Every spring, millions of visitors come to The Netherlands to enjoy Dutch tulips in full bloom. Unfortunately, tulip hot spots like Keukenhof are very crowded and expensive. It is also sometimes impossible to get tickets for the Keukenhof because they are sold out on busy days.
Therefore, I described the six best regions with tulip fields in the Netherlands to see tulips for free. In addition, I have also described the best flower parades and flower markets in The Netherlands in 2023 because they also offer the possibility to watch Dutch tulips for free.
The six best regions in The Netherlands to see Dutch tulips for free are:
Read on to discover the best six Dutch tulip regions to see tulips for free, or scroll down to find the best free flower parades and markets in the Netherlands in 2023.
Map With 6 Best Places To Watch Dutch Tulips For Free
You can find the six best places to see Dutch tulips in Holland in 2023 for free on the map below.
During springtime, Keukenhof is the most popular tourist attraction in The Netherlands, but the Keukenhof will be crowded, and you have to steel yourself for massive traffic jams to get there. In addition, parking at Keukenhof will also be expensive and a hassle. Therefore, going to the Dutch countryside to watch the blooming tulip fields for free is a beautiful alternative.
The best chance to see Dutch tulips for free is via so-called tulip tours in the Dutch countryside. Touring the Dutch countryside provides a beautiful opportunity to see various flowers and colors. The Dutch country is lovely in this colorful period of the year.
The six countryside regions in The Netherlands with the most tulip fields are:
I enjoy these tulip tours much more than visiting the Keukenhof because you can enjoy the tulips in the Dutch countryside without tens of thousands of other fellow tulip enthusiasts. Another advantage of these tulip tours in the country is that you will have no admission or parking fees.
You can watch the Youtube video below to get a good impression of tulip fields in the Dutch countryside in 3 minutes. This is the most popular video of tulip fields in the Dutch country on Youtube.
Best Time Of The Year To Watch Tulips In Holland?
The early bloomers are the crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths that will bloom in early spring, around mid-March.
Mid-April to mid-May is the best period to watch tulips in The Netherlands because tulips start blooming in April and are topped by the farmers in mid-May.
The farmers cut off the flowers, called topping because that is much better for the flower bulbs they want to harvest later in the year.
1. The Bollenstreek (The Bulb Region)
The Keukenhof is located in the heart of a region that is well known for its cultivation of tulips and other flowers, called the “Bollenstreek” (literally “bulb region”). The area is about 30 km long and 5-10 kilometers wide, located between Leiden and Haarlem.
Tulips were already cultivated in this region in the 17th century, shortly after tulips were introduced in the Netherlands by Carolus Clusius at the end of the 16th century in the Hortus Botanicus of Leiden University.
There are many tulip tours in the Bollenstreek. The Bollenstreek is a beautiful region and a lovely area for visitors from abroad to enjoy the Dutch countryside. However, you need to be aware that the Bollenstreek is also the most crowded tulip area in The Netherlands because it is so close to Amsterdam, and the tulip fields are all located around the Keukenhof.
Consequently, it can still get jam-packed with tourists around the tulip fields and on the roads in the Bollenstreek when the tulips are in full bloom. Therefore, tulip tours by bike are my favorite in this area. You can find more information about these biking tours in English here. It may be a good idea to bring your bike or reserve rental bikes well in advance.
Another option is to take a boat tour through the tulip fields. You can find more information about a boat trip around Hillegom here, and another tulip boat trip is possible from Roelofsarendveen. However, note that this one is farther away from the tulip fields.
For the hikers, there are also “tulip walking tours” possible in the Bollenstreek. You can find more information about these walking tours in English here.
Finally, a tulip tour is also by car; you can find more information about this here. Use the Google Translate extension to translate this Dutch web page into English.
2. The Tulip Fields In Flevoland
In the north of Flevoland, you will find more than 2000 hectares of tulip fields. That makes this new tulip area in Flevoland even more extensive than the Bollenstreek, historically the largest tulip region of The Netherlands.
Flevoland is significantly less crowded than the Bollenstreek, and you can escape the masses while still enjoying the spectacular sights of these colorful flower fields.
Flevoland has several tulip tours by car, bicycle, and on foot, and you can find more information about these tours in Flevoland below.
I recommend checking out this website because it has an excellent overview of different tulip tours and activities in Flevoland. Flevoland is a superb choice to watch the tulips if you are coming from Germany. It will save you about an hour’s drive to reach these tulip fields instead of the Keukenhof.
The video below was shot in Flevoland and provided an excellent overview of growing and harvesting tulips on an industrial scale, as in Flevoland. This video is so good that it has been watched over 9 million times on Youtube. I highly recommend watching this video to learn more about the industrial process behind these beautiful and colorful flower fields. We may love the flowers, but the farmers cultivate them only to harvest the bulbs later in the year and sell them.
3. The Tulip Fields In Noord-Holland
In the north of the province of Noord-Holland, north of the line between Schagen and Medemblik, lies a less well-known but large area with tulip fields. It is not a coincidence that tulip fields are often close to the dunes because dune soil is perfect for cultivating flowers and bulbs.
This region in Noord-Holland also claims to be the largest contiguous area in the Netherlands regarding tulip fields. However, there appears to be quite a competition in being the country’s largest tulip area because it may attract more visitors to your region.
This region is located in a relatively isolated part of The Netherlands and is more difficult to reach. The good part of this more isolated region is that it will be less crowded with tourists than in the more famous tulip areas.
4. The Tulip Fields In West-Friesland
West-Friesland is a region in the western part of Noord-Holland. West-Friesland, adjacent to the tulip regions in Noord-Holland described above. Therefore, these tulip fields are connected through Medemblik and can be visited in one day.
The region is also quieter than other tulip regions. The charming cities of Hoorn and Medemblik are a bonus factor in making this West-Friesland tulip region attractive to visit.
5. The Tulip Fields In The Beemster
A bit more to the south in the province of North Holland is an attractive alternative tulip tour possible, a tulip tour with a Citroen 2CV in the Beemster polder. The tulip fields in that area are less well known, but the Beemster polder is very well known for its many winding roads, dikes, and views.
If that is not enough, you can combine this tulip tour with a visit to the world-famous windmills in Zaanse Schans or Schermerhorn. It will be an exciting option for many visitors from abroad to visit the tulips and windmills of The Netherlands in one day and, hopefully, start to understand why we love this tiny country so dearly….!
6. The Tulip Fields In Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
The tulip fields in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen are not that well-known. However, the tulip fields in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen are ideally located for visitors from Belgium and France because it will save them a few hours of driving to visit Zeeuws-Vlaanderen instead of the other tulip regions in The Netherlands.
This region’s slogan is Forget the Keukenhof; the most beautiful tulip fields in The Netherlands are in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. I find that a rather appropriate slogan for Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.
The most extensive and beautiful tulip fields in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen are around Hulst. We advise you to contact the tourist information office in Hulst to find out the region’s best tulip routes for this season. Even without following an official tulip route, you will find it a breathtaking area and well worth a visit if you drive around in this region.
The Best Flower Parades And Events In 2023
In flower parades, cars and (in some cases) boats are magnificently decorated with flowers. Each flower parade has its character, charm, and yearly theme. Many towns and regions in The Netherlands hold flower parades every year. The 2023 dates of the most popular flower parades are listed below.
- Flower Parade In Bollenstreek
- The largest flower parade in The Netherlands is the flower parade in the flower-bulb region around the Keukenhof. In 2023, this flower parade will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
- Dozens of cars decorated with colossal flower bouquets will ride from Noordwijk to Haarlem (42 km, 26 miles), accompanied by music and entertainment.
- You can watch the cars’ construction in Noordwijk during the three days before the parade, enjoy the evening parade in Noordwijk on Friday, April 22, or admire the entire fleet in Haarlem on Sunday, April 24.
- Tulip Festival Amsterdam
- During April 2023, Amsterdam will organize its annual tulip festival to welcome spring to Amsterdam. Check out this link for more details about this colorful spectacle.
- Westland Floating Flower Parade
- A fleet of flower-decorated ships will sail through Naaldwijk, Maassluis, The Hague, and Delft on June 22-25. There will be lots of entertainment, festivities, and music in the places where the boats are passing.
- Check out this link for information about this event in 2023.
- Flower Parade Rijnsburg
- The flower parade in Rijnsburg is one of the oldest flower parades in the country. Every year on the second Saturday in August, the event will occur.
- Flower Parade St. Jansklooster
- St. Jansklooster lies in the Flevopolder, one of the newer flower regions in The Netherlands. The St. Jansklooster flower parade will occur in 2023 on August 19, accompanied by many festivities and musical entertainment.
- Flower parade Zundert
- The flower parade in Zundert in 2023 will take place on the 3rd of September, 2023. This flower parade prides itself on being the largest flower parade in the world
- Tip: Zundert is the birthplace of Vincent van Gogh, and you may combine a visit to the Flower parade with learning more about this world-famous Dutch painter
- Flower Parade Lichtenvoorde
- The flower parade in Lichtenvoorde traditionally takes place on the second Sunday in September. In 2023, the flower parade will take place on Sunday, September 10th, as part of a three-day flower festival.
Popular Flower Markets In The Netherlands?
You will find flower markets in virtually every major city—the Dutch love their flowers. Of course, tulips are the most popular flowers in springtime, but many other beautiful flowers are available from early spring throughout summer and autumn.
- Amsterdam’s Floating Flower Market
- The most famous flower market in The Netherlands is Amsterdam’s floating flower market at the Singel. These days, flower bulbs rather than flowers themselves are available on this flower market. Nevertheless, it is still a colorful spectacle to enjoy.
- Flower market In Utrecht
- Every Saturday, year-round, there is a well-known flower market in Utrecht on Janskerkhof in the city center. It is ideal to buy bulbs to take home as a souvenir to remember your trip to Holland the following spring when they start blossoming.
- Flower Market In Leeuwarden
- The flower market in Leeuwarden is a longstanding yearly regional tradition on Ascension Day. It is the longest flower market in The Netherlands and stretches throughout the city’s entire center.
- Other Dutch Flower Markets
- Check out this schedule of all flower markets in the Netherlands. Virtually all cities organize weekly flower markets.
Where Are Flower Museums In Holland?
- Amsterdam Tulip Museum
- The Amsterdam Tulip Museum is a small museum in Amsterdam about the history of tulips in the Netherlands.
- Museum The Black Tulip in Lisse
- Museum, the Black Tulip, is a small, friendly, and educational museum in Lisse, with exhibitions about the history and background of growing tulips in The Netherlands. Easy to combine with a visit to the Keukenhof or Bollenstreek. However, the history of tulips is described only in Dutch, which makes this museum less interesting for foreign visitors.