It's Tulip Season! Check Out the Best Tulip Festivals Around the World
They're the ultimate welcome parties for spring.
After long, seemingly neverending winters, tulips pop up in a variety of bright colors to transition us into spring. As if that’s not celebration enough, tulip festivals are held around the world for people to enjoy the bulbs at peak bloom.
It’s unlikely that displays of tulips will bring anything but a smile to your face, and these tulip festivals rank highest among the must-sees around the world. They’re also packed with rich history. Rather than a few days of back-to-back events, many of the festivals around the world occur over a period of a month or more, when the tulips are flowering. During festival season, many of these locations host parades, performances, art shows, and more. But no matter the exciting lineup, the tulip gardens are always the headliners.
International Tulip Festivals
May 4-May 12, 2019
Just outside of Amsterdam and home to the Van Gogh Museum, you can find the Keukenhof Gardens, where a variety of over 800 tulips paint the ground. Visitors can tour the Keukenhof Gardens and other flower farms in the area by bike or even helicopter ride. National Tulip Day also occurs every third Saturday in January. To celebrate, over 200,000 tulips are displayed in a specially designed tulip pick-up garden, where the public can pick tulips for free.
Tulips are most popularly associated with the Dutch—and understandably so, as one of the world’s largest exporters of tulips—but keep reading to learn their original birthplace.
April 3-April 30, 2019
Tulips were native flowers to Central Asia and Turkey before they were exported to Holland in the 16th century. Because of these roots, the tulip plays a huge role in Turkish culture all year round. During the month of April, impressive tulip displays decorate parks and squares across the city, with some places displaying millions of tulips in the area. The festival also features musical performances, photography and art exhibitions, and sporting events—all dedicated to the widely cherished flower.
April 1-May 5, 2019
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is the largest tulip garden in India. The garden was originally built to promote tourism and floriculture in the state of Kashmir. Millions(!) of tulips fill the garden from over 60 varieties. But the views offer even more than tulips: The garden is located at the bottom of the Zabarwan Range and along Dal Lake, where tourists can enjoy houseboat tours.
September 14-October 13, 2019
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival is a month of nonstop entertainment. In addition to taking a leisurely walk to explore over 950,000 tulips, visitors can enjoy everyday live entertainment. Each week of the festival has a slightly different theme. Last year, there was a Turkish weekend and a Dutch weekend to celebrate the different cultures associated with tulips.
May 10-20, 2019
The Canadian Tulip Festival all started with a thank-you gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs from a Dutch princess. The festival was established in 1953 and has continued every year since to celebrate the bond between Canada and the Netherlands. Past years featured swing dancing lessons, tulip-inspired art installations, fireworks, and more.
American Tulip Festivals
Albany New York
May 11-12, 2019
The Albany Tulip Festival is rich with tradition, kicking off every year with a traditional Dutch ceremony of street scrubbing. People fully clothed in traditional Dutch attire—wooden shoes and all—scrub the streets clean to prepare for the big celebration. Over the festive weekend, Washington Park is filled with over a hundred artisans and food vendors, two live entertainment stages, and of course, over 140,200 tulips. There’s even a Royal Tulip Ball and the coronation of a Tulip Queen.
Skagit Valley, Washington
April 1-30, 2019
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is designed as a driving tour to showcase not only the tulips, but also the agriculture that shapes the area’s culture. There is no one central location for the festival since the tulip gardens are scattered throughout the valley. The accompanying events and activities are also held throughout the area, like the chili and chowder cookoff at a local brewery, an art gallery at a historic schoolhouse, and an antique sale on the fairgrounds.
May 2-4, 2019
Pella, Iowa was founded by Dutch immigrants in 1847, and ever since everything about the city has paid tribute to these roots. During the Tulip Time festival, the Dutch-inspired architecture and costumes will make you forget you’re in Iowa—or even the United States. In addition to the tulips displayed throughout city parks, visitors can also enjoy parades and traditional Dutch performances. City pride is also made clear during the festival with multiple opportunities for visitors to learn about Pella's rich history on tours and at museums.
These bucket list-worthy festivals are giving us a taste of spring, and we couldn't be more excited.