• Set your alarm because today you’ll discover the wonderful world of flowers at the FloraHolland flower auction. The earlier you get there, the more you’ll see. Experience the hustle and bustle of the auction floor, watch traders bidding against the clock and be amazed by the amount of beautiful blooms traded daily with more than 10 other countries. To get there from Amsterdam Central Station, take bus 172 to Aalsmeer, stop FloraHolland (1 hour, direct connection). 

  • After your visit, take bus 172 again to the Hortensiaplein stop. From here you can walk to Westeinder Rondvaart (20 mins total), a company that operates boat tours on the Aalsmeer lakes. You’ll float past countless islands teeming with flora and fauna (www.westeinderrondvaart.nl).

  • Next to Westeinder Rondvaart is Aalsmeer Historic Gardens, which takes you through the horticultural history of Aalsmeer between 1700 and 1940. 

  • Refuel in the centre of Aalsmeer, with its many cafés, restaurants and shops. While there, be sure to have a walk around the centre and take in the numerous historical monuments.

  • End your day at Floriworld, where you’ll discover how plants and flowers impact daily life, take a selfie against a backdrop of blossoming flowers and marvel at the amazing artistic creations handcrafted by expert florists. If you want to take a memento home with you, you can bid on a bouquet in the auction hall at the end of the tour. 

  • Have dinner at Westeinder Paviljoen in Aalsmeer, and spend the night in a peaceful wooden cabin or tipi tent at RecreatiePark Aalsmeer, or at one of the other hotels and B&Bs in the region.

  • You can’t leave Holland without visiting the famous Keukenhof gardens. Open for just eight weeks each year (from March until May), the Keukenhof boasts a staggering seven million blooms, planted over 32 hectares. 

  • To get there from Aalsmeer, take bus 340 to Hoofddorp, and then the Keukenhof Express bus 859 to Keukenhof. 

  • To fully explore the wonderful world of flowers, a boat or bike tour through the bulb fields is highly recommended. Discover the bold stripes of colour which flame across the landscape each spring. 

    • By bike: after you’ve visited the Keukenhof gardens, rent your bikes at Rent-a-Bike Van Dam, just in front of the garden’s main entrance (€10 a day, including a cycle route). 

    • By boat: relax as you enjoy the peace and quiet of the endless bulb fields in an electrically propelled ‘whisper boat’. You can buy tickets for the boat tour at the Keukenhof’s only windmill. Use our bicycle tour so you don’t miss the best spots.

  • One great place to walk among the flowers in a manner that’s respectful to the farmers’ livelihoods is at the Old Zandvliet Farm (Westelijke Randweg 2-4). Here you can learn more about the hard work that goes into cultivating the colourful strips of blooms each year and, of course, take some amazing pictures in the fields themselves!

  • The Black Tulip Museum (1 kilometre away, Heereweg 219) is also worth a visit if you want to know even more about the history of the Bollenstreek (bulb region). The museum paints an enthralling picture of the remarkable ‘bulb-to-flower-to-bulb’ cycle with exhibits and a specialised library.

  • Have dinner at restaurant De Engel. Take a seat in the cozy café or in the modern restaurant.

  • To get back to Amsterdam, take Keukenhof Express bus 858 or 361 to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol or bus 50 to Haarlem. From there, take the train to Amsterdam Central Station (1 hour total).

When exploring the tulip gardens of Amsterdam, make sure to stick to the paths and follow the farm rules. Walking across the fields can crush or damage the flowers. If a tulip plant is trampled, it will not produce a bulb large enough to be sold, so it is important to stay out of the fields. It takes a tremendous amount of work to cultivate the neat lines of flowers that blossom into a rainbow of bulbs each spring, and everyone who visits should be respectful of the flowers and the farmers who have invested so much time, effort, expense and love into the fields.

Aalsmeer flower tulip auction

Aalsmeer by Kees van der Veer