Rotterdam is one of Holland’s coolest cities, with a chilled-out vibe similar to that of Amsterdam, but with fewer crowds. This is a young, dynamic city which constantly reinvents itself with a constantly changing skyline as more and more new buildings go up. This vibrant 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 right through to the modern day, 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.
Travelling to Rotterdam by car is easiest from our IJmuiden ferry port (Newcastle-Amsterdam route
) and you could be there in less than an hour’s drive from the port. We provide daily overnight crossings between Newcastle and Amsterdam.
What to see in Rotterdam
If you're looking for what to do 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 Erasmusbrug 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 includes works by 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.
If you’re travelling as a family, then a visit to Blijdorp 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.
As a major international port - and the largest in Europe - there's also an electric range of cuisines on offer in Rotterdam's many cafes and restaurants.
In 2001 the city was joint European Capital of Culture alongside Porto and the legacy can be found in many Rotterdam tourist attractions as well as the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year.
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.
Where to stay in rotterdam
Rotterdam accommodation is plentiful with lots of 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
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.
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.