Driving through the Flowers: The Bollenstreek Road Trip, Netherlands

Driving through the Flowers: The Bollenstreek Road Trip, Netherlands

If you want to experience the best of the Netherlands in a road trip, then make sure to take the Bollenstreek Route. The Netherlands has become almost synonymous to tulips, a stunning flower that is not really endemic to the country—the first bulb was actually planted in Dutch soil in the 1500's.

The Bollenstreek Route, also known as the Flower Route, starts at Haarlem, which was the center of the "tulip craze" during the 17th century. It is best to start on your Dutch road trip in April or May, when the flowers are in full bloom. Haarlem is the northern terminus of the Flower Route, and the raod between this point to Leiden in the south offers the highest concentration of gorgeous blooms in the spring.

What to See


Flowers, flowers, and more flowers set against the breathtakingly blue sky. Haarlem remains to be the world's capital when it comes to tulips, and you will see thousands upon thousands of these gorgeous blooms in different hues while driving along the Bollenstreek Route. Haarlem and Leiden in spring are perfect for those in search of beautiful flowers. The flowers are planted in alternating strips of color, and it will seem like somebody laid strips of colorful ribbons in the fields as you look out of your car window.

The Bollenstreek Route is the ultimate floral show in the world—in late January, you can see the crocuses in the fields, closely followed by daffodils, then by narcissi blooms and hyacinths. The star of the show—the exquisite tulips—typically pops up in the early days of May, accompanied by the equally dazzling irises. After that, the gladioli, lilies, and dahlias will soon follow. Your eyes will definitely have their fill of the beautiful flower fields across the horizon, but there are also a lot of flower sellers that have set up stalls along the Flower Route—you can buy garlands of your favorite blooms to take with you during your road trip.

Aside from the flower fields, there are also other flower related attractions in the Bollenstreek Route, including flower auctions (yes, it is definitely a thing in the Netherlands), stunning private gardens, and museums. The charming villages seem to have burst out of Vermeer paintings, and the cities of Leiden and Haarlem feature a lot of stunning views along the canal.

The end point of Naaldwijk is pretty, too—and it is home to the largest flower auction in the world. The village is home to some 15,000 Dutch citizens, and you will need at least a day to explore the wonders of the village.

Other noteworthy attractions in the Bollenstreek Route include the Frans Hais Museum with its impressive collection of the works of renowned Dutch masters, the Keukenhof Garden in Lisse, and the De Valk Windmill Museum in Leiden.

Final Tip

The unbelievable landscape of the Bollenstreek Route will definitely take your breath away. To relive your memories of this beautiful road trip, do not forget your camera!

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Route Details
Start Point: Haarlem Distance: 40.8 miles (65.7 kilometers)
End Point: Naaldwijk Estimated Days: 1 to 2