Rotterdam Destination Guide
Holland's “second city”? Well that depends entirely on who you ask. For over 40 years the world's busiest port, today Rotterdam is making headlines for other reasons. Almost levelled during the Luftwaffe in 1940, the city has managed to pick itself up and reinvent itself in a unique way. You'll see it in the local approach to architecture, a vibrant nightlife and multicultural society, and the city's wealth of top class museums. Easily rivalling Amsterdam for those that want to visit a city with a uniquely Dutch feel, the threaded web of canals and bridges crisscrossing the huge river De Maas make Rotterdam an unparalleled travel destination.
Top Attractions »
Home to a smorgasbord of attractions, the best of Rotterdam's maritime history can be found in the wharves to the west of Erasmusbrug. Catch a glimpse of the Luxor Theatre, soak up the atmosphere at Wilhelmina Pier, then stroll past the Las Palmas complex to see the disused shipping workshops which have been developed into a thriving cultural space. To see some history, head to Delfshaven, one part of Rotterdam that survived World War II, then recharge the camera before heading to Rotterdam's postcard attraction, the Euromast “Space Tower”. The best place to catch a view of the city, Euromast is where you can even abseil off the side - if you are really daring. Museum lovers, rejoice because Boijmans Museum is widely considered one of the best in Western Europe.
Eat and Drink »
Uncovering Rotterdam's dining scene can take a bit of local knowledge, so do a little research before stepping out for a meal and you'll be licking your lips. Not only a great place for a walk, Oude Haven (Old Harbour), is also where to find a large selection of pubs and restaurants, especially inside the Las Palmas complex. Close by is Pannenkoekstraat, another lively area. More of a shopping destination by day, by night the atmosphere really goes up a few gears. To get a little taste of alternative Holland forget Amsterdam, because at Eendrachtsplein you can drink at a range of left leaning bars.
Where to Stay
With about 100 options to choose from you are bound to find the perfect hotel in Rotterdam to compliment your stay. The largest variety is located in or close to the city centre, while close to the airport are even more options. Alternative lodging locations include nearby suburbs and towns Dordrecht, Spijkenissee and Vlaardingen. Unique to Rotterdam too is the option to stay on a floating hotel such as Wijnhaven Hotel. Even more quirky is the SS Rotterdam, a prestigious cruise ship that's now permanently been converted into a luxury hotel complete with restaurants, bars and theatres.
Known all over Holland for its shoe stores, Rotterdam is a great destination for a spot of shopping. The city's selection ranges from the department stores you'll find in the city centre, to independent boutiques and a number of open air markets dotted around town. First stop for many is the main shopping area Lijnbaan and Hoogstraat. Famous for being the first pedestrianised shopping street in the world, weekends is when the area really buzzes. For something more unique Botersloot and Pannekoekstraat can't be missed, while anyone visiting Rotterdam on a Tuesday or Sunday should add the City Market to their itinerary.
Rotterdam Like a Local
In a city where taking a water taxi is just as common as taking a taxi, visitors to Rotterdam will have plenty of opportunities to experience nautical life. Not just home to floating hotels, at New Ocean Paradise Supermarket locals even do their shopping on the low seas. There are plenty of more opportunities to climb onboard in Rotterdam and at the Oude Haven (Old Harbour) area, if you see a Haven flag it means the boat is open for you to climb on and take a look around. Though not technically floating, Wijn of Water is a uniquely Dutch restaurant that's made entirely from freight containers. Located in the old warehouse district of Lloydkade, it may look industrial from the outside, but step inside and you're transported somewhere else completely. Pardon the pun.