Visit Holland in early spring to see the beautiful arrangements of planted tulips, irises and daffodils. The Tulip Festival takes place in March and April when the tulips and other spring bulb flowers like the fragrant hyacinths and golden yellow daffodils are in full bloom. The main events of the Tulip Festival are held in North Holland in the city of Haarlem, and in Keukenhof Park in South Holland.
The famous flowering gardens of Keukenhof Park are one of the main attractions of the Tulip Festival. The park is located near the city of Lisse in South Holland, which is a 15-minute drive southwest from Amsterdam. The park's natural gardens, inspirational gardens, historical garden and pavilions are surrounded by more than 80 acres of blooming tulips in a grand swath of color. The pavilions hold indoor flower shows for roses, carnations, irises, lilies and orchids. Each year the park is decorated in a different theme; in 2011, for example, the theme was Germany: Poets and Philosophers.
Keukenhof Whisper Boats
The provinces of Holland are crisscrossed with many canals and waterways, some of which flow around and through Keukenhof Park. Ride environmentally friendly electric engine boats in the canals of Keukenhof's gardens and view the beautiful blooming landscape from the water for a relaxing trip around the flowering fields. The 85-minute boat trip that takes you through the calm waters of the canals offers plenty of great photo ops.
The Flower Parade of the Tulip Festival takes place in early April. The "Face of Spring" parade is one of the most famous in the Netherlands. Over 20 floats and 30 vehicles are lavishly decorated with brightly colored flowers accompanied by a festive convoy and musical groups. The Flower Parade of the Tulip Festival covers a 25-mile long route that travels from the coastal city of Noordwijk in South Holland to Haarlem on the River Spaarne in North Holland. Haarlem, the capital city of the Holland provinces, is also the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district. It is 13 miles west of Amsterdam near the coastal dunes.
Flower Parade Tips
The Flower Parade passes through Keukenhof Park over the Keukenhof Corso Boulevard on its way from Noordwijk to Haarlem. If you visit the park on the day of the parade, you may leave the gardens to watch the parade and then re-enter without paying admission.
Two carnivals or fun-fairs are held in the city of Haarlem during the Tulip Festival. Grote Markt (kermis.nl), or Market Square, is at the heart of Haarlem and is surrounded by historic buildings and cultural museums. You'll find carnival rides, games and some of the same fairground food at these fun-fairs as you might find at U.S. carnivals. Enjoy the rides in the evenings, play games to win prizes and eat the sweet treats Dutch bakeries are famous for.
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