11 Best Things to Do in Rotterdam

MarkthalPin
Markthal

Located on the southwest coast of the Netherlands, Rotterdam is the second largest city after the capital city, Amsterdam. It is as if nestled in the Delta of the Rhine and the Meuse. There are also a lot of many canals and lakes. Rotterdam’s cultural wealth and modern urban style are the significant assets of this city, unlike any other. Rotterdam is not a European city like the others. The charm is certainly unsuspected and discreet sometimes. In any case, you can quickly become attached to this new city in the Netherlands. So Rotterdam goes from being a martyr city to a cosmopolitan one looking to the future.

Today the city has the largest port in Europe and the eighth port globally. It is also a bubbling culture and arts. Many creative projects and events are born there, like the international film festival, the Rotterdam marathon, and the summer carnival, and new buildings continue to be born like Central Station or the Markthal. This enhancement also offers diverse things to do in Rotterdam. You can visit many tourist hot spots in Rotterdam. There are many options in Rotterdam things to do. Thus, if you want to visit every corner of the city you should stay for 3 or 4 days. The city has lots of offers to its visitors and many of them surprisingly good. You can have an unforgettable vacation in this beautiful, cultural yet historical Dutch city.

Visit The Cube Houses

Cube HousePin
Cube House

It is one of the symbols of Rotterdam: a set of cubic houses of a very pronounced yellow and tilted. They are located in the Oude Haven district, date from the 1980s, and are the work of the Dutch architect Piet Blom. A passage through these houses allows, by raising the head and the eyes, to discover rather astonishing geometric figures. It is possible to visit one of its houses and even to sleep in one of them. These incredible cubic houses leave no visitor indifferent. The concept calls out and sometimes even raises questions. The designer of the place wanted each house to represent a tree and, the whole, a forest. The site is genuinely intriguing and will no doubt pique your curiosity as well. The houses are one of the main Rotterdam tourist attractions.

Shop in Markthal

Shop in MarkthalPin
Shop in Markthal

The city is steeped in history and very rich in its culture, Markthal is proof of this. Impossible to resist the charm of this giant market, ranked among the best 10 tourist places in 2021. This makes the Markthal is one of the most important Rotterdam Netherlands points of interest. This is the first and best indoor market in the Netherlands. With an area the size of a football field, you will feel carried away by the smells and the unique atmosphere that reigns there. Inside, a giant fresco accompanies you in each aisle. Local products, fresh bread, tasty cheeses, stalls of meat, vegetables, fish, a thousand and one flavors from all walks of life are at your fingertips. Its horseshoe-shaped construction also arbitrates restaurants and apartments. The Markhtal is a bit like the soul of the city. It shows the multiculturalism of Rotterdam, which appreciated so much. The center is in the Stadsdriehoek district, surrounded by hotels and restaurants of choice. You should visit it during the day, because it is little or not lit at night.

Visit Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk

Visit Grote of Sint-LaurenskerkPin
Visit Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk is located in Grotekkerkplein square. Its construction dates from the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries. It was spared during the bombardments of the Second World War, which partly destroyed Rotterdam, which makes it an old place in a much more modern environment. Inside this church, what strikes first is its vast organ; you wouldn’t miss it. Another particularity is at the back of the church: wooden boxes that can be opened. They are based on a specific theme, such as Rio Carnival or Chinese New Year.

See also: Where to stay in Rotterdam?

Watch the City on Euromast Tower

If you are planning what to visit in Rotterdam you can’t ignore what is obvious. Euromast Tower is the tallest building in the whole country. This incredible tower, designed and built by Hugh Maaskant in the 1960s. It was originally built to house the Floriade, an international flower exhibition Once at the top of 185 meters, you will be perched with a breathtaking view of the magnificent Rotterdam and the Meuse, which flows through it. From there, you will see The Hague, Deft, and Belgium if the weather permits. At the top, you enter Euroscoop, a glass elevator that turns slowly to offer you a 360° panorama. It is delightful to feel like you are over a high place and have the city at your feet. A basic and accessible way for everyone to have their head in the clouds.

Splash Tour over Meuse

Splash Tour over MeusePin
Splash Tour over Meuse

Rotterdam being the port city par excellence, it is the hub of many goods. It is essential to know the richness of its history, and in a playful way on board this funny machine. In an amphibious yellow bus, you will first take a narrated tour of the city, going to the places to see in Rotterdam.The visit lasts 1 hour where the route takes place half on dry land, half on the Meuse, the river that accompanies you throughout the city. The start is opposite the Euromast tower on the quays, where you return at the end. On the course, nearly fifteen unmissable places. After doing “Splash”, the half-hour on the Meuse is quiet and relaxing. In an amphibious yellow bus, you will first take a narrated tour of the city, going to the places to see in Rotterdam. If you are looking for fun things to do in Rotterdam you shouldn’t miss Splash Tour. 

Take for a Walk in Delfshaven

It is undoubtedly the most beautiful district of Rotterdam. It would therefore be a shame to visit Rotterdam without strolling through this charming district. The city’s district most corresponds to the image of the Netherlands: canals, boats, mills, and houses respecting the traditional architecture. Go to Voorhaven or Achterhaven, among the most beautiful streets in the district. Delfshaven is one of the few areas to have survived the bombings of Rotterdam during World War II. It is also charming to simply walk on the quays of the old port. If you want to discover this district in all serenity, you should visit there at the end of the morning because that will be the least popular. For more entertainment, go there in the early evening to enjoy the excitement of cafes, restaurants, and bars. Delfshaven is the most beautiful place to visit in Rotterdam by far. 

See also: The best hotels in Rotterdam

Important Museums of Rotterdam

The World Museum (Wereldmuseum) is one of the city’s most famous monuments. You will find pieces from the world’s different cultures through a mind-blowing collection. Lovers of art and culture, your stay in Rotterdam will allow you to admire beautiful works by illustrious artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet, and Magritte. 

For this, go to the largest museum in the city, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Devoted to painting and sculpture from the mid-18th century to the contemporary era, it is a must. The museım houses various Dutch and European works and in particular, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Dali, and Monet paintings.

As for the Maritime Museum, the oldest in the Netherlands, it will seduce lovers of ship models, drawings, maps, paintings. More than 500,000 maritime objects are presented there. The marine museum presents objects from the marine world, such as ship models, instruments, paintings.  

The Netherlands photography museum is located in the Kop Van Zuid district. The museum offers immersive collection of photos taken by important photographers from all over the world. As its name suggests, the Netherlands Fotomuseum is dedicated to preserving all aspects of Dutch and international photography. This museum regularly organizes temporary exhibitions on well-chosen and varied themes, and the photos on display are very well arranged.

In the heart of the Delfshaven district, right next to the Church of the Pilgrim Fathers, there is a very unusual museum where you absolutely have to go for a walk: the Dutch Pinball Museum. In a retro atmosphere, you can admire more than 80 of these machines and even play with them. From 80s themed pinball machines to more contemporary machines, there really is something for everyone. For those who still have a child’s soul or if you visit Rotterdam with your family and kids playing pinball is one of the best activities in Rotterdam.

See Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus BridgePin
Erasmus Bridge

Connecting the north and south shores of Rotterdam and spanning the Nieuwe Maas, the Erasmus Bridge, also nicknamed “De Zwan” by the locals because of its swan shape, is the starting point that we advise you to take to explore the contemporary neighborhoods on the south shore. This impressive bridge, 800 meters long and 140 meters high, is the second largest in the Netherlands, so a stay in Rotterdam is the perfect opportunity to admire this masterpiece of design and modernity. If you go there at night you’ll see the Erasmus bridge shines brightly and the light it emits is reflected in the water below. Crossing the bridge, you have a beautiful panoramic view of the city. The skyline that takes shape looks like New York. On the other side, you can reach the Kop van Zuid district with its futuristic skyscrapers like the famous De Rotterdam building. De Zwan is the most important must see in Rotterdam.

Visit Rotterdam Zoo

Rotterdam ZooPin
Rotterdam Zoo

If you are traveling with your family, should not hesitate to go to Zoo Blijdorp, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful zoos in Europe. You will discover wild animals in their natural habitats, as well as beautifully created landscapes from the African savannah to the Amazon jungle without forgetting the underwater landscapes like the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. The Rotterdam Zoo ocearium is also incredibly well thought out, and you will enjoy wandering around. You can admire animals from all over the world living in enclosures designed to be as spacious as possible. Kids love to visit zoos and see amazing animal and at Rotterdam Zoo, they will be served. The place also has a playground with outdoor activities that will delight your kids. If you are planing what to do in Rotterdam with kids, you should visit Rotterdam Zoo as soon as possible.

Experience Miniworld Rotterdam

Miniworld RotterdamPin
Miniworld Rotterdam

If you want to get an idea of the different monuments present in Rotterdam, you should go to Miniworld Rotterdam. It is quite simply a miniature version of the city on an area of 535 m² that you can admire day and night. Here you will find all the famous architectural marvels of the city like the Erasmus Bridge, the New York Hotel, the New Central Station, and many more. Besides the famous buildings, you can also see how Rotterdam manages its water, and the typical dykes, canals, windmills and pumping stations for which the Netherlands is famous. Visitors also have the opportunity to see how the models are made in workshops open to the public. A visit to Miniworld Rotterdam is really a fun activity to do as a family with children or if it is raining outside. In here you can also decide you next trip to what to see in Rotterdam.

Kinderdijk

KinderdijkPin
Kinderdijk

Built at the end of the 18th century and then classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 19 windmills of Kinderdijk which line the canals are among the most emblematic monuments of the Netherlands. On a walk around this site located just 14 kilometers from Rotterdam. Today, you can see them operating during the summer months. If you visit in the winter, bring your ice skates and join the skaters on the frozen canals. It might not be in the every list of top things to do in Rotterdam but you’ll be surprised when you visit Kinderdijk.

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