Rotterdam is one of Holland’s coolest cities, with a chilled-out vibe similar to that of the capital’s, but with fewer crowds. A young, dynamic city which constantly reinvents itself, this port town has to be experienced to be believed.
Why visit Rotterdam
During the Second World War, large swathes of Rotterdam were destroyed by German bombing campaigns. Instead of restoring the city’s old architecture, the council took the opportunity to build a new, better city and develop a new, modern port.
With building beginning in the 50s and continuing through to the 70s, the city has plenty of modern, daring and innovative architecture which has helped create a bustling and optimistic atmosphere within the already-progressive Rotterdam. The city’s skyline is sometimes referred to as Manhattan on the Maas due to the large, modern buildings.
Getting there by car is easiest from our IJmuiden ferry port (Newcastle-Amsterdam route
) and you could be there in less than an hour’s drive our port.
What to see in Rotterdam
At 185 metres high the Euromast is the place to go for the best view in town. The new super-fast automatic lifts take you up to the platforms for a panoramic view over the whole of Rotterdam and its incredible skyline.
The Erasmus Bridge (or Erasmusburg in Dutch), is one of the best examples of the city’s mighty architecture. The bridge is 800 metres long, 139 metres high and is known locally as The Swan because of its graceful pylon.
The Overblaak Development is one of the city’s most interesting architectural achievements. Bold and progressive, all of the houses are designed to look like trees, giving the impression of an urban forest right in the middle of the city. On the other hand, the Grote of Sint Laurenskerk cathedral was built in 1449 in a gothic style and remains to this day as one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.
There are a number of fascinating museums for tourists in Rotterdam including the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which details art history, including Bosch, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Dali. The Nederlands Fotomuseum provides an insight into all aspects of photography with exhibitions, a digital collection, a film lounge and a library. The Maritime Museum tells the story of the city’s harbour, which was once the largest of its kind in the world.
Things to do in Rotterdam
If you’re travelling as a family, then a visit to Blijidorp Zoo is a must. One of the most beautiful zoos in Europe, Blijidorp also includes Oceanium, a large public aquarium packed with marine wildlife which doubles up as a centre for research on conserving coral. The Kids’ Marina is great for children and is Rotterdam’s most enjoyable water attraction, although the Familiepark Plaswijckpark is also a great day out for kids of all ages.
Rotterdam also has a lively shopping culture, with a diverse range of shopping districts including everything from one-off, boutique offerings to department stores such as Bijenkorf. There is also a market in the city centre every Tuesday and Saturday where you can pick up multi-cultural items at a great-value price.
Located in the north of Rotterdam, Hillegersberg is a shopping area which specialises in luxury brands and items, perfect if you’re looking to pick up something a little bit special. Like in all major cities in
Holland, Rotterdam also has a vibrant and buzzing nightlife scene, with bars and clubs galore, as well as a diverse range of multi-cultural restaurants.
Where to stay
Rotterdam is well-stocked for hotels and places to stay, whether you’re travelling as a couple, a group or a family, check our accommodation partner
booking.com for more details.
Shopping in Rotterdam
Rotterdam is a shopper’s paradise. It has a diversity of shopping districts ranging from exclusive to popular and from megastore to small boutique. The well-known shopping streets in Rotterdam are located in ‘Lijnbaan’ in the heart of Rotterdam, and shops are open seven days a week. The major department store is the ‘Bijenkorf’. Around the city centre you'll find many unique boutiques. If you are keen on bargains, take a stroll around the market for a multi-cultural range of items every Tuesday or Saturday. Large indoor shopping malls include the ‘Alexandrium’ and the ‘Zuidplein’ Hillegersberg’ is a special shopping area in the North of Rotterdam, featuring a variety of luxury shops.
Eating out in Rotterdam
Described as one of the best restaurants in Rotterdam, the Parkheuvel provides excellent food and service. www.parkheuvel.nl
Situated in Rotterdam's funky Westelijk Handelsterrein area, this trendy and cosy restaurant offers an extensive food and drinks menu, as well as a nightclub later in the evenings.
Offering delicious Mediterranean and Oriental food, the Bazar is a place you must go and experience. www.hotelbazar.nl
Built in an old power station, this stylish restaurant allows you to watch the chefs in action.
Wijn Of Water
Locate in Rotterdam Harbour you will be handed a mouth-watering menu as you take your seat www.wijnofwater.nl
Prices are subject to availability. Credit card & telephone booking fees apply. Terms & Conditions apply.
WE'RE AWARD WINNING
It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ in the 2014 World Travel Awards. We've won this award for 4 years running.