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10 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Rotterdam 2023

10 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Rotterdam 2023

10 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Rotterdam 2023

This list of the best places to see in Rotterdam will help you plan a day or weekend itinerary through all the sights of the second-largest city in the Netherlands.

Divided by the Meuse River and home to the world’s second-largest port after Singapore, Rotterdam (Dutch: Rotterdam) suffered heavy bombing during World War II that reduced it to rubble. After a few difficult years, it was reborn from its ashes, leaving behind the country’s most traditional architecture, creating avant-garde and sustainable buildings that have made it a model for the future of large metropolises.

Although it is not one of the most beautiful cities we have seen since its old historic center has not been preserved, if you have enough time, it is worth dedicating a day to it, either from Amsterdam or another city as a getaway.
Based on our visit to this city, considered one of the best excursions from Amsterdam, we have made this list of what we believe are the ten essential places to visit in Rotterdam. Let’s start!

1. Rotterdam Central Station

Things to Do in Rotterdam
Things to Do in Rotterdam

Rotterdam Central Station welcomes travelers from Amsterdam or other cities in the country with an innovative design characterized by its angular and sloping glass roof facing the town, on which solar panels have been installed. 

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Inside, made of wood and glass, several shops and elements of the old station have been preserved, such as the clock, the letters of the station, and two granite statues placed on the platform, which you can see from Stationsplein.

2. City Hall, one of the places to see in Rotterdam

The next stop on the route is at the City Hall (Stadhuis), one of the few buildings that were spared from the bombing of World War II and another of the most beautiful places to see in Rotterdam.

This building, built between 1905 and 1912 in neoclassical style, stands out for its façade with a high clock tower of more than 70 meters and a Renaissance-style interior.

To learn more about the history and curiosities of the city, we recommend you book this free tour or a private one, perfect for groups.

3. Cathedral of San Lorenzo

Things to Do in Rotterdam

The Cathedral of Saint Lawrence (Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk) is the only church that remains from medieval times and another of Rotterdam’s jewels.

This church. It was built between 1449 and 1525. It was seriously damaged in a German air raid in 1940, although a magnificent restoration was carried out that returned it to its original state.

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You can visit its austere interior, where its vaulted ceilings stand out, and go up its tall tower from April to September (only on Saturdays) to get a good perspective of the city.

In addition, in the church square is the statue of the most famous citizen of the city, Erasmus of Rotterdam.

4. Markthal

Another of the best things to do in Rotterdam is to eat or drink at the national and international stalls in the Markthal, a spectacular residential and office building with a market below.

Its imposing horseshoe-shaped structure, which is illuminated at dusk, gives way to an interior covered by a large dome decorated with 4,500 pieces with drawings of fruits, flowers, and insects, known as “The Horn of Plenty” and considered the work of More Greatest Work to See in Holland (Netherlands).

Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm.

5. Cube Houses

Things to Do in Rotterdam
Things to Do in Rotterdam

A few meters from the Markthal are the Cube Houses (Kubuswoning), one of the most impressive buildings in Europe and another wonder to see in Rotterdam.

This complex, made up of 32 cubes joined together and rotated 45 degrees, was designed by the Dutch architect Piet Blom to create a small town with houses shaped like trees.

All the houses are inhabited, so a minimum of silence must be observed, and you can even visit one of them to watch how the different rooms inside are organized.

Another excellent option to get to know one of the houses and even spend a night in it is to book a room at the Stayokay Hostel Rotterdam, a unique hostel worldwide.

We were visiting hours: every day from 11 am to 5 pm.

6. Old Port of Rotterdam

Going down some stairs located behind the Cube Houses, you will arrive directly at the Old Port of Rotterdam (Oudehaven), which only has a few recreational sailing boats since all maritime activity is concentrated in the modern and huge Europoort.

While walking along the shore, you will come across the Witte Huis (White House), a beautiful modernist building with a white facade, considered the first skyscraper in Europe, only 43 meters high.

If you are interested in sailing, you can walk to the Maritime Museum in a few minutes, which has one of the complete naval collections in the world with thousands of objects, such as beautiful ship models.

Museum visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

7. Cross several bridges, one of the things to do in Rotterdam

Starting from the Old Port, you can begin a walking route by crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, a 318-meter-long red bridge that will take you to Noordereilandl Island, with fantastic views of the Meuse River.

To leave the island, you can cross the Koninginnebrug, which overlooks the historic De Hef bridge (Koningshavnbrug), a railway bridge with two 60-meter towers that raise the tracks to allow ships to pass and that connects with the Feijenoord neighborhood.

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Continuing along the riverbank, you will be in front of De Rotterdam in a few minutes, one of the most spectacular buildings to see in Rotterdam, conceived as a vertical city. The historic Hotel New York, where you can try typical Dutch dishes on its terrace, or go to the Fenix ​​Food Factory, an old warehouse converted into a gastronomic space with fresh and healthy products.

8. Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum

Things to Do in Rotterdam
Things to Do in Rotterdam

After crossing the vast Erasmusbrug, you can go to the lively Witte de Withstraat street to have a drink on a terrace and then continue the route through Rotterdam in one day to the Boijmans Van Beuningen.

This art museum, the most important to visit in Rotterdam, houses an extensive collection that ranges from medieval European art to modern art with works by great masters such as Van Gogh, Rubens, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, or Dalí.

Next to this museum is the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the first art store accessible to the public, which amazes with its mirror-filled façade culminating in a terrace overlooking the city.

We were visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.

9. Euromast

Crossing the pleasant Museumpark and Het Park, which has a curious Norwegian church, you will reach the Euromast tower, the tallest building in the Netherlands and the best viewpoint in Rotterdam.

After paying the 12 euros that the entrance costs, you will go up in a fast elevator to an open-air platform located 100 meters high, and then take the Euroscoop panoramic elevator that will take you to the top of the antenna (185 meters) where you will enjoy even more spectacular views.

When you get off the viewpoint, you can book this boat ride or this other one that takes you to the vast new port of Rotterdam.

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We were visiting hours: every day from 9:30 am to 10 pm.

10. Delfshaven

To finish this list of important places to see in Rotterdam, we suggest you go to Delfshaven to get an idea of ​​how beautiful the city was before the bombings.

Delfshaven is a small port where typical Dutch architecture has been preserved with several points of interest, such as the old De Distilleerketel grain mill and the Pelgrimvaderskerk church, where pilgrims used to gather before crossing the ocean to America.

Finally, you can drink on a terrace or try the authentic Rotterdam beer in the historic Stadsbrouwerij De Pelgrim brewery.

If you are not going to stay in Rotterdam, you can walk back to the station through the pleasant Heemraadspark park bordering its canal, an area that we assure you is another of the city’s jewels.

Is Rotterdam worth visiting?

Rotterdam’s history means that visiting the city is very different to visiting Amsterdam, so if you have the time for a day trip to Rotterdam, it’s absolutely worth the effort to see the city. If you have a few days to explore, Rotterdam makes a great base for exploring the south of the Netherlands.

How do I spend a day in Rotterdam?

Suggestions for how to spend one day in Rotterdam

  1. Marvel at the views from the Euromast.
  2. Museumpark.
  3. Explore Delfshaven.
  4. Eat lunch at Markthal.
  5. Visit Rotterdam Cathedral.
  6. See the Cube Houses.
  7. Visit the Oude Haven.
  8. See the view from Erasmus bridge.

Is it better to visit Amsterdam or Rotterdam?

Rotterdam has a distinct city vibe while Amsterdam is more of a town. Amsterdam has centuries-old architecture, coffee-shops and liberal attitude to life and Rotterdam has striking modern architecture, world-class dining and a very cool, laid back feel. While Amsterdam has a big port, Rotterdam’s port is huge!

Is one day enough for Rotterdam?

Rotterdam in One Day is Worth It!

In Rotterdam, you will have the best Dutch experience that is far different from other major cities in the Netherlands. Therefore, don’t pass up the chance to explore the city even for a day—it will all be worth it!

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