9 must-do things to do in Rotterdam

Visiting Rotterdam: what are the best things to do and see in this avant-garde city, the jewel of the Netherlands?

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands. Founded in the 12th century, the Dutch port city boasts one of the world’s largest harbors, and is renowned for its modern, avant-garde architecture, as well as its historical and cultural treasures. The city’s resolutely modern appearance is simply fascinating. Wondering what to do in Rotterdam? Here’s the answer:

For your visit to Rotterdam, remember to book your Rotterdam Pass, which gives you access to public transport and discounts at over 50 attractions in the city.

1. The Kijk-Kubus, or Cube House

Kijk-Kubus, maison cube, Rotterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – YELLOW Mao

A must-see if you’re visiting Rotterdam, are the famous cube houses! Their creator, Piet Blom, wanted each house to represent a tree, and the whole development a forest. Intriguing and fascinating from the outside, these unusual-looking houses are bound to arouse curiosity. One of them is reserved for the public, and you can visit it. You’ll be able to admire the architect’s prowess!

2. Euromast

A visit to Rotterdam also means a detour to the famous Euromast. This incredible tower, designed and built by Hugh Maaskant in the 60s, will impress you with its height (just under two hundred meters with a diameter of nine meters). It was originally built to host the Floriade, an international flower show. If you climb to the top, in addition to breathtaking views of the city, and even The Hague and Antwerp in Belgium, you can also enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant, perched 120 meters above ground.

3. Erasmus Bridge

And don’t miss the Erasmus Bridge. And if there’s a time of day we’d recommend, it’s certainly at night, to take in all the splendor of the buildings’ subdued lights. You’ll notice that this 800-meter bridge is reminiscent of a swan. It is located on the new Meuse and links the two parts of Rotterdam.

4. The Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk, Rotterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Alex DROP

It’s impossible to miss the sight described as one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Netherlands: the village of Kinderdijk. Located just twenty kilometers from Rotterdam, this charming village is accessible by bike. You’ll be able to appreciate the particularly rustic charm of the twenty windmills that seem to adorn the place, and which were built in 1740. Note that you can visit the windmills of Kinderdijk by boat from Rotterdam.

5. The Delfshaven district

Delfshaven, Rotterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – JeHu68

This is surely THE most beautiful district in Rotterdam. It would be a shame to visit Rotterdam without taking a stroll through this very pleasant district. It’s the part of town that most closely reflects the image of the Netherlands: canals, boats, windmills and houses built in the traditional style. Visit Voorhaven or Achterhaven, some of the most beautiful streets in the district!

6. The city’s museums

Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Hans Splinter

Are you a culture lover wondering what to do in Rotterdam? The World Museum (Wereldmuseum) is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Here, you’ll find a mind-boggling collection of exhibits from the world’s different cultures. If you’re a lover of art and culture, your stay in Rotterdam will be the perfect opportunity to admire beautiful works by illustrious artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet and Magritte. Visit the city’s largest museum, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Dedicated to painting and sculpture from the mid-18th century to the present day, it’s a must-see. As for the Maritime Museum, the oldest in the Netherlands, it will appeal to lovers of ship models, drawings, maps, paintings… Over 500,000 maritime objects are on display. Finally, to discover the city’s history, visit the Schielandhuis Historical Museum, which traces the key moments that shaped the city and its inhabitants.

7. Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp

Zoo Blijdorp, Rotterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Frans de Wit

If you’re traveling with the family, be sure to visit Zoo Blijdorp, undoubtedly one of Europe’s finest zoos. Here you’ll discover wild animals in their natural habitats, as well as beautifully realized landscapes from the African savannah to the Amazon jungle, not forgetting underwater landscapes such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

8. Cruise on a bateau-mouche

A visit to Rotterdam also means a visit to its landmarks! A great way to admire the city’s must-sees and enjoy all its beauty is from the water. What could be better than a harbor cruise on a bateau-mouche? Find out more about cruises in Rotterdam and its harbor.

9. Entertainment in Rotterdam

Not only does Rotterdam boast an outstanding architectural heritage, it’s also a dream destination for travelers in search of entertainment. With almost 500 performances a year, the Rotterdamse Schouwburg is the ideal place to enjoy a dance performance ranging from ballet to contemporary dance. Several local and international companies perform here. These include Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. At the Luxor Theatre, a number of successful productions are on show. Depending on your tastes, you can choose between musicals, opera, theater and much more, all in elegant surroundings.

How to get to Rotterdam

To get to Rotterdam, you can choose between train and plane! Rotterdam is linked to Paris Nord several times a day by Thalys in 2 hours 36 minutes, and many flights from Paris or the provinces fly into Rotterdam-The Hague airport. If you’d like to get there by plane, you’ll find a cheap flight on the website of our partner Ulysse.

Where to stay in Rotterdam?

If you choose to visit Rotterdam, there are several neighborhoods to choose from! Rotterdam is divided into six distinct districts: The Triangle, the original center of Rotterdam; Kralingen, perfect for a dose of nature; Noordereiland, a small island in the middle of the Meuse; South Bank, the chic district; and West, the more popular district. Accommodation is fairly easy in this city, which boasts a large number of youth hostels and hotels, and you can find a cheap hotel in Rotterdam by searching on this hotel comparator.

Enjoy an exceptional stay in Rotterdam, discovering the country’s artistic, historical and cultural sights, as well as the authentic atmosphere of a young and dynamic city. So, you’re still wondering what to do in Rotterdam?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Rotterdam,nl