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One day in Rotterdam: Explore the top things to do in Rotterdam in this perfect itinerary

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Delfshaven is the old historic town in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands
Are you thinking of visiting Rotterdam? Find the best one day in Rotterdam itinerary at this The Netherlands travel blog. Discover the best things to do in Rotterdam and extra tips to spend a weekend or two days in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands.

Whether you’re thinking of spending a few hours in Rotterdam, or one day, in this Rotterdam travel blog, you will discover the best things to do on your Rotterdam trip. This one-day itinerary for Rotterdam will show you everything from the highlights of Rotterdam to its secrets and hidden gems. This city and travel guide to Rotterdam includes how to get to the city, tourist attractions, free things to do and other places to visit in Rotterdam.

If you’re searching for places of interest in Rotterdam, how to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and things to see in Rotterdam, this one day in Rotterdam itinerary will show you everything you need. Rotterdam is home to many great museums, activities, must do’s and attractions. And I can guarantee you that after you’ve read through this Rotterdam travel guide, that you know exactly what places to visit. As well as getting the answer to ‘is Rotterdam worth visiting’.

There might be affiliate links in this article. Find the full disclaimer here.

What to do & see in Rotterdam in 24 hours: Discover this Dutch city in Zuid- Holland, The Netherlands

You’re looking forward to travelling to Rotterdam on holiday, but before you’re here, you want to know everything you can about the city. You can easily travel in Rotterdam by waterbus, water taxi, trams, metros, buses, bike and of course, on foot. This modern port city in The Netherlands is great to visit at every time of the year, simply because the seasons make everything magical no matter when you travel to Rotterdam.

Rotterdam and tourism go hand in hand as the city has so much to offer. In the rest of this Rotterdam travel blog, you will discover things such as ‘where is Rotterdam’, cool and unusual things to do in Rotterdam. Think of what to visit and where to go to Rotterdam in a day and plenty of more.

Skyline of the port harbour city Rotterdam in The Netherlands

History, facts and things to know about Rotterdam

There are many things to know about Rotterdam and facts that you want to know before you travel to this city. If you ask me the question ‘where is Rotterdam, The Netherlands?’ Then I will tell you that it is located in the area called the Randstad; a bunch of the biggest cities in The Netherlands together. And Rotterdam is situated in the province of Zuid (South)- Holland, with the Meuse river flowing through Rotterdam which ends in the North Sea. So yes, Rotterdam is part of Holland.

‘But what exactly is Rotterdam known, or famous, for?’ You might ask me. One thing Rotterdam is famous for is its architecture. Another thing is the fact that Rotterdam is home to the biggest port in Europe.
However, this wasn’t always the case. People were living in and around the Rotterdam area in the 9th century. Rotterdam obtained its city rights back in 1340. Back then it was a small village, and the name refers to the river De Rotte and a dam that was placed in there. The inhabitants put a barrier in the river the Rotte. And voila, there you have it: Rotte(r)dam.

There are plenty of other things to know about Rotterdam, so find 59 other fun facts about Rotterdam below.

Get to know 61 interesting and fun facts about Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Meuse river and Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Best places to stay in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is one of the biggest cities in The Netherlands, which means that there are quite a lot of hotels, apartments, B&B’s, hostels and other accommodation to choose from. That’s why I’m going to narrow it down to the best hostels, apartments and hotels in Rotterdam to make the ‘where to stay’ choice easier for you. All these hotels, hostels and apartments are located in great areas of Rotterdam. Free wifi is included in all of these accommodations. If you’re looking for the best area and place to stay in Rotterdam, then all of these hotels are great for you.

Best budget accommodation in Rotterdam (0- 40 euros)

Stayokay hostel Rotterdam; book your stay through Booking.com now

CityHub Rotterdam; Book your stay through Booking.com now

 

Normal priced accommodation in Rotterdam (40 euros – 100 euros) 

Orion Hotel Rotterdam; Book your stay through Booking.com now

Student Hotel Rotterdam; Book your stay through Booking.com now

 

High-end accommodation in Rotterdam (100 euros +)

CitizenM; Book your stay through Booking.com now

Hotel New York; Book your stay through Booking.com now

Euromast; Book your stay through Booking.com now

Cube houses in the famous Dutch city of Rotterdam

Best breakfast cafes and restaurants in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is full of great restaurants and cafes. But that sometimes makes it difficult to choose where to go for breakfast in Rotterdam. So, I’m making the decision more comfortable for you and have listed two of the best breakfast cafes/ restaurants of Rotterdam below. Eet smakelijk! (Enjoy your meal!).

Op Het Dak

This is one of my favourite breakfast restaurants in Rotterdam, although you can also enjoy a great lunch or bite here. What I mainly love about this restaurant is that it’s truly at a unique location and serves fantastic food which makes it one of the best places to eat in Rotterdam.

Op Het Dak has The Netherlands first rooftop farm (bee garden, organic vegetables, edible flowers and herbs) and urban garden, which makes it a unique restaurant in Rotterdam. Their mission is to serve drinks and food that is clean, simple and local. And let me tell you something, they succeed in serving some of the best food in Rotterdam. Discover the menu of Op Het Dak here.

Schiekade 189, 3013 BR Rotterdam

Heilige Boontjes

Another favourite of mine in Rotterdam is Heilige Boontjes. Here you can find tasty sandwiches, juices, some of the best coffee of Rotterdam and plenty more.

What I mainly love about this great cafe in Rotterdam is that they are helping people to get back into society. They only offer jobs and placements to men and women between 17 and 27 years old, that have issues with working and other things.

So young adults will be serving you, and they could be going through many things. Some have a criminal record, and others have a disability, etc. And while you’re enjoying your amazing breakfast in Rotterdam, you’re also helping people to get back into society at the same time. It’s truly the perfect win-win situation.

Eendrachtsplein 3, 3015 LA Rotterdam

Free self-guided walking or cycling tour through Rotterdam

You can easily spend days in Rotterdam as there are plenty of fun things to do in this Dutch city. In this self-guided walking or cycling, tour (depending on your preference, but walking takes a lot langer) through Rotterdam you will see the best of Rotterdam both accessible and off the beaten path & secret places. From incredible monuments to the most beautiful streets. And from spectacular parks to Rotterdams most famous bridge.

If you’re planning on walking this tour through Rotterdam, then I would recommend you to take at least half a day in Rotterdam in the account for this tour. This way you can easily explore Rotterdam by foot or bike, and you don’t have to rush.

We start at the black dot and finish at the purple one (you can easily see the route for yourself on this map I made for the Rotterdam walking and/or cycling tour here). The bike tour is a tour that will take you around one full day in Rotterdam and is one of the great things to do in Rotterdam in spring and summer. I’ve included some tips to make the free walking tour in Rotterdam shorter, so don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of time.

This Rotterdam city tour will show you the old town and things you cannot miss when you visit Rotterdam for 24 hours. Discover why you go visiting Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as a day trip with this Rotterdam tour. This Rotterdam itinerary for spending one day in the Dutch city show you all the must-sees and this tour will give you an insider look into the port city of Rotterdam.

See the best free walking and bike tour in Rotterdam here!

Holland Amerika Lijn head quarters in Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Hotel New York

Lunch at some of the best lunch restaurants & cafes in Rotterdam

After the self-guided free walking or bike, tour in Rotterdam, it’s time to eat some food. Rotterdam is home to plenty of great lunch cafes, and some of my favourites can be seen below.

De Kok en de Tuinman

If you’re looking for the freshest and tastiest lunch dishes in Rotterdam, then you have to visit this restaurant in Rotterdam. Not only is it located in the most refreshing and calmest location in Rotterdam, but the interior is so cosy, and the owners will make you feel at home immediately. All their dishes are made with 100% organic and local products. And you can truly taste it.

The only downside at this breakfast and lunch restaurant in Rotterdam is that it is only opened Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 09:00- 18:00. However, if you’re visiting Rotterdam during the weekend, go here! You’ll be glad you did.

Koningsveldestraat 14, 3037 VS Rotterdam

Lof der Zoetheid

At this restaurant in Rotterdam, you can find very original and incredibly good food. From homemade pies to juices. And from comfort food to some of the best vegan and glutenfree food in Rotterdam. Their menu changes quickly because of the seasons and weather forecasts, they simply like to offer food that fits the weather. Anyhow, if you’re looking for one of the best lunch cafes in Rotterdam, then I have you sorted with this one.

Noordplein 1, 3035 EA Rotterdam

I would also recommend the following lunch cafes in Rotterdam: Fenix Food FactoryPicknickOp Het Dakand Noo.Me. Most of the restaurants in Rotterdam aren’t all open every day, so do be sure to check their opening times.

Foodhall in Rotterdam: Fenix Food Factory

Discover the botanical garden in Rotterdam

If you’re asking me: ‘What’s Rotterdam famous for?’ Then I would tell you about the cube houses, the Erasmus bridge and its architecture. And while those are all beautiful places you have to visit, I will also tell you that the botanical garden in Rotterdam is one of the locations that deserve to be famous, but isn’t quite yet. The botanical garden is not one of the things people first tend to discover in Rotterdam. But, I’m here to change that for you, because one of the things you must do and see in Rotterdam is this garden.

The Trompenburg Tuinen, or Trompenburg gardens, is one of The Netherlands most beautiful botanical gardens that are located just outside the city centre of Rotterdam. What I mainly love about this place is that you suddenly will feel far away from the bustling city of Rotterdam. It was established in 1820, and you can find many different connected gardens and water features in this estate. You can find an English garden, a hot desert house, a cosy tea room, ecological Forest Garden De Overtuin and plenty of more. All in Rotterdam.

Extra tip: At Trompenburg they grow around seven hundred varieties of rhododendron, you can watch them in bloom during May.

Plan your visit to the Trompenburg gardens here

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Green houses in the botanical garden Trompenburg in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Visit one of the best museums in Rotterdam

One of the best things to do when you have 24 hours in Rotterdam is to visit museums. Boijmans-van Beuningen and De Kunsthal are two of the most excellent museums of Rotterdam, and I will tell you exactly why. And there’s another fun museum in Rotterdam that I have included as well, which is one of the must do’s when you are spending one day in Rotterdam.

Boijmans- van Beuningen

The most famous and popular museum of Rotterdam has to be Boijmans- van Beuningen, with a perfect reason. It is the only museum in The Netherlands that gives visitors a comprehensive survey of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present day. And the variety of the collection is what makes the museum genuinely spectacular. One thousand seven hundred private collectors have gifted more than 50.000 objects to the museum in almost 170 years. If you’re interested in old and new art, then you must visit one of the best art museums in Rotterdam. 

Plan your visit to Boijmans- van Beuningen in Rotterdam now

De Kunsthal

This museum is one of the best museums in Rotterdam that is heavily focused on all sorts of art. From fashion to photography. And from drawings & paintings to design. There’s truly something for everyone in one of the leading cultural institutions in The Netherlands. It is also located inside a truly iconic building that is designed by Rem Koolhaas. The exhibitions continuously change as the Kunsthal doesn’t have its collection, which makes visiting the Kunsthal several times a year an excellent idea.

Plan your visit the De Kunsthal now 

Dutch Pinball Museum

If you’re looking for exciting museums to visit in Rotterdam, then the Dutch Pinball Museum will be your favourite place. Not only because you can play on the pinball machines for free after you’ve paid the entry fee of this unique museum in Rotterdam, but also because it’s not your typical museum. You will find pinball machines from the last century until now and can play the ones that date back to the 60s.

They are opened on Wednesday (11:58 – 17:02), Saturday & Sunday (11:58 – 18:02). A three-hour entry costs 12 euros (2019), 1,5 hour 9 euros and a day ticket 15 euros.

You can find the Pinball Museum in Rotterdam at Veerlaan 19-K, but the entry is located at the Paul Nijghkade (next to the water and across Hotel New York).

Explore Rotterdam with another mode of transport

Watertaxi

One of the cool, unique things to do in Rotterdam is to ride a water taxi. These taxis in Rotterdam will show you one of the most spectacular views of Rotterdam. Drive over the Meuse river that streams through Rotterdam, under the Erasmus bridge and discover another side of Rotterdam by boat.

Find how to go on a ride in a water taxi in Rotterdam here

Tram ride

You can go for a ride and tour in sixty-year-old, authentic trams in Rotterdam. While this is one of the main tourist attractions and popular things to do in Rotterdam in one day if you’re looking for easy ways to explore Rotterdam than this tram ride is perfect for you. Discover the Markthal, the cube houses, Delfshaven and plenty of more must-sees in Rotterdam.

Get more information on a tram tour through Rotterdam here 

Tram through port city of Rotterdam

Get a great dinner at one of the best restaurants in Rotterdam

After a long day of exploring Rotterdam, it’s time to get a great dinner in your stomach. There are endless options on where to go for dinner in Rotterdam, think of Vietnamese, Dutch, Indonesian amongst plenty of other cuisines. You will find some of my favourite dinner restaurants in Rotterdam below.

De Matroos en Het Meisje

At this restaurant in Rotterdam, you get what we call in Dutch ‘wat de pot schaft’, or whatever the restaurant make that day. And let me tell you something. It is good. They know how to work their magic and only cook with seasonal ingredients. Of course, they do listen and change elements if you have allergies, are on a diet etc. What I also love about this restaurant is the interior, and if you’re a fan of Delfts Blue, then you will love it as well.

Delistraat 52, 3072 ZL Rotterdam

Bertmans

Bertmans is one of the best restaurant options in Rotterdam for vegan and vegetarian food, but they have something for the meat-eater as well. This cosy restaurant works mainly with seasonal and local products. And, if you’re looking for gluten-free options in a restaurant in Rotterdam, then Bertmans will be great for you as well.

Karel Doormanstraat 292, 3012 GP Rotterdam

Little V

One of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Rotterdam is, in my humble opinion, Little V. The restaurant is located in what looks like a Dutch brown cafe that makes the atmosphere even better. And the food is simply amazing. It feels like you’re back in Vietnam, but be warned this restaurant in Rotterdam is pretty popular so there is a chance you’d have to wait for a little before you’re able to sit down.

Grotekerkplein 109, 3011 GC Rotterdam

What to do in Rotterdam at night? Discover the lights in Rotterdam

One of the things you have to do in Rotterdam in the evening or night is to walk a route of LED lights. While this might not sound that special on its own, I can assure you that it is a pretty exciting experience. You can find two colours of LED lights on the floor in Rotterdam: Green and Red.

The red lights form a border through the city of Rotterdam. It refers to the edge of the burning city after the bombardments by the German airforce of the 14th of May 1940. 54 Heinkel bombers flew from the east and dropped 97.000-kilo high-explosive bombs all over Rotterdam. This bombardment is the reason why Rotterdam lost its Medieval centre, 80.000 people became homeless in 15 minutes and between 650 and 900 people were left dead.

But that wasn’t all. Spring was warm and dry that year and the gusts of wind were heavy. This was one of the reasons why the fire spread very fast, and the fire brigades had a lot of trouble to control the fire. Another reason was the fact that most of the water pipes were destroyed as well, so the city of Rotterdam burned for days in a row. Since the 14th of May 2010, exactly 70 years after the bombardment, the edge of the burning city has been permanently marked with led lights.

You can follow the lights of the edge and walk one of the best walking routes of Rotterdam, but there are also clear maps of the route available at the tourist office of Rotterdam and bookshops throughout the city. The entire length of this historic WW2 walking route in Rotterdam is 12 kilometres. You are often able to see the contrast of the old and new buildings when you walk through streets in Rotterdam. It’s, in my opinion, one of the best things you can do in Rotterdam when you have 24 hours or a weekend.

The green lights can be found on the Noordereiland (Northern island). The reason why these lights are green is that these parts of Rotterdam have been destroyed by friendly fire (Dutch fire to be exact) to defend the city. On the other side of the bridges across the Meuse river in Rotterdam, Dutch marines were shooting on Germans that were located on the Noordereiland. You can see that the icons in the green lights miss the silhouette of a German bomber, which can be found in the red lights.

Find the route and the edge of the fire in Rotterdam here 

View of Rotterdam skyline and meuse river

Hefbrug; One of the most architectural interesting buildings in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Things to do in Rotterdam at night: Best views in Rotterdam

Rotterdam has plenty of high buildings and skyscrapers, but most of them aren’t open to visitors, so the best views of the skyline of Rotterdam will pass you by. However, there are two cool and tall buildings in Rotterdam where you will discover the best skyline of Rotterdam. Rotterdam and its skyline make a great view. And one that you simply cannot miss.

Euromast: This is one of Rotterdam’s most famous buildings. It was once made for the Floriade, but nowadays it’s one of Rotterdams most visited tourist attractions. But don’t worry, it’s still not that crowded that you can’t see a single thing. As a matter of fact, I would highly recommend you to visit the Euromast for the complete view of the skyline of Rotterdam.

You do have to buy tickets to enter the Euromast, so if you’re looking for free views, then this is not it. However, if you’re okay with spending around ten euros which includes a guide and beautiful views, then visiting the Euromast is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam.

Get your tickets for the Euromast in Rotterdam here

nHow Hotel: The bar at the nHow Hotel on the Kop van Zuid in Rotterdam has a beautiful view. A plus is that you don’t have to pay an admission fee to enter the hotel. However, you will probably want to buy a drink or two(or five)when you’re sitting here admiring the most beautiful view of the Erasmusbrug in Rotterdam. During the weekend there is usually a DJ at the bar in this hotel in Rotterdam. So if you’re interested in discovering the nightlife in Rotterdam, then this might be a good option.

Find more information about the bar at the nHow Hotel here

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Euromast in Rotterdam

Visit the best bars and cafes for a final drink in Rotterdam

One of the best ways to end your day, evening or night in Rotterdam is to go for a drink. And Rotterdam is home to dozens of great bars and cafes, but I won’t name them all here as this article will be even longer than it already it. Without further ado, below you will find my favourite bars in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Kaapse Brouwers

On one of the best locations in Rotterdam, you can find the Kaapse Brouwers. With an authentic, relaxed and comfortable interior and great atmosphere, this is the best place in Rotterdam to go for a beer. There are more than thirty beers on tap alone, so there’s a tasty beer for everyone.

Veerlaan 19-D, 3072 AN Rotterdam

Discover more about Kaapse Brouwers in Rotterdam here

Dr.

One of the coolest bars in Rotterdam has to be Dr. This is a hidden bar that you won’t find without getting instructions. Dr. is entirely doctor themed: The bartenders are called doctors and the drinks are your medicine. It is one of the best cocktail bars in Rotterdam and opened since 2012. You can only visit and enter the bar through your patient number that you receive when you reserve a spot on their website.

You’re not allowed to take photos inside the bar, nor use a cellphone or talk about the bar as it spoils the mystery. And trust me, you’re willing to play the game. The only photo that you can get is a photo of this unusual place in Rotterdam, is a polaroid that can be taken by one of the bartenders, or doctors. Inside the bar, you will find darkness, light up candles and a one of a kind atmosphere.

Find the website of Dr. Rotterdam here

Other things to do in Rotterdam

If you’re planning on staying two days in Rotterdam, or have done some of the activities in Rotterdam already, then I have plenty of other options for you belong. Discover more must do’s and fun things to do in Rotterdam below.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is one of the best cities in The Netherlands to celebrate NYE. The National Fireworks take place in Rotterdam at the Erasmus bridge, plus there are many great parties in Rotterdam during New Year’s Eve.

Find the best way to see the National Fire works in Rotterdam and the best parties during NYE here

Visit Heijplaat

Between the harbours of Rotterdam, you will find the neighbourhood of Heijplaat. One of the companies that were involved in the shipping yard industry started building and maintaining ships in 1904. One of the boats was the ss Rotterdam. But because it was quite a remote area, employees were hard to come by. So they built the idyllic village of Heijplaat, including churches, schools and shops. And the port continued to grow around the town. Nowadays, Heijplaat is a neighbourhood of Rotterdam. Heijplaat also is home to the only natural sandy beach in Rotterdam. You can visit Heijplaat by water bus easily.

Heijplaat: One of the villages in Rotterdam

Explore Pernis

Pernis is one of the other villages you can find in Rotterdam and is home to around 4785 inhabitants. Pernis was first named in the 13th century and is a part of Rotterdam since 1934. The best way to visit Pernis from Rotterdam city centre is by water bus. One of the things you have to see is their old church at Ring 1, which dates back to the 15th century. And while you can’t enter the church, it’s an interesting contrast seeing the village of Pernis, and its old church, in the middle of the harbour of Rotterdam.

Get to know the historical garden of Schoonoord

If you’re searching for a quiet and green place to visit in Rotterdam, then the historical garden Schoonoord is a must-see. You can find one of the best historical and small gardens in Rotterdam next to one of the biggest parks in Rotterdam: Het Park. It is opened daily from 08:30 – 16:30 and is one of the free things to do in Rotterdam.

One thing that to remember is that this garden is a place of silence, so don’t be loud, nor start yelling inside this garden. Respect and admire the area, and then you will love it. Visit the garden at Kievitslaan 8, Rotterdam.

Discover other museums that are great to visit in Rotterdam

While I have recommended three museums that you should visit in Rotterdam on my itinerary already. But Rotterdam has even more museums that are wonderful to visit. You can find those below.

Visit beautiful parks in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is filled with amazing parks. And every year, more green spaces are created in Rotterdam to battle the concrete. Some of my favourite parks in Rotterdam can be found below. Whether you’re looking to go for a run or enjoy a great picnic, these are some of the best parks you can visit in Rotterdam:

  • Dakpark
  • Zuiderpark
  • Kralingse Bos
  • Het Park

One of the parks in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands

Get to know the magic of the Maastunnel

Maastunnel tour offered by the Gemeente Rotterdam, however, it is currently only in Dutch. So if you happen to understand Dutch, then it’s a great thing to do in Rotterdam. But you’d have to wait at least until the middle of 2020 before you can go on another tour, as the Maastunnel is currently being renovated.

Visit Europoort in Rotterdam

The port of Rotterdam is one of the most famous areas of Rotterdam and The Netherlands. It’s the biggest port in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. If you’re interested in learning everything about the port, the way people work here and how this incredible area continues to evolve, then a tour through the port in Rotterdam is something you have to do when you are spending one day in Rotterdam.

There are three tours I would recommend you to take through the port in Rotterdam. One of them is a bike tour through the harbour of Rotterdam, whereas the other two tours are boat tours, or cruises, through the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Rotterdam walking tour and harbour cruise 

Rotterdam port private bike tour

Rotterdam harbor tour

Visit one of the oldest ice cream shops of Rotterdam

Ijssalon Capri is a well-known name in Rotterdam. They have been selling amazing icecream in Rotterdam since 1957. Luckily for you, the shop is opened year-round. However, this wasn’t always the case. Years ago Capri was turned into a shop where you could buy fur during the winter months. But, with less and fewer people buying fur and less extreme winters, Capri turned into an ice cream shop year-round.

Karel Doormanstraat 334, Rotterdam

Discover the most beautiful building of Rotterdam

One of Rotterdam’s most spectacular designed buildings is the Van Nelle factory. It is a structure of concrete, with columns and a steel and glass facade. The building is bathing in natural light. After Van Nelle left the factory, the structure was renovated and transformed into a sustainable building. The Van Nelle factory is even a Unesco World Heritage site in Rotterdam. And that in its own already tells you the building is something special

Discover the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam on a tour here

Find the magic of the district of Hillegersberg

Hillegersberg is the oldest district in Rotterdam and used to be a separate village. The earliest known writings of Hillegersberg date back to the year 993. Hillegersberg was built on a small hill that was formed in the late ice age. On this hill, a castle and church were built.

The castle was first named in 1269. In 1426, both the castle and church were destroyed by the army of Jacoba van Beieren. You can still find the ruins of this castle in Rotterdam next to the church of Hillegersberg. The current church of Hillegersberg: Hillegondakerk, dates back to around 1500 and it is a monument. In Hillegersberg you can discover the many parks, lakes and other green areas. So bringing this neighbourhood in Rotterdam, a visit is always a good idea.

Eat Kapsalon in Rotterdam

When you translate the Dutch word of kapsalon, you will discover that it means hairdresser. But this is not what makes kapsalon so unique. Kapsalon is a dish, or actually, the perfect food after a night out, and it was first thought of by a hairdresser in The Netherlands.

He came to shawarma shop El Aviva in Rotterdam and wanted fries plus shawarma in one little container. Add a few slices of cheese, some lettuce, tomato, garlic sauce and sambal, and you have the world-famous kapsalon. You can find El Aviva at Schiedamseweg 22A, Rotterdam.

Get the best goodies at the markets in Rotterdam

One of the best markets to visit in Rotterdam is located at the Binnenrotte, near train station Rotterdam Blaak. It is the biggest market in Rotterdam with over 250 stalls. Discover local food, imported goods from the port of Rotterdam, furniture, souvenirs, vintage wares and plenty of more. This Rotterdam market takes place every Tuesday and Saturday (is often very crowded on Saturday!) 08:00-17:30. During summer there’s also a Summer Sunday market in Rotterdam at Binnenrotte, though it’s a bit smaller than the regular market.

Budget tip Rotterdam: If you’re on a low budget, visit the market towards the end of the market day, many traders will sell their fresh goods with a fantastic discount. But you have to think smart and be lucky to get them as you’re not alone with this thought.

Explore one of the free things to do in Rotterdam: visit an underground museum

De Tijdtrap is one of Rotterdams free museums that you must visit. Here you can find a permanent exhibition of archaeological artefacts that they found in the soil before they built the Markthal. This exhibition in Rotterdam will take you through the history of Rotterdam. It can be visited every day in this parking garage in Rotterdam at level -2, -3 and -4 and doesn’t cost you a single thing. Every floor has a different period that is discussed and to be discovered.

Markthal in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Buy the best souvenirs from Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a great city to visit for a few hours, one day or a weekend. And one thing you cannot leave the city of Rotterdam without is some local and regional gifts and products. These are the best Dutch souvenirs to buy in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands.

Cheese from Rotterdam

The Rotterdamsche oude, or old cheese from Rotterdam, is one of the best Dutch souvenirs you can buy from Rotterdam. There are several kinds of cheese you can choose from: 36 weeks, 55 weeks or 100 weeks ripened. In the cheese, you will find tiny salt crystals that melt on your tongue. You can buy the Rotterdamsche oude at the brand store of Rotterdamsche oude in the Markthal.

Buy chocolates from Rotterdam

The best chocolate in Rotterdam can be found at Chocoholic. So if you’re searching for tasty chocolate, as well as exciting chocolate flavours, then this shop in Rotterdam is going to be your best location.

Discover kroten mustard in Rotterdam

Kroten is the word in Rotterdam for red beets. And Rotterdammers have found a distinctive and delicious combination in kroten mustard, or red beet mustard. Red beets is not something you would think of when you’re thinking of mustard, I have to admit that it makes a perfect combination. It’s sweet and soft, exactly the way you’d want your mustard to be. You can find this mustard at the brand store of Rotterdamsche oude in the Markthal.

Get the traditional Maasstroompjes cookies in Rotterdam

Back in 1934 G.Slob, a baker from Rotterdam came up with the Maasstroompjes. He won a prize that resulted in Maasstroompjes being the original cookie from Rotterdam. But it wasn’t meant to be. Due to the Second World War, the cookies were removed from everyone’s brain. However, the granddaughter of G. Slob reintroduced the Maasstroompjes with the original recipe in 2013. And trust me, you’ll be happy that she did. Find where you can buy Maasstroompjes here.

Discover the best peanut butter that you will ever taste in Rotterdam

Katendrecht, a neighbourhood in Rotterdam, has been traditionally the home of the peanuts. Ships filled with peanuts used to sail to Katendrecht, while nowadays the ships sail to the harbour in Rotterdam, Rotterdam is for always connected to peanuts. Taste the ‘sailor’s butter’, or zeemansboter, and you won’t want anything else. Buy this peanut butter at Prins Frederikplein 209, 3071 KS Rotterdam.

Visit Delfshaven

Delfshaven is the only district of Rotterdam that dates back to the Middle Ages. While most of Rotterdam was bombed down to the floor, which explains the interesting architecture in Rotterdam, this part of Rotterdam has survived the Second World War. And you have to explore the area. From some of the most instagrammable and picturesque areas in Rotterdam to stunning canals. Wander through the idyllic streets in Rotterdam and discover the modern Dutch city from a different perspective.

Delfshaven: Historic old town in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands

How to get to Rotterdam

From Amsterdam: To get from Amsterdam central train station to Rotterdam central train station is very easy. And as Rotterdam is one of The Netherlands biggest cities and has one of the biggest train stations, there are quite a few direct trains that you can take to Rotterdam from Amsterdam.

There’s the intercity to Vlissingen, the sprinter train to Rotterdam Centraal and the intercity direct in the direction of Breda. Remember to buy a supplement for the intercity direct train if you’re headed to Rotterdam. You can buy it at the ticket machine, or if you have an OV chip card, make sure to activate the supplement by holding your card in front of the OV chip card pole at the track. Get out of the trains at Rotterdam Centraal train station. To get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, or Rotterdam to Amsterdam will take you around 1 hour and 15 minutes.

From Utrecht: To get from Utrecht to Rotterdam I would recommend you to take one of the four hourly trains from Utrecht Centraal train station. These are all trains that run directly to Rotterdam Centraal train station. To get from Utrecht to Rotterdam by train, or Rotterdam to Utrecht, would take you approximately 37 minutes.

From Maastricht: While Maastricht is one of The Netherlands most beautiful and scenic places that you can visit, Rotterdam is also more than worth exploring. To get from Maastricht to Rotterdam by train, you have to transfer at least once. Take the intercity in the direction of either Schagen or Alkmaar, from Maastricht train station. Transfer at Eindhoven train station to the intercity in the direction of Den Haag (The Hague). Depart the train at Rotterdam Centraal train station. To get from Maastricht to Rotterdam, or Rotterdam to Maastricht by train, will take you around 2 hours and 14 minutes.

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I hope that this article helped you to discover what amazing things there are to do in Rotterdam. While it is one of The Netherlands most modern cities, thanks to the bombings of the Second World War, that gives the city its unique atmosphere. Rotterdam is unlike any other Dutch city that I know, and I happen to enjoy the magic of Rotterdam thoroughly. And somehow I have the feeling that you will too.

The combination of calm and active activities in this one day in Rotterdam sightseeing itinerary will be the perfect way to explore Rotterdam in one day. The extra things I added in the article can be used to expand your Rotterdam itinerary to two days, or even a weekend. And whether you’re a first-timer or a regular visitor of this city in the province of Zuid (South)- Holland, or not, these places to see in Rotterdam are great to visit at all times. Share this article!

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