Kuekenhof Gardens and Holland’s Bulb Fields
5 days/4 nights from Amsterdam
The Netherlands is home to dozens of Europe’s finest gardens, medieval villages and gourmet cuisine. We will sample a selection of the area’s best gardens. Along our specialty trail, we will uncover some hidden gems such as the country’s largest collection of orchids and amazing ornamental water displays. Then there’s the famed stunning spectacular that is Keukenhof Gardens and Holland’s famed bulb fields. Their website says, “Haven’t seen Keukenhof? Then you haven’t seen the Netherlands.” The claim that you won’t find such an abundance of colours and fragrances anywhere else is certainly true!
This tour begins and ends in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of Holland’s Art Cities and is best explored by foot, tram or boat. We recommend spending time independently pre or post this short garden tour.
Spoilt for choice in Amsterdam! There’s simply so much to see and do! Garden fans should enjoy the immaculate eighteenth-century garden at the Willet-Holthuysen Museum and the Flower Market. If you are up for an early morning venture, nearby Aalsmeer Flower Auction is another nice option, opened Monday through Friday from 7 – 11am only. Then there’s the Anne Frank Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House, the Rijksmuseum for the finest collection of Dutch old masters…
Day 1, Tuesday
We will depart from our central Amsterdam departure point at approximately 9am, our route today takes us to a unique garden property. The Tropical Gardens in Luttelgeest, ‘Orchideeën Hoeve,’ is one garden of interest. Here is the largest collection of orchids in The Netherlands. An astounding wealth of orchids, at least 2500 different species arranged on tree trunks and amid water streams and other tropical plants. The gardens complex also features Malaysian and Taiwanese style spaces and an extensive Butterfly Valley where thousands of colourful butterflies live.
Subject to availability, our accommodation for our first two nights is in a first class property on the edge ofApeldoorn, close to the De Veluwe National Park.
Overnight: Apeldoorn area Bilderberg Keizerskroon or similar http://www.bilderberg.nl/uk/hotels/hotel-de-keizerskroon/ Dinner, bed and breakfast
Day 2, Wednesday
De Tuinen van Appeltern is a ‘must-see’ Dutch garden, housing the largest collection of plants in the country with over 200 model gardens. This 15 hectare park was designed as an experience for all senses, intended to be an inspiration for gardeners and garden lovers.
Kijktuinen Nunspeet is called ‘the flowering heart of the Veluwe,’ a 4.5 hectare oasis of calm featuring a variety of garden styles from traditional to innovative. The centre is a 2 hectare gem landscaped by garden and landscape architect L.J. Goedegebuure.
Overnight: Apeldoorn area, as above dinner, bed and breakfast
Day 3, Thursday
Near Apeldoorn is Palace Het Loo with its beautiful formal gardens. The palace was designed in the 17th century for William III and his Queen Mary. No longer used by the Dutch royal family but as a national museum, a place to experience pure opulence and to perhaps play royalty for a while!
Medieval Utrecht is our next port of call, a compact city that was the epicenter of politics and religion in the Middle Ages. Now a university city, the well preserved grand houses along the scenic canals feature regional ‘wharf cellars,’ many of which are now nice cafes. During our time here, explore Utrecht Botanical Gardens, a small gem featuring more than 6,000 plant species collected over the past 350 years.
We then make our way to our next overnight location. Upon arrival into Delft, we will enjoy a brief orientation walking tour. The town is popular with tourists but, by arriving late in the afternoon, we can miss the main and maddening throng. This evening and tomorrow morning, in this place almost unchanged since Vermeer painted it in the 1600s, you will have free time to relax in a canal side cafe, explore the quaint shops or visit the Vermeer Museum and Blue Porcelain Museum as you wish. The Botanic Garden of Delft at the University of Technology was founded on its present location in 1917 and is well worth some time for those that wish more garden time.
Dinner is not included this evening for flexibility’s sake.
Overnight: Hotel Koophandel, Delft or similar http://www.hoteldekoophandel.nl/
Day 4, Friday
A leisurely day spent in Delft and The Hague/Den Haag.
The Hague/Den Haag is home to the Royal Family, the seat of Dutch government, the international criminal court and the Peace Palace. On a panoramic tour, we can see the fabulous medieval Parliament buildings and the ‘Lange Verhoot’ area with its spectacular homes. The highlight of our time here is certain to be Mauritshuis, home to famous works including Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring,’ ‘View of Delft’ and Rembrandt’s ‘Dr Nicolas Tulp.’ Later, subject to limited opening times, we may be able to see the local Japanese Gardens.
Tonight, if the group is so inclined, we may choose to try an Indonesian rice table dinner, now considered a typical Dutch dinner. A rice table consists of rice served with approximately 10-15 different spicy vegetables, pork, fish, chicken and beef dishes to sample. No matter what cuisine we choose, a group dinner is included this evening.
Overnight: Delft, as above
Day 5, Saturday
Keukenhof is our main destination today, making our way there via the stunning Holland tulip bulb fields. Certainly an unforgettable spectacle! We will spend ample time in Keukenhof but will also have some time for wandering off the beaten track, seeking out some excellent photo opportunities and hopefully meeting some locals. The gardens of Keukenhof will surely be the highlight of our day, bursting with millions of tulips and other spring bulbs – what one guide book calls ‘the rainbow of natural beauty.’ The gardens here, described as one of the most photographed places on Earth, also offers one of Holland’s largest sculpture gardens.
Our tour will finish this evening in Amsterdam.
Oft imitated, never duplicated! This itinerary is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.