24 Hours in Leiden
Updated: Aug 15, 2020
One of the destinations I was most excited about on our Interrailing trip was the area around Leiden, The Netherlands, where we could see the iconic Dutch tulips in full bloom. We left Eindhoven early in the morning, as trains leave every 10 minutes to travel in the direction of Amsterdam. From our research, we found that the best tulip fields were accessible from the Leiden train station, which is where we hopped off the train. This was one of the moments we were glad to have our Interrail passes, as making stops along the way to our destination was easy.
Tulips at Voorhout: 52.227, 4.503 – April 13th, 2019
When people hear about tulips in The Netherlands, often the name of the Keukenhof Gardens comes into the conversation. Keukenhof is actually known as “the Garden of Europe” and features 7 MILLION tulips over 32 hectares. If you want to see the most tulips as possible, this is the place to go. The only reason that we did not choose this route was because the day that we were there happened to be the day of the massive flower parade (April 13th, 2019). While I am sure this would have been an incredible experience, we were not ones for crowds and decided upon another option. After exiting the Leiden train station, we encountered a bike rental shop, “Oldenburger Fietsspecialist Leiden”. This shop is near the east exit of the station, as there was a bike rental shop at the west exit but you have to reserve far in advance. I would recommend reserving bikes from Oldenburger Fietsspecialist Leiden prior to the day of arrival as well though, since we took some of the last bikes for the day around 10 a.m. Each bike required a €50 cash deposit that you get back when the bike is returned. A day of biking was €12.50 each for a regular bike, or an electric bike could be rented for €20 and with a €100 deposit. The paths were very clear and relatively flat throughout the trip, and we were happy with our regular bike options.
Tulips in Voorhout: 52.227, 4.507 – April 13th, 2019
We set off from the station in the general direction of Lisse, where the tulip fields were hard to miss. I remember cycling down one of the well-marked bike paths and encountering the first field, as I was shocked at how easily it the scene was placed within the landscape. The fields we visited were in: Sassenheim: 52.206, 4.492 Voorhout: 52.227, 4.507 Voorhout: 52.227, 4.503 (my favorite!) Mid-bike ride we ran into the Bloemencorso Flower Parade, which may have been difficult to navigate on wheels but was an exciting cultural experience. The parade followed a 42 km route from Noordwijk to Haarlem and we just happened to at the right place at the right time. Picture the rose parade tradition from the U.S., but instead tulips decorated the extravagant floats.
We eventually returned to the station, navigating through lush parks and fields, and hopped on a train that would take us to Amsterdam, and our Airbnb in the accompanying Volendam. Stay tuned to hear about our adventures in the city known as the Venice of the North! Melissa
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