On arrival in Lisse in springtime, you will be in no doubt that this is the center of the Netherlands' biggest tourist attraction, with bumper-to-bumper tour buses and weaving cyclists overwhelming this provincial town. In the 17th century, like its neighbors Sassenheim and Hillegom, it was surrounded by country estates, of which just one remains (the rest were dug over for bulbs). The estate's former garden is the main attraction, but Kasteel Keukenhof (0252/750–690 www.kasteelkeukenhof.nl) is also open to the public. If you want to include this in your visit, ring first to check opening times; you can see inside only by guided tour, for which you need a reservation. Another escape from the crowds is the tower directly south of the gardens. Built by a knight-cum-forester (an important position back then), ‘t Huys Dever (0252/411–430 www.kasteeldever.nl) is an atmospheric 14th-century keep.
Elsewhere in Day Trips from Amsterdam
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's