Edit 7th of November, 2017: This post was originally written on November 6th, 2015. It has been edited and updated on September 7th, 2017. After returning from our trip of a year and a half, we are still in love with our home town. Therefore, I decided to start a new chapter in Rotterdam with a close friend of mine, and now you can learn more about Rotterdam on our website Weekends in Rotterdam.
Our Home Town Rotterdam
In 2014 The New York Times featured Rotterdam in the 52 Places to Go in 2014 and praised the city for it’s first-class architecture and crowned it as number ten. After that Lonely Planet has placed Rotterdam on number five in the top ten of Best in Travel 2016 for cities. According to Lonely Planet:
“Rotterdam is the future… now. After being bombed to smithereens during WWII, the Netherlands’ second biggest city became a canvas for visionary architects like Rem Koolhaas. The end result is a laboratory of experimental buildings fringed by this historic city’s surviving heritage.”
And later on, in the beginning of 2017, Rotterdam is named coolest city in the Netherlands by Huffington Post. And we agree 100%.
Rotterdam is our home, where we were born and raised. And although we’re going on a world trip, we really love our city – we’re not escaping our homes, just merely exploring what is out there. What can make us more proud than Lonely Planet listing Rotterdam in the top 10 of cities to travel to in 2016?
Lonely Planet about Rotterdam
Lonely Planet states that visiting Rotterdam is a life-changing experience and praise the city for it’s futuristic architecture; it’s proliferation of art and the endless possibilities for wining, dining and enchanting nightlife. They name the recent openings of different buildings, such as the Markthal – an indoor food market- and De Rotterdam, which is the largest building in The Netherlands. Furthermore, they mention the initiative that will be released in 2016; RiF010. Here people can go surfing at an inner-canal. This initiative won in a municipal ‘city initiative’ competition and the profits will be shared into similar projects. Unfortunately it’s 2017 now and there is still no RiF010, due to issues with restrictions with permits and the government.
Things to do in Rotterdam
Lonely Planet is right. Lately Rotterdam has so much more to offer. The city is booming, with new buildings popping up and different projects and initiatives appearing out of nowhere. It’s just great. Lonely Planet already recommends a lot of places you have to visit. Since Rotterdam is our home town, we have some additional recommendations of your visit too.
Explore Rotterdam on a sunny day
During the day you can go shopping in the city center; you can’t miss the Lijnbaan and the Koopgoot. When it’s really nice weather, take a walk at Kralingse Plas, which is a green recreation area in Rotterdam with a beautiful lake, ideal for a picknick too. Another great option is to take a stroll through the Oude Haven. The Oude Haven preserves the oldest part of the Rotterdam harbour; go and take a seat at one of the cafe’s for a drink or check out the Open Lucht Binnenvaart Museum. A personal favorite part of Rotterdam is one of the oldest parts of the city; Delfshaven. Delfshaven was not bombarded during the WWII, making it a historical part of the city with beautiful old buildings and architecture.
There is so much architecture in Rotterdam to explore too. More about that next.
Explore the architecture
Rotterdam really stands out in it’s own country because of the modern architecture. The bombing during WWII swiped away almost the whole city center – forcing the citizens to build up from scratch. This has led to a modern city with endless possibilities.
You can picture Rotterdam as a small version of New York City. The skyline of Rotterdam is amazing and you’ll get the best look at it when you’re standing at the Maasboulevard, which is located along the river the Nieuwe Maas. Especially when the sun is setting or rising you can get the best view here. You can also get a great view from the top of the Euromast, a 185-meter high tower; the highest tower in the Netherlands that is accessible to the public. The Euromast is a great way to see the whole city and is actually a very recognizable in the skyline of Rotterdam.
The central station of Rotterdam is also worth the try. As a tourist you’ll probably visit the central station once during your trip, or maybe even arrive there. Accompanied with the Nationale Nederlanden building with the amazing reflections, the central station looks like a dime. The inside of the central station is also very large and even contains the biggest LED-screen in Europe. When you’re waiting for your train, you can take your time to go for some shopping or to grab something to eat.
Explore art in Rotterdam
Rotterdam has a strong cultural climate, with lots of museums, galleries and street art. The city center alone has dozens of museums with amazing permanent collections and a variety of impressive expositions. As it’s often quite rainy in Rotterdam, visiting a museum would be a great way to spend the day.
Lonely Planet already mentioned the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and the Kunsthal, which are indeed two amazing and large museums. Recently we went to the Keith Haring exposition at the Kunsthal and it was so much fun. Other museums that are worth going are NAI – that transformed itself into a fashion museum for the coming months, Villa Sonneveld, Chabot Museum and Natural History Museum.
Next to the bigger museums, Rotterdam also offers smaller galleries and art. Visit the Witte de Withstraat; here you can find the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Showroom Mama and Nederlands Fotomuseum and much more galleries.
Where to eat in Rotterdam
In Rotterdam you have plenty of choices for restaurants. It’s a very multicultural city, meaning you can get a big variety of cuisines. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, there are enough places to go in Rotterdam. Below we give you some recommendations.
A great place for breakfast is Bazar, located at the Witte de Withstraat. The interior is amazing, with colorful turquoise tables, pretty lamps in different sizes and walls made out of mosaic tiles. The restaurant feels as if you’re in an exotic far away country. If you go there for breakfast, take the Extra Bazar; a grand meal with different breads and spreads, a boiled egg, suçuk, which is a very tasty Turkish sausage, thousand hole crepe and for drinks fresh orange juice and coffee or tea.
Other great places for breakfast are Lilith Coffee, Baker & Moore, Bertmans, Sajoer and New Fork. You can grab lunch at all of these places too!
Bakers and Moore not only offers amazing breakfast, but also excellent lunch. They have sandwiches, slowjuices and a lot of pastries as well. They offer a lot of options for vegan and even have a Healthy Raw High Tea; a high tea without sugar, lactose, gluten and is all raw and vegan. Guilt free snacking!
Other great places for lunch in Rotterdam are Fenix Food Factory, Hotel New York, Dudok and so much more!
Not only is Bazar great for breakfast, they also have amazing meals at night. Just go there at least once. You can also have an amazing dinner at the Euromast which is dinner with a view. Luckily, the food is also very good and the service is always amazing. Be aware that you have to pay for entry at the Euromast, even if you’re going there for dinner. Another great restaurant to go for dinner is Look. The name Look is short for knoflook – garlic in Dutch. Seriously everything there is made with a lot of garlic; even their ice-cream.
Other great places to eat are Spirit, Little V, Restaurant Fred, The Fish Market, Zeezout and so much more!
Where to party in Rotterdam
Witte de Withstraat doesn’t only have a lot of art galleries, this street also offers restaurants (such as the Bazar), lunch rooms, a hostel, places to drink and even clubs. This street basically has everything you are looking for in a citytrip.
Another street that is great if you’re looking for getting some drinks is the Nieuwe Binnenweg. Here you have multiple café’s, such as Rotown; not only is it a place for drinks, it also functions as a pop venue for beginning bands.
At the corner of the Schiestraat you can not only find the Luchtsingel, a bridge that connects Rotterdam North to the center of the city, but also multiple places for snacks, drinks or a night of dancing. Bar, Biergarten and the recently opened pop venue Annabel are all located here.
Where to sleep in Rotterdam
Rotterdam offers a lot of cool accommodations. One of the most popular hostels is King Kong, which was chosen as the best hostel in The Netherlands by Hostelworld. King Kong is located at Witte de Withstraat, so a prime location. At the very same street you can find Bazar, which not only offers great breakfast and dinner, but also functions as a hotel. Think about it; you can sleep at this awesome hotel, and also have the best breakfast in Rotterdam. Other cool hostels to stay at are Hostel ROOM, which is located at the Scheepsvaartkwartier, and Ani & Haakien – located 600 meters from Central Station.
Next to hostels there are also plenty of options of airbnbs and hotels. One of the more popular hotels is definitely the Nhow Hotel, which is located near Blaak. Ideal location too!
Rotterdam has a lot to offer, so be sure to take a city trip to my hometown while we’re gone to Australia. On Instagram more recommendations about Rotterdam will be posted. Let us know in the comments if you have questions about our city. In three weeks we’ll be leaving for Australia without knowing how long we’ll be gone. This post feels like a good way to say goodbye – for now- to our hometown. We’ll be missing you.
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