Ask Harriet: Best dates to see Holland tulips

Many of the questions I receive from travelers, including the following, are about finding the best time of year to visit a region. And while springtime in the Low Countries really is a unique thrill, there’s no one “right” month to visit Holland and Belgium.

Q: Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on the best dates to take this trip to maximize the blooming tulips and other flowers?

—Elaine & Stephen Smith, 8-time travelers, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

A: Hi Elaine and Stephen,

Thank you for asking a question that a lot of travelers have. The reason Grand Circle only offers departures of Holland & Belgium in Springtime during the months of March through May is because these are the peak times for flowers, in particular the tulips. In general, we advise travelers that the best time to plan a trip to this region is late April and early May, when the flowers are blooming and it’s a bit warmer outside. But in regards to the regional weather (more information is accessible in your Travel Handbook), as with any trip to anywhere, there are always so many variables.

Depending on your departure, even if some of the flowers may not be blooming outside, there should be plenty to take in—including a tour of Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the largest flower auction in the world. About 19 million flowers are sold there daily! Another highlight is Keukenhof Flower Park, which features seven million tulips, hundreds of other varieties of flowers, and 70 acres of lovely, tree-shaded grounds with ponds, winding paths, streams, and fountains. All of these are cleverly planned and “orchestrated” to bloom and blossom throughout spring, not just for two or three weeks.

You can also read the Traveler Reviews for further guidance, including this one from 9-time travelers Linda and Larry Rowe of Hanford, California, who said although their March departure was “was early in the season, the flowers did not disappoint us.” Because the weather changes so frequently in the region, many of the Traveler Reviews offer advice about what to pack, too.

No matter which departure you choose, there should be plenty to see and experience. Enjoy your trip!

Letters to Harriet

This month’s letter comes to us from a new traveler who was inspired by last month’s focus on Italy.


I loved reading Harriet’s Corner regarding the Tuscany & the Almafi Coast trip—I want to go! I have never traveled with Grand Circle before, but hope to next spring. I have taken advantage of Grand Circle’s early reservation deposit so that I am called when the 2014 dates are released. I traveled to Italy in 2006 and have always wanted to return … everything about its culture invites me back! Thanks, and ciao,

Lori Hall

Hi Lori,
I’m so glad we inspired you to write in—and to reserve your departure to Italy, one of my favorite places! In fact, I spend a week there nearly every spring. One of the most exciting times of year is when we start announcing 2014 departure dates, because I know that most of our travelers like to plan their travels in advance. I am also happy to hear that you have taken advantage of our unique reservation deposit feature, so that you have access to the best selection of departures. By now I am sure that you have received a call from us, because dates for next year’s Tuscany & Amalfi Coast trip have just been released (which may be accessed by clicking here).

We can’t wait to welcome you for your first Grand Circle trip. Ciao!

Do you have questions for me about trips you’re taking or vacations you would like to go on with Grand Circle? Please email me at I look forward to sharing what you have to say!