Keukenhof with Bicycles

Old Mar 29th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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Keukenhof with Bicycles

I know there are a lot of messages already about how Keukenhof, but my question is very specific. I really want to go to the Keukenhof Gardens, but also would like to bicylce through the tulip fields. What is the best way to do this? I'm staying in Amsterdam on Java-eiland. I arrive Friday May 6th and would like to see the tulips on Saturday May 7th or Sunday May 8th (depending on the weather). My issue is that I was going to rent bikes for the full time that I'm there, but not really sure how to get there with them. I guess I could take a train to Haarlem with the bikes and then ride down to the garden (?)...but then I would have to ride them back as well. Or I could take the suggested bus from Schiphol and rent bikes there (?) I just think that a trip to the Netherland would be nice with a bike ride through the country. It's my first time, so I'm really overwhelmed!
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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yOU REAlize, of course, that those "fields" are somewhat relegated to the "out back there somewhere" section and they are simply that: a bunch of monotonous fields..not that they aren't beautiful to see. As to cycling through the gradens...when you get there and you see how MANY people there are I think you may have second thoughts about "cycling through" although i agree the place is worth a visit.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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I have biked and tiptoed thru the flower fields that swirl for miles around the Keukenhof Gardens and at least I found them to be totally mesmerizing - miles of undulating blooms of not only tulips but hyacinths and other spring blooms and only by biking or walking by them can you appreciate this pulchrituduinous show. A great footnote to the formal gardens, IMO the greatest flower show on earth - the product of Dutch flower growers who wrote the book on flower cultivation.

By Bike - you can do this either of two directions - one take a train to Haarlem and rent a bike at the Haarlem train station and then pop over to the VVV (tourist office) at the southern end of the Haarlem pedestrian shopping zone to get detailed maps and suggestions and head south - soon after escaping this fairly large city, Haarlem, the beguiling flower fields begin and stretch all the way to Lisse and beyond - Lisse is a nice smaller town a few miles beyond the Keukenhof Gardens themselves and then head for Leiden, where you can put you bike on a train to return to Haarlem to return it and train back to Amsterdam

This ride Haarlem to Lisse (which bus #100 somewhat parallels from Haarlm to Keukenhof) is perhaps 20 miles, maybe less. The Keukenhof is probably about 15 miles from Haarlem, maybe less. (Winds in your face, always a potential in this flat windy land can make 20 miles feel like 40 however - I think I'd go from Haarlem to Lisse as you may catch more winds blowing westerly and thus at your back, perhaps!)

Now a shorter ride or walk. Rent a bike in Amsterdam and take it via a change of trains at Haarlem to the Hillegom train station, which is out in the middle of nowhere and smack in the middle of the flowr fields. I have walked from here to Keukenhof - perhaps 3-4 miles if I recall. You could then, if walking, hop a bus from Keukenhof to Leiden to train back to Amsterdam (and perhaps explore that lovely ancient and lively university town!) or return to Hillegom station.

Avoid weekends at the Keukenhof Gardens due to heavier crowds than on weekdays - I went one Sunday and it was a struggle to get into some of the hothouses, the marquee attractions IMO of the whole show.

Enjoy! And learn some Dutch bicycle/bicycle path etiquette before setting out so as to not incur the ire of local cyclists who expect you to do as they, obey the bike path laws.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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And don't forget to buy a train ticket for your bike if you take it on the train!
If you have a suitable GPS you can download a route from Hillegom. Let me know if you want the link.

This company will rent you a bike and a route in English http://www.rent-a-bikevandam.nl/ - you can even pick a bike up from them outside Keukenhof during it's opening period if you arrange it with them.
Keukenhof itself is open from 19.00 on May 7th for cyclists and skaters. Normally bikes are not allowed in the park.
If you want to hire a bike that day get in there quick!
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 12:51 PM
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I can't imagine riding a bike in the Keukenhof Park - t'was so so crowded when I was there and it is really a rather compact space!

and yes you will need a Fiets (bicycle) ticket on the train to put your bike in the bike carriage or drag it in between the train cars - I believe the Fiets ticket is good for one day so need not buy per trip - hetismij, who lives in Holland, can correct me on that if wrong.

And be sure to stay on th Fiets paths and not on the marked pedestrian footpaths (marked by a man holding the hand of a child! And if a pdestrian do NOT dare stray into the Fiets pad either or you will get yelled at not so politely IME.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 01:08 PM
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It is only open for bikes and skaters that evening, it is not open for normal pedestrian traffic.
It's a Friday Night Skate on a Saturday .

A Fietskaart costs €6 and is valid all day as Pal says.

Nothing wrong with walking on Fietspaden if there is no footpath, just walk single file, preferably against the flow of traffic so you see the bikes coming, and be prepared to step into the verge if necessary.
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Old Mar 30th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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Thanks you, everyone. Just to clarify: I'm not wanting to ride my bike IN the garden. Just want to get them to the area to ride around. So here is my new plan...

I'm leaving Saturday and Sunday open to permit for weather. Leaving in the morning from Centraal Station in Amsterdam, we will get the Fietskaart and ride into Haarlem with a transfer south to Hillegom. The it's only a couple miles south to Keukenhof. After a couple hours in the garden, we will contine to ride through the fields. Depending on how much we would like to ride, we'll either go to Lisse for lunch and back to Hillegom to take the train back, OR we'll ride to Noordwijk for lunch and catch the train in Voorhout (preferably if we're not too tired in order to see differnt terrain).

Question: Is there a way for me to find a recommended bike trail map online? I know quite a few bicycle rental places provide a map with the rental, but seeing as we'll be bringing our own bikes, I'm not sure where to find one. Would VVV be a good resource? Can I plan it in advance? or would I have to wait until I get out there?

Dank U wel,

Arie
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Old Mar 30th, 2011, 08:25 AM
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Oh, and hetismij, we will have and iphone 4 with us that has navigation, but not a proper GPS to speak of.
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Old Mar 30th, 2011, 08:37 AM
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Lisse VVV is the place to ask. You could try e-mailing them to see what they have and if they can send them to you at your hotel for instance. [email protected]

Most online resources are in Dutch only I'm afraid.
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Old Mar 30th, 2011, 08:42 AM
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THANK YOU!
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Old Mar 30th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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The Amsterdam VVV, opposite central train station has bike maps for this region and any detailed map in a bookstore will show bike routes.

If starting in Haarlem then the Haarlem VVV certainly does as I have asked there recently about that.

But you do not need any map if going from Hillegom - just get down on the east side of the station and turn right on the small paved road and just follow this small road - never crossing under the tracks until you reach the Keukenhof - and follow any Bike Route signs - these are in red on a white background with a picture of a bike on them - follow any of these signs that say "Keukenhoif" should bring you right there.

And as many Dutch speak understandable English and IME are more than happy to help out bikers with directions, just ask. In a previous lifetime I led folks on bike tours in Holland for a decade and locals willingly helping out lost or curious bikers you can count on. That said I would still get a detailed map, especially if you want to go to Noordwijk.

And if not too tired from Noordwijk you can take special bike paths north thru the wide expanse of sand dunes that paoallel the coast - take these excellent bike paths to Zaandvoort/on.Sea (sp?) and catch a train back to Haarlem, Amsterdam from there. Zandvoort is the premier coast resort and in season is simply hopping - you pass by a nude beach just south of Zandvoort in case you wish to swim and have not packed your swimming suit!
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Old Mar 30th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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PalenQ and hetismij gave you a good description. Let me add a bit more detail.

The Haarlem VVV is in the middle of the Gedempte Oude Gracht in front of the V+D department store. (Pretty stupid location IMO. It used to be at the train station.) Instead of getting a Fietspad (bike) map there you can also get one in the newspaper store in the east corridor of the station or at the Dutch autoclub store across the bus depot on the south side of the station. Actually, bike paths run parallel to virtually all roads in Holland. Use the Google maps feature and follow the route south. Keukenhof is very close to the village De Zilk but it is not identified.

I've biked to Keukenhof from Haarlem several times. My best trip was three years ago. Here is my photolog, http://tinyurl.com/y8hltjl.

The best route is along the N206 road following bus route 90, as shown in my photolog. If you want to see the upper class city of Aerdenhout you'll need to go west a bit and then south. Take Zijlstraat and Zijlweg west from Haarlem's Grote Markt until it ends in Overveen. Turn left on Korte Zijlweg and then left again on Elswoutslaan, just past the dogleg. Pedal south and a bit past Zandvoorterweg you'll come to the N206, Boekenroodeweg. It's pretty much a straight shot south from there. As you get close you'll see signs for Keukenhof.

PalenQ said that if you break the bike rules of the road you will be shouted at. More likely you will hear a LOUD BIKE BELL!!

I can't help you much with renting a bike because I keep one there at my friend's B&B. I suggest doing a Google search for *fiets huur* (bicycle rent) in Amsterdam and Haarlem. Watch the closing hour of the rental shop or you may be stuck with it for a second day. Always LOCK IT. The €6 train charge that hetismij said is good until midnight throughout the country.

As PalenQ said, if you need help ask anyone. Virtually all of the Dutch speak perfect English and are happy to practice on a real Yank, as they call us.

If you decide to take the train to Hillegom make sure that your train stops there. That *station* is just a platform and most trains fly through. You might want to get off at the Heemstede-Aerdenhout station. The N206 starts just a half mile west of it.
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Old Mar 30th, 2011, 12:47 PM
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great info from Spaarne - but one thing from Hillegom I walked on regular roads - tiny roads with no bike paths - bikes can use these roads and unless there is a red circle around a bike, like there is on roads with bike paths paralleling them, you can ride on them.

anyway I did not follow any N or national road if I have that concept correctly - a main road with bike paths along it and separated from it.

I really enjoyed the few miles of local roads from Hillegom station - passing brick farmhouses and glass houses complexes, etc. So not sure I took way spaarne did - but spaarne is much more familiar with this area than moi.

we both share the love of Haarlem, a town I would not just pass thru but linger a bit in the Grote Markt or huge market square where there is an outdoor market some or many days and the Ge Kerk - the big cathedral-like church with soaring towers, etc.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 09:43 AM
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and one more warning - watch where you lay your bike or lock it up - the words 'Niet Fiets' (or something similar) mean do bikes here - stores often have these on their fronts. Parking bikes can be chaotic in Holland with all the zillions running around - often there is a huge tangle of bikes locked near entrances, etc. I believe most Dutch tanks, as I call thsoe heavy bikes they ride, have locks in the gear box so you have no chain or exterior locks to deal with - just a key that locks you bike in place.

and do not expect helmets at bike rental shops - no one wears then in Holland - what with their thick Dutch heads!
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Old Apr 14th, 2011, 01:09 PM
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I live in the area around the Keukenhof and the fields are presently spectacular. By 6 May the show might by over. Before hiring a bike to view the fields, please check that there are any flowers left. The Bloemencorso (flower parade) is 16 April. Shortly after this event, the farmers begin removing the blossoms from the tulips.
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