Bucket list item checked. We booked a long weekend in Holland to take the trip out to see the famous tulip fields and botanical garden, Keukenhof.
There are more than 7 million bulbs in bloom, with 800 varieties of tulips.
Ways to get there from Amsterdam:
Whichever way you decide, buying online ahead of time is the way to go.
The combi ticket, gets you from the center plus entry to the garden. Ideal for the super budget oriented, the ticket took us on a cram packed bus back to the airport, where we switch to the second line (even though we already had tickets – that would have been a third line), for the bus from there to the garden. It took about an hour and a half to get there between the crowded buses and lines.
Note: This bus does not leave from Amsterdam Central station, it leaves from different squares within the city center. We made that mistake assuming all buses left from central station, it does not.
Next trip, we will likely pay a little more for the train from Amsterdam Central direct to the airport, buying only the garden bus/park entry ticket to avoid the super crowded and long first bus. The bus to the garden from the airport was much nicer and they controlled the number of people who got on.
Tip: Sit on the right side of the bus to get there and the left side on the way back for the best field views out the window.
Guided tours are another option, that we had originally planned to book, but after going there on our own, we are glad we did not do the guide because we spent less time in the garden than the tour would have kept us there for before moving on. It was good to be able to get there and leave when we were ready to.
Everything is available through their website at the best prices we could find and in english at http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/.
Bring snacks and water to the garden. The food areas are set up like cafeterias, the lines are long and the food is touristy.
The garden is crowded. We are told it doesn’t really matter that we went on a Saturday, it is always like that during the spring blooming season.
There and back, it was a good few hours, then we returned to the city center in Amsterdam to hang out the rest of the weekend.
Our airbnb spot was great, still expensive but just under what the cheapest city center hotel was. Great location within walking distance to everything.
We had the best food ever this trip in Amsterdam, for every meal. Aside from the beer spots In Der Wildman and Beer Temple we visited again, last trip, Pancakes Amsterdam was the food highlight. (Berenstraat 38, Amsterdam). Other than the garden, we did not do much else this trip other than walk around, eat, drink a beer and shop. We did bring back a bag of tulip bulbs from the street market in Amsterdam center. They just started sprouting so fingers crossed we’ll have purple tulips.
For breakfast we used the Awesome Amsterdam blog as a starting point.
We walked by Omelegg (Nieuwebrugsteeg 24, or second location is Ferdinand Bolstraat 143) but there was a line, so the next stop nearby was De Bakkerswinkel (Warmoesstraat 69, Amsterdam) around the corner. We were so glad we passed on the first place and went here. Everything was perfect. The french toast was the winner but there is homemade, fresh-baked everything so you can’t go wrong.
Metropolitan – Also a breakfast/brunch spot. Industrial setting upstairs with a bar, cozy downstairs. Great Benedict options and specials on mimosa and bloody mary’s until noon.
Greenwoods (Singel 103, Amsterdam) says English tea room on the sign outside, they do serve the typical tower of tea sandwiches, but the lunch and dinner menu is stellar with local beer and cocktails too.
Bier Fabriek – Atmosphere was a mix between a casual local brewery with Texas Roadhouse – peanut shells all over the floor and on the table. Half chicken and house brewed beer for reasonable price though – we would definitely go back.
Mappa – Italian fusion menu with great atmosphere for dinner, service and easy-going staff. The wine list was perfect as well as the fresh ingredient menu.
Wynand Fockink is a distillery bar with standing room only and brandy specials at 3 euro per drink. The aperitif is poured traditionally to the brim so you must sip from the edge before picking it up. Delish but only good for a pass through before or after dinner, not to stay and hang out.