Things to see, do and experience in Rotterdam
The cube houses of Rotterdam are one of its most notable sights, but they are actually real residences. Designed by architect Piet Blom and completed in 1984, the cube houses mimic the form of a tree, creating an urban “forest”. For a view inside, visit the Kijk-Kubus (Show Cube) or stay overnight in one with Stayokay Rotterdam.
Markthal (Market Hall)
The largest indoor market in the Netherlands, Markthal is a true paradise for the culinary minded. The food market houses nearly 100 shops and stalls in its football pitch-sized warehouse, offering everything from meat and fish to dairy and bread.
A remarkable remnant of Rotterdam city centre's medieval history, the Sint-Laurenskerk is a breath-taking example of 15th-century architecture. Tour the inside of the church, visit the permanent exhibition to explore its history, or attend one of its many concerts and events.
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is not your typical tourist attraction: it is a working port, with dozens of cargo ships arriving and departing daily alongside the bustling piers. Walk or bike around the port, or hop on board the Spido for a 75-minute boat tour in Rotterdam. There's even a museum called Futureland where you can learn about the ongoing evolution of the port area.
Witte Huis (White House)
One of the few buildings in Rotterdam’s city centre to survive the bombing, the 19th-century Witte Huis, whose Art Nouveau style is striking against a modern backdrop, was once the tallest office building in the city. Take the lift for a view over the Oude Haven, or stay on the ground and have a cup of coffee in the café.
Other sights worth seeing:
- Erasmus Bridge
- Van Nellefabriek
Family-friendly activities in Rotterdam
Rotterdam’s zoo is called Diergaarde Blijdorp and includes Biotopia, an indoor playground that features all the fun of the jungle, desert, sea and the animals that live there. Slow boat tours may not be high on the list of things to do with kids in Rotterdam, but Splashtours is anything but: it rides on both land and sea, making for a unique tour of the city. The Maritime Museum is another great spot for kids to play and learn while doing it. It’s full of fun, interactive exhibits for kids of all ages.
Shopping in Rotterdam
An international, modern city means plenty of shopping. In addition to the well-known shopping streets of Lijnbaan, Hoogstraat, Meent, Van Oldenbarneveltstraat and Beurstraverse (also known as the Koopgoot), Rotterdam has indoor shopping malls including Central Plaza Rotterdam and Alexandrium Shopping Centre.
How to get to Rotterdam
Intercity trains run frequently from Amsterdam Central Station and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Rotterdam Central. Many trains are direct, but some may require transfers in Leiden.
Looking for more excursions outside the city? Check out these other day trips from Amsterdam.