" with the site 9292. Just enter your departure point and arrival point (city/street/postal code) as well as your departure or arrival time and transport type.
FloraHolland flower auctions
The FloraHolland flower auctions attract tourists from all over the world. FloraHolland has its own exchange house where they trade flowers, not stocks or oil. These auctions are like nothing else: they almost function like an autonomous city since the work never ends. Inside each auction you'll find a cafe, a resting area, smoking zone and even hairdressers. The auctions are open to tourists, so you can watch them work from a special viewing gallery. Tourists to FloraHolland have a unique opportunity to be in the middle of international flower trading.
As we said, the FloraHolland flower auctions are in three cities, Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk and Rijnsburg. You can visit any of them! Many people say that the best one for tourists is Aalsmeer because it's the largest and the closest to the Schiphol airport. You can take the #198 bus from the airport towards Aalsmeer Hortensiaplein from Schiphol's bus station. The auction is open to visit on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 to 11 am and on Thursdays from 7 to 9 am.
We recommend planning your trip for the earlier hours because that's when the auction is working at full force. FloraHolland is closed to visitors on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays and on December 31st. If you've decided to not use a guide, here's the route we recommend: from The Visitor Centre for tourists and visitors, go along the gallery through the auction complex. At the end of the gallery you'll find the main halls, where you can see how they bring in and sort the flowers before they go onto the trade floor. There are information panels hung throughout the gallery in four languages. If you want to use a guide, it's worth getting the Aalsmeer Combi-ticket that includes a three-part tour:
- 7 am: 1.5-hour tour of the auction;
- 10 am: visit the historical garden in Aalsmeer;
- 10 am, 1:30 pm, 3 pm: walk on the ship at Westeinderplassen.
The Aalsmeer Combi-ticket costs 18 Euros for adults and 10.75 Euros for children.
If you're driving, be aware that there is free parking for visitors. It's on the roof (follow the white P23 signs).
You can order a tour that will let you visit the flower auction with a guide by using this link.
Flower season in the Netherlands. When's the best time to go?
They say that flower season in the Netherlands is from mid March to mid May. However, the flowers don't actually bloom at the same time every year. It all depends on the temperature. So if the winter was comparatively warm, fields might start flowering in early April.
» READ MORE - What's the best time to go to Amsterdam?
The Dutch themselves follow the start of the flowering season. Many even use a famous website that monitors the flowering of the fields in Noordwijkerhout. Thanks to it, you can know when the tulip fields will be in their most beautiful flowering stage.
We recommend paying attention to National Tulip Day, which happens every year in Amsterdam on Dam Square. And it's far from the only flower holiday in the Netherlands! You can see similar holidays and their dates and event programs on a specially made site.
Have a wonderful vacation!