Every spring brings a breath of fresh air no matter where you live, but if you visit Holland during the spring time you get an added kaleidoscope of color from millions of tulips blooming in the fields.
For miles and miles you can see one vibrant color after another. If you are fortunate enough to see it from the air, you can see the colorful patchwork of fields covering the earth - a checkerboard of stripes in every color imaginable.
A friend sent me incredible pictures of these fields and it got me thinking again of visiting Holland during the spring time just so I can personally view this for myself.
My choices are fly and stay in the region and do daily tours on my own, take an established tour in which you will see all of the region's highlights as you travel along, or take a river cruise along the many waterways in the region. Each of these has their pros and cons, but I think the river cruise would be my choice. You board the cruise and unpack once and get to use it as your hotel while visiting the various villages, towns and cities.
Here are some highlights of a Tulips & Windmill cruise from Amsterdam:
Beautiful Blooming Bulbs in Keukenhof Gardens, one of the world's most splendid floral extravaganzas.
Waving Windmills: Windmills have played a great role in Holland's history. Often facing floods, the Dutch harnessed the power of the wind to drain and dry the land. The 19 historic windmills of Kinderdijk were built around 1740, and today are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A canal ride in a glass-topped tour boat is great for viewing the historic city of Amsterdam and its Golden Age Architecture.
Belgium was one of Europe's most important centers of manufacture and trade, making 17th century Flanders one of the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan European cultures. Visit important Flemish capitals like Antwerp, Brugge and Ghent with their lovely waterways and charming courtyards and squares.
Visit the Palace of the Woods: Paleis Het Loo was the residence of the Dutch royal family. The baroque palace was constructed in the 17th century for William III and Mary II of England and was in continuous use until the death of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962. The palace was refurbished and opened to the public as a state museum in 1984.
This river cruise is 10 days long and visits two countries with eight guided tours included and prices from as low as $1,372 per person (airfare additional). There are many more options for river cruising and tours you may consider for tulip time in Europe.
If you cannot make it to Europe you have a domestic option to see the colorful tulips in bloom. The city of Holland, Mich., back in 1929 planted 100,000 tulips to celebrate its Dutch heritage. The yearly event grew and is now a weeklong event - this year it takes place from May 7 to 14. The celebration includes parades, pageants, Dutch heritage shows, jazz music, headliner shows and more.
It's not too late to see the kaleidoscope of colors that are tulips in full bloom this spring, whether in Holland or Holland, Michigan.
Patty Toppa is a travel consultant with Gadabout Travel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.cruisetraveltours.com.