Things to do in Rotterdam + Day Trips

Rotterdam is a city in The Netherlands with the largest port in Europe.  Here are a few things to do in Rotterdam;

  • Euromast
  • Wilhelminapier
  • Cube houses
  • The White House
  • Erasmusbrug Bridge
  • Church of St Lawrence
  • Rotterdam Zoo and Rotterdam Oceanium
  • Mini World, Rotterdam
  • Day trip to The Hague, Kinderdijk, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Gouda

You’ll find that hotels in Rotterdam are extremely good value.  For this reason, you may consider staying here and making day trips to other places in the country.


Things to do in Rotterdam - Euromast

For views of the city you must ascend the Euromast.  I must confess I did not take the trip to the top of the Euromast as on the day I visited, the Euromast itself was hardly visible, never mind the views from up there!  I do recommend a walk out to Euromast as you will see lots of the busy port as well as the boats passing through it.  Weather permitting, the view from the top gives wonderful views over the largest port in Europe.


Things to do in Rotterdam - De Rotterdam Building

The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in the whole of Europe and used to be the world’s busiest port from 1962 to 2004.  On Wilhelminapier there is a famous hotel called Hotel New York which used to be the headquarters of Holland and America line.  Back in the day, this is where Europeans left to America in search for a better life.  Nowadays however, it seems that The Netherlands offers a better way of life than America!  Additionally, you’ll find the Netherlands Photo Museum close to the Hotel New York.  Another important building on Wilhelminapier is the De Rotterdam which is the largest building in The Netherlands.  If you wish, you can visit the bar at the nHow hotel which is part of the huge De Rotterdam complex.

Cube Houses

Things to do in Rotterdam - Cube Houses

The Cube Houses have become a famous landmark in Rotterdam but what are they?  For starters, they’re an Instagram worthy building but that’s not why they were created.  They were designed to maximise the amount of living space.  Other than being spacious, they are considered modern art.  It’s said, each house is a tree which together make a forest.

White House of Rotterdam

Things to do in Rotterdam - White House

The White House was the first high rise building in Europe.  It is in fact well over 100 years old.  The building survived German bombings during World War II and you can still see bullet holes in it today.  Lastly, it’s possible to visit the interior as there is a restaurant inside.

Central Rotterdam

Things to do in Rotterdam - Central Rotterdam

From central Rotterdam, it’s possible to walk to the things to do in Rotterdam including the Cube House, White House, Laurenskerk, World Trade Center, museums, bars and restaurants.  Alternatively, you can get around the city by the underground Metro.  For the adventurous visitors, you could try the Splash Tour.  The Splash Tour is a typical bus tour but during the tour the bus transforms into a boat and it becomes a riverboat cruise.  As a matter of fact, I’d compare the Splash Tour to something out of a James Bond movie!

Waffles and Chips

Like it’s neighbor Belgium, the food of choice are waffles or chips.   In fact, you’ll see huge kiosks which exclusively sell chips!  There are not many countries where you can enjoy delicious local food such as the waffles knowing once you go home, there will be no more.  The question is, with all this unhealthy food, how do these guys not have an obesity probably?  Most people travel by push bike, even during bad weather you’ll see lots of people traveling by bike.

Erasmusbrug Bridge

Things to do in Rotterdam - Erasmusbrug Bridge
Connecting Rotterdam to Wilhelminapier is the Erasmusbrug Bridge which is a landmark in itself.  On a clear day I’d recommend crossing the bridge on foot, on a day like the one pictured above when you can barely see the bridge I’d recommend taking the Rotterdam Metro over.

Church of St Lawrence

Rotterdam is famous for its modern buildings such as Cube House and the Train Station.  Therefore it’s interesting to see a Gothic style church in the mix.  The church is very close to the Cube Houses, as a result you can visit these 2 locations together.  It’s an interesting comparison, modern living in comparison with a Gothic style church.

Rotterdam Zoo and Oceanarium

Rotterdam is home to a zoo as well as an Oceanarium.  If you’re visiting with kids, I’m sure they will insist on visiting this attractions.  Visit the Rotterdam Zoo official site for the latest animal shows and events.  The good news is the zoo is a short walk from central Rotterdam.


Things to do in Rotterdam - Waterbus

There are lots of rivers and canals in Rotterdam, as you’d expect in the largest port in Europe.  Rotterdam is well connected by train and bus but they also make excellent use of their waterways too.  As a matter of fact, there are regular water buses leaving to nearby towns and you’ll see various water bus stops from where you can catch a waterbus from.  You may consider taking the waterbus to the UNESCO site of Kinderdijk which is where you’ll find those Dutch windmills the country is famous for.

Rotterdam Train Station

Things to do in Rotterdam - Train Station

It’s not often you visit a city which has a train station as its top landmark.  If you do, it’s usually a historic train station, like the one in Varna, Bulgaria for example.  Nonetheless, the top Instagram worthy spot in Rotterdam is the brand new central train station.  Not only is this a picturesque spot but also an efficient train service to make day trips all over Holland.

Day Trip to Kinderdijk

Things to do in Rotterdam - Kinderdijk, Netherlands

Kinderdijk is a UNESCO world heritage site full of what everybody expects to see in The Netherlands, windmills.  There are a total of 19 working windmills from the 18th century at Kinderdijk.  At the site you’re welcome to walk around photographing the windmills.  If you are really interested in how they work you can also take a windmill tour.  Additionally, you can also take a boat ride through the windmills but it’s not really necessary as it’s a short distance.  Because much of the Netherlands is below sea level these windmills are necessary to manage the water levels and prevent flooding.  I would recommend visiting here on a clear day (if possible) for sunset.  As a result, the photos would be so colourful and if the water was still there’d be a beautiful reflection.  On the day I visited, unfortunately I experienced terrible weather!

How to get to Kinderdijk from Rotterdam

Water buses leave from Rotterdam Veer Erasmusbrug Station in central Rotterdam.  It’s much more fun taking a boat in Rotterdam than a bus so I decided to take the water bus.  The water bus was not direct but the change is easy as people are very friendly, speak English and want to help you.  To return, I took a bus from I took a direct bus back to Rotterdam from the bus stop at Kinderdijk which cost €4.

Day Trip to Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague or Gouda

Day trip to Gouda - Town Hall

If you visit Rotterdam train station, you’ll find regular trains all over The Netherlands.  As a result it’s incredibly easy to independently make a day trip.  Read about the things to do in Amsterdam, Gouda, The Hague as well as Utrecht on my travel blog.  Most importantly, enjoy the efficient train service of The Netherlands.

How to get from Rotterdam to The Hague

Rotterdam to The Hague by Metro, €2,90, 30 minutes

The Rotterdam Metro Blue Line E takes you all the way to The Hague (Den Haag).  The cost is €2,90 for a single ticket which takes you all the way to The Hague central station.  The trains for The Hague pass every 10 minutes so are very convenient.

The Hague to Gouda

2019-01-01T10:39:41+00:00March 5th, 2017|The Netherlands, Western Europe|17 Comments


  1. Raymond Carroll March 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Nice informative post about Rotterdam. My cousin lives in Rotterdam, James – she’s been over there for 18 years and her two sons and daughter speak fluent Dutch but still have Scottish accents when they speak English. Your post has made me think about popping over there for a visit. Free accommodation – cannae whack it! Too bad it was crappy weather for you – looks like an interesting city.

  2. Alice Chen March 7, 2017 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Rotterdam looks so fun! I definitely didn’t know that waffles are the food of choice. I’m sure they were delicious! The splash tour looks amazing! A bus that transforms into a boat? Crazy!! I’m super interested in going, thanks for sharing this info!

  3. Erin March 7, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

    I loooooove this, it’s so helpful. Thanks for the good photos points at the top, and so good to know about the hostel and transport prices! I love ticked off UNESCO sites too, so glad there’s another one in Rotterdam!

  4. Rosie Benton March 7, 2017 at 11:13 am - Reply

    This is a super informative post – thanks for sharing your tips. We are hoping to make it to Rotterdam this year during our trip round Europe – hopefully we’ll be a bit luckier with the weather haha. The water bus looks like a cool way to travel too, never heard of that before will have to give it a go!

  5. Katie March 7, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    So the Netherlands looks like such a beautiful place and would love to visit Rotterdam! Those Autumn colours look amazing! Gotta love free accommodation!

  6. Cat March 7, 2017 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    This is such a helpful post for people who would like to visit Rotterdam! The Euromast somehow looks like CN Tower 😛 It’s a shame that you couldn’t go up due to the low visibility on that day. I bet the view from up there is quite nice. Kinderdijk is definitely on my list to visit if I ever go to Rotterdam!

  7. Sutee March 7, 2017 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    I have to check out Rotterdam whenever I’m in the area again. So many transit options. The Cube house and UNESCO site also sound interesting.

  8. Bhushavali March 8, 2017 at 6:20 am - Reply

    Guess what??? My luck with Windmills was just not working out both in UK & Netherlands. All I could was just see it from the bus on my way to Amsterdam! Didn’t have time to see one up close and the Windmill Museum was dismantled in London when I went there!!! Never got a chance!!!

  9. Ellis March 8, 2017 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Don’t miss Delft between Rotterdam and Gouda. I am from Holland and Delft is a lovely city.

  10. Wendy March 8, 2017 at 11:19 am - Reply

    it’s so close to where I live and I have never been there. Proofs again we are looking for far away destinations and forget how beautiful our own neighbourhood is.

  11. Hayley March 8, 2017 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Rotterdam looks like a great place to explore. The view from the Euromast must be awesome, its a pity the weather wasn’t great that day. Also love that you included transport prices and a map, very helpful!

  12. Jerry March 9, 2017 at 12:28 am - Reply

    Rotterdam looks like it would be totally up my alley. I love the old school Dutch symbols as the 18th century windmills. As there are 19 here to photograph, I would love them. I also love the fact that the Netherlands has so many rivers and canals. While in Amsterdam, it was one of my favourite characteristics of the country.

  13. Derek March 25, 2017 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I think I may have been to Rotterdam when I was very small but remember next to nothing about it. It’s nice to read more about it so thanks for sharing. The UNESCO windmill site looks great and well worth a visit, shame about the weather during your trip though. Train travel in Europe is so awesomely cheap to compared to the UK, Rotterdam to the Hague for less than £3 that’s insane!

  14. Ana Rose March 26, 2017 at 12:15 am - Reply

    Before, I would love to visit America. But as time goes by, I feel like I want to visit Netherlands more. I think it is because of my addiction to “Peter Pan.” When I was a child, I always involved Neverland to Netherland. Haha! I’ve never been there yet, but it is on my list. 🙂

  15. JY March 26, 2017 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Been in Rotterdam and can’t say I was impressed by the city, it was too modern-city-like for me. But the Kinderdijk was awesome! We went there with bikes (plus boat) directly from Rotterdam, that was an awesome trip!

  16. michelle d March 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Wow Rotterdam sounds lovely! I’ve only ever been to the Netherlands once when I went to Amsterdam but thinking I may need to pop over again and visit. Thanks for the great information.

  17. Riely March 30, 2017 at 2:43 am - Reply

    Oh I have some fond memories of Rotterdam. I absolutely fell in love with this city and the people who live there. It’s so peaceful and serene. I did visit the windmills in Kinderjik and loved every minute. We took the water bus back to Rotterdam and got to see some great sights along the way. The weather was particularly nice while I visited a few years back so that helped as well. Thanks for sharing.

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