summer bloom Holland flower field best time Keukenhof visit

Why summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof area

The tulip may be the queen of the Netherlands in spring. Summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof area and here’s why.

summer is best time visit Keukenhof area5 years ago, when I started Verita’s Visit Holland I believed the best time to visit Keukenhof area was spring. March till May, when daffodils are followed by hyacinths and the season ends with the tulips. Then I discovered the Amsterdam flower strip holds a big local secret.

Don’t get me wrong, the spring flower fields still make my heart go b(l)oom.  I love how nature wakes up beginning of March. How the spring bulb flowers pop their heads out of the ground as soon as the first rays of sunlight warm their beds. Spring is special and tulips are definitely the queens of the Netherlands in spring. So why is summer the best time to visit the Keukenhof surroundings?

 

 

 

 

In this article I'll answer the following questions:

What is the best way to get around in the Keukenhof area?

Are there Holland flower fields in summer?

What makes  summer the best time for a daytrip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof region?

Why do I recommend traveling  to the Keukenhof area in summer?

 

What is the best way to get around in Keukenhof area?

Whether you visit the Keukenhof surroundings in April, July or October, the best way to get around in the Bulb Flower region is by bicycle.  As you can read in an earlier article, traveling to the Keukenhof from Amsterdam by public transport is easy when the spring gardens are open.  In 2021 the Keukenhof tulip park is open from 21 March till 9 May. There are direct busses from Amsterdam Schiphol airport, Haarlem and Leiden. Although the trip is relatively short, the busses are often crowded and you have to wait in line to get on them.

In summer there are no direct busses. In a previous article I wrote about an alternative route to Keukenhof from Amsterdam. This is also a good option for when you visit the Bulb District in summer, fall or winter.  Taking your own car will give you more freedom on where to go and where to stop. It brings the difficulty of finding a -affordable- car parking though.

I would recommend exploring this part of Holland by bike.

  1. It is a typical Dutch way of getting around.
  2. It gives you less stress.
  3. There are bike rental options near many train stations in the flower bulb region.
  4.  Using a bicycle is also great to combine visits to different attractions. We'll see this later on in this article.

With Verita's Visit Holland guided tours it becomes even easier to get the best out of your visit of the Keukenhof surroundings. Whether you come with friends, family or are looking for a company outing in the flower fields in Holland, I can create a customised day program for every season. And although the bicycle is my favorite mode of transport, I also offer tours and events using other modes of transport. Let me take care of all the details, so you can relax and enjoy your company and the typical Dutch surroundings. Here you'll find examples of tours & events offered by Verita's Visit Holland in the Flower region. 

summer best time to visit Keukenhof beach & dahlia bike tour Verita's Visit guided summer best time visit Keukenhof

Are there Holland flower fields in summer?

It is one of the best kept secrets of the locals living around Keukenhof. The summer flower fields in Holland! I only found out about it a couple of years ago. I received many requests for a bike tour tulips in June. It made me wonder if spring was the only time to visit Keukenhof area for the flower fields. So, I took my bike and pedalled through the Dutch countryside between Leiden and Haarlem.  As you might expect, all tulips were gone. What I did see was amazing: a huge variety of different flowers as far as the eyes could see.  I soon discovered there is a whole array of bulb flowers that color the fields of the Bulb district in summer and fall. From early June to really off season - late September, early October that is - you will always be welcomed by flower fields in this part of Holland. And best thing is that there even is a dahlia festival late August. Great to combine with the summer flower parade. So, summer is best time to visit Keukenhof surroundings because of the flower fields. Are there any other reasons why you should visit the area around the famous Dutch flower gardens?

summer best time combine visit attractions KeukenhofWhat makes summer the best time for a daytrip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof?

Besides the Holland flower fields blooming in summer, there are several other reasons why this season is the best time for a daytrip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof area.

  • Compared to spring, summer temperatures are really nice. Wind in the Netherlands is not as cold as in spring either, so perfect to explore the Flower region in between Haarlem and Leiden by bike.
  • It is your moment to relax: get away from the Amsterdam city centre.  Summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof area, because there are way less tourists in the countryside. Less tourists then in Amsterdam, less tourists in the flower fields than in spring time.
  • As the summer flower fields in Holland are not that well known yet, local farmers, flower growers or millers have more time for you. It is your time to connect with locals.  Ask them everything about growing bulb flowers like dahlias or tulips.  Or, as I say, get #socialwithalocal

Why do I recommend a visit to the Keukenhof area in summer?

A visit to the summer bulb flower fields can easily be combined with other lesser known attractions in the surroundings of Keukenhof area. Take a cheese farm on an island, an orchard where you can pick your own apples or have a great picnic or have lunch at a cosy café near the lake.  Think of all the local events and festivals celebrated in summer, big and small. And you can always make a stop at the beach or shop at beach resort Noordwijk. If you explore Keukenhof area by bike, I am sure you will go off the beaten path once in a while. That is when you'll discover the hidden gems of the Keukenhof area. Don't feel that adventurous or love to hear more about the combinations mentioned in this paragraph? You can always contact me for a -private- group tour.

Ok, Keukenhof gardens are only open from 21 March till 10 May 2021. I hope this article made clear why I think summer is the best time to visit the Keukenhof area. I would love to hear in the comments below if you have visited the Amsterdam flower strip outside of the tulip season. Also let me know if there are any other reasons why summer is the best time to visit Keukenhof surroundings.


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Traveling to The Hague - tips to get to the highlights

The best thing about traveling to The Hague is the sights you see enroute. Starting your journey from Amsterdam you see the typical Dutch landscape passing by. You can take the car or even cycle. The best way to go to The Hague though is by train. Here's why.

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Criminal Court The Hague bike parked

The Hague is one of the top destinations in the Netherlands. Dive into the culture, history and nature on a daytrip to the city by the sea. Or stay over for a day or two. Celebrate the Dutch traditions and get social with a local. From spotting the royal family during King's Day or Prince's Day to visiting the Peace Palace or International Criminal Court on the International Day of Peace, all year through there are festivals and events for you to enjoy.

Amsterdam public transportDriving to The Hague

Traveling to The Hague by car from Amsterdam or Amsterdam airport Schiphol is doable. Let's say you are staying near Amsterdam Museumplein and want to get to The Hague city centre, Houses of Parliament.  In my opinion driving in the city centre of Amsterdam is a real hassle and I wouldn't recommend it, public transport in Amsterdam is easy and comfortable. The bike is a good alternative for the car as you have less parking problems. It's easy to get around by bike, but quite stressful. Look out for pedestrians, other cyclists and public transport.  Pay extra attention near tramway tracks!

Finding a relaxed route cycling in AmsterdamOk, so you've found your way to Amsterdam Zuid by car. There you take the highway A4. If you follow this road, you will be in The Hague within 1 hour. The highway is often crammed though, traffic jams outside peak hours are not unusual. Check ANWB, the Royal Dutch Touring Club for updated traffic info or use Google Maps.

3 windmill tour Leiden 3 molentjes route fiets Verita's VisitTip for when you are coming to the Netherlands in spring: take a slight detour to the A44 for some fantastic tulip fields. 

Staying on the A4? Look on your left side when you pass Leiden. You see a 3 mill cascade - 3 molengang in Dutch- . This area near Leiden is one of my favorite. It's one of the best examples of Dutch countryside: full of windmills and cheese farms. 

Duinenfietstocht Amsterdam Den Haag North Sea coastal bike tour Verita's VisitNorth Sea Cycling Route to The Hague

Traveling to The Hague by bike sounds wonderful, especially when your an avid cyclist like me. I would definitely take multiple days to enjoy the bike ride to the fullest. The shortest cycling route from Amsterdam city centre to The Hague is about 60 km (37 miles) so technically you could reach the Houses of Parliament in one day. Then again, you are probably on vacation, so I would recommend taking a longer cycling route. Getting out of the Dutch capital is never easy and the first part of the route is not very exciting. Just keep pedalling. Head to Haarlem, a beautiful city with lovely historical centre and stay there for the night. The following day cycle through the dunes towards Zandvoort and just follow the coastline. The cycling route is part of the long distance cycling network, the LF1 North Sea route . You'll reach The Hague's beach resort Scheveningen. This is where you could find me guiding a bike tour!

tulip fields in between Amsterdam & Leiden tour groepsreis Verita's Visit
tulip fields in between Amsterdam & Leiden

Traveling to The Hague by train

Now I know many of you are on a Europe trip and have very short time to visit the Netherlands. You definitely want to visit Amsterdam and you might still have a few hours to see another city in Holland. Well, I could give you many tips on cities to visit, but let's focus on traveling to The Hague for now. From Amsterdam or Amsterdam airport Schiphol there is a direct connection by train to The Hague Hollands Spoor (HS station).  It's easy, stressfree and comfortable. You don't need to book ahead and can get out of the train whenever you want. When you take the train from Amsterdam it will stop at great places such as Haarlem and Leiden. Do visit these cities if you have time! Take the intercity Amsterdam Centraal in spring and you'll be able to see the gorgeous flower fields between these two cities.

Bike route royal the Hague koninklijk den haag route fiets Verita's VisitWithin 1 hour you reach The Hague Hollands Spoor station. From here take a tram or rent a bicycle to get to The Hague beach 'Scheveningen'. The tram will stop at city centre Hague . You can also go for a 10 minutes walk to the highlights of the historical city centre: Houses of Parliament, museum Mauritshuis, royal palace Noordeinde, Lange Voorhout.

 

Enjoy your journey!


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Birthday tour Leiden - stroopwafel and windmill

If you want to celebrate, go to Leiden. The Dutch city in between The Hague and Amsterdam is easily reachable by public transport and o so gezellig. Search the city for a warm syrup waffle and then hop on your bike and head to the lake area for a view of the windmills. That's what we did in the birthday tour Leiden.

 

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If you have just a few days to spend in the Netherlands, go to Leiden. It's a student town with lots of history, nice terraces near the water and great nature areas in the near surroundings. Visit the city of Rembrandt on a Saturday and you'll experience how the locals celebrate the Dutch way of life. The market, although busy, is thé place to dive into the happy & friendly atmosphere.

Stroopwafel Baking Birthday Tour Leiden

This is where I took my participants. It is my goal to make your visit to the Netherlands a great experience and when there is something to celebrate I try to arrange a surprise activity. The birthday tour Leiden customised for this Irish family of 4 sisters and their mother would take 3 hours. Before we started the bike ride through the Dutch countryside I took the birthday girl plus family to the stroopwafel stand. Here Ton runs his stall every Saturday for the last 15 years. He explained how the stroopwafel is baked and then it was our turn. Bake the waffle, cut it in half while it's still warm ( very warm!!). Now you put the caramel in between and put the two halves together. Yummie stroopwafel is ready to eat!

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On an adventurous, crowded route we found our way to the city's borders. In most of the Dutch cities, the singel or canal surrounding the city has always functioned as a border. So at the singel the birthday tour Leiden really started.

We cycled under sea level, along canals to the last remaining polder. The view was exceptional. Green grassed meadows mostly surrounded by lakes, rivers and ditches and as a cherry on the birthday cake: a windmill. We admired the water management system and then picked a spot for this picture.

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When you enjoy typical Dutch food, are in for a bit of action and like the motto: get social with a local and visit this Dutch coastal region.  Here’s why to celebrate holiday season in South Holland.

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custom made bike tour castles Hague kasteel op maat gemaakte tour Haag Verita's Visit

Hague castle event venue once a brewer's farm

There's a The Hague castle event venue, that was once was a brewer's farm. Jan, son of a  golf club maker made money brewing beer. On an estate the size of 7 rugby fields he built a farmhouse. Now, when you walk in the dense estate's forest it is not a farmhouse that's hidden from sight.

custom made bike tour castles Hague kasteel op maat gemaakte tour Haag Verita's Visit

Delft brewer's fortune

Jan Pieterszn. Colff doesn't want to follow his father's footsteps and make golf clubs. He does what many do in his days and opens a  brewery.  In de Witte Hoefijsser  - In The White Horseshoe-  is right next to the canal  in Voorstraat 2 in Delft. Two centuries later, in 1770, his grandson Pieter Maartenszn.  enjoys great fortune. He adds Hoeffijser to his name and replaces his great grandfather's 'Colffmaekerswoning' - house of a golf club maker- . Pieter proudly calls the new building 'House of Hoeffijser'.  It comprises a mansion surrounded by a canal and a small farmer's house. To make sure outsiders understand the difference between mansion and farmer's house the first is referred to as Large Horseshoe.

The woman and the Dutch estate

Mid 19th century brickmanufacturer Cornelis Schiffer van Bleyswijk renovates the whole estate and dedicates it to his wife Suzanna de Wildt. The Large Horseshoe estate is now De Wiltenburg, later known as Wittenburg. It still is not a Hague castle event venue, but this will change. At the turn of the 20th century an esquire knocks on the door and buys estate De Wittenburg.

custom made tour castles Hague kasteel op maat activiteit Haag Verita's Visit
Front side castle De Wittenburg

Wittenburg becomes a castle near Hague

Fashion changes with time.  Esquire Helenus Martinus Speelman has high demands when it comes to the design of his new house. His architect Johannes van Nieukerken has to make several designs before Helenus finally approves the design.   This is the moment the brewer's farm, the brickmanufacturer's house becomes the castle near Hague.  Parts of demolished houses in Amsterdam and The Hague form the castle.  When his mansion is almost finished and the tower is built, Helenus tells the workers to remove tower and upper floor. Still not happy with the result, he asks his friend, also promoter of the interests of Dutch castles, for advice. The upper floor and tower are rebuilt.

The Hague castle event venue & hotel

What was once a brewer's farm is now a The Hague castle event venue.  Royalty, ministers and corporates have been coming to this stately 4 star hotel and event locationfor ages. With the opening of the new restaurant, Sophie, named after the wife of Helenus you can now also enjoy the estate's tranquility  during a lunch, high tea or dinner in De Wittenburg.

side event location Hague Haag locatie personeelsuitje Verita's Visit
Lime tree lane towards castle near Hague

Explore the estate and it's surrounding

One extra tip: Explore the park which is full of monuments and monumental trees. From different sides you'll find great sneek peaks on the castle, its pond and outside terrace. When you you enter estate De Witteburg via the original lime lane you'll see the estate's border monument with the initials of Helenus.

History tour nature Hague geschiedenis activiteit natuur Den Haag Verita's Visit
Initials H.M.S. on estate's border monument

You can also reach this Dutch castle by bike. There is an amazing cycle route from The Hague to Leiden that passes several estates in this part of Holland. Some, like this castle near Hague are hard to spot in spring and summer due to the lush monumental trees.

The Hague castle event venue sneak peek

 


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Sources used:

 

http://www.colf-kolf.nl/1450-1700/8/details.htm

https://www.patriesvandorst.nl/over-ons/kasteel-de-wittenburg/

http://www.kasteleninzuidholland.nl/Pages/Wittenburg.htm

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasteel_De_Wittenburg

https://www.buitenplaatseninnederland.nl/wassenaar-de-wittenburg.html

https://www.restaurantsophie.nl/

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC3VVP4_naar-het-kasteel?guid=c1c9eeb7-8e4c-4aec-8127-21bf8a0b77fb

https://www.wassenaar.nl/vrije-tijd-wassenaar/landgoederen_3866/

https://www.cipvw.nl/monumenten/133-buitenplaats-de-wittenburg.html

http://www.wittenburg.nl.transurl.nl/historie-kasteel-de-wittenburg/

 


Royal The Hague Estate De Horsten

Want to see a palace, castle or estate? At Royal The Hague estate De Horsten you might even see king Willem- Alexander, queen Maxima and their three beautiful daughters.

 

Dutch Parks Come With Castles

When you visit the Netherlands and all of a sudden find yourself surrounded by nature, keep your eyes open! You might find a Dutch castle, an estate or even catch a glimpse of the royal family of the Netherlands. Highest chances to see the Dutch king and queen is in The Hague area, province South Holland.

Flower tour The Hague bloemenroute Den Haag Verita's Visit
Are you in the Dutch countryside or a park? You might see a palace!

The  Route of Dunes and Forest

The royal estate The Hague that is closest to the city centre is the Huis ten Bosch palace. You could start your walk or bike ride here. Cycling routes and walking trails take you from The Hague to Leiden on a route full of sandy dunes and lush green parks. In spring and summer at least. In autumn the parks are filled with golden, brown, red and orange leaves fallen from the oaks and chestnut trees.  Winding paths take you to the pièce the resistance of every estate: a 17th or 18th mansion.

Where the Dutch King lives

In Wassenaar, a cosy village right between The Hague and Leiden the royal The Hague estate De Horsten is located. The Dutch word 'horst' means: a higher sandy ground with trees or surrounded by trees. The three estates Raaphorst, Ter Horst and Eikenhorst were bought by the royal family in the 1800's and together now form royal The Hague estate De Horsten. Dutch king Willem-Alexander, queen Maxima and their daughters Alexia, Amalia and Ariane lived in Villa Eikenhorst. In 2019 the royal family moved to Huis ten Bosch palace.

bloementocht Den Haag bike tour flowers Hague Verita's Visit
Rhododendron flowers May/ June royal estate The Hague

Royal Estate The Hague

Highlights of this royal estate The Hague are the Seringenberg and the tea pavilion. The Seringenberg, hill of lilacs, blooms with purple flowers beginning of May. When you climb up the twirling hill path beginning of June, you'll be captivated by the richly scented mock orange - Philadelphus coronarius-. On top you can rest in a small pavilion. From here you see the typical winding paths, meadows and the clear borders off grassland and trees created by 19th century landscape designer Zocher jr.

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Cycling and Coffee, Hike & High Tea

The tea pavilion De Horsten is a cosy place that from the inside still reminds of the time it was used as hunting lodge by Prince Frederik in the 19th century. The tea room is decorated with hunting trophees. The entrance to the tea pavilion is magical and so is the view on the terrace. A great place to enjoy a lovely cup of tea or have a coffee break on your cycling tour.

royal coffee stop Verita's Visit The Hague Haag koninklijke high tea

Useful info:

  • Cycling is not allowed inside De Horsten. There are signed walking trails of different distances.
  • Royal The Hague estate De Horsten entrance fee is: €1.00 per adult, for seniors and children between 4-14 years old €0.50

You can buy the entrance tickets at the entrance.

  • The easiest entrance is at: 
Papeweg 36, 2245 AG Wassenaar. This is closest to the tea pavilion.
  • Opening hours
From 1/4-1/9 it's open daily from 9 AM - 8.30PM
From 1/9 - 1/4 it's open Tue-Sun 9 AM - 5 PM
The tea pavilion De Horsten is open from Wednesday till Sunday from 10AM till 4.45PM.

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