The second-biggest city in the Netherlands got heavily bombed during WWI, so it’s pretty much been built from the ground up since then.
It’s an exciting and vibrant city, with great culture and museums, architectural highlights and harbour views. Looking for the best things to do in Rotterdam? We’ve got you covered.
Here’s the seven essential things you need to do and see while you’re here…
Best things to do in RotterdamHow do these rankings work?
1. Paddle on top of SS Rotterdam
The Steamship Rotterdam is the largest ocean-going steamer ever built in the Netherlands and has sailed many of the world’s seas since 1959. Now, it’s a swanky hotel with rooftop terraces and a pool.
Enjoy views on the Rotterdam skyline, while paddling your feet in the cool water of the swimming pool (40cm) on the deck.
2. Experience the Cube Houses
These whacky cube houses were built from 1978-1984 and are still lived in today. The architect wanted to design a sort of village within the city and saw the houses as “trees” and the whole area as a wood. The Cube Houses are tipped to one side, so three sides face the ground and three face the sky.
You can visit the Kijk-Kubus (Show-Cube) to experience what life is like in a Cube House.
3. Wander around the Markthal
This one-of-a-kind indoor food market is under a magnificent, colourful ceiling. As you wander amongst the market stands, look up to enjoy the massive artwork sprawled across the roof. There’s over 100 food stalls as well as 20 sit-in restaurants and bars.
It’s also home to one of the country’s biggest outdoor markets which takes place on the large square (Binnenrotte) in front of the Markthal (Tuesday and Saturday).
4. See the city from the Euromast
This huge concrete tower hangs 96 metres above the ground and has amazing views all across the city. The Euromast lift takes just 30 seconds to whisk visitors to a height of 100 metres, where there is an observation deck and brasserie restaurant. The Euroscope revolving lift takes people up to 185 metres.
Not only that, it is Europe’s only attraction from which you can abseil to the ground.
5. Stroll down Witte de Withstraat
This iconic arts and culture street in Rotterdam has a great multicultural and lively character. Referred to as the city’s ‘Axis of Art’, it runs from the Maritime Museum to the Museumpark and is lined with galleries, slick fashion boutiques, restaurants and artsy cafés.
Fan of street art? Check out new pieces from local artists with the Rotterdam Street Art Route.
6. Go see historic windmills in Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk, a World Heritage site with 19 pretty windmills dating from the 18th century is just 30 minutes from Rotterdam. Take the Waterbus and admire the views on the way. You will also learn all about how the Dutch have been using water to their benefit for over 1,000 years.
The perfect day trip.
7. Tour the beautiful Town Hall (Stadhuis)
Rotterdam’s stunning City Hall is one of the few old buildings in the centre of the city. It was built between 1914 and 1920 and miraculously survived the 1940 bombing raids.
It is a beautiful building that definitely deserves a visit. Take note that you need to book a tour with the local tourist office as you can’t just wander around by yourself.