Pack Your Bags: Keukenhof Tulip Festival
I can't think of many things that I welcome more than spring. The warm weather and bright skies after months of grey just... well, wake me up after a long season of watching The Good Wife and eating comfort food inside. But I can tell you now, the beauty of spring in Holland made me want to strip the tights off my body and prance around in all my pale glory.
I will say, while the site of those thousands of tulips were amazing, getting out to see them wasn't exactly the easiest thing I've ever done. So, here's a few things to help you if/when you visit Holland's famous tulip festival, Keukenhof.
WHEN IS IT: The dates shift from year to year, but it will always be- hold your breath- in the spring! The dates for 2015 are March 20th through May 17th. And while it may be "spring" earlier on in the festival, it will still be pretty chilly in the end of March and start of April. Mid-April will give you the perfect balance of seeing the tulips at their finest, as well as avoiding certain buzz kills such as... you know, snow during your visit.
GETTING THERE: To get there, you'll need a bit of patience. If you want to get there the cheapest way, there are shuttles that run to the site from the airport. This entails a train from the main station to the airport, and then queuing in a (potentially) massive line to get on board a bus. (Note: We went on what ended up being the busiest day by x4 of the season, so our experience may be a bit outside of normal.)
The shuttle costs (as of 2014) €23 when you buy a "Combo Ticket" which gets you transportation + admission to the park. This is the most cost-effective option, so make sure you buy this before you leave the station.
Get more information on the site via their journey planner.
WHAT TO DO: The park is enormous. We only gave ourselves a few hours to spend there before closing, and didn't make it to half of the park. If you want to see it all- get up early and plan on spending the day out there. There are several sections to Keukenhof, and each takes longer than you may think.
Don't miss out on the food, either. You'll find fresh waffles being sold in carts, generous cups of strawberries crowned with whipped cream, and all the other yummy treats that would make your day complete.
Don't miss the opportunity to ship some of Holland's gorgeous bulbs back to your home while you're there. The prices really aren't steep and you'll have the chance to bring a piece of the beauty of Keukenhof home with you.