Exploring the tulip and other flower bulb fields in Holland by bicycle is fun and easy on rented bikes on cycling routes around Keukenhof in South Holland in The Netherlands.
The beauty of Keukenhof and the flower bulb fields of South Holland draw visitors from all over the world to The Netherlands. Keukenhof can only be explored on foot but the surrounding tulip and other flower fields are best seen by bicycle. Cyclists can stop easily to enjoy the views and take photos without having to worry about too many traffic and parking restrictions. Bike rentals are available directly at Keukenhof or from rental shops and tourist information offices in nearby towns. Holland is famously flat, so wind (and rain) rather than any steep inclines may provide a challenge on some days.
In 2017, Keukenhof is open from March 23 to May 21, 2017.
Keukenhof and the Bulb Fields of South Holland
Keukenhof, with some justification, claims to be the most beautiful spring garden in the world. This amazing flower park – famous for its tulips and other bulbs – opens for only two months each spring. It shows the best of Dutch horticulture but may only be explored on foot.
- See Keukenhof Tulip and Flower Gardens for more information for day trips to the world’s largest bulb park.
After visiting Keukenhof, it is fun to cycle in the vicinity to see the colorful bulb fields of South Holland. Bicycles – including tandems and children’s bikes – may be rented near the main entrance to Keukenhof or in nearby towns from tourist information offices or fietsverhuur shops, usually near the train stations.
Cycling in the Tulip Fields of Holland’s Bollenstreek
Although every self-respecting Dutch gardener, public space and park will have tulips and other bulbs flowering in spring, The Netherlands is by no means one big tulip field. Tulips grow best in sandy soil and therefor are mostly concentrated in the coastal areas of South and North Holland.
The most famous area for tulips is the Bollenstreek (bulbs region) between Leiden (near Keukenhof) and Haarlem (near Amsterdam). Tulips are also grown in other areas with the northern parts of Holland possibly still worth exploring when the southern regions are already beyond past their peak.
Although cycling in the bulb fields combine very well with visiting Keukenhof, it is of course not essential to do both on the same day. If not visiting Keukenhof, it may be worth cycling a bit further north where it is generally much quieter with fewer tourists about.
Cycling Routes in the Keukenhof Region
Most of the cycling around Keukenhof and through the tulip-growing region is on dedicated cycling paths or on very minor roads. Except for the dunes close to the coast, the paths are very flat but wind often provide a challenge.
Tourist information offices and bike rental shops have maps available with suggested routes. Ask the shop to mark on the map where the flowers are blooming best on the day of rental.
Rent-A-Bike Van Dam, which has a kiosk directly at Keukenhof, has several suggested routes (free maps on website or at the kiosk) ranging from 4 or 7 km around Keukenhof to routes of 10, 20 or 35 km through the nearby bulb fields. Routes can easily be adjusted – simple head towards where the fields are in full bloom.
Several cafés, restaurants and kiosk welcome cyclists but carrying a water bottle is never a bad idea.
Renting Bicycles at Keukenhof and at the Bulb Fields
For a quick cycle through the bulb fields around Keukenhof, it is easiest to rent a bicycle from the Rent-A-Bike Van Dam kiosk directly at the bus stop at the main entrance to Keukenhof. (This kiosk is only open during the two month Keukenhof season.) The process is very unbureaucratic and for most bikes no deposit or identification is required.
The bike rental at Keukenhof is around €10 per day for standard bicycles and €20 for tandems or electric bikes. A back-pedal brake orange Holland fiets is only €8. Child seats and baskets are available. The tandem is fun but heavy and a bit unwieldy.
If traveling to Keukenhof by public transportation and not on a direct connection, consider renting a bike in Leiden (15 km) or Haarlem (20 km) and cycle to Keukenhof. Bicycles can be rented directly at these two train stations but other bike rental shops may have better deals or a bigger variety of bikes.
Flower fields can be seen en route and it cut out waiting times for buses. Bike rentals are commonly by day, so no money is lost while the bicycle is parked outside Keukenhof. Only park (and lock) the bicycle at Keukenhof at the dedicated bike parking spots (fietsenstalling) at either entrance.
A few tips when renting and cycling in Holland:
- Helmets are optional, but usually available from rental shops if desired. The Dutch only wear helmets (and cycling gear) when racing.
- A photo ID or passport and a deposit are usually required when renting a bike in The Netherlands (but not directly at tourist spots such as Keukenhof or Kinderdijk).
- Ask for a demonstration if unfamiliar with the locking mechanism – bikes do get stolen in The Netherlands.
- Note the closing time of the bike rental shop – the extra charge for returning the bicycle the next morning is negligible compared to the inconvenience of being stuck with the bike overnight, especially when sleeping in a different city.