Short Breaks – What To Do In Rotterdam Guide

What To Do In Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and a unique location to visit. Rebuilt after the destructive bombings of World War II, this modern city stands out against the old historical architecture found across the country and is a vital port destination.

From important museums and historical buildings to trendy food markets and an impressive observation deck, plenty is on offer for the entire family to enjoy.

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - The Life of Stuff

Rotterdam Photo by Chay Kelly

Did you know?

The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces but many people use “Holland” when talking about the Netherlands. The two provinces of Noord- and Zuid-Holland together are Holland. The 12 provinces together are the Netherlands. Holland is often used when all of the Netherlands is meant.

For those travelling from outside the EU and looking to obtain euros before setting off, head to the likes of to get started.

Further Reading: Europe Travel – 13 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe

Short Breaks – What To Do In Rotterdam Guide

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - Marina

Marina Photo by Peter Hall

What To Do In Rotterdam #1

The Old Harbour & Maritime Museum

For a taste of what puts Rotterdam on the map, head to the Old Harbour for a maritime adventure. Packed with restored historic boats, stunning walkways and many restaurants to enjoy a meal with a view, suitable for meat lovers and veggie eaters alike.

A visit to the Maritime Museum Rotterdam will give you a comprehensive and detailed history of the area, the various waterways and its connection to the sea. History lovers should include a stop at the Harbour Museum, an open-air home in the 19th-century Buffel ship.

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - Markthal

Markthal Photo by Ruben Hanssen

What To Do In Rotterdam #2

Markthal Rotterdam

The Markthal is an architectural beauty built in 2009 and serves as an office building and marketplace. The structure has been designed to include a large semi-circular grey facade, with a sizeable windowed section facing outwards to a surrounding courtyard. Inside, you will be treated to spectacular artwork by Arno Coenen, which includes brightly coloured fruits, plants, flowers and insects.

The market side of things has a massive spread of shops, stalls, restaurants and bars ready to be experienced and enjoyed. For cold or rainy days, it is the perfect place to spend the day exploring and sampling delicious foods.

Further Reading: Travel & Culture – 10 of the Best Galleries to Visit in Italy

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - Sint-Laurenskerk

Sint-Laurenskerk Photo by Micheile Henderson

What To Do In Rotterdam #3

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk

For history lovers, the Church of Saint Laurence is a must-see stop on any vacation. It is the only remaining piece of medieval architecture still standing in Rotterdam, and the church, which was initially built in 1449, is a sight to behold.

The all-stone building has long been a place that held many significant events over the years, and today, you can still appreciate the big bronze doors, the delicate stained glass and the beautiful interiors. Located near the old town, the old church stands out against the relatively modern skyline of Rotterdam.

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - Kinderdijk WindMills

Kinderdijk Windmill Photo by Hongbin

What To Do In Rotterdam #4

Kinderdijk’s Windmills

No visit to the Netherlands is complete without a visit to the famous and iconic windmills that litter this wonderful country. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to visit these structures nationwide, including in Rotterdam.

Just 20km east of central Rotterdam is the small village of Kinderdijk, a wonderfully charming location to stop by on a day trip. It has 19 windmills that beautifully line the canals, all restored to their original condition and are now officially classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Further Reading: #CultureVulture 10 Unforgettable UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - The Euromast Tower

The Euromast Tower Photo by Micheile Henderson

What To Do In Rotterdam #5

The Euromast Tower

Created in 1960 as a way to enjoy the panoramic views of the Rotterdam cityscape, The Euromast Tower is a looming structure of brilliance. Standing at 606ft, it is the tallest building in the city, including the antenna. Along with the observation deck, the tower has a restaurant, a hotel suite, and a conference room for business meetings.

It is a beautiful way to take in all the views of this port city, and if you are after an adrenaline rush, go one step further and zip-line or abseil from the tower.

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - Delfshaven

Delfshaven Photo by Micheile Henderson

What To Do In Rotterdam #6


During World War II, much of Rotterdam was destroyed through bombing due to its favourable port location. The city has since been rebuilt, making it one of the most modern cities to visit in the entire country. However, the historic district of Delfshaven survived the destruction of the war and offers visitors a glimpse into life pre-war.

Take a step back in time by wandering the cobbled streets and visiting the Old Church, where pilgrims held their last service before sailing to the New World across the Atlantic.

Further Reading: Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK – Part 1

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - The Cube Houses

The Cube Houses Photo by Richard Ciraulo

What To Do In Rotterdam #7

The Cube Houses

For the art and design lovers amongst us, ‘The Cube Houses’ is going to be at the top of your travel bucket list. This unique and eccentric housing block is the brainchild of designer Piet Blom, and each block is tilted at a 45-degree angle, creating an abstract and somewhat bizarre installation.

For a chance to see inside, visit the ‘Kijk-Kubus’, a show cube that is furnished and open to visitors for an opportunity to understand the structural make-up of these interesting homes. Alternatively, book through Airbnb for a chance to stay.

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - Diergaarde Blijdorp - Rotterdam Zoo

Diergaarde Blijdorp Photo by Pourya Gohari

What To Do In Rotterdam #8

Rotterdam Zoo

Known to the locals at the Diergaarde Blijdorp, the Rotterdam Zoo has been around for many years, despite having to change locations during World War II due to bombings in and around the southern area of the Netherlands.

The zoo is split into several areas, each based on a specific theme, including a Chinese garden, a Malayan forest and a crocodile river. Here, you can see the majestic Black Rhino, Greater Kudu, Asian Elephant, the Sumatran Tiger and many more. It is a fantastic location for both adults and kids to enjoy hours of fun.

Further Reading: Cultural, Educational, Fun Things to Do for Toddlers in Dublin

Short Breaks - What To Do In Rotterdam Guide - Arboretum Trompenburg

Arboretum Trompenburg Photo by Micheile Henderson

What To Do In Rotterdam #9

Arboretum Trompenburg

For a natural escape from the hustle and bustle of Rotterdam, visit Arboretum Trompenburg, a botanical utopia ideal for a lazy Sunday stroll, an afternoon picnic or simply a chance to relax and unwind in nature.

For the full experience, take a guided walking tour through the garden, or wander at your own pace to take in every sight, sound and smell.

PIN: Short Breaks – What To Do In Rotterdam Guide

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