Only a short flight and a hop on the train away from London, Rotterdam is definitely a place you should visit when you are in this Dutch country.
As Europe’s largest port, Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed in the second world war but today, it’s a sea of varied architectural delights that also see skyscrapers rising high, an uncommon occurrence in the Netherlands. That’s just one of the reasons why you should visit Rotterdam.
Looking through the many photos I took in this quirky, eccentric and charming city during my wanders over one late Summer weekend, I realised that each photo I took was in its own showcasing you and I a reason why you should visit Rotterdam. Here’s the best of them. For this I give you 28 reasons.
1. ‘The Gateway of Europe’
You couldn’t get any more of a grander statement than that, right? Thanks to the city’s perfect placement on the European coast distributing our roads, canals, seaways and waterway access to the industrialised heartland of Western Europe, it comes to no surprise that Rotterdam is indeed the gateway to Europe. Thinking of heading on a trip around Europe? Start in Rotterdam.
2. Rotterdam Centraal Station
Rotterdam Centraal is easily my favourite building in the city. Even with an array of delightful modern architecture that waits for you in Rotterdam, I just had to stop and stare at this unique and eye-catching wonder that propels you to take in its mighty beauty. Rotterdam Centraal was built to be a part of a major network to cope with the increasing number of trains going between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, before then, there used to be four small stations dotted around the city. Opened in just 2014, replacing the old Centraal Station, you can see how successful and endearing it is to the public.
3. Unique Architecture
Rotterdam has a reputation for attracting the most zany architects around. After all, it’s their playground. Instead of keeping your eyes peeled on the ground or in front of you, test your neck muscles and stare high above at the colourful and angular buildings that compete for attention. Would you live in one of them or are you an old-fashioned kinda person?
4. Rotterdam is one hour flight away…
Flying with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from London Heathrow will see you take a short flight of only one hour and 10 minutes to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport before jumping aboard a 25 minute train journey to the city. So looking for a weekend away? Rotterdam will be there for you to play!
See More: 24 Top Things to do in Schiphol Airport
5. Because Rexy says so…
So I went to Rotterdam. If I went there, therefore you should. End of.
6. Unmissable Views
Don’t forget to bring a camera with you as you’ll certainly be snapping away in this European City of the Year 2015. The best place to snap those precious views is definitely upon Erasmus Bridge where you will be able to see the skyline of Rotterdam in all of its glory.
7. Urban Street Art
Architecture is not the only artist’s dream in Rotterdam, oh no, it’s accompanied with graffiti artists too. Wherever you go in the city whether off the main streets or along the promenades, your eyes will spot unique pieces of street art that signifies the best of Rotterdam. As you can see, this is all about the Rotterdam Blaak Station, which is one of the metro city lines.
8. Gouda, Gouda, and MORE Gouda
Hands up if you love Gouda cheese? Me too. Actually I have all four legs up in the air and my bottom. I just LOVE Cheese (especially with wine) and you can buy a good deal for them in the strange Rotterdam Markthal (Market Hall) in a variety of flavours. I recommend the Herbs and Garlic one that had me groaning out loud in pleasure. But don’t buy all of them in the first day as your luggage will get smelly, so much so, that it out-stinks your traveller’s feet.
9. Green Spaces
For me, a city isn’t a city unless it has green spaces for its urban residents to chill out and relax in.The Museumpark is a great way to let your intellectual juices flow as you wander through this breathing space before popping into the many museums that Rotterdam has to offer. Why not check out the exclusive Kunsthal and see the many quirky exhibitions on display?
10. Fast and cheap public transport
Rotterdam is a huge city let me tell you. I tried to go all the grand walking tour supplied by Rotterdam.info tourism board and it took the whole day to wander. To the point when I realised many sightseeing opportunities could have been achieved faster with the very frequent tram and metro lines that run through the city. And guess what? It’s cheap too!
11. Beer next to the Marina
Stop by Rotterdam harbour at lunchtime on a Saturday for the perfect beer break. With many bars and restaurants lining the harbour, simply take a pew at one of the spacious terraces and watch marina life go lazily by.
12. Stay at King Kong Hostel
This luxury hostel deep in the heart of Cool District (It’s pretty cool, I must tell you), only a quick seven minutes away on the tram from Rotterdam Centraal Station to this buzzing nightlife of a place in Rotterdam. King Kong Hostel offers amazing disco-like private rooms (with en suite bathroom) that you can stay in comfy style or small six-bed dorm rooms. Don’t forget to check out their social areas in their film room, a self-catering kitchen and help yourself to free posh coffee. But I heartily recommend that you sample their cooked egg breakfasts made by extremely friendly staff.
13. Abseil down from the Euromast
Looking for adrenaline? The Euromast is your best bet in Rotterdam by abseiling from 101m high at the top down to the grass below. This observation tower, a listed monument since 2010, is also a great spot to sightsee the city’s skyline from their ‘crow’s nest’ platform and you can even go for a sit down meal too!
14. Chill out with Erasmus
No, it’s not this handsome creature who’s posing in a silly pair of sunglasses, it’s the funky looking statue behind me. Erasmus is the famous Dutch Renaissance humanist who was also a classic scholar in the 15th and 16th Century. And what’s more, he’s a Rotterdam local! Many places in this city is dedicated to him including this statue and the bridge.
15. The Curious Cubic Houses of Rotterdam
Need the ultimate architecture to make you think ‘What the hell?!’ Enter the yellow Cube Houses. Based as a concept of ‘living as an urban roof’, the architect, Blom, tilted the cube of a conventional house by 45 degrees and rested it upon a hexagon shaped pylon. Weird, huh? If you want to see more for yourself, there is a show home so you can find out what it’s like to live in one.
16. Rotterdam is only 27 minutes away from Amsterdam
Take the Intercity Direct train line from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and you’ll be in the second biggest Amsterdam city in no time. Perfect for a weekend getaway. What’s more, Rotterdam is well placed to visit a range of European destinations including Breda, Brussels, Paris, Lille and more if you ever want to extend your weekend break.
17. Beer, Beer, Beer
Don’t forget to try our Heineken when you are in the Netherlands, but still try out the multitude of local beers on display and waiting for lips to touch them as you party in Rotterdam. Head into one of the many quaint and quirky small time local bars in the Cool District and you’ll soon be rubbing elbows with the locals.
18. Rotterdam has Canals too!
Like Bruges, Ghent and Amsterdam, Rotterdam also has an extensive canal system too. Simply hire a boat to take you up and down all the hidden corners that you’ll never see if you’re walking around.
See More: 33 reasons why Ghent is beautiful
19. Gorge out on Waffles
Uh-oh, you’ll probably have to make room in your suitcase to take back home as many waffles as you can – particularly stroopwafels. But be prepared to also make room in your stomach as you’ll be eating your body weight in them too. Best place to get a deal, try out the Markthal.
20. Find Food Heaven in Markthal
Nestled in this tunnel like dome is the Markthal (Market Hall) where you will find all Dutch delicacies displayed here. Ranging from scrumptious seafood to mouth-watering waffles and to sweet pastries, take a good hour or two sampling them all ready to rejuvenate you for your sightseeing later.
21. Wake up and smell the flowers
The Netherlands is famous for its ‘blumen’ (flowers) and more so for its tulips that started off stock trading in Europe. But Rotterdam has a huge range of flower displays around the city and what better than to sniff all the flowers with their petals around your noses to entice you for your day ahead after breakfast?
22. Discover Old Architecture
I did say the Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. But I said almost. You can still find old buildings still standing that offers a relief for familiarity after sightseeing all of the post-modern architecture. My personal favourite was the old Telegrafie that is now closed but still used for private parties.
23. Love the City Hall
There’s an old beautiful building in Rotterdam and don’t the city know it! It’s the City Hall that stands proud in the city square.
24. Use Rotterdam.Info to plan your stay
The Rotterdam City Tourism Board (or Rotterdam.info to you and I) will help you plan your stay. Whether you want to enquire about sightseeing activities, sports, shopping or even festivals, the staff will help you out. You can find one of their many offices around the city.
25. Getting a good deal with KLM
With nine flights a day from London Heathrow to Amsterdam Schiphol airport, you can get a fantastic deal of £95 per flight with taxes and surcharges included. I totally found it to be worth it as you’ll get a relaxing experience, less hassle of sorting out your booking and great customer service. What are you waiting for? Get booking on that trip to Amsterdam/Rotterdam here: Flights to Amsterdam
26. Taking a walk over the Erasmus Bridge
I challenge you to walk over the Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge) when you are in Rotterdam. This combined 802m long cable-stayed and bascule bridge connects the north and south parts of the city over the New Meuse (a distributary of the River Rhine). If you look closer, the bridge resembles a swan of which the bridge is nicknamed for as you can see an asymmetrical white pylon with a dominant horizontal base. Officially opened by Queen Beatrix in 1996, it’s a great architectural triumphant installation that I absolutely loved walking across. Or perhaps you can even cycle across?
27. Rotterdam is LGBT Friendly
During my stay in Rotterdam, I discovered the Rotterdam Pride was on. But the city wanted everyone to know it like this rainbow coloured pedestrian walk. Also during the day, there was a festival at ‘Pride Plein’ where you connect and find out more about LGBT events. I stumbled across a Yoga class that was happening first thing on Saturday morning when I was taking the Rotterdam Walking Tour. It all looked fun and it wasn’t until later that evening how much Rotterdam embraced the city.
28. Rotterdam loves live music
On Saturday evening, Rotterdam Pride was in full swing and I went with people from King Kong Hostel to check out the live acts. The Dutch people absolutely love dancing as they would grab anyone next to them to boogie with them on the streets. It was rather a camp affair as they sang songs from the 90s but my favourite music has to be the Dutch spoken ones. Why? You could see the emotion behind them and be transported through the history of The Netherlands.
So are you convinced to go to Rotterdam? Flights leave regularly from London Heathrow to Amsterdam and it’s only a 27 minute train ride from Amsterdam Schiphol to Rotterdam. If you need to find out more information about how to get to Rotterdam and its many delights, why not check out flights with KLM?
For sightseeing activities, check out Rotterdam.Info here.