Rotterdam is the second‑largest city in the Netherlands and home to Europe’s largest port. Large parts of the old city were completely destroyed by World War II bombing and had to be rebuilt from the ground up. But as a result, some funky, eye‑catching architecture now adorns Rotterdam’s skyline. To make sure you make the most of your stay in Rotterdam, we have created the perfect guide for a day out in the city.
For our first stop, take a trip back in time! As a former flagship of the Holland‑America Line and luxury cruise liner, the SS Rotterdam has sailed many oceans since 1959. In her heyday, she welcomed European royalty and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra. After years of sailing, the ship is now permanently moored in Rotterdam’s Maashaven and serving as a hotel. A one‑hour audio tour of the ship will take you behind the scenes in the charts room, bridge, and captain’s cabin.
This food market is located in an old harbour shed, a heaven on earth for the foodies amongst us, and the prefect starting point for the rest of our cultured‑filled day! The Fenix Food Factory is ideal for doing your groceries, learning how products are made, or sampling artisanal flavours from local vendors. Some of our favourites include Jordy’s freshly baked bread, Stielman’s brewed coffee, and Booij’s artisanal farm cheese. Choose a seat inside or on the outdoor terrace and enjoy!
Visit the former Holland‑America Line headquarters in Hotel New York. For decades, this distinctive Art Nouveau structure was the departure point for many Dutch people heading to the United States. Over half a million left their homes in search of a better life overseas. It is now a hotel and culinary hotspot, and a must‑see during your stay in Rotterdam!
It’s impossible to miss the next stop on our itinerary. As a matter of fact, you might even be able to see it from your apartment! The Erasmus bridge, nicknamed “the Swan” due to its massive upright mast, is the second‑longest bridge in the Netherlands. The striking structure connects the northern and southern parts of the city and was designed to allow even large ships to pass underneath it.
I know what you’re thinking; isn’t the white house in the United States? Well not this one! Built in 1898, this 43‑meter‑tall building was, at the time, considered Europe’s first skyscraper. The architect was inspired by Manhattan’s skyscrapers when he designed the art‑nouveau style structure, which was originally intended to be used as office space. Unfortunately, Rotterdam’s white house is not open to the public, but we can still stop for a quick coffee at Grand Café on the first floor.
After a well‑deserved break, we make our way to the row of cube houses that are one of city’s most unique landmarks. The cubes are angled at 45 degrees, with three sides facing the ground and three facing the sky. Curious what these houses look and feel like on the inside? All except two are inhabited, but lucky for us, one of them has been turned into a show house, complete with entrance hall, living room, kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom.
Inside this 40‑meter‑high horseshoe‑shaped market, you can find an array of food stalls, restaurants and shops. This spot is ideal for a quick lunch, serving everything from traditional Dutch dishes to cuisines from around the world. More than 200 residential apartments and offices are hidden within the structure’s walls. As you look up, the artwork depicting fish, fruits, and flowers is hard to miss. The ‘Horn of Plenty’ is the largest artwork in the world, so another thing to tick of your bucket list!
Next, make your way down this lively street to get a taste of the city’s art scene. Rotterdam has some of the coolest street art, and while you can find pieces all over the city, the Witte de Withstraat has a slew of wall murals. Several contemporary art museums and galleries, including the Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, are also located along this street.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Amsterdam of Rotterdam’, Delfshaven is one of the few neighbourhoods that was spared from destruction during WWII. Hence it is a great place to see what Rotterdam looked like before the war. Walking through Delfshaven’s historic centre is the best way to discover all the beautiful sights this neighbourhood has to offer. Don’t miss “The Pilgrim” brewery in a building dating back to 1580. You can taste a Pilgrim beer right here, but also enjoy it at various catering establishments across Rotterdam.
Rotterdam is not only home to the Netherlands’ second‑longest bridge, but also the country’s highest building. With its 185 metres, the Euromast is the perfect place to get a bird’s‑eye view of the city. You can purchase tickets for the viewing platform, but there is also a restaurant where you can enjoy delicious and surprising dishes. The brasserie is open for lunch, brunch and dinner, but they also offer high tea – as well as high beer and wines 🤗