If you’re looking for things to do in Rotterdam, Netherlands, you’ve come to the right place! This lively city has something for everyone, from world-class museums and galleries to scenic parks and gardens, not to mention a thriving nightlife scene.
And of course, let’s not forget Rotterdam’s famous harbor – one of the busiest in Europe. Rotterdam is packed with history, culture, and plenty of nightlife. It’s also one of the most walkable cities in Europe.
This tour is one of the most popular tours in the Netherlands. On this 3-hour bike tour you will visit all the highlights of Rotterdam with a local guide. You will see breathtaking skyline views, take beautiful pictures of the elegant Erasmus Bridge and experience the famous history of the Holland America Line. Your guide knows where to find the most beautiful views and best sunsets!
This private tour is the perfect way to see Rotterdam. Spend more time at your favorite sights, less time waiting in line, and enjoy a fully customizable experience. Walk through the city with a local guide who shares their insider knowledge about Rotterdam’s top sites and best kept secrets.
This walking tour offers a refreshing approach to enjoy Rotterdam like never before. It is a city of modern architecture with lots of interesting projects that are changing the city skyline every year. The tour will take you away from the touristy hotspots and show you how to explore the city like a local, with an architect as your guide!
What is Rotterdam Known For?
Rotterdam is known for its cutting-edge architecture, vibrant nightlife, and delicious food. It’s also a major maritime city, home to several excellent art galleries. So, whether you’re looking for a cultural experience or a good time, Rotterdam is the place to be.
Best Things to Do in Rotterdam, Netherlands
Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, art enthusiast, or shopaholic, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained in Rotterdam. So without further ado, here are the best things to do in Rotterdam, Netherlands!
1. Visit the Cube Houses
The cube houses in Rotterdam are one of Europe’s most iconic pieces of architecture and for a good reason! These strange apartments are shaped likes cubes and tilted at a great 45-degree angle.
Their bright yellow colors make them stand out amongst a sea of modern grey buildings in the area. They are a fun visit, and for a small fee, you can tour inside one of these apartment buildings and gawk at this modern marvel!
Dutch architect Piet Blom designed the cube houses in the 1970s. Stand in the middle of these apartments, surrounded by their pointed roofs. This was done intentionally since Blom wanted to design the apartments to give the same impression as a treetop rainforest!
The cube houses also form a pedestrian bridge, so you can safely walk across them, take pictures, and marvel at these fun houses. Want to feel even more immersed in the cube houses?
You can also stay in one of these cube houses as a hostel guest! Complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi included, of course.
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2. Walk on the Erasmus Bridge
The Erasmus Bridge, also known as the Erasmusburg, spans a whopping 802 meters, connecting both the North and South parts of Rotterdam and serving as one of the most important landmarks in the city!
The cable-style bridge is breathtaking, with a single 456-foot tall pylon that gives it the swan bridge nickname. This bridge can be cycled over and has two cycle lanes and two sidewalks. This makes it the perfect bridge for you and a loved one to enjoy.
It’s one of the most iconic cable bridges in Europe, and you can stand here and watch the ships travel back and forth carrying passengers and cargo! Use the bridge to reach your destination and explore different areas of Rotterdam.
For even more fun, watch for events in and around the bridge. Take out your camera and snap pics with this engineering masterpiece!
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3. Visit Historic Delfshaven
Once you’ve crossed the Erasmus Bridge, you can stop by historic Delfshaven and take in the beautiful, rustic sights and sounds of this part of the city. Delfshaven is one of the last remaining new districts in Rotterdam.
Sadly, much of Rotterdam was destroyed during the 1940s during World War II. Bombings devastated the city, but one district remained free of the turmoil – Delfshaven. You can trip down this sleepy harbor city during the day or even at night!
Visit the city brewery at De Pelgrim, the only brewery in Rotterdam where you can enjoy authentic, craft local beer. Delfshaven is also home to many historical buildings and picturesque windmills; don’t forget your camera!
If you’re on a date with a loved one, this is one of the best places to tour during your honeymoon, as its romantic harbor and rustic buildings create the perfect backdrop for any date night.
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4. Take a Day Trip to Kinderdijk
Can’t get enough of historic sites like Delfshaven? You’ll be amazed at the sights and sounds of Kinderdijk. This site was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and for a good reason.
It is home to waterways and still-standing windmills (19) that showcase the Dutch’s Dutch’s beautiful engineering and control of the waters.
The windmills face each other and sit atop canals, surrounded by dikes and waterways. You can explore Kinderdijk through boat rides through the water and discover how the Dutch have used windmill technology to keep their feet dry for almost 700 years.
This is one of the most photographed areas in the Netherlands and is one of the most important to understand just how vital water management and the effects of climate change are.
Two windmills are open every day for tours, as is the De Fabriek Auxillary Pumping Station. You can view films about Kinderdijk and its history here and take a guided audio tour! There’s always something new to learn and explore here at Kinderdijk.
Among the tours you can join in visiting the windmill are the Kinderjjk small group tour, a private day trip, and a scenic bike tour.
5. Explore the Oude Haven in the Maritime District
The Oude Haven (Old Harbor) in the Maritime District is one of the best places to visit Rotterdam to understand its nautical history truly. While exploring the area, you’ll gaze at the restored historic boats that make up the Old Harbor.
The maritime district is home to landmarks such as the Maritime Museum Rotterdam, one of Europe’s largest naval museums.
You can interact with and explore an extensive array of nautical objects, from exhibitions and events to naval ships and cranes; the Maritime Museum is just one part of the Maritime District!
You can also find the Destroyed City monument nearby, commemorating Rotterdam and her people’s strength during World War II. It is a mesmerizing and sobering sight behind the Maritime Museum.
Hungry? Grab a bite at one of the many sidewalk cafes and eateries at the Old Harbor (Oude Haven), and sit back while taking in the sights and sounds of the city’s most historical nautical districts.
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6. Go to the top of the Euromast
For genuinely spectacular and world-class views of Rotterdam, book a visit to the top of the Euromast. Finished in 1960 and designed by Hugh Maaskant, the Euromast gives visitors stunning 360-degree views of Rotterdam. The platform sits 96 meters above ground, so visitors can take pictures, look at the sights, and dine at the Euromast restaurant.
You can even book a stay at the Euromast hotel, giving you one of the most spectacular and unforgettable views for you and a loved one. The Euromast is also accessible through an elevator, so you don’t have to worry about the journey to the top.
However, if you’re looking for a heart-pounding adventure, the Euromast hosts’ sporting events such as BASE jumping and even abseiling! If that’s your cup of tea, book your reservations beforehand, as there are limited daredevil spots. If you’re interested, you can book the tour of Rotterdam Harbor Cruise with Euromast Entry Ticket.
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7. Visit the Markthal Rotterdam
The Markthal Rotterdam is also known as Market Hall. One of the best things to do in Rotterdam is to visit its many markets and restaurants while also taking in the sites of this architectural wonder.
The market is beautifully designed with colorful flowers along its interior wall, known as the Horn of Plenty by artist Arno Coenen.
Completed in 2014, it’s 11,000 square meters of markets selling fresh produce, meats, seafood, and much more. From coffee to ice cream, personal care items, churros, dumplings, and more, there’s something for everyone’s taste here at Market Hall.
History buffs will also be delighted to see the De Tijdtrap under the stairwell of the Market Hall, which displays some of the most exciting and unique archeological finds during the construction of the Market Hall! This is a genuinely fantastic place to unwind and discover the best of Rotterdam.
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8. Take a Trip to Rotterdam Zoo
Looking for some things to do in Rotterdam with kids? No family vacation is complete without something for the little ones to do! Rotterdam Zoo is the perfect place for your children to explore the sights and sounds of the jungle and animals from around the world, all from the comfort of a beautifully designed zoo. The Rotterdam Zoo has hundreds of animals, events, activities, and daily tours.
The Rotterdam Zoo was voted the best zoo in Benelux from 2015 to 2018, and one visit here will show you why. From daily feedings of the sea lions to rays, to shark feeding and even feeding polar bears, this is one zoo where children and adults alike will leave fascinated by the wonders of wildlife.
What are you waiting for? Get your admission tickets now.
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9. Visit the Depot Boijmans-van Beuningen
Art buffs can rejoice while touring the Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam. This is the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility, boasting over 150,000 collected pieces of art and other objects.
It is a notable attraction to see on an Art and Architecture Highlights Walking Tour. The unique, steel-like architecture of the building is sure to capture the imagination, as are the many different storage compartments within the Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen.
Different climates are located throughout the Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen to keep the art safe and intact.
Suppose you’ve always been curious about how this precious art is stored, maintained, and preserved. In that case, the Depot Boijmans-van Beuningen has all open-view preservation activities so that you can satisfy your curiosity!
This is truly one of the best art collections in the world and one of the most important cultural landmarks in Rotterdam.
10. Take a Boat Tour of the Europort
Whether you want to take a water taxi or book a small boat tour through Europort, there are many options to explore one of Europe’s busiest ports.
A boat tour gives you a unique perspective of the port and lets you gaze at its awesomeness of the port. Take in the sights and sounds of the port and learn about the different industries here.
You can also request a boat tour and look for tours with snacks and drinks on board! All this while letting the captain take you on a cruise through the beautiful waterways of Rotterdam.
11. Sample some of Rotterdam’s famous Culinary Delights
Rotterdam is known for its delicious food, so be sure to sample some local cuisines! There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from, or you could visit one of the city’s many markets to find fresh produce and other goodies.
Dutch seafood is king here. Try the herring. Do it.
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12. Spend a day at one of Rotterdam’s beautiful Parks or Gardens
If you need a break from all the hustle and bustle of the city, head to one of Rotterdam’s parks or gardens. The Vroesenpark is a great option, as it’s one of the largest parks in the city.
Or, if you’re looking for something more subdued, check out the Keukenhof Gardens, which is more suited for a day trip away from the city. You might have heard of it – it’s only Europe’s most extensive flower garden!
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13. Go to a Performance at De Doelen Concert House
De Doelen Concert House is aopular vor classical music, jazz, and opera. This historic building is located in the center of Rotterdam and hosts some of the best acts in music today.
De Doelen has been around since 1881 when it opened as an opera house. Over time it expanded to include both concert halls and theatres, but its old-world grandeur still shines through with its marble staircases and high ceilings—an architectural delight you won’t miss!
14. Wander Rotterdam’s Street Art on Witte de Withstraat
In Rotterdam, you’ll want to explore Witte de Withstraat. This street is known for its abundance of street art that includes works by some of the most famous street artists and muralists in the world today.
Street art is a form of public art that often takes over abandoned buildings and other areas not typically seen as canvases. It usually has political undertones but can also be beautiful and inspiring. Either way, it’s trendy in the Benelux corner.
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15. Eat your way through the Food Hallen
If your tummy is rumbling and grumbling, your first stop should be the Food Hallen (Food Hall). Located in the center of Rotterdam, this collection of food stalls, restaurants, and bars is open every day of the year, with a few exceptions for holidays.
You’ll find it in the Blaak area—just on your left if you’re coming from Rotterdam Central Station. The Food Hallen has become famous as one of Europe’s best places to get street food since its inception in 2014.
Its offerings range from sushi to Thai food to falafel sandwiches. At the same time, some stalls offer traditional European items like Belgian waffles or French crepes. In contrast, others are more creative—like Indian ice cream rolls or Peruvian ceviche served with potatoes instead of tortilla chips.
There are also plenty of places where you can grab drinks: coffee at Coffee Collective or craft beers at De Hopduvel (which happens to be one of only two official beer gardens left in town). This is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam with friends before spending a night out on the town.
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16. Visit the SS Rotterdam
The SS Rotterdam is a ship. It’s also a hotel, museum, and restaurant. But mostly, it’s a ship—and one of the most beautiful ships you’ll ever see (not to mention one of the largest luxury cruise liners ever built).
Built-in 1957 for Holland America Line, it was retired from service in 2008 after being purchased by Carnival Corporation to be used as their private showpiece for their new cruise line called Holland America Line Private Collection.
In 2015, it was sold to KTS Capital Partners and became The Floating Hotel Rotterdam, the world’s first permanently moored floating hotel! The museum offers an exploration-guided tour that you should not miss.
17. Find some Peace and Quiet at the Arboretum Trompenburg
Arboretum Trompenburg is a great place to get some peace. With over 150 acres of grounds, it’s perfect for a stroll with friends or family. You’ll love taking pictures here because of the beautiful scenery.
Arboretum Trompenburg is filled with different kinds of plants, so you’re bound to find something you like. Whether you’re a plant lover or just looking for a peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Arboretum Trompenburg is worth a visit.
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18. Go for Brunch at Dapur Indonesia, on Sundays
Dapur Indonesia is a famous Indonesian restaurant in Rotterdam. They have a menu of authentic Indonesian dishes and a terrific brunch menu available from 11 am to 3 pm on Sundays.
The brunch menu includes Indonesian dishes such as nasi goreng and mie goreng, but it also contains more Westernized items like pancakes, French toast, and eggs benedict.
The food at Dapur Indonesia is tasty, but the atmosphere makes this place perfect for brunch. It’s located in a beautiful old building that was once part of an industrial complex that includes the Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The Maritime Museum).
When you’re there on a Sunday morning with your friends or family (especially if it’s sunny outside), you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into some shabby-chic dreamland!
With its cute tables set with pretty plates & glasses and walls adorned with art pieces from around the world, it’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience that will keep you coming back, even if only for its fantastic food.
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19. Get Your Art Fix at Rotterdam’s Art Museums
Rotterdam has several excellent art museums, including the Rotterdam Kunsthalle (Rotterdam Art Hall), Chabot Museum, and the Netherlands Foto Museum (Netherlands Photo Museum).
The Rotterdam Kunsthalle is a modern but functional example of architecture and a contemporary art gallery. This stylish gallery opened in 1992 and offers various visual artists and cultures.
The Chabot Museum is another excellent option for art lovers, exhibiting the work of Dutch painting artist and sculptor Henk Chabot. The museum has been housed in a splendid white building since 1938.
And finally, visitors interested in photography should be sure to check out The Netherlands Foto Museum (Nelsefotomuseum).
This museum features an expansive set of historical photographs from several Dutch photographers. So whatever your interests, Rotterdam’s art museums will have something for you.
20. Admire the architecture of Hotel New York
Rotterdam is known for its cutting-edge architecture, so it’s worth taking some time to admire the buildings in the city – but some buildings that harken back to Rotterdam’s glory days remain.
Hotel New York is a beautiful building in the heart of Rotterdam that epitomizes this historical architecture. The hotel was built in 1901 and designed by J.J. Stankard.
The hotel has been through a lot over the years, including being used as a storage facility for art during World War II and serving as a squatter’s residence in the 1980s after falling into disuse.
Nowadays, it’s a luxury hotel that’s popular with both tourists and business travelers. Even if you’re not staying there, it’s worth admiring from the outside. The building is truly a work of art, and its location on the waterfront makes it even more special.
21. Check out the historical Van Nelle Fabriek Factory
Van Nelle Fabriek is an old factory converted into a museum and event space. The Van Nelle Factory was once an effective plant that produced tea, tobacco, coffee, chewing gum, and rice. The antique industrial designs have survived, making it an attractive factory of the past.
The building is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its history and antique appearance. If you are an industrial architecture enthusiast, Van Nelle Fabriek is worth a visit. You’ll be able to learn all about the factory’s history and see some of the incredible antique designs up close.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Maastricht, Netherlands
22. Catch a performance at the Schouwburgplein Square
Schouwburgplein Square is the perfect place to experience the best of Rotterdam’s vibrant cultural scene. Throughout the summer, the square plays host a variety of performances, ranging from music concerts to theater productions. It’s a great way to spend an evening, and it’s also a great way to experience the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
So whether you’re looking for a night of entertainment or a chance to learn more about the city’s rich history and culture, Schouwburgplein square is the place to be.
23. Check out the Witte Huis
The Witte Huis is near the Old Harbor, so you can’t miss it. The art nouveau architecture is one of the most exciting things about this white house. The Witte Huis was built in 1898 and is one of the oldest high-rise buildings in Europe.
The Witte Huis is currently used as an office building, but it’s worth admiring from the outside. The beautiful architecture is truly a sight to behold.
It’s declared a National Heritage Site in the Netherlands and makes for an excellent contrast of old with the backdrop of modern, iconic buildings in the background.
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Coming from Amsterdam? Take a Free Tour of Rotterdam with I Amsterdam City Card!
The I Amsterdam City Card is your ticket to an unforgettable visit to Rotterdam! This card gives you free entrance to over 100 museums, free public transport, and discounts on food, drinks, and more.
To use the card, you need to pre-book a time slot for your tour after you purchase the I Amsterdam Card, which can be done up to one month before your visit.
On tour, you’ll get a headset to listen to an audio guide in five languages (English, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch).
The tour lasts 60 minutes and is available daily from 9 am until 5 pm from April through October; from November through March, it runs from 10 am until 4 pm.
Rotterdam is a city that has something to offer everyone. From the historic canals and winding streets to the modern architecture of its neighborhoods and buildings, there’s always something new to discover.
Whether it’s shopping at one of its many indoor markets, enjoying a meal at one of its restaurants or bars (or both!), exploring its museums or art galleries—or even just taking in some fresh air on one of its many rooftop gardens—there are plenty of ways for you to spend time here!
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for an adventure in Rotterdam!
Is Rotterdam worth visiting?
Yes, with its beautiful oceanside breeze, and bustling city life, Rotterdam is worth visiting with something for everyone. It’s a great city for a day trip or a weekend getaway, offering a unique blend of history and modern architecture.
There are also plenty of things to do, from visiting museums to boat cruising through central Rotterdam.
What is the best time of year to visit Rotterdam?
The best time of year to visit Rotterdam is during the summer months. The weather is warm and sunny from May to September, making it ideal for exploring the city. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, September is a great time to visit, as many tourists have left by then.
How long should I spend in Rotterdam?
Most people spend 1-2 days in Rotterdam, but it depends on your interests. If you want to pack in a lot of activities, you may want to spend more time in the city. However, if you want to relax and take in the sights, 1-2 days should be enough.
What are some must-see attractions in Rotterdam?
Rotterdam’s must-see attractions include the Erasmus Bridge, the Rotterdam Zoo, the Cube Houses, and the Maritime Museum. However, many other great attractions exist, so explore the city and see what interests you.
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