It’s that time of the year again. The tulip season has arrived in The Netherlands, and what best way to see the tulips then with the tips of a local resident. The weather has changed from rainy days to sunny ones, and from waking up to rain to waking up from birds. You might notice that all of a sudden the terraces are filled with people once again, we like to take in the sun as early as possible.
The surroundings of Lisse and Hillegom are called the flower bulbs area, as it was previously really major overthere. However, nowadays the best place to spot the tulips in The Netherlands is where I’m from and still currently living. We call it ‘De Kop van Noord-Holland’, literal translation, the head of North Holland. It is located at the top of the province called Noord- Holland, where Amsterdam is located in as well, but Haarlem is its capital. You’re allowed to forget all of this, as you’re here for tulipinformation from a person who has quite a long time been surrounded by tulips.What is a long time you ask me? Let’s say almost 23 years. There are farms all around my village, so that is where I got my spring, summer and autumn money.
Anyway, from the small city called Petten to Julianadorp and till the marine city of Den Helder, this part of The Netherlands is basically one big bulbfield. The horizon is breathtaking. No flats and high buildings, no highways, but dunes, windmills, typical Noord Holland style houses and rivers. If that doesn’t sound like your place to go to, then I would suggest you to not even start traveling to The Netherlands. Just kidding, we love your money.
So because the bulb area used to be in Zuid- Holland (South- Holland) most people will visit De Keukenhof and surrounding areas as Lisse, but let me tell you a little secret here. Be a little more adventurous and catch a train to Schagen, Anna Paulowna or Den Helder. It is about an hour by train from Amsterdam, but definitely worth the adventure. And definitely worth all the beautiful photos of the tulips you will take here.
If you want to stay a little bit longer in the area of Schagen, it is really easy to book a hotel here, IF you book in advance. The area is quite popular with Dutch and German people and we don’t have that many hotels.
Aaaand, I hate to be a Debby downer, but before you’re getting all excited and think you’ll have an amazing time walking through the tulip fields in The Netherlands during June, think again. They will bloom between April and May, whereas the end of April is the absolute best time. However, this completely depends on the weather in the month of April. Most flowers will be cut of the fields latest by half of May, as the bulb needs to continue growing instead of giving his energy to the flower. Also, not every farmer appreciates you to walk through the tulip fields. So please, be kind and don’t walk through the tulips, when there are paths to walk through. Seriously.
Schagen and surroundings
Way to the fields: Station Schagen – Middenweg, Dirkshorn – Leijerpolderweg, ‘t Veld – Koggeweg, ‘t Veld – Westerweg, Nieuwe Niedorp- Oosterweg, Nieuwe Niedorp (19 km one way)
Way back to the trainstation:
Oosterweg, Nieuwe Niedorp (opposite side of Hartweg), Moerbeek – Barsingerhorn – Haringhuizen – Snevert, Schagen – Nes, Schagen – Station Schagen (11 km)
Via de Hartweg, Zijdewind and straight on towards station Schagen (9 km)
Take the train towards Den Helder, during rush hour there’s another train going but the final destination there is Schagen, which is also perfectly fine. On your way towards the city Schagen you will already see the beautiful and endless tulipfields. If you’ve been looking at taking public transport towards any part of the route above, busses only run during the week and when it’s weekend you need to call them at least 45 minutes before arriving so that there will be a buss bringing you to your destination. If you happen to be there during the week, the buss 150 towards Alkmaar station runs every hour, from around 7 in the morning and the last bus is also around 7 in the evening. If you want you can even take a bus from Schagen station to some of these places, but really you will miss out on the photo opportunities of the tulips in The Netherlands. Because, let’s face it, we all know you’re here for the gram.
It changes every year, or every two years, on which fields the tulips in The Netherlands are located as it’s not good for the ground and for the crops to keep the same species longer on it, so therefore the farmers will change up the crops to ‘feed’ the ground. From Schagen I, as a local, can give you several suggestions but the best is to get an ov-fiets (ov-bike) from the station. But I warn you, there aren’t that many bikes so be early. If you cannot find one I would suggest you to either take the train to Anna Paulowna or be early, call or sent an email to Fred’s verhuur. And be there on time to pick up your bike. Fred’s verhuur is located at de Fok 10, 1742 PD Schagen. Email: email@example.com, www.fredsverhuur.nl and the telephone numbers are the following; mobile: +31-621647341, normal phone +31- 224299874.
If you managed to get a bike, and made it alive out of the stalling, you’re ready to go. Make sure to have Google Maps on your phone, or ask around, we will all be happy to help if you ask us nicely. However, if you behave not that nice we will tell you, and most likely sent you the other way. Just a small warning here.
Cycle towards Dirkshorn via the cyclepath next to the n241, you’ll see tulips here already and then continue cycling straight forward towards de Middenweg. In the beginning of this road you will see the tulips too. (Note: beginning of the road is for Dutch people a km or so cycling, not 20 meters). Then head back and continue going towards Nieuwe Niedorp. It will be a quite long ride, but definitely not too bad, unless it’s raining. But let’s not think about that okay?
If you see some fields a bit away from these places, don’t be afraid to go there as well. Also, you will pass my village Zijdewind. It’s small, cute and we have a river flowing through the village. That’s basically all you need to know. As you will pass my village you will almost be at De Weel, if you cycle a little more straight instead of going left into the village ‘t Veld, where a little lake is located so you can chill out there.
The village ‘t Veld has a bakery Beemsterboer, a butcher Broersen and a small supermarket called Superrr if you would like to buy some stuff for a picnic or break during your cycling tour. There is also a place for snacks where in their store a toilet is located. This is an extra tip for everyone with a small bladder. You would have to get a little bit into the village for these stores, and go back again towards the Leijerpolderweg.
As you continue cycling you will see more and more fields with gorgeous tulips coming your way. I told you I’m a local. I’m definitely not lying. All the way around the route I told you about, there are plenty of fields. Like I previously mentioned, don’t hesitate to go off this route if you see other tulipfields, flowers or great scenery. All the way until Nieuwe Niedorp and back via both routes, you will be surprised with the beauty of the landscape. Even I still love it after almost 23 years. Sometimes.
When I’m talking about Snevert and Nes in Schagen, these are both streets, like you probably noticed, but they have great tulipfields around.
You won’t enter the village of Dirkshorn, so if you really need to pee then I would suggest you to either go behind a bush (that you won’t find here) and risk a fine of 75 euros, or ask at someone’s house if you can pee.
After Dirkshorn you will pass my village, called, Zijdewind where you can actually use the toilet at the camping we have here. If you’re exhausted already because you cycled around 7 km (normal for us, exhausting for you) then you can have a break at Camping De Rietkraag for a drink and apple-pie as well, or if you fancy an icecream more then you can take that.
In Nieuwe Niedorp there are several places where you can have a seat and bite as well. Restaurant De Rijd, there are several Chinese restaurants as well, but also small cafes as Mauritsbar and Café Beentjes and places for a snack. There is also a big supermarket called Jumbo and plenty of other stores where you can grab some stuff.
On the way back, you are able to pass the village Barsingerhorn, where Café De Fortuin can be a great place for you to take a small break.
And that’s basically it. You will be back in Schagen before you know it, and could either rent a hotelroom in one of the plenty hotels around and grab a bite at De Markt where all the restaurants and cafes are located, or head back to where you’re staying. But I would definitely suggest you to stay a little. Don’t forget to get some icecream at Picobello. You can thank me later.
Day 1 Station Schagen – ‘t Zand – Schagerbrug – Sint Maartensbrug – Petten – Hargen aan Zee – Egmond aan Zee – Egmond Binnen – Castricum aan Zee – Heiloo- Alkmaar
Day 2 Alkmaar – Schoorl – Krabbendam – Eenigenburg – Het Rijpje- Dirkshorn – Moerbeek – Barsingerhorn – Haringhuizen – Snever, Schagen – Nes, Schagen – Station Schagen
I’m going to be honest here with all of you, you will need to rent the bike for two days, or cycle at full speed and be close to dead at the end of this ride. Besides, it’s better to do it a bit longer as you will enjoy the surroundings more and are able to explore more. You definitely want to explore the surroundings best, and if you have more time to get around then I suggest you to take this route. You will not only see tulips, but dunes, windmills and plenty of more. The true The Netherlands is rising.
As you leave from the bike rental you’re going to head straight towards the village ‘t Zand. And all the places you will pass in this route will have you thinking, ‘People actually live here. This is so cool.’ At least, that’s what my foreign friends said, so I kind of think that they are right, as they are a great bunch of people. The villages look like they stepped out of the fairy-tale. With bridges so beautiful that Amsterdam isn’t in the back of your mind anymore. Just like how Paris doesn’t represent France, Amsterdam isn’t The Netherlands. Besides the canals and bikes. During all of the routes you will see a different part than that you’re used to, and you will love it. Definitely sent me some photos and your stories about how it all went down.
If you have time on the second day, then I suggest you to take a small walk through the forest and dunes of Schoorl (your first stop). It will be so worth it. Schoorl is one of the most beautiful places of our country, in my opinion.
As you will enjoy all the beauty that this part of our country has to offer I’m pretty sure that you will be taking thousands of photos of the tulips and other parts. If you happen to take a drone with you, be careful and look at the website with no drone zones. As the country is small, plenty of airplane routes towards for example Schiphol Airport are over Castricum and nearby surroundings as Heiloo. Don’t fly there. Unless you’re going 50 meters high but I know that’s not great fun. So head to another area if you fancy flying. Keep it safe people.
As you’re passing Schagerbrug you have several options for a tiny break. But I would suggest you to go to Brasserie De Keuken.
In Petten there are several places, as Brasserie Restaurant Zo Gewoon and Zee en Zo. At Strandpaviljoen Hargen in Hargen aan Zee you will have a place for you to relax and have a look at the beautiful beach.
Around Egmond aan Zee there are plenty of places for you to relax after you finished yet another part of the bike ride. Restaurant Van Speijk, Natuurlijk, Zilte Zoen Egmond aan Zee, D’ Oude Clipper and Strandpaviljoen de Schelp are all located there. But really, there are so much more places where you can relax, so don’t stress if you find a restaurant that is not on the list. In Egmond Binnen I suggest you to go to Gaterij Nieuw Westert or Het Wapen van Egmond Binnen.
At Castricum aan Zee there are several places where you can relax, as Deining aan Zee and Strandpaviljoen Zoomers (this one is located on the beach).
In Heiloo you can take a seat at Melange7 or Restaurant Herberg Jan before you continue cycling towards your destination for today, which is Alkmaar. There are plenty of hotels there, but also in villages around the city. So don’t hesitate to go to another city for a hotel or bed and breakfast.
In Alkmaar I would suggest you to walk around Paardenmarkt, Waagplein and Houttil as there are plenty of places to sit and eat around there. I have too many favorites so then this list will become endless.
Then, the second day you’re heading to Schoorl first. In Schoorl I definitely would say go to Restaurant ‘t Trefpunt. The people are lovely and the location is to die for. De Klimduin is located right in front of you. For the people who do not know what this is, just google it. This right here is my childhood.
On the way back, you are able to pass the village Barsingerhorn, where Café De Fortuin is a good place for you to take a small break and release your pee.
On the second day you will be back in Schagen before you know it, with soar legs and grab a bite at De Markt where all the restaurants and cafes are located. Or head back straight away to where you’re staying. But I would definitely suggest you to stay a little. Don’t forget to get some icecream at Picobello. You can thank me later. Don’t forget to bring back the bike.
Anna Paulowna and surroundings
When it comes to Anna Paulowna and it’s surroundings I would suggest you to rent a bike at Kooij Tweewielers. Be on time with your reservation for the bike as it’ll be busy. You can either call for a reservation to +31 223533320 or sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They are located at Cornelis Keijzerlaan 2, 1761 CH Anna Paulowna. You won’t get bored when you ride a bike around here. If you fancy a bite or need to go to the toilet, head to the café called ‘t Ouwe Veer (the old feather) and you’ll feel relieved in no time. If you want to be a bit more budget, I suggest you to head to one of the plenty supermarkets they have there.
When it comes to Anna Paulowna you can just have a bike all around the neighbourhoods, explore the village and head towards Julianadorp or Callantsoog. Both cities are known for their nature and tulipsfields. Especially Callantsoog, which is located at the sea and includes a national park, called Het Zwanenwater. Het Zwanenwater has the biggest natural dunelakes of Europe and is truly breathtaking to walk through. You will see plenty of tulipfields around Callantsoog. And again, just cycle towards a place you think is great, and if you’re lost we will be able to help you. This is one of the best ways to explore The Netherlands, and especially during tulip season.
So if you’re planning on cycling throughout the villages even further North in De Kop van Noord- Holland I suggest you to go to the following cities/villages: We start at the main point, which is Anna Paulowna – Julianadorp -Groote Keeten – Callantsoog – Petten – ‘t Zand – Anna Paulowna. In this case you will definitely be occupied for at least half a day, because then you have enough time to enjoy the tulips, other flowers and scenery. In most villages there is a supermarket, and there are restaurants and cafes. Especially around Groote Keeten (search for Brekers or De Princen Keet) and Callantsoog (Grand Café De Foyer, Woest, Ijsie Prima (icecream)) where they are mostly located around and on the beaches. But if I was going to write all of them down in this post it will truly never end. Also, not all supermarkets are open on a Sunday, so in case you’re heading here on a Sunday check their opening hours and bring some of your own food.
If you decided to head towards the station of Anna Paulowna, don’t forget the endless amount of activities they have in this village during the month of April. The dates differ every year, however, it always comes back.
The first thing you shouldn’t miss is De Bloemendagen (The flowerdays). There are tons of mosaics; plenty of streets and bridges are decorated with flowers. For cyclists and pedestrians there are special routes that you can look up at www.bloemendagen.nl. It lasts from 29th of April until the 3rd of May. Don’t forget to bring yourself a visit to the Poldertuin, which is located at de Molenvaart (it’s a street name). This is a garden where you’ll find all the crops that are growing in the surroundings.
Next up you have Bloeiend Zijpe. It is THE event for flowers and tulips in the surroundings. The main goal is to make sure everyone enjoys the beauty and endless colours of the flowers. There are plenty of activities, however there are two things you shouldn’t miss out on. The cyclingroute throughout the tulip fields, which is at 23rd of April, and the walkingroute, that is at the 30th of April. Please notice that walking through the fields is a great experience but also harder. So if you are not able to walk a lot or at rough ground, biking or taking the busses would be a better option. The website www.bloeiendzijpe.nl will give you more information. Like I previously mentioned, there are other things to do there as well and therefore Bloeiend Zijpe is interesting and opened between the 7th of April and the 7th of May.
Another thing you shouldn’t miss out on is Fluwels Tulpenland in Sint Maartenszee. It is located in the heart of the tulip fields and is actually a theme park where you’ll get to know all the details of the tulips. The start and finish of the tour is in a typical Dutch ‘stolpboerderij’, it’s a typical house used by many farmers. If you want to know more about Fluwels Tulpenland, then I suggest you to head over to www.fluwelstulpenland.nl .
Last thing, the Floratuin in Julianadorp is also worth a visit. You can take tulips fresh from the fields, so you have a nice crop of flowers to take home with you. But, seriously, take notice that there are more than 1500 different species of flowers, not only tulips, so it will be a difficult place for the indecisive people under us. There is also no entrance fee. There is also a place where you can have a drink or bite around here. For more information: www.floratuin.com/
So you guys, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it, and will use it to discover the less known parts of The Netherlands, but therefore not any less spectacular. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email and I will be happy to answer them all.
Don’t forget to pin this post for your future references, because you and I both know that you want to bring us a lovely visit. And we like to have you around to, as we love your money personality. See you all later.