Rotterdam hosts the largest port in Europe. Although it’s a very old city, dating back to 1270, you can barely notice its history mainly because it was bombarded in the WW2. Rotterdam has risen like a Phoenix from its ashes and it has become a centre for innovation and creativity. Take a stroll through the large boulevards and observe the funky architecture of the buildings, but first let’s check in to the hotel!
Where to stay overnight?
Are you budget constrained? If not and you are also a technology freak, citizenM is a very funky place! CitizenM is a refreshing hotel in tone with the spirit of this city. It is located near the historical Oude Haven, offering stunning views and easy access to the main attractions in Rotterdam. The high point of this hotel is the fact that you can control everything in the room from temperature to lights with an iPad. I definitely enjoyed the colored lights in the shower and the wide selections of movies on the tv.
What to see?
- Cube houses
38 cube houses were designed by the architect Piet Blom in 1977. The purpose was to create a high-density housing with optimised space inside. He considered each house a tree and the whole complex of buildings- a forest.
You can see the inside of the house because one of them is opened to visitors. The Kijkkubus is available every day from 11 to 17 and the price of €2.5.
Address: Overblaak Street, next to the Blaak Subway Station.
2. The market hall
The market was opened in 2014 and since then has attracted many tourists. Its uniqueness lies in its horseshoe building architecture and in its large paintings that illustrate colorful fruits and vegetables. It is a great place to shop for some goodies or just grab a bite and go to your next item on your list. I live to eat, so I tried dutch pancakes, Thai food, had a taste on those delicious spices all over the world, tasted some cheese… oh well a gourmand is always a gourmand!
The entry is free and the opening time is between 10.00 and 20.00.
Address: Dominee Jan Scharpstraat 298, next to Blaak Station.
3. The Old Harbour (Oude Haven) and Marine Museum
Built in the 14th century, the Old Harbour is now the soul of Rotterdam. Locals usually fill the pubs, bars, and outdoor terraces, drinking and dancing until the morning. Come by day and see the historic ships docked, spot the contrast between the original cube houses and the oldest building in Rotterdam that surround the harbor. But also do come by night as well and blend in with the locals.
Address: Blaak Subway Station.
4. Lawrence Church (Sint-Laurenskerk)
The church was built between 1449 and 1525 and is the only Gothic style surviving building in Rotterdam. It suffered great damage during the WW2 and it had to be rebuilt. Get your camera, climb its 65 metres tower and take some photos of Rotterdam from above!
Opening times: Tuesday- Saturday: 11.00 – 17.00
Address: Grotekerkplein 15, near Blaak Subway Station.
5. Erasmus bridge
This is the longest suspension bridge in the world and also the tallest in the Netherlands. Its main duty is to span the River Nieuwe Maas and connect the northern and southern parts of Rotterdam. The Erasmus bridge was designed by architect Ben van Erkel and opened to the public in 1996. The suspension bridge has a 139-metre high steel pylon, which is secured with 40 cables. Due to its asymmetrical shape, the locals have nicknamed it “The Swan” (De Zwaan).
Make sure to either bike or ride a scooter to reach this beautiful village, registered in the UNESCO heritage. You could take the waterbus from Rotterdam, but it won’t be as authentic as riding a bike and seeing the Dutch countryside. The trip is definitely worth it and is a must-see in the whole Netherlands. 19 windmills? Checked! Boat cruises? Checked! I was lucky enough to go on a sunny day. It was warm, the sky was blue with puffy clouds. It’s definitely a place where you can hide among the reed and notice the old windmills and the lazy boats passing.
Distance from Rotterdam: 15 km.
Tip: Be careful though, the Italian Vespa’s don’t go faster than 30 km per hour! Fear not, you won’t be competing with cars, from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk there’a beautifully separated bicycle lane. Your lung will be safe!