13 Best Things To Do in Rotterdam 13 Best Things To Do in Rotterdam

13 Best Things To Do in Rotterdam

Rotterdam – a creative city in the Netherlands featuring world-famous architecture & museums, trendy cafes, the largest port in Europe, and many entrepreneurs. This young and energetic city is often overshadowed by Amsterdam when, in reality, it’s very different. During the II World War, the old city center disappeared due to air bombings, but Rotterdam came back stronger with daring and eye-catching architecture, like the Cube Houses and Markthal.

13 Things To Do in Rotterdam

As the intro might suggest, Rotterdam is awesome! Hannah and I spent most of our teenage years at school there, and it has become one of our favorite places on earth. Besides shopping at the Koopgoot, find out about the popular Things To Do in Rotterdam.

1. Markthal

Opened in 2014, the Markthal of Rotterdam has become a landmark for the city. Inside this 40-meter-high horseshoe-shaped market hall are plenty of food stalls and restaurants. The enormous glass facade on both sides keeps the cold out and, therefore, is also possible to visit in winter. Fruits, vegetables, and flowers sold at the market are displayed as artwork on the Markthal’s ceiling. You can join a tour exploring this landmark while tasting all the delicious food.

must do rotterdam citytrip markthal

The outer ring is all apartments with a window looking down into the Markthal (how cool!). During the evening or sunset time, the Markthal’s inside will light up and make it incredibly picturesque from the outside square. If you like to capture it without people, visit before opening time at 10 AM.

Tip: Visit the nearby Laurens church, one of the few remaining buildings in this area.

dutch cheese markthal

2. Depot – A Giant Mirror

Depot is a new building part of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum. It is the first depot in the world that offers access to 151,000 art objects! The building itself is a 40-meter-high building covered in mirrors that reflect the skyline of the city. An absolute must-see in Rotterdam!

things to do rotterdam depot

3. Vintage Shopping

If you love vintage shopping, this should be your thing to do in Rotterdam. Throughout the entire city are small and large vintage shops that sell everything from clothing and accessories to shoes and even furniture items. This way of sustainable shopping is very popular, plus it is usually much more affordable. A few favorites are:

  • Sweet Rebels 
  • Episode
  • Betje Krul Vintage
  • Margootje Vintage
  • Cheap Fashion

4. Walk the Street Art Route

Rotterdam and street art go hand-in-hand. This new ‘Capital of Cool’ has many hidden murals around the city that you can find by following the locations on Google Maps. you can do this by walking, renting a bicycle, or using Felix, the electric scooter. 

citytrip rotterdam street art

5. Cube Houses – A Must-Do in Rotterdam

Houses that lean against each other at a 45-degree angle, hovering above the street in the city center. This strange appearance, named the Yellow Cube Houses (Kubeswoningen), is the oldest (1977) and, therefore, the most iconic thing to do in Rotterdam. 

Almost all houses are inhabited apart from one that is open to the public from 11 AM to 5 PM. Alternatively, you can also spend the night there at the Stayokay Hotel.

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13 Best Things To Do in Rotterdam

Luckily, the street is always accessible, so appreciating its exterior can be done at any hour of the day. Follow the street that goes under the houses and find patterns or new perspectives.

things to do rotterdam yellow cube houses

6. Chill at the parks or beaches

Inside the city are a couple of great parks like ‘Het Park’ or ‘Kralingsebos’ where you can spend an afternoon relaxing in the grass. Inside ‘Het Park’ at the Euromast is a great-looking little cafe named Parqiet with outdoor seating. 

best things to do rotterdam parqiet

Weelde city beach

A holiday feeling in the middle of the city, Rotterdam’s Weelde city beach is the spot to visit when the sun’s out! Weelde is a collective of smaller businesses with a restaurant, bar, relaxing garden, a city beach, and soon a skatepark.

Getting there:
Take the metro or tram to Marconiplein.

things-to-do rotterdam weelde beach

Beaches near Rotterdam

For some beach time, take the metro line to Hoek van Holland, Ouddorp, or the Brouwersdam. The Brouwserdam and Ouddorp take longer to get to with public transport but are much quieter beaches.

beach the netherlands

7. Old and New at Kop van Zuid

Cross the Erasmus bridge towards Kop van Zuid, where the contrast of Rotterdam’s old and new architecture is most visible. 

erasmus bridge rotterdam citytrip

De Rotterdam
The first building you will notice is ‘De Rotterdam’, a 149-meter-high tower completed in 2013. The shifted towers enhance wind stability and also its design. Nhow Hotel is situated inside, which is a great place to stay in Rotterdam. 

things to do rotterdam city architecture

Hotel New York
Possibly the most charming building of Rotterdam is this former office building of the ‘Holland-Amerika Lijn’ which was a shipping and passenger line between America and The Netherlands.

Later on, the building transformed into Hotel New York and a restaurant, with a terrace that overlooks the river.

citytrip rotterdam hotel new york

Products like nuts and tea were imported from Indonesia and stored into this former VOC warehouse. On its exterior, you can see names like Borneo and Java written on the building. Nowadays, there are food halls located inside.

citytrip rotterdam history

8. Grote Markt at Blaak Rotterdam (The big market)

Twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday, the local market is organized at the big square in front of the Markthal. Before the Markthal was built, this was the main market. You find over 250 stalls selling everything from cheese, nuts, fruits, and veggies to clothing, second-hand items, and gadgets. The market in Rotterdam is one of the biggest in the Netherlands.

9. The Story of ‘Witte Huis’

One of the most underestimated things to do in Rotterdam is to see ‘Witte Huis’ (White House) along with the ‘Spanjaardsburg’ and the ‘Oudehaven’. The story behind the white house is truly remarkable, as it was constructed in 1897 and was Europe’s first skyscraper at just 43 meters! 

During the Second World War, the picturesque Spanjaardsburg (bridge) and Witte Huis were the only remains around the old harbor. See this photo from 1940, where you see Laurenschurch and Witte Huis after the bombing. Walk around the old harbor (Oudehaven) and have a delicious lunch at LOT&DAAN.

whitehouse rotterdam

10. Walk the Luchtsingel

Located in the center of the city is a rather remarkable site. The ‘Luchtsingel’ is a bright-yellow elevated pedestrian bridge that connects Central Station to Rotterdam North.

The 390-meter-long wooden structure was a project entirely funded by the community. Individuals were asked to buy a wooden plank for 25 EUR, and, in return, a person or company could have their name placed on the piece. The Luchtsingel is accessible 24/7 via multiple stairways located here.

luchtsingel yellow bridge

11. The Windmills at Kinderdijk 

Marked as one of the few UNESCO World Heritage sights in the Netherlands, the windmills of Kinderdijk are a truly beautiful sight. A calm river bank is flanked by 19 windmills on both riversides, which are all inhabited to preserve this unique way of living. The landscape is being prevented from flooding with the help of these windmills.

things to do rotterdam kinderdijk windmills

Entrance fee Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk itself is free to visit. Additionally, you can buy a ticket to have a look inside and learn about its history. (10 AM – 4 PM) Purchase an additional ticket for the riverboat tour.

How to get to Kinderdijk
The most fun way to visit Kinderdijk is by using the waterbus. Take a rented bike, too, so you can bike around at Kinderdijk. Another option would be taking the metro and switching to bus 489 at station Kralingse Zoom.

12. Delfshaven – Favorite Thing To Do in Rotterdam

Delfshaven in Rotterdam is a picturesque and historic area that has been pretty much untouched by the II World War bombs. If you’ve visited Amsterdam, you can probably recognize this building style in Delfshaven and get an idea of what all of Rotterdam used to look like.

best thing to do rotterdam visit delfshaven

Wander along the harbor surrounded by historical and crooked buildings which takes about 20 – 30 minutes. The best part about this thing to do in Rotterdam is that it’s fairly unknown. Arrive before 11 AM and you will barely see any other visitors.

13. Visit one of the many museums

If you’re into museums, this is your place. Rotterdam features many well-known museums like Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Kunsthal. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to discover the Maritime Museum to learn about the history of the largest port in Europe (book tickets here).

Best spots to eat in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a very multi-cultural and international city and, therefore, a real paradise for food lovers. There are great restaurants, at any price or category, spread over the city, and some of them are very well decorated. These are our favorites, which are all in the middle price range (10 – 20 EUR):

  • Backyard (Plant-based)
  • Little V (Vietnamese)
  • Sajoer (Juicebar)
  • Speck (Pizza)
  • LOT&DAAN (Lunch)
  • Bazar (Middle Eastern)
  • Umami (Sushi)

Where to Stay

Although the city is very walkable, it is useful to have a hotel in Rotterdam near public transport or in the city center. The best areas to stay in Rotterdam are North, Central, Delfshaven, and Kop van Zuid.

Getting to Rotterdam

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam Central, and even Paris are all very well connected to Rotterdam. A direct, 30-minute high-speed train from the international airport takes you to Rotterdam Central, or you can take a 2.5-hour train ride from Paris! The only downside is that train tickets in the Netherlands are expensive at the moment, so do factor this in.

amsterdam netherlands bicycle

Transport in Rotterdam

Getting from A to B in Rotterdam is even easier than getting there. Renting a bike is a fun option since the city is designed around biking lanes. Other than that, use the water taxi, tram, metro or bus. Route planning plus live departure times are available via Google Maps. 

citytrip rotterdam transport metro

Is Rotterdam Expensive?

In comparison to Amsterdam, Rotterdam is a much more affordable city. The prices of restaurants, accommodation, museums, and attractions are noticeably lower.

Costs of Traveling in Rotterdam

Travel on a budget in Rotterdam, from $390 − $670 USD weekly per person, mid-range $940 − $1970 USD, and high-end from $1880 − $2720 USD. However, costs depend on factors like accommodation, transportation, and activities. We did not include flights. Check flight prices here

* Average daily costs
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29/02/2024 https://www.saltinourhair.com/netherlands/rotterdam-things-to-do/
Blog comments (1)

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  • Carby Edwards

    Excellent post! Your blog about Rotterdam and the helpful City Trip guide have nudged me to apply for a Visa for Netherlands. I heard that most of the EU countries are relaxing travel restrictions and if tourists adhere to certain guidelines then they can easily enter the beautiful country in a hassle-free manner. I will be going through your post once I get my visa so that I can prepare a fun-filled Netherlands travel itinerary.

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