Rotterdam Day Guide: What to do, where to go and what to see.28-05-2019
Rotterdam is the second largest city in The Netherlands, and still largely unknown by the majority of the foreign tourists. Rotterdam is filled with interesting modern architecture that is neighboured by old traditional Dutch buildings. Rotterdam is easy to reach by public transport, a city with an interesting history and a hotspot of Dutch museums.
With so many things to do in Rotterdam, it can be overwhelming if you are having a short stay in Rotterdam. This day guide will help you to make the most of your stay and have the perfect day out in Rotterdam.
Breakfast at By Jarmusch
Go full American for breakfast at By Jarmusch. This Rotterdam restaurant has a real American diner vibe to it, with booth seats and coffee pots brewing fresh coffee. The all-day breakfast menu exists of classic diner staples such as eggs, bacon and toast, and different modern dishes like acai bowls.
Art at the Kunsthal
Interested in modern and historic art? Then pay a visit to the Kunsthal museum after breakfast! De Kunsthal offers around 25 high-profile and contrasting exhibitions per year which show (modern) art, forgotten cultures & photography. When you have seen all that de Kunsthal has to offer you can head to the Kunsthalcafé for a nice cup of coffee.
Tour the Feyenoord Stadium
If you are less into art and happen to be a football fan, this is a must-see! Take a tour in one of the oldest and biggest stadiums of The Netherlands: The Feyenoord Stadium. Go backstage and see all the things that normally only the players see. Doors will be opened especially for you, doors which usually stay closed for the general public. Visit the dressing rooms, see the best soccer pitch in The Netherlands and visit the newly renovated Feyenoord Museum.
Lunch at the Markthal
The Markthal is arguably one of the best places for Rotterdam food. This impressive building, with it’s brightly coloured murals, is a place where you can experience several different cultures and cuisines at once. There are many stalls selling all sorts of specialities from Holland, but you can also switch between Spanish tapas and Moroccan dishes at the different food stands if you prefer. Best of all, most stalls offer free samples.
Delfshaven Old Harbour
Take a look at the Old Harbour, one of the few original area’s which are left of Rotterdam’s city centre. If you are only here for a very short stay, this Rotterdam activity is highly recommended. The old Delfshaven harbour gives you an insight into what Rotterdam looked like before the city centre was bombed during the second world war. The old harbour houses different touristic highlights like the Pilgirmfatherschurch which is known for being the place from where the Pilgrim Fathers spent some time before leaving for America. Another highlight is the Malt Mill which only just survived a fire caused by the German bombing. You can also visit the birthplace of the famous naval hero Piet Heyn who defeated the Spanish Silverfleet in 1628. After you have enjoyed these highlights you can visit one of the many cafés and discover the cozy side of Delfshaven.
Another great tip: Is to follow this guided tour, where you get to see a lot and hear a lot about Rotterdam.
Visit the Kubuswoningen
De Kubuswoningen, which translates into the Cube houses, were designed by architect Piet Blom who wanted to create a small village within a big city. The houses are essentially tilted to where one corner faces the sky. This is truly a unique architectural and impressive sight to see. To understand the concept better there is a cube house which you can visit to see how they look from the inside. There is even a hotel inside a few of the houses.
Look at the city from high up (Euromast)
The Euromast is the highest watchtower in The Netherlands at 185 meters. Today the tower is much more than just a watchtower, it is a restaurant, conference centre and even a hotel. You can have a literal high tea at just under 100 meters in the restaurant, or you can opt for dinner. You can even sleep in the Euromast, which is equipped with two stunning suites. The Euromast also offers different activities for the daredevils amongst us, with abseiling and zip-lining, of which more information is given on their website. Furthermore, it provides a gorgeous view of the city.
Or shop at the Koopgoot
If you feel like shopping in Rotterdam, it is recommended to go to the Koopgoot or freely translated the Buying Gutter. This is home to over 40 stores with a wide variety of products. It is open seven days a week until 18:00 and on Fridays even till 21:00. A Walhalla for shopping, which keeps growing in popularity. De Koopgoot is in the middle of the city and easy to reach with public transport or just on foot.
Dinner at Hotel New York
Hotel New York is the former head office of the Holland America Line. Originally it was used to manage all the ferry services to New York from Europe. In 1977 the building was abandoned, as the Holland America Line moved to Seattle. Eventually it was turned into the high-end restaurant and hotel it is today. Hotel New York is famous for its seafood dinner. Enjoy high-quality oysters, lobsters and mussels or go for a nice steak or veggie dinner. After your Rotterdam dinner you can move down to the NY basement where the trendy cocktail bar is located. If you want you could also stay at this gorgeous hotel, with its breathtaking view of Rotterdam’s skyline.
Dinner or Drinks at the Fenix Food Factory
A short walk from hotel New York you will find the Fenix Food Factory, you could also opt to have a more casual dinner in this old harbour warehouse or go for a fun drink after dinner. This place is buzzing with young people having beers, especially after work drinks on fridays or in groups on saturday. All in all a great Rotterdam cafe.
Go to a show at the Nieuwe Luxor Theatre
After finishing your dinner at Hotel New York or at Fenix Food Factory you can walk to Wilhelminaplein where the Nieuwe Luxor Theatre is located. In the Nieuwe Luxor Theatre there are daily shows varying from comedy to musicals and drama. In this futuristic-looking building there is always something happening.
Sleeping at the SS Rotterdam
If you are looking for a cool place to spend the night, stay at the SS Rotterdam. The SS Rotterdam is a boat, which was used as an Atlantic ocean liner for the Holland America Line between Rotterdam and New York. After being used by different cruise companies the SS Rotterdam was brought back to Rotterdam in 2005. In 2013 the ship was equipped with multiple hotel rooms and two restaurants. If you always wanted to know how the guests in 1959 felt whilst making the journey to New York, or want to know how it feels to go on a cruise without actually leaving, then you should book a room at the SS Rotterdam. The different rooms have been dressed to showcase the history of the ship, with either a Manhattan or Bahamas feel to it. In the morning you can enjoy a full breakfast whilst imagining that you are on course for New York City.
Witte de Withstraat
Head to the Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam, this street is filled with all kinds of cafés and bars. Whether it is winter or summer, people, drinks and laughter are pouring out of these places all weekend nights.
Have a drink at the Oude Haven
The Oude Haven or Old Harbour is a very popular hotspot to drink, eat and dance. It is home to Noah, the best cocktail bar in The Netherlands and many other popular and quaint restaurants. Antoher great place to visit is The White House Café, which is located inside of Europe’s first skyscraper. On Fridays and Saturdays there are DJ’s and is the bar open until 4 am. Other bars that can be found in the Oude Haven are Popocatepetl, Stockholm and Mooii.
Rotterdam nightlife is world-renowned and is home to some of the best clubs. Many Rotterdam bars transform into clubs, and there are plenty of live music places to choose from. Rotown often has a live band which covers all the greatest hits, while The Fenix Music Factory is also very popular, hosting regular live music nights. In Jazzcafé Dizzy you can experience new and established artists. At the Biergarten you can also enjoy live music during the summer months.
Rotterdam is a very lively city. When you are there, you may notice they have a bunch of amazing events. In January you have the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, in July there is the North Sea Jazz Festival and so much more. When going to Rotterdam, make sure to check out all the festivals as well, those are some of the real Rotterdam gems. Furthermore, you could take a look at or at We Own Rotterdam for some alternative events.
Enjoy! Choose one or more of the indicated activities. Plan your stay and book your parking space in Rotterdam. You can park right next to central station at for example The Holiday Inn Express or at Urban Residences and then enjoy the food, architecture and the city. Be happy!
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