Guest blogger Angela Khaw, an expat living in Holland, offers advice for visiting the colourful tulip fields in the Netherlands’ bulb region by bicycle…
My favourite time of the year in Holland is spring when the bulbs come out in full blossom. This year, winter was a much colder and longer season than last year with hardly any sun. It therefore felt that spring took a long time to come. Spring is the perfect time of the year to cycle the bulb fields as it is a breathtaking experience. I love seeing the purple, white & pink hyacinths in the fields and the smell of the hyacinths is far better than any retail perfume! The hyacinths are then followed by the yellow & white daffodils and last, but not least, the bright & bold tulips in a variety of colours including red, yellow and pink.
I have cycled the bulb fields for several years now and the novelty never wears off as it is always a wonderful experience particularly if the sun is shining. Although the tourists head off to the Keukenhof which incidentally is open until 13 May this year, I prefer cycling the bulb fields rather than visiting Keukenhof as I find it is an exhibition of flowers rather than seeing the flowers in their natural habitat.
There are a number of places where you can cycle the fields. My favourite area to cycle is Noordwijkerhout. You can either cycle to Noorwijkerhout and explore the fields or you can drive there and rent a bike from Rent-A-Bike Van Dam. Van Dam has a shop in Noordwijkerhout town centre and it also has a shop in the parking lot at the main entrance of Keukenhof. I have cycled around Keukenhof and Noordwijkerhout and I still prefer the latter as to me, it is more spectacular and you get to experience the picturesque Dutch countryside and villages as a bonus!
Van Dam rental rates are reasonable. For example, it costs Euro 10 to rent a bike with gears for the whole day. It has a large variety of bikes that you can rent including a tandem bike, electric bike, child bike, etc. You can even rent a bike bag from Van Dam and bring your own packed lunch and drink with you. If you plan to go during the weekend, I would recommend that you call or book the bike in advance to avoid any disappointment.
The other advantage of renting from Van Dam is that they provide a route map of the bike routes around Noorwijkerhout, Noordwijk, Voorhout, Sassenheim & Lisse. There are so many bike routes in the area that you can literally spend the entire day there, if not more.
If you are short of time and have less than two hours, I recommend the following bike route:
- From Van Dam’s rental shop in Noordwijkerhout, take bike route number 75 until you reach the roundabout where NH Leeuwenhorst is located.
- Go around the roundabout and head west towards bike route number 74.
- At the next roundabout, turn right into Leeweg which is the start of route 74.
- In the middle of this road, turn right at Bronsgeesterweg which goes under the bridge. This leads to an amazing number of fields with spectacular colours.
- You can continue cycling to Noordwijk town itself which would be a much longer bike ride or go back the way you came but instead of taking route 75, you head back to Noordwijkerhout on route 69 which involves cycling past NH Leeuwenhorst and continuing on route 42 & 80 which leads you back to Noordwijkerhout.
As the weather affects the duration of the bulb season, if you are interested to do this cycle, I recommend that you do it as soon as possible within the next 2 weeks to ensure you don’t miss this experience!
About our guest blogger…
Angela Khaw has been an expat in the Netherlands since 2011. She found settling down in Holland one of her most challenging transitions, so she decided to start a blog to share with other expats what she has discovered about this country.
Please visit www.clogandblog.wordpress.com to read some of Angela’s other blog posts.