Here’s why you should be visiting Rotterdam

In Europe, Mini Breaks, Netherlands, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

A city full of surprises...

If you were in two minds whether to visit Rotterdam or not, then just stop right there and go and book your flight.

Quayside view, Rotterdam, Netherlands

First impressions portray a very modern architectural outlook, which initially may feel to lack the quaint charm of other Dutch towns and cities. However, woven in between the striking contemporary lines is a city rich in history with a vibrant culture.

An open mind

Gary and I have visited Holland on a few occasions and in 2017 headed there for a mini road trip. However, it wasn’t until we travelled to Rotterdam for the Traverse18 conference, that we delved deeper into Netherland’s second largest city.

What did we find?

As you may expect with Rotterdam’s location being so close to the sea, it has a large maritime influence. In addition to the iconic canals so often found in the Netherland’s, it also has busy working waterways and harbours.

Any sign of water and I’m in my element, so to watch Dutch barges old and new manoeuvring around the rivers and quays was calming to see. One of Rotterdam’s museums is dedicated to all things “maritime” and gives a glimpse into its nautical past.

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Tempted to?

Discover more of Holland, you'll be amazed how easy it is to tour around by car. You can then visit the iconic towns of Edam & Gouda and also see the 19 traditional windmills at the UNESCO site of Kinderdijk.

Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

Oude Haven

Not to be overlooked is Oude Haven (yes, I know another harbour) but you’ll be pleased you headed here, full of restaurants and bars, this area is a great place to relax and watch the world go by.

Witte Huis

From here you can’t help but notice the impressive White House (Witte Huis) built in Art Nouveau style in 1898 and one of the few buildings in Rotterdam to survive the WWII bombings on 14 May 1940.

When the White House was built at the height of 43 metres (141ft), it was Europe’s first sky-scraper and sat only one metre above sea level.


Alright, so perhaps there is another eye-catching piece of architecture around here, the Cube Houses.

Designed by architect Piet Blom in 1977, the 39 houses are tilted at 45-degree angle and are pretty amazing to see. However, not too sure if I could live in one.

Spot of lunch

Just a short stroll from the Cube Houses and you are into another vibrant part of the city, Rotterdam’s Market Hall.

You must step inside to see the incredible artwork painted within the arched roof.

Opened in 2014, this colourful food hall has something for everyone especially if you are a cheese lover.

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Why not?

Start creating your own adventure and discover the delights of the Rotterdam for yourself, British Airways is just one of your options.

Or alternatively hop on the Eurostar for a direct train to Rotterdam and arrive in just over 3 hours.

A reminder of the past

Just beyond the Market Hall is a significant part of Rotterdam’s history, St. Lawrence Church. After partially surviving the WWII Rotterdam Blitz, during which the church was heavily damaged, restoration was carried out as a mark of resilience to the city.

It just works

The mix of architectures within the city is fascinating, we loved the combination of old and new, blending with each other.

The car park, Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Destroyed City monument, Rotterdam, Netherlands

We came across a circular multi-storey car park, that would now look very out of place in a lot of cities.

For more info

For further information on things to see and do in Rotterdam, take a browse around the Rotterdam Tourist Information website.

Life of the city

Any town or city that Gary and I visit we love to search out their local street art & sculptures, it really wasn’t difficult to find in Rotterdam.

The artwork brings a place alive and gives an insight into the culture behind the city.

Have You?

Strolled around the little harbours in Rotterdam, we’d love to know what you enjoyed about this vibrant city? 

A must see

Now you’re here you can’t miss it, head to the tranquil Het Park to visit the Euromast observation tower with a viewing platform of 96 metres (315ft).

And for your efforts, you can stop at Dudok in Het Park for an indulgent piece of apple pie and cream.

Dudok's original apple pie, Rotterdam, Netherlands

The Swan

From here wander down to the riverside to get an incredible view of the iconic Erasmus Bridge (nicknamed “The Swan”) which spans 802-metre-long (2,631ft) across the river.

It was also used in the opening stage of the Tour de France in 2010; however, it’s probably best we gloss over the contenders in that race.

A Brit in clogs

Ok, so I couldn’t resist it, I’m always one for a bit of a cliché.

Take your time to enjoy it

Just like most cities the best way to see and feel the life of a town is just to stroll around and Rotterdam is no exception.

Wander the streets, admire the shops and boutiques and take the weight off your feet along Witte de Withstraat and enjoy a local beer.

Our Memories

Our overriding memories of Rotterdam other than the fantastic architecture is the friendly atmosphere of the locals, nothing was too much trouble.

Where we stayed

Our accommodation while in Rotterdam, was at the Bilderberg Park Hotel. Very central location on the edge of the Cool District and ideal if like us you needed an onsite car park.

Something from Get Your Guide?

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Inspired to visit Rotterdam?

Why not visit the Cube Houses or discover the quirky sculptures dotted around town?

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  1. Rotterdam is such an interesting place. I have always loved the look of the Market Hall there – good food in a cool outdoor space. Yes please. And so much art. Love the look of it. Thanks kindly for sharing with #FarawayFiles.

    1. Thanks Erin, yes it really is interesting. A lot of devastation from the war, has made it quite a mixture of architecture. We went to a little exhibition in the tourist office and they have a lot planned for the future as well.

  2. funny photo with the clogs! I’d love to visit it one day:) #farawayfiles

    1. Thanks, yes I couldn’t resist stepping in them.It is a great city and extremely friendly locals. Highly recommend it.

  3. A place that has great artwork and amazing structures is a place that I need to visit! #farawayfiles

    1. Rotterdam definitely is a city to add to your list, if you enjoy art and architecture. A great place for a weekend away.

  4. Oh I’d love to visit Rotterdam! That architecture looks gorgeous and I’m a complete sucker for anywhere beside the water too. Thanks so much for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. Rotterdam really surprised us in so many good ways. Although there is history everywhere, it’s lovely to see the modern architecture shining through.I’m a bit like that with water, I’m just drawn to it and I love boat trips.

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