The Netherlands

Extensive city guide to Rotterdam, the Netherlands

I love to make daytrips in my home country! Although I was born and still live in the Netherlands, I absolutely haven’t seen everything yet from the country. A few weeks ago, I spend a day at the modern city Rotterdam. The city has become more popular by tourists in the last few years and I can definitely see why! Find in this article the places you shouldn’t leave out during your visit to Rotterdam.

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

In 1940, most of the city of Rotterdam was destroyed by the German air attacks during World War II. After the war, the city has been rebuilt and re-planned with modern shopping streets, residential districts and high-rises. This makes the city one of the most modern and architecturally interesting cities in Europe. Besides the fact that the city is very modern, it has also one of the world’s largest port. Many cruise ships are entering the port, same as the ships which are transporting goods.

Founded on

The Euromast

The Euromast is a 18 meters high tower which was been built in 1960. The tower features two restaurants which are unique because of their amazing views over Rotterdam. If you’re looking for some adventure, there is a possibility to abseil down the building. Furthermore, there are also two suites which you can book and stay at; these suites are located at the 100 meters point!

The Cube Houses

Of course these Cube Houses, designed by the Dutch architect Piet Blom, are a must visit during your time in Rotterdam. The houses are very popular and definitely is an image which belongs to Rotterdam. You can find the Cube Houses in the city center, close to the Markthal. You can walk along the houses, but you can also stay at those houses for the night! Such a unique experience. A part of the Cube Houses belong to the hostel chain Stay Okay. Click here if you want to take a look at the website.

Another nice thing to know: you can find about the same cube houses in Helmond, another city in the Netherlands. These houses are a lesser known than the houses in Rotterdam, but also very beautiful!



If you’re a foodlover, you should definitely pay a visit to the Markthal! Only the building itself already is really impressive! A round, huge building where you can find apartments around the outside of the building and the Markthal right in the middle. When you walk inside the building, you’ll first see the ceiling, which is beautifully painted with all kinds of food and figures in all kinds of colors. The ceiling really gives a beautiful image.

But then you have the food part: here you can buy food from all cultures. Whatever you like to eat, you can find it at the Markthal. There are food stands everywhere. You can buy some food to bring it home, but you can also step in one of the restaurants and have lunch or dinner at the Markthal. With some good weather there is also a possibility to sit outside on one of the many terraces.


SS Rotterdam

Located close to the Europoort, you can find this big cruise ship. Since 2013, this ship is part of the WestCord Hotels. The ship doesn’t sail around, but is a hotel and a meeting place. You can stay for one night in a cabin or the boat (an unique experience) or you can make a tour around the ship with a tour guide. If you wouldn’t like to do either of the things mentioned before, you can also just enter the ship and have lunch or a drink on the promenade deck. Enjoy an unique experience on a real cruise ship!

Kunsthal (Art Hall)

Are you an art lover? Than the Kunsthal is something for you. This trendy gallery features exhibits of visual arts, design, architecture and culture from all around the world. Only the building itself already has an unique way of architecture. The hall has been designed in 1988-1989 by the world famous architect Rem Koolhaas together with the project architect Fuminori Hoshino. The Kunsthal has been officially opened at the 1st of November in 1992. The building offers seven different exhibition halls, an auditorium and an Art Hall café.


The Coolsingel is the main street of the center of Rotterdam. From here, you can find many shops and restaurants/cafes in walking distance. Rotterdam definitely is a good city when it comes to shopping or having a nice afternoon at the terrace. The city center has a really nice atmosphere and you can find many international shops. A place where there is a possibility to fill your day with shopping!

At the Coolsingel you can also find the Town Hall. This Hall has been built between 1914 and 1920 in Dutch Renaissance style. At the opposite of the Town Hall, you can find a war memorial at the Stadhuisplein, which is designed by Mari Andriessen.

Founded on

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk (Great St Lawrence Church)

In the middle of the center, you can find this beautiful church, which is all that’s left of Rotterdam’s medieval buildings. The church was built in the 15th Century. It’s very impressive to just walk around and take a look at all the beautiful details the church features.

In front of the church you can find a statue of Rotterdam’s most famous son, Erasmus. Erasmus was one of the most important humanists of the renaissance and was born in Rotterdam in 1467. The Erasmus Bridge, which you can find close to the port of Rotterdam, is called after the famous humanist.



Europoort is also known as the Gateway to Europe: it’s a huge complex. The massive port of Rotterdam occupies half the city’s total area. It’s a really fascinating area to visit. You can find many huge ships, but also many quays and storage facilities built to service world’s busiest port. A lot of people combine the visit to Europoort with a boat tour.


Old Port

Close to the Cubes Houses of Piet Blom, you can find the Old Port of Rotterdam. Such a different image if you compare it to the ‘new port’, which is of course more modern and bigger. The Old Port is surrounded by terraces, which gives the place a really nice and cosy atmosphere. Absolutely worth a visit and a great place to take a break from your city walk!

Maritime Museum

Are you more curious about the world of ships, sea and waterways? Then the Maritime Museum would be something for you! The museum was established in 1873 and provides a large collection of material on the history of shipping and seafaring, including ship models and various seafaring paintings.

If you are planning a visit, you can find below the most important information:

Opening hours: The museum is opened from Tuesday until Saturday (10 a.m. until 5 p.m.) and Sunday/public holidays (11 a.m. until 5 p.m.). The museum is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Kings Day and Christmas.

Entrance fees: Adults pay a price of € 12,50 per person for the entrance fee. Children aged from 4 until 15 years old pay € 9,- per person and children under 4 years old can enter the museum for free.

Founded on

Diergaarde Blijdorp

If you have more than just one day visiting Rotterdam, I can definitely recommend paying a visit to Diergaarde Blijdorp, thé zoo of Rotterdam. This zoo was founded in 1857, which makes it one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands. You can find all kinds of animals from all over the world. Diergaarde Blijdorp is located just outside the city center.

If you are planning a visit, you can find below the most important information:

Opening hours: The zoo is opened every day from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. On Holidays (5, 24 & 31 December – 1st of January) there are adapted opening hours.

Entrance fees: You can buy your ticket online or at the entrance of the zoo. If you buy the tickets online, you will get some discount. For adults, an online tickets costs € 21,- per person and for children from 3 until 12 years old an online ticket costs € 16,50 per person. At the entrance of the zoo, adults pay € 23,- per person and children pay € 18,50 per person. Children from under the age of 3 years old can enter the zoo for free.

Author: Tamara

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you purchase something through my links I earn a small fee at no extra costs to you. You still pay the same. Win-win! Thanks for supporting the work I put into Girlswanderlust.


  • Ozzy

    One of the liveliest cities that I have been to has to be Rotterdam. The amazing architectures of the city along with its super nice people made it one of my best travel experiences in Europe. The Rotterdam Carnival was something that I never imagined would transform my notion of a carnival.
    A wonderful post about a beautiful city. Thanks!

  • Vibeke Johannessen

    I am from Norway and haven’t been to the Netherlands yet. So close xD I haven’t seen it all in Norway too. Rotterdam seems like an amazing and lively city. The Cube houses look so cool and perfect for Instagram photos haha. Can’t wait to visit Rotterdam and the rest of the Netherlands 😀

  • Danni

    Interesting, I hadn’t heard of some of these venues such as the Kunsthal. The zoo looks interesting, would certainly visit ext time I’m in Rotterdam. The city overall has quite a historic feel, which makes sense given what you say about the city’s war history.

  • Chantell

    I have to admit that I really don’t know much at Rotterdam. I have only visited Amsterdam in The Netherlands but would love to see other destinations in the country. The Cube houses sound super interesting and a place that I would definitely like to stay if they aren’t too expensive. Thanks for sharing!

Comments are most welcome and appreciated

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.