Rotterdam is one of a kind city in Europe, as it was completely destroyed in World War II and has since been rebuilt with primarily modern architecture. It is a vibrant, bold and modern city right on the water. In fact, Rotterdam has the largest seaport in Europe.
Rotterdam is a beautiful city but Rotterdam’s main attractions can easily be enjoyed in one day, unless you want to visit its many museums in depth. We spent two days in Rotterdam because it was tulip season, and there is an island 30 minutes away from Rotterdam with tons of tulip fields.
Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam. It is situated in the southern part of the country, an hour drive south of Amsterdam and only a 25-minute train ride or car ride from The Hague.
The main things to see in Rotterdam are easy accessible by foot but you can also purchase a public transport pass for 48 hours for 12.50 Euros, which includes the bus, metro and tram.
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What to do in Rotterdam Walking Map
What to see in Rotterdam in One Day
The Markthal is a covered market hall with a big arch featuring a beautiful painting, “Horn of Plenty”, the largest artwork in the country. The building is split into three sections the market floor on the ground level, a supermarket and parking garage on the underground floor, and apartments on the first floor up. In the market you will find every type of meal, from pastries to sausages and nuts and even sushi.
Go for a stroll at the Witte de Withstraat and The Westersingel
Along the Westersingel you can find 17 different sculptures by famous artists such as Carel Visser and Rodin. It is a good walk that leads to Witte de Withstraat, our favorite street in Rotterdam. It is not only Rotterdam’s most famous street for nightlife but during the day you can visit its quirky shops, have food from around the world and take photos of the cool murals.
The White House
The White house was built in 1898 and is the first skyscraper in Europe, at just 10 stories tall. We loved the view from the street level in front of the building, across the canal seeing the cube houses.
The Erasmus bridge and Willemsbrug bridge
These are two beautiful bridges that you see while walking along the water at the Boompjes. To visit De Rotterdam, one of the best places to get a panoramic view of the city, you have to cross the bridge either way. When you visit De Rotterdam you must go to the bar on the 7th floor for the panoramic view.
The Flag Parade (Boompjes)
The Flag parade lines the walking boulevard on Boompjes. Here you will find all the flags of all the counties belonging to the United Nations. It is pretty cool to see your flag and walk along the water but it is more of an enjoyable stroll than exciting attraction.
The Luchtsingel Bridge
This cool bridge was just a block away from our hotel. The bridge does not look like much from afar, but provides a fantastic the view of the city from the cool yellow bridge. The Luchtsingel Bride is a 390 meter long wooden bridge that connects several neighborhoods, disconnected by a major roadway.
Go shopping at De Meent
De Meent is known for being a more luxurious shopping street in the city. To be honest it includes a wide range of shops and stores and it is a nice stroll.
The Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)
The Cube Houses are our original inspiration to visit Rotterdam. The first time we saw a picture we knew the next trip to The Netherlands had to include Rotterdam.
The modern architectural design of The Cube Houses promotes the concept of high density housing while maintaining open space on the ground level. The cube shaped homes attop hexagonal bases look like trees in a forest of urban living.
The unique design makes for some beautiful photography below.
This luxurious Ferris wheel has stunning views over the city center of Rotterdam and Markthal. You ride in a comfortable closed gondola with air conditioning. If you choose you can even have lunch or dinner inside the gondola. Each gondola can hold up to 6 adults.
A great way to end your day in Rotterdam is by going out to the 19 monumental Kinderdjik windmills, an UNESCO World Heritage. They are located 30 minutes from Rotterdam by car and hour and a half hours by bus. The entrance to see the windmills is free although you can pay a small fee (7 euros) to take a boat tour.
We recommend to walk and take photos of the mills and take the boat tour unless you are on a tight budget or run out of time. The walking path takes you along the same route as the boat tour, but each provide unique angles.
There are two boat tours; a simple cruise and a hop on and off that drops you off at both of the museums you can visit. The cruise is the better choice unless you want to visit the museums, which have an additional fee.
How to get to Rotterdam?
We took a bus from Luxembourg Central Station to Rotterdam, with an hour layover in Brussels. We took Flixbus, which was comfortable and had outlets to charge our phones and free WiFi. The one-way six hour journey cost $25 per ticket.
Once you arrive to Rotterdam Central station you can either take the tram, metro, bus, taxi or walk to your hotel. We decided to take an Uber as we arrived close to midnight. The Uber cost 7 euros for what would have been a 15 minute walk.
Where to stay in Rotterdam?
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Rotterdam – Central Station. It is a nice hotel with free breakfast and is well situated being a 15 minute walk from Rotterdam’s main attractions. While we stayed for three nights, we recommend to do either a day trip to Rotterdam or to stay one night if you want to see the tulips in bloom on the nearby island.
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