Keukenhof is a famous springtime garden and tourist trap based in Lisse, Netherlands. Like all tourist traps, there are stunning aspects to the place, if one can manage to ignore the streaming masses of humanity.
For those not in the Netherlands, these are good comparisons: The Peak in Hong Kong, Old Faithful in Yellowstone and West Lake in Hangzhou. The key difference being that with each of these other attractions, one can simply walk 500 meters away from the central tourist spot and find peace, quiet and beauty. Keukenhof, however, is an enclosed garden and once you’ve entered, there is no relief.
I strongly recommend that you spare yourself the trouble.
Instead, enjoy an authentic Dutch Keukenhof experience via my step-by-step virtual tour:
1. Exit the motorway and creep toward Lisse as part of a long line of cars and buses.
2. Ignore the feeling in your gut that instructs you to leave immediately. Instead pay sixteen Euros and enter the gardens.
3. Immediately run into this crowd:
4. Strike out in whichever direction appears to be the less traveled by (though it will not make a difference). Take a close-up photo of the tulips, crop out a few legs and arms and post it on Facebook along with something gushy about how lovely the Keukenhof flowers are.
5. Get stuck in a human traffic jam in the middle of the pond.
6. Attempt to take a photo of your loved ones amongst the flowers. Come to terms with the fact that a minimum of five strangers will also be in the photo.
7. Be overcome with hunger and seek out lunch. Send part of your group to battle for a table while you queue to buy food.
8. Step out of the lunchroom and realize that the number of people inside the garden doubled while you were eating a soggy panini.
9. Wander through crowds in a daze until you feel you’ve gotten your sixteen Euros worth.
10. Leave the Keukenhof and encounter this unending snarl of traffic in the car park.
11. See your feelings precisely reflected in the face of this bus driver.
12. Vow never to return.