We love sharing stories from people having fun traveling with their pets – especially when they do things a little differently than us! We haven’t traveled to Europe with Ty and Buster, but we find the idea inspiring, and today we’re excited to have Melissa and Sherlock showing us around the beautiful, and pet friendly, Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands.
Sharing YOUR pet travel experiences may be just the nudge someone else needs to pack up and head out with their own best friend. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Take Paws, let us know!
Located in the Netherlands, about an hour outside of Amsterdam and near the shore of the North Sea, you will find the Keukenhof Gardens. “Keukenhof” roughly translates to “kitchen garden” which presents an idea of what the gardens were originally used for.
The Keukenhof Gardens have a long history in Holland. In the early 1400’s, the people of the nearby Teylingen Castle gathered food from this area. In the 1600’s, a new castle – the Keukenhof Castle, was built adjacent to the gardens and claimed the almost 500 acres of land.
The gardens were primarily used for foraging and planting food crops until the mid 1800’s when the garden was redesigned. The land was turned into an “English Landscape” style of garden and the footprint of the English Landscape garden is still conserved today.
Now, however, the Keukenhof Gardens are best known for their tulips. Along with the tulips, you will find there are many varieties of flowers and plants. They strive for the best quality of flowers and produce them in massive numbers.
Be sure you do not miss the expansive tulip fields on the outer edge of the property. There are a few viewing points to see the fields. The vibrant colors of the flowers stretching as far as the eye can see are absolutely spectacular.
The park is only open to the public for a few short months while the flowers are in bloom, from the end of March until mid-May. My biggest piece of advice for visitors: get to the gardens 10 or 15 minutes before they open. You want to be one of the first people through the gates. Look at the map ahead of time and decide what your priority is going to be and make a straight beeline for that part of the park.
Once the park is open, people stroll through the gates in a steady stream so the park fills fairly quickly. Your best photos, with the least amount of other people in them, will be your first photos. When other people fill the park it is still very peaceful and enjoyable, but the first 30 minutes when you have almost the entire garden to yourself is a completely different feel.
The garden’s rules for dogs are very simple:
If there are two or more people in your group you can take turns going into exhibits inside, but if not, most of the things to see are outside anyway! There is a large pond with swans and a “lily pad” crossing. The swans were surprisingly friendly and curious, though we didn’t take any chances and still kept a distance between us.
A few playgrounds for the kids are scattered throughout, as well as restaurants with tons of outdoor seating. We enjoyed some lunch out on the patio of a restaurant while admiring the view.
Photo opportunities are at every turn in the park. Beautiful scenery surrounds you. They even have many giant pairs of wooden shoes throughout the garden for you to try on. We had a hilarious time trying to get our puppy, Sherlock, into the shoes for a photo. Other visitors stopped to watch and laugh because, as a young puppy, he thought this was a hilariously fun game.
We really enjoyed our trip to Keukenhof with our puppy, Sherlock. The gardens are highly recommended for people and pets alike. We enjoyed the beauty and he had a great time walking around and smelling everything. He even made a few new dog, human, and statue friends.
About the author: Melissa Bigler is a pet and travel writer for hire, specializing in blogging, web content, ghostwriting, and social media content. She enjoys traveling and has been to 26 countries herself, as well as 6 countries with one of her dogs, Sherlock Ian. In their down time, Melissa and Sherlock also enjoy dock diving and agility.