Type: City Break, Excursion
Best Date to Visit: June – Aug
Things to Do: Bike, Chilled Nightlife, Sightseeing
Points of Interest: Euromast, Cube house, Erasmusburg, Mini World, Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, Maritime museum, Markthal, Stadhuis, ect
The Good: Modern, Architecturally amazing
The Bad: Maybe too quiet for some
Rotterdam is a port city situated in the province of South Holland, it is just a 40 minute train ride from the Dutch capital Amsterdam. Its name dates back around 1260 where a dam was built on the river Rotte. It is the largest port city in Europe and until 2004 it was the largest in the world overtaken by cities like Singapore and Shanghai.
Today it is a city rapidly growing in stature financially, gathering interest in tourism, due to its constant innovation and architectural culture. There is a lot of articles from reputable news outlets and guides which praises the city as an up and coming destination, even comparing it with its neighbour Amsterdam.
So what did I think of the city?
My Rotterdam trip was a 1 night 2 day excursion from Amsterdam. A trip I wanted to take due to its increasing popularity a chance for me to take a look at the city before Rotterdam cements itself as a powerhouse for tourism and huge crowds appear. In particular I was attracted to this city for its architectural promise and its laid back nightlife.
Arrive in Style
Firstly I want to point out the Central Station which was my entry point into the city and I believe an attraction itself. Opened in the year 2014 the station was upgraded from the old station in order to accommodate the increasing number of passengers and also to cope with new high speed trains which travel from the capital to cities such as Brussels and Paris. In my opinion the Central Station is a sight to see because of its clever perspective designed roof. The station is also very spacious with a futuristic styled projection for advertisements. There is not too many shops inside the station but it is a magnificent station, and an area to see whilst in Rotterdam.
A market like no other.
One of the main attraction to see in the city is Markthal which just like its name is a market hall but combined with luxury apartments in a remarkable innovative architectural design. Its various food stalls, food shops and restaurants have some of the freshest most quality food in the city.
Near the Markthal is the cube houses and for me it was very impressive in terms of design and the engineering behind it, however although I understand it is a functioning house and not a monument its location within a normal neighbourhood has taken down its impact for a touristic experience. In my opinion seeing the cube house was just like seeing brilliantly designed houses and nothing more.
… for a chilled night
Rotterdam is also known for its chilled out nightlife and Witte de Withestraat is in my opinion the best street for it. Here you can find some of the best bars and restaurants in the city and there are also attractions like museums and also an escape rooms.
For those who want to see a birds eye view of the city the Euromast is the place to visit. At 185m tall the tower which is a purpose built observation tower hosts tours, restaurants, hotels and for the thrill seekers it is also possible to abseil or do ziplining.
The City’s Main Attraction
Finally I think the highlight of Rotterdam for me is Erasmusburg or Erasmus Bridge. The bridge designed by Ben van Berkel and named after the Dutch Philosopher Desiderius Erasmus also known as Erasmus of the north or simply Erasmus connects the north side of the city to the south. It is both a bascule and cable type bridge and accommodates pedestrians, trams and normal vehicles. I went to this bridge both at daytime and also night and the scenery for both times was just spectacular. I fully recommend visitor to see this bridge.
… and the rest
There are many other places that you can visit which I opted to miss due to it being for a group or for children, I honestly wasn’t interested or that I didn’t have time. These are the very popular Rotterdam Zoo, Mini World, Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, Maritime museum and many others.
All in all, there was so much to see and do in Rotterdam, some of which I purposely missed out, but I was satisfied into what I saw and did within my two day timeframe. My first impressions of the city is that it was very artistic and innovative in architecture. As I entered the city I felt the mixture of a business or a college/ university type area due to the amount of young people and business suited people around. It was also much quieter than Amsterdam but this in my opinion was a positive.
Rotterdam get a thumbs up for me and I highly advise to venture to the city when in Amsterdam or enroute to Brussels. The buildings are truly amazing and it is miles away from the hectic crowds of Amsterdam so its a nice place to take it easy and unwind. I believe Rotterdam is still growing and will attract mass tourism in the short future so I believe for those who like the more quieter trip, visit now until its too late.