Back in May 2017 I was heading to Johannesburg, South Africa, and planned a 13-hour layover in Amsterdam, with the goal of visiting the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens! It was a great experience, very easy, and if you have a long layover in Amsterdam in the spring (late March – early May), I would highly recommend visiting! Keep reading for how to visit the Keukenhof Gardens on a layover in Amsterdam!
How much time do I need?
In order to avoid a stressful layover, the more time the better. I would say at least 10 hours – it depends where you’re connecting to though. Because I was heading to South Africa I had to be back at the airport 3 hours early. More time also gives you some wiggle room in case your landing is delayed. Also make sure you’re layover is during daylight/opening hours!
What do I do with my luggage?
If you just have a carry on you can take it with you, or Schipol airport (Amsterdam’s main airport) has luggage storage in the airport! Make sure you bring your camera and your batteries are charged! A change of clothes might be nice to pack as well if you have a long travel day to Schipol.
How do I get to Keukenhof from the airport?
The easiest and best way to get from Schipol airport to the festival is to purchase a combi-ticket before landing in the Netherlands. A combi ticket is a roundtrip ticket for the Keukenhof Express bus (that leaves from and takes you back to the airport from the festival) and your admission into the garden. This ticket ensures you have a ride there & back, and you don’t have to wait in line when you get to the festival, you can head right in! The combi ticket is definitely the most streamlined way to visit the Keukenhof Gardens on a layover in Amsterdam.
I bought my ticket before I even left Canada to make sure I had no issues, and so that I could hop off the plane and head straight to the Keukenhof.
Tip: Purchase your ticket on your phone and add it to your phone’s wallet – that way you won’t lose it! (just make sure your phone is charged).
What can I even do at Keukenhof?
Keukenhof is one of the largest flower gardens in the world – so you can admire the beauty of over 7 million flowers, go in the windmill and see the surrounding tulip fields, or rent a bike from the booth in the parking lot to explore the surrounding fields yourself! (about 10 € for 3 hours, or 15 € for the day). If you have plenty of time, I would highly recommend renting the bike for 3 hours! Just make sure to budget and watch your time so you can make it back to the airport.
- If you’re only in Europe for the layover, make sure to grab a few euros before landing. This will make sure you don’t have to worry about converting money when you get to the airport! For my layover I brought around 30 € – I knew I would need 10 € to rent the bike, I would need to buy lunch, and I wanted a few extra just in case. (I purchased my ticket in advance so I knew I wouldn’t need money for this).
- Pack a rain jacket you can keep with you in case the weather changes. It would be extremely sunny to rainy and back to sunny again throughout my time at the festival. Come prepared with it in your carry on!
- Pack a change of clothes depending on how long your travels day will be (& consider the shoes you would want to wear). It will help you to feel fresh if you’re traveling and stuck in the plane for extended amounts of time!
- Purchase your ticket in advance – mentioned above but thought it was worth a second mention.
- Don’t waste time getting to the Keukenhof Express – there could be a line for the bus and you want to have as much time at the festival as possible. So head straight to the bus (if possible) to make sure you’re not waiting too long.
- Budget your time. Make sure you plan your time well – leave wiggle room for delayed planes, getting to the bus, driving to the festival (~30 min), spending time at the Keukenhof itself, biking the surrounding fields (I took the whole 3 hours), and leaving enough time to commute back to the airport and go through security, etc.
- Have everything charged and ready in your carry-on so you are prepared!
The Keukenhof Gardens is a great option if you’re on a long layover in Amsterdam in the spring! It’s totally doable (I did it!) and a lot of fun – and not to mention gorgeous!
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Hopefully this guide on how to visit the Keukenhof Gardens on a layover in Amsterdam was helpfulin planning your trip, or has inspired you to add Keukenhof to your bucket list! Leave any questions or comments you have below, or send me an email!