City Travel

6 Tulip Festivals You Never Knew Existed

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Bright flowerbed in Keukenhof - famous Holland spring flower park

Image: Shutterstock/dvoevnore

6 Tulip Festivals You Never Knew Existed

Tulips are a welcome sight after months of cold, grey winter days. These perennials seem to both usher in spring and pave the way for the warm, bright and blossoming days to come. To celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring, here’s a run-down of the world’s six best tulip festivals.

Keukenhof, the Netherlands: March 24 – May 16

Although the tulip is the unofficial symbol of the Netherlands, there’s nothing unofficial about Keukenhof. This springtime flower festival is held in Europe’s largest flower garden, and its grounds are carpeted with an array of more than seven million tulips. Along with stopping to smell the tulips, visitors will also get to learn about the tulip craze that swept through the country during the Dutch Golden Age at the festival’s Tulpomania exhibit.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington: April 1-30

Mount Vernon’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is one America’s most beloved tulip festivals and flower celebrations. Visitors come from around the country—some from around the world—to view millions of tulip blooms scattered throughout the picturesque Skagit Valley. In some cases miles separate the tulip fields, so many visitors choose to tulip hop by bus or car. Others, however, opt to cycle or walk.

Tulip Time Festival, Iowa: May 5-7

Although Iowa is associated more with caucuses and cornfields rather than quaint Euro towns filled with tulips, the city of Pella is just this. Every spring, this city kindles its Dutch heritage and hosts the Tulip Time Festival, now in its 81st year. Underneath the shadow of Pella’s Vermeer Mill, residents deck out in traditional Dutch attire, street vendors hawk Dutch specialities like poffertjes (mini sweet pancakes) and tens of thousands of tulips explode with color throughout the city.

Tulip Time, Michigan: May 7-14

Settled by Dutch immigrants in 1847, Holland, Michigan is still a stronghold of Dutch Americans, who are proud of the nearly 4.5 million tulips they plant throughout their city for their annual Tulip Time festival. Nearly 1,000 locals dress up for the occasion, donning traditional Dutch dress and performing folk dances. A Dutch-inspired market, a Tulip Time running race and an arts and crafts fair round out the festival.

Canadian Tulip Festival, Canada: May 12-23

Canada’s preoccupation with tulips dates back to World War II when the Netherlands’ Princess Juliana and her daughters sought refuge in Ottawa. After returning home, the princess gifted the Canadian people with 100,000 tulips as a way of thanking them. Just a handful of years later, the Canadian Tulip Festival was born, and today the celebration greets half a million people who come to view the blooms of more than one million tulips.

Tesselaar Tulip Festival, Australia: Sept. 8 – Oct. 4

The tulips Down Under have not gone walkabout. Quite the opposite. At the Tesselaar Tulip Festival, visitors can tiptoe through hundreds of thousands of tulips of more than 120 different varieties, which are planted in colorful stripes across the grounds. This fest also claims to contain the world’s largest clog—so large that visitors can take a seat inside it and pose for a photo op.