The Best Place to See Tulips in The Netherlands

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The springtime means one thing in the Netherlands: tulip fields. It’s the time where thousands of tourists come to the Netherlands to admire the tulip fields. They usually bloom a few weeks so it’s essential to have your timing right. However, what’s the fun of waiting in line to see the tulip fields or to be one of many to see them? I have the perfect solution for you: the unknown fields with tulips in the Netherlands that are just as gorgeous but only locals know about them!

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Between mid-April and the first week of May, the Netherlands is home to a rainbow of flower fields. Amsterdam, Keukenhof and Lisse are the most popular places to enjoy the tulips. There’s one main road that will lead you along all the most colorful fields. I want you to meet the secret location of all tulip fields in the Netherlands. No tourists. Just locals who love going here on their day off, to walk their dog or to admire them on the weekends. Thé hidden gem of this time.

Best Place to See Tulips in the Netherlands

the best secret place to find tulip fields in the netherlands for free

I welcome you to a small island on the south of the Netherlands that’s not only known for her gorgeous flower fields, it also happens to be one of the most sustainable regions in the world. All of these massive tulip fields are owned by local farmers and there are no fences around the fields like in Lisse, simply because there aren’t any tourists here.

Please be respectful to the tulip fields at all times. Only walk on the clear ground in between the fields and never step into the tulips and never pluck any flowers. The farmers work incredibly hard to make money from these fields. Be a responsible and respectful visitor.

Tulip season in the Netherlands

Tulips are one of the biggest export products of farmers here in Holland. We have over 11,000 hectares of fields! The bulbs are planted in the winter (around October and January) because they need the cold to bloom. However, it is important that it isn’t too cold in spring.

If you take this year, 2021, as an example, you’ll see that the cold days in April have resulted in a delay in the tulip season. They need to cold to bloom when they are planted, but they need sunshine to fully bloom and let their colors shine. We have had snow, hail and night frost and that’s just a little too cold for the flowers!

Read more: 5 Dutch Cities To Visit Besides Amsterdam

When is the tulip season?

In general, tulips bloom in mid-April and will be cut in the first or second week of May. They will export the tulips, sell them in the Netherlands and/or the bulbs will be exported as well. It’s a big process and you have around 3 weeks to fully enjoy the tulips! A misconception about our tulips is that they bloom all year round. They don’t! So if you want to see them in nature (not Keukenhof), definitely come and visit the Netherlands around April and May!

One exception is Keukenhof. The tulips are maintained in a different way for tourists which means they will be there for a few weeks longer than the ones on farm land! So if you’re late and the farm land tulips have been cut, definitely try and see if you can visit Keukenhof if you really want to see them.

In normal cases, this is the time where our weather starts to really feel like spring. The sun is out more, we have less rain and there’s always a breeze in our country (and I mean: always) but there’s definitely more of a breeze on the islands. It’s not very warm just yet, expect the temperatures to be around 17-18 degrees at the end of April! It is always different but this is roughly our average temperature.

The tulips route

I’m going to tell you our little secret. You will find these gorgeous big farm land tulip fields on the island Goeree-Overflakee on the south-west of the Netherlands. This is the most north island of all three and it is official part of the province “Zuid-Holland” which has cities like Rotterdam and The Hague.

This small island is a paradise. You will find everything on this island: from 650 km beaches, to tulip fields, to picturesque villages and wild flamingo’s. I highly recommend to visit this island, even if it’s not the tulip season. A road trip here is such a blast! There is so much to see and experience.

You will find most of the tulips on the east side of Goeree-Overflakee. There are definitely fields on the west side, but the east side has more fields and bigger fields which means you’re most likely going to see most. However, the tulip field locations are different each year. There aren’t many permanent location which also makes it fun to explore more. Go off the main road and start driving on the smaller farm roads and you will definitely see the pop of colors emerging around you! There’s no way you’re going to miss the colorful fields.

I will create a specific tulip route for you, but I can’t guarantee that the tulips will still be there next year. So I will show you the villages and the surroundings to explore with some additional street names to definitely check out before giving the entire tulip route. We drove around a lot and they are literally everywhere.

These are the villages to have on your list:

  • Oude Tonge
  • Nieuwe Tonge
  • Middelharnis
  • Dirksland
  • Melissant
  • Ooltgensplaat
  • Stad aan ‘t Haringvliet

The area around and between Oude Tonge and Nieuwe Tonge is definitely one to not miss. I have seen the biggest fields here this year and it was magically colorful!

Read more: The 7 Dutch Culture Facts You Need To Know!

The route in Oude Tonge

I’m pretty sure this road always has tulips around it. You want to enter the village Oude Tonge from the road called “N215” which is very close to the “N59” where you’ll probably drive on first. Go to the dyke called “Heerendijk”, this is a dyke behind Oude Tonge and will lead you to the village Ooltgensplaat. It’s a long road surrounded with tulip fields. The Heerendijk will eventually turn into the “Nieuwe Bloksedijk”, “Bloksedijk”, “Grote Bloksedijk”, “Galathesedijk”, and “Oude Dijk”.  This will lead you into the village called Ooltgensplaat. From here, take the road called “Langeweg” to the N59 and you might pass some more tulip fields here.

The route in Nieuwe Tonge

Drive into Nieuwe Tonge from the N215 and keep on going straight alongside the village. You will enter a farm road and drive straight ahead on the road called “Oudelandsedijk”. This road had the biggest tulip fields this year! If you turn around after seeing this field, go to the “Langeweg” and this will lead you to the village Oude Tonge. So you’ll notice that there are two street names called Langeweg. Don’t ask me why, but make sure to check if the Langeweg is in Ooltgensplaat or Nieuwe Tonge to make sure you’re going the right way.

I would say that these two areas are your lucky shots! However, if you’re in for some more, go ahead and drive up to “Den Bommel”. This is a village above the N59 which you will cross if you take the “Langeweg” from Ooltgensplaat to the N59. Just go straight across and you will most likely find more tulip fields along the road called “Schaapsweg”.

Drive around the villages Middelharnis (mostly on the east side), Dirksland, Melissant and Stad aan ‘t Haringvliet to see more tulip fields. These do change every year but you will find them if you drive on the smaller farm roads.

The tulips route on Google Maps

Personally, I love knowing the street names because it gives the freedom to create your own route. But, I completely understand if it’s a bit overwhelming. I created a route along these villages if you do want to follow a specific route. As I said before, I can’t guarantee you will find tulips here but the chances are very high. And if not, just take one turn right or left to drive on a different road and you will definitely spot them!

Click here to download the tulip route on Google Maps. Please note you will only find the tulips here in mid-April and possibly at the beginning of May.

How to visit the tulips in Holland?

The best way to explore Goeree-Overflakee and to see the tulips is by car. This island is a 35-minute drive away from Rotterdam which is a city pretty close to Amsterdam. You can take the train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam (+- 30 minutes) and rent a car in Rotterdam to drive to this island! A drive from Amsterdam will take approximately 90 minutes.

This is by far the easiest way to go around this island! The distances aren’t that big, but I recommend exploring the entire island while you’re here. Villages like Ouddorp, Middelharnis and Goedereede are gorgeous to explore and will show you the beautiful coastline and dunes to go surfing or go longboarding! 

Where to stay on Goeree-Overflakee

If you want to see the tulips in the most magical light – come during sunrise or sunset. This will be an incredible experience. The island has lots of hotels and B&Bs who will welcome you with open arms. We’re all so excited when tourists visit more of the Netherlands than just Amsterdam!

It will give you more time to enjoy our beaches, picturesque villages, see the sunrise/sunsets on the tulip fields and possibly spot wild flamingo’s because yes, if you’re lucky – they will still be here at this time. They are this year!

Read more: Where To Find Wild Flamingo’s in the Netherlands

How to take photos of tulips

Come packed with your camera equipment to take the best photos from above, in front or to take the prettiest close up photos. If you’re going for a posed photo, please keep these don’t in mind to make sure you are mindful and respectful towards the tulips, the farmers and the people who want to enjoy the tulips after you!

  • Don’t pick flowers.
  • Don’t walk on the field and step on the flowers. Stay on the soil at all times.
  • Don’t park in the middle of the road. These are all farm roads and huge farm vehicles drive around wanting to cross the road! Their business continues day and night.
  • Don’t pick the petals to use them as prop in the photo, this will damage the tulip and possibly make it too damaged to export or sell.
  • Don’t be too loud. There’s a ton of wildlife close to these fields and you will scare them.

If you’re ever in doubt and you see a farmer walking around, just kindly ask if you can take some photos with the tulips. And in the midst of it all, don’t forget to simply enjoy them. Take the time to soak it in. Watch all the colors, enjoy the weather and fully create your own memory before taking out your camera to take photos. We sometimes tend to forget this.

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