The Tulip country in bloom – Inspiration for a spring road trip

In En-Route, Europe, Inspiration, Netherlands, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Here’s why we wanted to visit…

We so wanted to call this Tulips from Amsterdam, but the truth is we're skipping the country's capital this time, and focusing on the blooms. So we could end the post here - the inspiration is the festival, but the truth is there's so much more, and it'll be great to have a plan 'b' if our timings don't line up and we miss the show.

Close up of a tulip bed, Keukenhof, Holland, Netherlands

For our trip we're focusing on all that is great about The Netherlands, enjoying its culture, its cuisine, its landscape and its architecture.

To get the most of our 9 nights, we have chosen 3 locations;

Haarlem, Alkmaar & Utrecht

The proposed route
  • From Calais to Naaldwijk to pick-up the flower route
  • Follow the Bloemen Route or Flower Route to Haarlem
  • To Alkmaar via Zandvoort
  • An Alkmar road trip looking for the fishing villages on the Markermeer Lake
  • From Alkmaar to Utrecht
  • A trip to see the windmills of Kinderdijk & possibly Gouda
  • The journey home

A helpful guide

If you're thinking of heading of to the land of tulips and cheese, then grab this DK Eyewitness guide to help with your planning.

I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

A country in bloom

  • We're hoping to see the blooms of tulips, and tulips feature in the Netherlands history & commerce.

Forget the Dot Com bubble, the Dutch had it first with 'Tulip Mania' (1636-37). Now Tulips provide a steady income to this flower nation. We've booked into the Keukenhof gardens, and we’re planning on following the 'Flower Route' or 'Bloemen Route'

You really must

Visit Keukenhof - These beautiful gardens are open from March until May, and you can buy open ended tickets online. Therefore allowing you the flexibility if the weather is a little, erm, Dutch.

We've booked our in advance.

History & Culture

  • The Dutch & the British have such a rich history together.

From commerce of giants like Shell & Unilever (My grand-mother & mother both worked in Unilever's London offices over the years). To the wars - shortly we'll be commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Battle of the Medway (1667), where the Dutch gave the British a good hiding, but that's another story.

Then there's the 'Golden Age', where artists such as Rembrandt & Vermeer took centre stage. Haarlem is home to The Frans Hals Museum, housing a number of Golden Age masterpieces.


  • We loved Amsterdam and it's architecture.

All three of our chosen destinations look stunning - let's see what each of these locations has to offer.

There is also the country's control of the water - with 26% of the country below sea level, and a further 29% susceptible to river flooding. So the water pumping windmills of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk are a must.

Canals & Waterways

  • A break to the Netherlands would not be complete without a trip on the canals.

Whether it be through Haarlem, Alkmaar or Utrecht - or even past the Windmills of Kinderdijk. The view from the waterways often gives a unique perspective on a place.

Little fishing towns & villages

  • The benefits of a road trip allow you a little more freedom.

This will enable you to explore places like Volendam, Hoorn & Monnickendam. So we'll be exploring - let's see what we find.

King's day - 27th April

  • A festival of Orange.

When we booked this trip we knew it would also cover the King's day celebrations so we're prepared to don some orange attire and celebrate like a local.


  • Cheese

Oh yes - we both love cheese, and the Dutch have greats such as Edam & Gouda, plus plenty more to discover. I feel a Dutch cheeseboard at some point on the trip.

We will be in Alkmaar for the weekly Cheese Market, not sure what to expect except a large selection of round cheeses. We'll also visit the town of Edam, another famous Dutch cheese.

  • Gary loves a sausage - stop the sniggering - he has to try Rookworst, a Dutch smoked sausage.
  • Then we have to try a Stroopwafel in the Netherlands - sure we've had these at home - but are they the same.
  • We are going to have to try Poffertjes, these traditional baby pancakes seem to be something to satisfy Gary's sweet tooth.
  • And for the road, we're going to be fuelled by Drop, or liquorice to you & I. Gary likes the salty variety, but I'll probably stick to the sweet kind. Did you know the Dutch have the highest consumption of liquorice per capita? No neither did we.


  • Now this is interesting - we all know Heineken, and as a brand it seems to be everywhere. So when we travel we like to try the local - this is a truly global brand. Then there's the Grolsch, another global brand. So can we find Dutch craft beers on this trip?
  • When pushed Gary came up with Warninks Advocaat as a Dutch spirit - but I'm going to ban him from his Christmas tradition of a 'Snowball'. A little bit of research then led us to De Kuyper, the famous spirit maker, and that means cocktails - again Gary is banned from those - please don't ask!
  • We then discovered Jenever - a Dutch Gin. This has to be a safe bet once the car is parked up for the evening.

Have You?

Visited Holland in the flowering season? What was your experience of this wonderful country?

Inspired to visit the Netherlands in bloom?

Does the idea of a mini road trip around some of Hollands others towns and cities interest you?

Why not checkout the latest deals on Booking.Com?
Beautiful displays at Keukenhof, Holland, Netherlands

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