Dutch Tulips Small Group Tour
Spend 6 nights in The Netherlands on this specialist small group Dutch tulip tour. Our trip provides us with a taste of the country’s many delights, with special focus on the world-famous Keukenhof Flower Garden.
The Keukenhof garden has some 7 million bulbs planted each year to present a truly spectacular festival of colour every year at tulip time. This blend of varieties of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths fills over 32 hectares of flower gardens with colour and fragrance on an almost unimaginable scale.
The Dutch Tulip tour also views the main sights of old Amsterdam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, first on a walking tour with local guides, followed by a barge tour along its 17th-century canals. We also make sure to visit the iconic Zaanse Schans Windmills.
Dutch Tulips Tour Itinerary
Our exploration of Dutch gardens includes the Hortus Botanicus, an impressive university garden. Founded in 1594, this is the oldest botanic garden in the Netherlands and one of Europe’s oldest as well. It was here that botanist Carolus Clusius planted the first tulip bulbs. This planting eventually led to ‘Tulip Mania’ that gripped the country in the 1600s.
Travelling onto Utrecht we join a boat cruise through the city’s medieval heart. We visit the ancient wharves, warehouses, bridges and historical buildings. This lesser-known city is regarded by some as Europe’s most beautiful city – a hidden gem.
Our guided tour continues on to De Hoge Veluwe National Park. The park houses a highly unusual landscape of woodlands and heaths with a fascinating natural history that we explore. Located within the park is the Rijksmuseum’s Kröller-Müller Museum housing the world’s second-largest Van Gogh collection of 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Here we will also find paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Walking in the garden, we will see over 160 sculptures by iconic artists, such as Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore.
This trip also explores, with our local tour guide, the Het Loo Palace (Paleis Het Loo) built by the House of Orange-Nassau. Its first inhabitants were King William III and his wife Queen Mary II. The palace now serves as a museum, and is surrounded by fountains and Baroque-style gardens with its perfect symmetry, axial layout and radiating gravel walks, parterres, fountains, basins and statues. The palace is closed until 2021 for renovations, but the Stable Square, museum restaurants, palace roof, and gardens remain open until 29th September.
The Dutch Tulip small group tour also visits the village of Nunspeet where we explore Kijktuinen Garden. This is not one garden but many and is well worth a visit. It includes borders in striking colour combinations, as well as classic rose gardens, pergolas, arbours, water and herb gardens.
There is plenty to do on this tour of the Netherlands during tulip time. To learn more, check out Odyssey's blog about about the history and culture of tulips in The Netherlands!
Our Netherlands tours also make time to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a local restaurant each day, so that you can have an authentic experience of the local food culture.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dutch Tulips and the Netherlands
Why is the Netherlands also called Holland?
The Netherlands is also called “Holland”, which comes from Houtland, “Wooded Land”, the name of the historic province that was once a 12th-century fief of the Holy Roman Empire. The Netherlands’ major cities–Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam–are located in the Hollands: Amsterdam in Noord-Holland (North Holland) and the latter two cities in Zuid-Holland (South Holland). This may be the reason many people still refer to the Netherlands as Holland, even though the name strictly only refers to a region within the country.
When is tulip season in Holland?
The start of the tulip season is in mid-January, on National Tulip Day, a prelude to the colours and fragrance of spring. Tulip fields are in full bloom in April and May. Odyssey Traveller's Dutch Tulip tour departs in April, which is the shoulder season--the weather is still nice but there are less crowds compared to summer. The highest daytime temperature in Amsterdam in April 2019 was a comfortable 25 degrees Celsius.
What is Keukenhof and what can you expect to see?
The world-famous Keukenhof Flower Garden grew from an estate dating back to the 15th century and and castle gardens landscaped in the English style in the 19th century. In 1949, a group of 20 leading flower bulb growers and exporters came up with a plan to exhibit their flowering bulbs in the estate, and the park opened to the public the very next year. The garden is now the largest collection of tulips in Amsterdam. Keukenhof now serves as an international showcase for the Dutch floricultural sector, hosting over 20 flower shows annually in addition to the daily flower market - Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Its main attraction is its seven million tulips and other flowering bulbs in the park.
Other Garden Tours offered by Odyssey Traveller
This is a fully escorted 7 day program for a small group and appeals to a couple or single traveller with a particular interest in gardens. The Dutch Tulip Tour allows travellers to join the Chelsea Flower show that immediately follows the conclusion of this program.
Odyssey has a collection of small group programs offered each year, of which the Dutch Tulip tour is just one. Odyssey's garden tours seek to educate travellers and provide them with opportunities to explore some of the truly great gardens of Europe. Odyssey seeks to pick the best time to examine each garden and often the associated houses. Please click though on this link to read more about Odyssey's collection of small group garden tours for Senior travellers.
To learn more about the history and culture of Dutch tulips, read Odyssey's blog post, The History of Dutch Tulip Bulbs.
Learn more about the Netherlands and Dutch Tulips
- Click through to learn more about Holland with this link.
- For all of Odyssey's small group tours to Europe please click through here.
These links take you to external articles about Tulips in the Netherlands
For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
- The Keukenhof Gardens will be open from 21 March to 19 May 2019.
- The 2020 dates are subject to change until the garden opening dates are announced at the final day of Keukenhof season 2019.
Overview: Arrive in Amsterdam and make your own way to the hotel. Meet your Odyssey Programme Leader in the hotel for a tour briefing before dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodation: 3 nights at Westcord Hotel or similar.
Overview: We spend the morning on a guided tour exploring the World Heritage listed historical heart of Amsterdam and taking in the fascinating architecture of the luxurious houses with their gabled facades, built by wealthy merchants during the Dutch Golden Age. We join a canal cruise that provides us with a unique perspective of the city.
Then, travelling north through idyllic landscapes we visit the Country Estate at Beeckestijn for a guided tour of its English landscaped garden, the geometric designs of its Baroque style garden, and its herb and rose gardens all dotted with ponds and sculptures. We also stop to explore a famous and highly photogenic collection of windmills at Zaanse Schans.
Accommodation: Westcord Hotel or similar
Overview: An early morning departure allows us to view the famous Aalsmeer flower auctions, the largest in the world, and the frenetic activity on the ‘shipping floor’. Travelling via the bulb fields we proceed to the highlight of our tour – the Keukenhof Flower Garden. Set amongst glorious woodlands and water gardens we explore the spectacular colours of the seven million tulips planted each year. As well, the world’s largest lily show is housed in one of the pavilions; while in another hundreds of orchids are displayed in the most artistic exhibitions.
Accommodation: Westcord Hotel or similar
Overview: Leaving Amsterdam, our first stop is the historic Hortus Botanicus, at Leiden. Founded in 1594, this is the oldest botanic garden in the Netherland’s and one of Europe’s oldest as well. It was here that botanist Carolus Clusius planted the first tulip bulbs leading to the ‘Tulip Mania’ that gripped the country in the 1600s. Many fortunes were made and lost during the obsession of the Dutch people with the tulip.
Following free time to explore Leiden we travel on to Utrecht and join a canal cruise through the city’s mediaeval heart from which we view ancient wharves, warehouses, bridges and historical buildings. This lesser-known city is regarded by some as Europe’s most beautiful city – a hidden gem.
Accommodation: 1 night at Star Lodge or similar.
Overview: De Hoge Veluwe National Park houses a highly unusual landscape of woodlands and heaths with a fascinating natural history that we will explore at the Museonder. Also located within the park is the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller,
that houses the world’s second-largest Van Gogh collection of 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Also found here are paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Distributed throughout its garden are over 160 sculptures by iconic artists, such as Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore.
The Palace of Het Loo was built in 1686 for William and Mary who later became King William 111 and Queen Mary 11 of England, serving as the hunting lodge and summer residence of members of the House of Oranje, the current Dutch royal family, until 1970. The palace displays original furniture, objects and paintings of the House of Orange-Nassau. The palace is a rijksmonument or national monument.
The glorious Baroque garden with its perfect symmetry, axial layout with radiating gravel walks, parterres, fountains, basins and statues was designed by the nephew of André Le Nôtre, the most famous French garden designer of all time.
Accommodation: 1 night at Best Western Hotel Zwolle, or similar.
Overview: We travel to Nunspeet where we explore Kijktuinen Garden, not one garden but many including borders in striking colour combinations, a classic rose garden, pergolas, arbors, water and herb gardens and the recreation of an old Dutch Square.
Later we take in the delights of Vollendam a traditional fishing village with quaint, uniquely gabled, green-painted wooden houses. Vollendam is well known for its traditional and colourful costumes which we may be lucky enough to see.
We visit a cheese factory with an unbelievable and delectable array of cheeses and accompaniments!
Our Programme Leader will guide us on a short walk through the delightful small town of Edam, the original home of Edam cheese, to view its attractive alleys, tree-shaded canals, canal bridges and locks. Some say it is like entering a Dutch Master painting.
Late this afternoon we return to Amsterdam.
Accommodation: 1 night at Westcord Hotel or similar
Overview: Our tour finishes after breakfast at the hotel.
What’s included in our Tour
- 6 nights of accommodation.
- 6 breakfasts and 2 dinners.
- Entrances and tipping.
- All travel is in modern, air-conditioned coaches if not listed otherwise.
- Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Comprehensive international travel insurance.
- International flights.
- Items of personal nature such as table drinks, laundry, telephone calls, and medical expenses.