If you want to see not only “The Garden of Europe”, but one of the largest gardens in the world, head to Holland’s Keukenhof.
Keukenhof isn’t technically an Amsterdam attraction; it is around an hours bus ride South-west of the city and is situated in the small town of Lisse, but it’s a trip that any Amsterdammer should have on their spring to-do list. Tulips are the Dutch national flower, and I bet you’ve never seen so many in one place in your life. It is open for only a small period of time, so you have to get yourself in gear to make sure you don’t miss the flower fest.
We got down there on a sunny wednesday morning. We passed through the gates into a big area to see birds playing in the water and hear a large music stall, kind of like a huge jukebox, playing old fashioned fairground music.
You could buy authentic Dutch strawberries ‘for the ride
Or other Dutch themed snacks!
But forget the food, its all about the flowers! Head left and you’re in tulip heaven….
What hits you is the brightness everywhere- I’d never thought nature could feel quite so like a candyshop !
Although we went first thing in the morning, the place was already teeming with tourists and Dutch visitors alike, snapping photos of the colourful beauty all around.
And we were no different!
You walk through different sections of the huge garden, all with different styles, colour arrangements and features.
Some gardens had sculptures:
And others feature ponds, lakes and fountains which are beautifully decorated by the flowers.
We concluded it would probably be the most blissful place to take a book, or have a snooze on a bench
…But you couldn’t really take it further than reading and snoozing.
For anyone who thinks that looking at bushes of flowers doesn’t sound very exciting, there is also an animal pen!
This goat was obviously angling for a better view of the tulips….
…And then of me!
The pigs took more of a laid back approach.
There are so many interesting details to Keukenhof, like this mini garden, designed by TV gardener Rob Verlinden, with a very modern feel.
There are also lots of cafes littered around the garden, so you can enjoy a cup with the views out to the fields.
Or if cafe’s sound too run of the mill, there is also a river boat to kick back in.
Speaking of mills, you can also go up a windmill! Windmills are as much of a Dutch thing as bikes, cheese and canals.
Back on the ground, we headed though the Japanese gardens. Gardens are hugely important in the east as they are believed to have spiritual dynamics, and have had a massive influence in how western gardens look today.
Each clearing we went through seemed to get more beautiful and interesting…
(Time for a close up!)
And you could walk through one of the big lakes on big stepping stones.
Issy and I found this way more precarious than we thought it would be, with kids jumping and zooming past us!
We were so lucky to have come on such a hot and sunny day, as the light made the rows of flowers look incredible.
And after three hours of flours’, we were pretty blissed out!
This year Keukenhof has been open from the 20th March to the 17th May, so if you want to see it in 2015, you’ll need to run! Otherwise, it is a wonderful trip to have in mind for future springs during visits to Amsterdam, or Holland in general. Since the country is so small, it doesn’t take long to get to the different parts. It it really great to spend so much time outdoors getting lost in nature, especially if you are used to the bustle of the city.
That’s all for now,