To conclude my Rotterdam blog post series I thought we’d have a little chat about Rotterdam in general and if it really is worth a visit. I know many of you immediately think of Amsterdam when someone mentions the Netherlands. But to tell you the truth, there are so many other beautiful parts of the country. And Rotterdam might be something for you too!
All the street art
The Rotterdam city centre doesn’t really have that ‘picturesque city feel’ like some other Dutch cities have. But it has so many other things to offer. Street art is big in Rotterdam! It gives a more colourful and unique look to an otherwise pretty industrial looking city. We absolutely loved walking around and discovering the beautiful graffiti and street art everywhere.
There also is a street art route which you can follow by using an app. But I don’t think an app is necessary, we just stumbled upon most pieces by accident. And each and everyone of them was a nice surprise along our usual route. There is just something about getting lost in a beautiful city you’ve never been before!
More info about the street art in Rotterdam here (amazing blog post by The Hostel Girl).
The perfect city to discover by bike!
The Dutch love their bicycles. I’m from Belgium and we love our bikes here too but it’s nothing compared to Holland! The bicycle tracks are absolutely divine compared to most I’m used to. So on our second day in Rotterdam we decided to rent a bike for a day and cycle around town.
We rented our bike from our hotel (which was, if I remember correctly, 16 euros for a day) but there are plenty of places to rent a bike if your hotel/hostel doesn’t offer any. I’d recommend asking at your hotel/hostel or just ask a local on the street for places to rent one!
A city of Architectural contrasts
Rotterdam isn’t your typical picturesque Dutch city but it certainly has some unique architectural masterpieces. The Cube Houses are a great example of the architectural contrast in the city. Close to the Old Harbour and the Markthal you’ll find these unique yellow and white buildings. Most of them are apartments for locals but one’s a hostel and another one is a tiny showroom if you want to see how a Cube House looks on the inside (this isn’t free though).
Be sure to visit the Old Harbour and maybe have a little drink on one of the cafe terraces there. Next definitely have a look at the waterfront of Rotterdam with its 2 cable bridges, the Willems bridge and the Erasmus bridge. You can also visit the Euromast, an observation tower, restaurant and hotel. However, we didn’t end up visiting as it was a little pricey just to have that view in our opinion.
If you’re not too tired after a long day of exploring, I’d highly recommend visiting this area in the evening. It’s absolutely beautiful when it’s dark outside and all the streetlights are lit!
Still really fancy that ‘Amsterdam look and feel’? If you’re still longing for the cute, little picturesque houses, I suggest you visit Delfshaven, another borough of Rotterdam. We also did this part by bike and it didn’t disappoint. We got to see a different style of architecture and it definitely made us see the whole of Rotterdam in an even more positive light! It’s a more calm part of the city. A great alternative if you’ve grown tired of the hustle and bustle that comes with the city centre of Rotterdam!
Foodies, Rotterdam is the place for you!
Let’s just have a quick little chat about the food. Since I already talked about it in a previous post, I won’t spend too much time talking about it now. But I would definitely recommend visiting Rotterdam if you are a bit of a foodie. There are so many affordable places to taste all different kinds of food. And not just your typical Dutch food but food from all over the world. There are Italian, Asian, Spanish, Moroccan restaurants and many more to choose from!
Shopping wise too, it’s definitely worth visiting! There are a bunch of nice concept stores with unique homeware and clothing bits. I loved: Plek, Pantoefle, Inconcept, Keet Rotterdam,… . But if you fancy more of a normal shopping experience with popular chain stores, there’s definitely plenty of those there too (De Bijenkorf, H&M, Hema, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Mango,…).
So… Is Rotterdam worth a visit?
Without a doubt, it’s a 100% yes for me! I would love to go back and discover more parts of this vibrant city! When I think of the Netherlands, Rotterdam isn’t the first image that comes to mind but oh boy, it definitely should be. I can see the city becoming increasingly popular for tourists in the next few years so I would recommend visiting sooner rather than later if you want to beat the masses.
It is also worth mentioning that Rotterdam is easy to reach even if you don’t live in Belgium like we do. You can take the Thalys (it stops in Rotterdam) or take a plane and arrive at The Hague – Rotterdam Airport (and then take the train to Rotterdam Central). Once you’re in the city centre you don’t need a car as Rotterdam is explored best by walking or on a bike. There are trams and buses too, if that’s more your cup of tea.
I really hope you do consider Rotterdam for your next little weekend getaway!
What do you think? Is Rotterdam worth a visit?