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Your Essential Travel Guide To Rotterdam

TravelGuide Rotterdam 1 CubeHouses

Discover Rotterdam

Modern, vibrant and fast-paced, Rotterdam is a unique place to visit. Holland’s second-biggest city brims with fascinating museums, innovative designs and a diverse food scene. The city was entirely rebuilt after an air raid in 1940. In the 1980s, the local council developed an architectural policy to build off-the-wall architecture, high rises and bridges, which shaped Rotterdam’s iconic skyline.

Looking to tick Rotterdam off your bucket list? We’re here to help you make the most of your trip. Read on to learn about the city’s best attractions and places to eat and stay.

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The best things to do in Rotterdam

Known as Europe’s largest seaport, Rotterdam is home to many exciting attractions. Below are our top picks of the best things to do in this dynamic city.

Rotterdam Travel Guide-Van Nelle Factory

1. Visit the former Van Nelle Factory

Described by prominent architects as ‘the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age’, the former Van Nelle Factory can’t be missed. During the 20th century, it processed coffee, tea, tobacco, instant pudding and rice. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 and topped the list of the 25 Most Beautiful Factories in the World in 2015.

Rotterdam Travel Guide-Euromast tower

2. Climb the Euromast Tower

Hugh Maaskant’s brainchild was built between 1958 and 1960 for the 1960 Floriade, a horticultural exhibition and garden festival. The 101-metre-tall tower hosts a restaurant and an observation platform offering breathtaking city views. It was Rotterdam’s highest construction until 2021, when De Zalmhaven was founded.

Rotterdam Travel Guide-Rotterdam cube houses

3. Explore the Cube Houses

Unlike anything you’ve seen before, the Cube Houses are one of Rotterdam’s most iconic sights. They were designed by Piet Blom in 1977 and are based on the concept of ‘living as an urban roof’. The construction represents a village within a city, where each house is a tree, and together, they form a forest. The cube of a traditional house corner is tilted upwards to maximise the space and improve the room distribution.

Rotterdam Travel Guide-Rotterdam Market Hall

4. Taste local delicacies at the Market Hall

One of the newest additions to Rotterdam’s cultural scene, the Market Hall is a must-visit attraction. Opened in 2014, it was designed by the local architecture firm MVRDV and comprises modern glass-walled apartments and a market hall. The colourful, muralled ceiling is the site’s highlight, along with delicious local food and drinks.

Rotterdam Travel Guide-Erasmusbrug

5. Cross Erasmusbrug

Erasmusbrug, built between 1986 and 1996, is Rotterdam’s most important landmark, so much so that it features as part of the city’s official logo. The cable-stayed and bascule bridge crosses the Nieuwe Maas and was named after Erasmus of Rotterdam, a Christian Renaissance humanist. The bridge is known as ‘the swan’ because it looks like a bird with wide-open wings when seen from afar.

Rotterdam is also famous for hosting the annual International Film Festival and some of the best Dutch Christmas markets.

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Where to stay in Rotterdam

Find some of the best places to stay in Rotterdam below for a relaxing holiday.

  • The James Hotel (★★★). A stone’s throw from Rotterdam’s main attractions, the James Hotel features 144 modern, comfortable rooms and first-class amenities. These include a 24/7 reception and food market, a gym, a free parking space and meeting rooms for business guests.

  • Morgan & Mees Rotterdam (★★★★). This boutique hotel in Rotterdam’s city centre is housed in a beautiful Bauhaus-style monument dating back to 1938. The 20 rooms and suites are complemented by a restaurant, cocktail bar and rooftop terrace.

  • Mainport Hotel (★★★★★). This 5-star hotel along Rotterdam Marina offers wonderful waterfront and skyline views. The spacious rooms are equipped with contemporary features, and guests can enjoy an on-site spa and fitness centre, an indoor pool and a restaurant.

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Where to eat in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is dynamic and multi-ethnic, and this is reflected in its culinary scene. Here are our top picks of its must-try restaurants.

  • BY AMI Urban Bistro (££). Quirky and cosy, BY AMI Urban Bistro is a staple on Rotterdam’s food scene. The menu includes international ‘Fusion’ dishes prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients. If you’re visiting with friends, opt for shared dining to sample different produce.

  • Pesca Rotterdam (££). Pesca has been delighting guests with its delicious seafood dishes since 2016. There are no menus here: the fish is on display, and you get to pick your main and sides, just like at a fish market! Highlights include the scallops, oysters, and turbot in butter sauce.

  • Restaurant Rotonde (£££). This Michelin-starred restaurant promotes sustainability and strives to reduce waste. Vegetables are picked locally and prepared with a twist to create flavourful dishes. Choose between the three, four or five-course menu, perfect for sharing.

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