Flower fields, Keukenhof, nice little villages and polder landscapes – April 2018
This route is a perfect way to watch the flower fields in a relaxed way at close distance. The route has more or less the form of an eight with the Keukenhof in the middle of it. Besides that you come across many colorfull flower fields and the Keukenhof, the route crosses nice polder landscapes and a couple of villages which have a good choice of terraces. Further, underway there is the possibility to do additional activities, e.g. besides the flower exhibition of the Keukenhof to visit the museum dedicated to the history of the flowerfield region, have a flower bulb dinner or visit the Keukenhof estate with its castle (see further below for links). It can be crowded on the route, so going early in the morning or late afternoon is advised. Very well recommended.
In general, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips are the most common type of flowers that you will find in the flowerfield region. At the start of the flowerfield season, you will mostly see yellow, white and pink since these are the most common colours of daffodils and hyacinths. A couple of weeks after the daffodils, the tulips will start to flower with in addition the colors red and blue. This year the first fields of daffodil flowers came to blossom around mid april and generally the tulips will be visible later until around mid may. Each year this may differ depending on e.g. how strong and long the winter lasted.
We started at the Sassenheim railway station, knooppunt 51, but you can start at any point in the route. When the train doors opened in Sassenheim, we could immediately smell the hyacinths out there which was a great start. The route first enters the village of Sassenheim but as soon as you leave it, the flower fields pop up.
It is funny to see how much effort people put in taking pictures or selfies. Signs that it is not allowed to enter the fields are massively ignored or even included in the pictures.
The route generally includes polder landscape (flat land with little flows or canals through meadows or farming land). After a while you come across the Keukenhof. The difference with the flowers in the fields is that the Keukenhof has more different sorts of flowers and flowers which are more rare. The Keukenhof can be so full with visitors that you have to go in rows through the park, no fun. However, they open until late in the evening, so if you get there by 18 o’clock you still have 1,5 hours for the visit which is long enough, and then the crowd is mostly gone. My experience is that on weekdays during these hours it is a very relaxed and quiet visit.
Next to the park there is the Keukenhof Estate with its castle and park around it (completely different from the flower park), also a good stop and clearly not as overwhelmed with visitors as the Keukenhof is.
The route continues through flower fields and polder landscape and also crosses Hillegom and again passes the Keukenhof. Just after that you enter Lisse. Most of the terraces can be found here where you can have a good break for lunch but there are lots of other good choices on the route.
Most of the pictures in this article are taken In the close area of the village of Sassenheim but the rest of the route was similar and interesting as well but at some time we simply had taken enough pictures that we didnot want to stop again.
Just a remark as to manage expectations …. The route is very popular and crowded with bikers and all kinds of other type of traffic during the flowering months. Sometimes people even get irritated with others if they want to take that perfect picture but other people are hindering it. You might want to consider a weekday or going very early in the morning on a weekend day. However, are the crowds a reason to avoid this route? No I do not think so, the unique and colorfull views are still well worth it!
Origin of the route: Bollenstreek.nl
Start and Finish: Sassenheim railway station (or any point near/close to the route), nr51 of ‘fietsknooppunt’. See gpx file with route further below. Order of Knooppunten: 51, 50, 58, 55, 57, 38, 07, 49, 40, 48, 11, 44, 15, 16, 17, 18, 94, 21, 13, 28, 40, 49, 29, 91, 30, 41, 54, 25, 51.
Type: circular route
Length: 35 km
Difficulty: easy, no real physical fitness required and no fancy bike needed, a hybride will do fine.
Terrain: flat, bike paths or quiet streets
How to get there? By car: you can easily park your car next to the railway station of Sassenheim. Public transport: You can get there by train and it is easily possible to take your bike on the train (~7 euros for 1 day, not possible during the rush hours on weekdays). There are several bike rentals on or close to the route, see for links further below.
Restaurants underway? Yes, several in Sassenheim, Lisse and Hillegom and further on the route.
– Lisse: Bim Bim Bikes; Café Hotel de Engel; Café Hotel de Nachtegaal
– Hillegom: Bikerental Keukenhof
– Sassenheim: Profile De Fietsspecialist ; Biketotaal Van Hulst +31(0)252222550 (no website available)
Other possible activities underway:
– Keukenhof (flower exhibition gardens): a park with beautiful flower bulb gardens, including the more rare types of flower bulbs. If you want to avoid the crowds, either get there at the opening or late in the afternoon, after 18:00. www.keukenhof.nl
– Keukenhof Estate (castle and park): The castle, of which the first part was built in the 17th century, can be visited, as well as the park surrounding it. The castle itself shows how the nobility lived throughout the last centuries. The park can be visited for free. www.kasteelkeukenhof.nl
– Museum black tulip (‘zwarte tulp’): here you will learn more about the flowerfields region and all that comes with the farming of flowerbulbs. Sometimes additional exhibitions of e.g. paintings of flowerfields. www.museumdezwartetulp.nl
– Dinner made of flower (bulbs), quite unique, in Lisse, only during the flowerfield season between ~mid march until ~mid may. Restaurant de Vier Seizoenen (I found out that the english version of the site is not very informative about their flower menu, the dutch version however is)