When one thinks of travelling to The Netherlands, Amsterdam is usually the first city that springs to mind. Of course, no one can deny that Amsterdam is a timeless and attractive destination to spend time in. On the other hand, the often disregarded and overlooked city of Rotterdam is one that you should not miss out on.
Rotterdam had been considered the world’s most creative city back in 2008, and has been relentless in continuing to produce, build and create upon this. Today, Rotterdam is surrounded by outstanding pieces of architecture and design while housing an overwhelming amount of cultural amenities and events such as museums, exhibitions, festivals, neighborhoods and communities.
In order for you get the most out of your 3-day visit to Rotterdam, this article will provide you with the some of the best attractions and activities you can do while you are there. Enjoy!
For your first day in Rotterdam, it would perhaps be a good plan to get a general gist of what the city is like before you decide to focus your time in a specific activity.
A great to start this journey, is to step out from the Blaak whether you are arriving by train, tram or metro. Blaak is one of the main stops that leads right into the heart of the city. If you are lucky enough to be there on a Saturday or a Tuesday, you will immediately you will be faced with an impressively sized market where you can find pretty much anything – from fresh fish caught in the early hours in the The Hague, to very affordable vintage pieces of clothing. If you come on any day different to those stated above, don’t worry – delicious surprises are waiting for you inside the Markthal.
Inside the Markthal you will find over 20 different food stalls which will inevitably make it hard for you to only choose one to eat from. Because of this, it is strongly suggested to buy small dishes from a few places and relish them on one of the reserved seating areas.
To digest you everything you have eaten at the Markthal, you can go on a pleasant walk through the busy and large streets of Coolsingel and Westersingel, where you will be shown perfect examples of Rotterdam’s creativity. Throughout, you will find all sorts of artworks and spontaneous businesses which they like to call concept stores. You will also be able to see the overwhelming amount of bikers with children and even pets riding on the same bikes, whizzing through the streets; a form of transport that one may not see much of these days.
After doing a little shopping, a great way to finish the day would be to enjoy a pint of beer and a side of bitteballen in the vibrant street of Witte de Withstraat.
Rotterdam is known for its incredible amount and variety of museums; there is quite literally one for each taste, interest and age. If you happen to be an art enthusiast, visiting the Photography Museum or the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in the Museum Park is an excellent option since if offers everything from classical art like Reuben’s paintings, to modern artworks. Although the majority of museums have activities for children, perhaps the Natural History museum or Mariners Museum would have much more attractive as they have much more interactive exhibitions for them.
As you will have probably noticed, bikes are the dominant form of transport in Rotterdam. The roads and streets are fully adapted to the needs of bikers; so renting bikes to get from place to place would indeed be a fun and unique (yet safe) activity to do as a family. If you are travelling with younger children, don’t worry – there are always solutions such as adapting extra seats, or building even an entire ‘basket’ that can fit up to 3 children. On the other hand, there is always the possibility to move around Rotterdam in a thrilling water taxi; allowing you to see Rotterdam from an entirely different perspective.
End the day by eating a meal at the Hotel New York at the other side of the landmark Erasmus burg; admiring the boats and lights that come to life as the sun goes down.
If you are craving for something that drifts away from touristic attractions, your final day in Rotterdam can be spent strolling through the streets of Kralingen. Kralingen is a neighborhood located very close to the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and it can be distinguished by its infinite rows of traditional Dutch houses (and even mansions). Many of them are surrounded by beautiful dykes which make the houses are floating peacefully.
Due to the Dutch’s Calvinistic ancestors and mentalities, many of people’s large windows are stay open. If you are lucky and discreet, you will be able to take a peek inside and see for yourself how the Dutch have an incredible gift for interior design. Stroll through the Kralingen Bos; an immense park where you will be able to see a genuine Dutch windmill ‘De Ster’ from the distance across the lake.
If you follow the river by foot or bike, you will be able to see a panoramic view Rotterdam until you reach a place called Tropicana. Don’t worry, you will not be walking into an abandoned swimming pool. Indeed, although it was once a center where the people of Rotterdam would practice swimming once upon a time, today it has been remodeled and refurbished into a witty and one-of-a-kind restaurant where you will be able to do all sorts of random things at a time but that somehow fit in perfectly such as: eat and drink, observe large tortoises, play ping pong and sit on their indoor swing set.
Rotterdam is a city full of surprises that will make sure to keep you on your feet at all times. No matter at what time of the year you visit, there will always be something put on by artists and creative, enthusiastic individuals.