Drive the Netherlands Flower Route

Drive the Netherlands Flower Route

Discover the beautiful flora of the Netherland's via the country's Flower Route.

Sights

The Flower Route is a journey that takes you from the northern town of Haarlem, right through the rainbow fields of the Netherlands to the flower capital of Naalwijk, where the country makes its horticultural profit. As you follow this floral-infused road trip, you'll find yourself driving along the west coast, past beautiful beaches, and through stunning parks and gardens that fill the country with colour. From the artwork featured in Haarlem's Frans Hals Museum, to Lisse's famous Keukenhof gardens, you'll be blown away by the natural beauty that brightens up this fascinating country during spring.

Inspiring Ideas Explore the colour of Keukenhof

Explore the colour of Keukenhof

Haarlem

A city in the north of the country, Haarlem is a popular place for fans of the Netherlands' springtime flower bloom. Not only is it dotted with blossoming crocuses, tulips and daffodils, it's also home to the Frans Hals Museum, a place of floral themed artwork.

Throughout the year, flowers can be found throughout the museum, whether in the decorative tiles and wallpaper, or in the vast artistic collections. Two key artists to look out for are Judith Leyster, a female artist who explored the 17th Century Tulip Mania (a time when tulip bulbs cost the equivalent of their weight in gold) and Kees Verwey, a Dutch painter who produced depictions of flowers, using heavy, thick brush strokes.

During spring, you can enjoy the museum's Flower Mania, a time when the master florist, Paul Wijkmeijer, puts together amazing bouquets, and displays them throughout the museum. Rooms and corridors are brightened up with pops of colour and filled with floral scents, which complement the paintings.

Inspiring Ideas Frans Hals Museum's flowers

Frans Hals Museum's flowers

Lisse

After exploring the floral artwork of Haarlem, head south along the N208 highway to Lisse, a town that's home to the world's second largest flower garden, Keukenhof. With over seven million bulbs planted, and 800 different varieties of tulips to see, Keukenhof is a hub of natural beauty and wonder.

Every year, the organisers of the Keukenhof park put together a breathtaking array of different garden themes, flower shows and activities for visitors to be a part of. From romantic gardens featuring pastel-coloured flowers and summerhouses, to a garden designed especially for the local bees and butterflies to inhabit, the park always surprises and wows.

Inspiring Ideas Keukenhof

Keukenhof

On top of the captivating gardens, Keukenhof also presents a number of flower shows inside the park's many pavilions. The Orange Nassau Pavilion hosts a different lecture on flowers every week, so whether you're a fan of tulips or roses, you can pick and choose which one to attend. If you're a bigger fan of tulips, you can admire over 75,000 in 600 varieties inside the Willem-Alexander Pavilion, which is also home to the largest lily show in Europe. Plus, you can learn all about the cultivation of tulips, and how they came to the Netherlands, in the Julian Pavilion Tulipmania Exhibition. Finally, if you have a taste for the exotic, explore the inside of the Beatrix Pavilion, where orchids, anthuriums and bromelias are showcased.

On top of the flowers, there are plenty of activities to keep your kids occupied during your visit. Head over to the park's petting zoo, where you and your family can stroke lambs, baby goats and pot-bellied pigs, or take part in the Keukenhof scavenger hunt, where your kids will get to learn more about the flowers as they search for hidden treasure.

Leiden

Once you've explored every corner of Lisse's Keukenhof park, continue your journey south along the N208 and take the A44 highway to Leiden. The Journey between Haarlem, Lisse and Leiden is said to be the best for spotting the fields of flowers during spring, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled, and your car windows open, to let the floral scent in.

Located in the city centre, and on the Leiden University grounds, is the Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands. Once used as a medicinal herb garden in 1594, the garden is now host to over 10,000 botanical species from around the world, including South-East Asia, South Africa and Southern Europe. From sitting and admiring the dozens of birds that inhabit the park, to exploring the Japanese Garden and wandering through kid-friendly exhibitions on exotic plants, there's so much to see and do.

Inspiring Ideas Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Finish your time in the botanical garden by enjoying a coffee and snack in the Grand Café Clusius, a wonderful spot that sells local and organic delights your family will love.

Naaldwijk

Conclude your journey along the Flower Route, and take the A4 south and turn west onto the N222 towards Naaldwijk, a bustling town situated at the Flower Route's most southerly point. On top of being home to plenty of beautiful flora, Naaldwijk is also the greenhouse horticultural economic hub, and is one of the main locations for the country's flower auctions, which are run by Flora Holland. The town is a leader in the flower industry, and traders from around the world come to the country to bid on some of the rarest and most captivating species of flowers. It often means big money too, with the annual turnover said to be around $5 billion.

If you can't be a part of the auction, be sure to explore the town's local florists, or gardens, that are rich with colour and vibrancy during the spring months.

Inspiring Ideas Rare and exotic flowers

Rare and exotic flowers

Getting there and around

The Flower Route through the Netherlands is one of the most picturesque drives in Europe, taking you through some of the country's most idyllic spots. Feeling inspired? With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle it only takes 35-minutes to cross the Channel, so you'll be on your way to Haarlem in no time at all.

Book your journey

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Photo Credits:
Beautiful tulips
Explore the colour of Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Frans Hals Museum's flowers
Botanical Garden
Explore the garden's beautiful flowers
Rare and exotic flowers

All pictures licensed for commercial use at time of publication.

Book travel

from £23
Prices start from £23 per car, each way* *£23 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day. Book your travel now