Many of you know that Rotterdam is the second biggest city in the Netherlands after the capital of the country, Amsterdam. But a few know that Europoort, the city’s port, is the biggest and busiest port in Europe. It’s also the 10th largest port in the world. Actually, the port of the city traces back to the 1300s. Rotterdam was also the port of the Dutch East India Company, which is worth more than $7.9 trillion today.
Rotterdam is also considered the architectural capital of the country. They’ve even designated a “Day of Architecture.” Rotterdam is the only city in the Netherlands, heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe in World War II. The reason behind the different styles of architectural buildings in the area is that they were nearly rebuilt after the war. Modern cube buildings, Euromast Tower, and many other buildings became the icons of the city. There are 14 districts in the city. Centrum, Delfshaven, Overschie, Noord, Hillegersberg-Schiebroek, Kralingen-Crooswijk, Prins Alexander, Feijenoord, Charlois & IJsselmonde, Pernis, Hoogvliet, Rozenburg, and Hoek Van Holland. Each district delivers a unique European city experience during your vacation in Rotterdam.
See also: The best hotels in Rotterdam
Centrum is the heart of Rotterdam. Rotterdam Central Station, Markthal, Euromast, Beurstraverse, and Laurenskerk are main landmarks of the centrum. You can also visit Museumpark or Het Park in the centrum if you want to walk away from the city crowd. Some of the best hotels in Rotterdam are also located here.
Delfshaven is a historic part of the city. Lively canals and traditional Dutch architecture make Delfshaven a must-see place. Sparta Stadium, Rotterdam BigShops, Heemraadspark, and Park 1943 are popular tourist attractions in Delfshaven.
Overschie was merged with the city during World War II. The region is the transportation network of the city. If you think about where should I go in Rotterdam, you should definitely visit Van Nelle Factory. It’s a prime piece of international architectural style. The factory is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rotterdam Noord transformed from a rural region to a working-class neighborhood. If you want to visit Rotterdam where to stay in a quiet place, you should consider staying in Rotterdam Noord.
Hilegersberg-Schiebroek is the wealthiest area of Rotterdam. You can visit the city, get fresh air, and rejuvenate during your vacation. Hilegersberg-Schiebroek is the perfect spot. You can visit Plaswicjkpark, Bergse-Vooplas, Prinsemolenpark and Schiebroekspark here.
The main campus of Erasmus University is located here in Kralingen-Crooswijk. In the summer, visitors to Rotterdam can swim and relax in Kralingse Bos and Kralingse Plas.
Prins Alexander is one of the most populous regions of Rotterdam. Alexandrium, Prinsenpark, and Park Ommoordseveld are the main places to visit. Also, you can walk through the boulevard and reach Nesselande Beach.
Feijenoord lies in the southern part of the city. Its colorful streets offer a place for every visitor. Rotterdam Cruise Terminal, Hotel New York, Valkeniersweide, Nieuwe Luxor Theatre, and SS Rotterdam are the main tourist attractions of the region.
Charlois & IJsselmonde
The two southern regions of Rotterdam, Charlois, and Ijselmonde, are also known as the green garden of Rotterdam. If you want to walk around the city’s green parks, Charlois & IJsselmonde are the best places to stay in Rotterdam. Two regions offer quite a bit of green places like Amelandseplein, Park Drechterweide, Millinxpark, Zuiderpark, Bijenpark, Park De Twee Heuvels, and Spinozapark.
Hoek Van Holland
Located at the coast of the North Sea, Hoek Van Holland has some quiet beaches in Rotterdam. The region is also part of the Atlantic Wall of Nazi. Hoek van Holland offers a broad range of museums. If you want to explore the region’s history, you don’t have to look elsewhere.
Where To Stay in Rotterdam
Rotterdam offers a vast of options to stay. If you are thinking about where to stay in Rotterdam, you will definitely find a place just for you. Because of the large selection of hotels, you can’t easily decide where to stay, but you can find some unique selections for you in our best hotels in Rotterdam.
Mainport Design Hotel: It’s a 5-star hotel in the heart of Centrum. You can choose between large suits and special spa rooms in the hotel. On a bright day in Rotterdam, you can exit your hotel and walk to many iconic places. In the hotel’s spa section, you can relax and rejuvenate after a long day experience in Rotterdam.
Rotterdam Marriott Hotel: You can visit any part of the city just opposite the Rotterdam Central Station easily. After a long day of exploration, you can relax and charge up for the next day in the luxurious rooms of the Rotterdam Marriott Hotel. Restaurant The Millen, one of the hot spots of Rotterdam, is also located inside the hotel.
The Slaak Rotterdam: If you want to stay in Kralingen-Crooswijk, The Slaak Rotterdam is the best place to stay in Rotterdam. But staying in Kraling-Crooswijk doesn’t mean you’re outside of the city. With a 4 – 5 minute walk, you can find yourself in the city centrum. Besides the rooms and suites, Slaak also offers international cuisine in the famous Didot34 restaurant and bar. After relaxing in your room, you can treat yourself to a 1950s-designed restaurant.
nhow Rotterdam: You can feast your eyes full of art and architecture from one view. nhow Rotterdam located in Feijenoord, offers the best views of Rotterdam. You can have breakfast right before the Erasmus Bridge and prepare for a joyful day in Rotterdam. nhow Rotterdam is also the winner of the Best Hotel Design Award 2014. Just before smooth sailing to the nightlife of Rotterdam, you can watch the sunset over the city with a fantastic skyline.
Hilton Rotterdam: Hilton Rotterdam is also located in the centrum region of the city. You can easily walk everywhere from the Hilton. As a part of the Hilton Huanying program, Hilton Rotterdam also offers a uniquely Chinese experience in the middle of Europe. You can order a Chinese breakfast or special herbal teas like jasmine tea. The hotel also has a Michelin-star restaurant. Joelia by Mario Ridder delivers the best sides of French cuisine. The hotel also has another restaurant inspired by Indonesian culture, TIWYA. After a day full of Rotterdam, you can find a different hiding place in Hilton Rotterdam without getting too far.
ss Rotterdam Hotel en Restaurants: You are visiting the largest European port. Of course, you can stay on a ship in a city like this. ss Rotterdam Hotel en Restaurants is a former transatlantic ship that now serves as a hotel. Located in Feijenoord, you can explore the important parts of the city from the deck of your ship or your hotel. ss Rotterdam Hotel en Restaurants is much more than a hotel. With its events, escape rooms, restaurants, and wine bar. You can’t decide whether to stay in a hotel or a ship.
Stayokay: If you decide to visit Rotterdam you should see the unique cube houses of the city or better you can also stay in one of them. Stayokay offers an immersive hotel experience in cube houses. You can wake up at the city’s heart and visit anywhere you want with a little walk. Stayokay also offers a marine corps room for families with kids. This room is specifically designed for kids. You can even find a climbing wall in the marine corps room. The plus side is Marines Museum tickets are included for these rooms.
Hotel New York: It is possible to wake up in the 1900’s New York at the heart of Rotterdam. With its unique style, you can have a different European experience. The hotel is located former Holland – America Line headquarters. Thousands of migrants embarked on America for new opportunities.
Places to Visit in Rotterdam
Unfortunately, the city, and the centrum were almost entirely destroyed by German air forces. The city took this as an opportunity and became a hotspot thanks to incredible architecture. You can find breathtaking landmarks in the centrum.
Markthal is a giant market hall covered with residential suits and office buildings in Rotterdam. Horseshoe-shaped building designed by MVRDV. The inside of the building is covered by 11.000 m2 of artwork. Because of this Markthall is also known as The Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam, and some consider it the most significant artwork in the world.
Cube houses are one of the most iconic places in Rotterdam. In 1972, Dutch architect Piet Blom designed cube houses to fill an empty site in the centrum. These houses are actually cubes tilted over 45 degrees. Blom designed oddly shaped houses to optimize most of the available space. Today you can visit Show Cube Museum. Even better, you can stay one of them. In 2009, Rotterdam-based architecture firm Personal Architecture BNA converted some of the larger cubes for a hostel chain in the Netherlands. Today, you can stay in one of the cube-shaped rooms of the Stoyakay Hostel Rotterdam. It’s easily one of the best places to stay in Rotterdam.
Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk
Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk is a protestant church built between 1449 and 1525. It is the only remnant of medieval Rotterdam. The Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk was heavily damaged during Rotterdam Blitz in 1940. The restoration finished in 1968. Today with the iconic tower, the church is one of the best place to go in Rotterdam.
To avoid bombing during World War II, Rotterdam Zoo’s location changed a couple of times. Rotterdam Zoo not only has exotic animals but also offers a taste of different cultures. You can walk in the crocodile river, wander around Mongolian Steppes and visit a Chinese garden or a Malayan Forest in the zoo. The zoo has some breeding policies for endangered species.
The Euromast Tower is unquestionably Rotterdam’s most recognizable landmark. 185-meter-high tower also has an observation deck where you can see the whole city. Tower also has a restaurant, hotel suite, and conference room. There is also a zipline where you can abseil to the ground from the Tower.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
If you are interested in design and architecture, you don’t have to think twice.The modern museum of Het Nieuwe Instituut has been home to architectural developments for decades. Dutch styles and other global design movements are waiting for you in a great museum.
Kinderdijk is 23 kilometers east of Rotterdam. It is one of the more rural parts of the city. But besides its location, Kinderdijk is one of the most visited places in the whole country. Nineteen perfectly preserved windmills in the region were built in the 18th century. Kinderdijk is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you visit Rotterdam with kids, then Miniworld Rotterdam has to be on your must-see list. Miniworld is covered 535 square meters. It not only has places from Rotterdam but also many landmarks from all over the Netherlands.
Rotterdam and the Netherlands have a long maritime history. Thus, the city has one of the largest maritime museums in the world. The museum is so close to Cube houses and Markthal that you can visit them on the same day. You can find a vast collection of maritime art, memorabilia, and cartography pieces.
The Witte Huis
The Witte Huis, or the White House, was built in 1898 in art nouveau style. It is one of the National Heritage Sites of the Netherlands. Ten store building is one of the surviving buildings from the German bombing in World War II.
Erasmus Bridge, over the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam. It was started built-in 1986 and finished in 1996. It’s the second-largest bridge in the Netherlands. It is one of the iconic places in Rotterdam. Even it is a part of the city logo. The nickname of the bridge is The Swan due to its swan-like design.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is considered one of Europe’s most important art centers. The museum has the most important art pieces from the 14th to 20th centuries. You can find works of art by Van Gogh, Gaugin, Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Monet, Rembrandt, Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel, Heironymus Bosch, and much more. There are also important collections of sculpture and decorative arts from Europe.