Rotterdam travel guide

Rotterdam Tourism | Rotterdam Guide

You're Going to Love Rotterdam

One of Europe's largest ports, Rotterdam is an outward-looking cultural hotspot with a flair for design, architecture, and art that few cities of its size can match.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Rotterdam

1. Tour the Museums

Rotterdam has plenty of world-class museums. Visit the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen for art, and the Wereldmuseum for excellent ethnography collections.

2. Music Festivals

With the North Sea Jazz Festival attracting thousands of acts in July and top house DJs at the Kroon Festival in April, music lovers have plenty of reasons to head to Rotterdam.

3. Superb Architecture

From the innovative Cube Houses to the swan-like Erasmusbrug, the city is full of modern architectural masterpieces.

4. Food and Drink

Head to the Fenix Food Factory for all of the gouda, cakes, and Dutch beer you can handle, or check out the World Food Festival, which attracts chefs from all over the globe.

5. Explore Rotterdam's Maritime Heritage

Don't miss the Maritime Museum to get a sense of how the city's port has developed, and take a boat cruise in the harbor to see the sights.

What to do in Rotterdam

1. Euromast: Cityscape and Beyond

Euromast, an observation tower and the tallest building in Rotterdam, was originally built for the 1960 Floriade, an international exhibition held every 10 years in the Netherlands. It was designed by Hugh Masskant in 1958. The tower, which features a crow's nest observation platform and a restaurant rising 315 feet in the air, is constructed in concrete with a diameter of 30 feet. Euromast has even held BASE jumping events. This impressive tower affords sweeping views of the city, as well as Antwerp, Moerdijk and The Hague in the distance, and is open to visitors for guided tours.

2. Erasmusbrug: Travel North to South

The Erasmus Bridge or Erasmusbrug, a combination cable and bascule bridge in downtown Rotterdam, is the second-largest in the country and connects the northern and southern areas of the city. Built in honor of Desiderius Erasmus, the renowned Renaissance humanist, it was completed in 1996. Stretching 2,631 feet across the New Meuse, the bridge was designed by Ben van Berkel and is nicknamed The Swan. After discovering that the bridge swung during heavy winds, shock dampers were added.

3. Kijk Kubus: Life in a Cube

Designed by Piet Blom in 1978 and completed in 1984, the Kijk-Kubus or the Cube Houses are part of the Blaakse Bos housing development along the Waterfront. The homes are tilted 45 degrees and rest on a hexagonal pylon. A museum designed to replicate the experience of living in a Cube House, the installation features models, screens and photo displays, which provide information about the development. The area includes small shops, a school and a playground and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m every day.

4. Rotterdam Zoo: Animal Planet

Diergaarde Blijdorp, the Foundation Royal Zoo of Rotterdam, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2007. One of the oldest zoos in the country, the original reserve was bombed during World War II, and was reconstructed at a new location by architect Sybold van Ravesteyn. The zoo includes the Oceanium aquarium, which features herring, sharks, puffins and king penguins, a lush botanical garden, and 70 breeding programs, which rear red pandas, Asian elephants, red-crowned and Siberian cranes, Komodo dragons, Visayan warty pigs, and Egyptian tortoises.

5. Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk: Last Church Standing

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, the St. Lawrence Church, is the city's last medieval building. Built from 1449 and 1525, it was the first stone structure in Rotterdam. During the Rotterdam Blitz of 1940, the church was severely damaged, though Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands refused to demolish the church. The restoration began in 1952 and was completed in 1968. The church hosts guided tours, concerts, exhibitions and lectures, as well as a permanent exhibition. It also has a patio café with a tasting room, de Swarte Leeuw or the Black Lion.

1. Euromast: Cityscape and Beyond

Euromast, an observation tower and the tallest building in Rotterdam, was originally built for the 1960 Floriade, an international exhibition held every 10 years in the Netherlands. It was designed by Hugh Masskant in 1958. The tower, which features a crow's nest observation platform and a restaurant rising 315 feet in the air, is constructed in concrete with a diameter of 30 feet. Euromast has even held BASE jumping events. This impressive tower affords sweeping views of the city, as well as Antwerp, Moerdijk and The Hague in the distance, and is open to visitors for guided tours.

2. Erasmusbrug: Travel North to South

The Erasmus Bridge or Erasmusbrug, a combination cable and bascule bridge in downtown Rotterdam, is the second-largest in the country and connects the northern and southern areas of the city. Built in honor of Desiderius Erasmus, the renowned Renaissance humanist, it was completed in 1996. Stretching 2,631 feet across the New Meuse, the bridge was designed by Ben van Berkel and is nicknamed The Swan. After discovering that the bridge swung during heavy winds, shock dampers were added.

3. Kijk Kubus: Life in a Cube

Designed by Piet Blom in 1978 and completed in 1984, the Kijk-Kubus or the Cube Houses are part of the Blaakse Bos housing development along the Waterfront. The homes are tilted 45 degrees and rest on a hexagonal pylon. A museum designed to replicate the experience of living in a Cube House, the installation features models, screens and photo displays, which provide information about the development. The area includes small shops, a school and a playground and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m every day.

4. Rotterdam Zoo: Animal Planet

Diergaarde Blijdorp, the Foundation Royal Zoo of Rotterdam, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2007. One of the oldest zoos in the country, the original reserve was bombed during World War II, and was reconstructed at a new location by architect Sybold van Ravesteyn. The zoo includes the Oceanium aquarium, which features herring, sharks, puffins and king penguins, a lush botanical garden, and 70 breeding programs, which rear red pandas, Asian elephants, red-crowned and Siberian cranes, Komodo dragons, Visayan warty pigs, and Egyptian tortoises.

5. Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk: Last Church Standing

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, the St. Lawrence Church, is the city's last medieval building. Built from 1449 and 1525, it was the first stone structure in Rotterdam. During the Rotterdam Blitz of 1940, the church was severely damaged, though Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands refused to demolish the church. The restoration began in 1952 and was completed in 1968. The church hosts guided tours, concerts, exhibitions and lectures, as well as a permanent exhibition. It also has a patio café with a tasting room, de Swarte Leeuw or the Black Lion.

Where to Eat in Rotterdam

Oude Haven is a good area to head for a meal, where great options include Restaurant Soit, which offers Dutch cuisine, as well as excellent Italian eateries like Restaurant Amarone. Meals should cost between EUR12 and EUR25 at mid-range places.

When to visit Rotterdam

Rotterdam in February
Estimated hotel price
€83
1 night at 3-star hotel
Rotterdam in February
Estimated hotel price
€83
1 night at 3-star hotel

Rotterdam is a year-round destination. Sightseeing is a little bit more pleasant in the summer, from late June to early September, but the art, food, and architecture can be enjoyed whenever you feel like visiting.

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How to Get to Rotterdam

Plane

Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM) is just 4 miles north of the town center. From there, catch Bus 50 or 33 into town (EUR0.89 with an OV-chipkaart). Taxis will cost around EUR20.

Train

Rotterdam Centraal has rail links to Amsterdam, France, and Belgium, and is right at the heart of the city.

Car

To drive from Amsterdam, take the A4 straight to Rotterdam, and from Brussels, take the E19, then the A16 when you cross the Dutch border.

Bus

Intercity buses run from most northern European cities and are run by Eurolines and Megabus.

Airports near Rotterdam

Airlines serving Rotterdam

United Airlines
Good (2,840 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,153 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,385 reviews)
KLM
Good (350 reviews)
Air France
Good (399 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,417 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,051 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,325 reviews)
SWISS
Good (454 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,208 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (964 reviews)
Iberia
Good (916 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,419 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (278 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (312 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (320 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (539 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (100 reviews)
Finnair
Good (696 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (776 reviews)
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Where to stay in Rotterdam

Centrum - where most of Rotterdam's attractions are based, Centrum is home to the Boijmans Museum and a huge array of eateries and bars.

Popular Neighborhoods in Rotterdam

Dijkzigt - Dijkzigt is home to the Kunsthal, Rotterdam's other major gallery as well as the Natural History Museum, and it's a good place to base yourself.

Kop van Zuid - Kop van Zuid is a regenerated docklands neighborhood with soaring towers and upmarket hotels (as well as fantastic harbor views).

Most popular hotel in Rotterdam by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Rotterdam

Most booked hotels in Rotterdam

Westcord Hotel Delft
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
€82+
Hotel Royal Bridges
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
€75+
Ss Rotterdam
Excellent (8.2, Excellent reviews)
€79+
Art Hotel Rotterdam
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
€65+
Novotel Rotterdam Brainpark
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
€97+
ibis Rotterdam City Centre
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
€62+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Rotterdam

Public Transportation

RET provides buses, trams, water buses, and trains. It's a good idea to pick up an OV-chipkaart, which can be recharged as required (the card costs EUR7.50).

Taxi

Taxis in Rotterdam charge a meter drop of EUR2.50, then around EUR3 per mile, so they aren't the cheapest way to get around.

Car

You can rent a car of your own from branches of Europcar or Hertz, and rates tend to be around EUR15 per day, so it's a cost-effective alternative to taxis.

The Cost of Living in Rotterdam

Shopping Streets

Shopping fans should head to Hoogstraat and Lijnbaan - two pedestrianized zones featuring hundreds of stores.

Groceries and Other

Rotterdam hosts supermarkets like Aldi, SPAR, and Jumbo, where prices aren't too high. Expect a gallon of milk to cost around EUR3.50.

Cheap meal
€15.24
A pair of jeans
€82.29
Single public transport ticket
€3.05
Cappuccino
€2.73
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