With its industrial history and identity as Europe’s largest shipping port, Rotterdam isn’t the sexiest city in the Netherlands. But scratch the surface and Rotterdam has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. From one of the continent’s best food markets to great contemporary architecture, Rotterdam is worth visiting. To give you an idea of how to spend your time there, here is a list of the 6 best things to do in Rotterdam.
Visit the Markthal Rotterdam
The first indoor food market in the Netherlands, the giant Markthal Rotterdam is also one of the most impressive food markets in Europe. Housed in a horseshoe-shaped modern building with colorful walls and huge windows, the Markthal features 100 fresh produce units, 15 food shops, and 8 restaurants. It’s a great place to graze on Dutch cheese, chocolate, and other local produce, or sit down for a coffee or light meal.
Go to the Cube Houses
Right next to the Markthal, Rotterdam’s Cube Houses are some of the most famous buildings in the city. Much of Rotterdam was bombed during World War II, and these houses are just one of the many modern architectural works that Rotterdam is now famous for. Their cubic form and yellow facades are as eye-catching as they are confusing to the mind, and figuring out how they all fit together is part of the fun. If you’re feeling brave, you can even stay in a Cube House that has been converted into a hostel.
Have lunch at Hotel New York
One of the few surviving historic buildings in Rotterdam’s city center, the majestic Hotel New York is the former head office of Holland America Line, a company that operated ships that took many people from Europe to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the building is a trendy hotel, complete with a great seafood restaurant and bar. It’s worth a visit to have lunch overlooking the Maas channel.
Go to a Museum
Rotterdam has no shortage of museums, and no matter what you love there’s something for every taste. The Netherlands Photo Museum is the national museum of photography, and is a great place to get a glimpse of famous photographic works. It’s right next to the Hotel New York, so is easy to combine a visit with a trip there. Elsewhere, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands, and houses one of the world’s best collections of prints and drawings.
Wander through Delfshaven
One of the only parts of Rotterdam to be spared bombing during World War II, Delfshaven is a great neighborhood in which to explore historic Dutch architecture and soak up old world ambiance. Stroll along the canals and explore the pretty courtyards, then go shopping in Delfshaven’s many boutiques or have a coffee in one of the area’s cafes.
Take a Boat Tour of Rotterdam
Given that Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port, it only makes sense that the city would offer boat tours. These sightseeing excursions are a great way to see the highlights of the city and learn about the history and architecture that have made Rotterdam what it is today.