The gems of Rotterdam, all in one place. Whether it are the usual tourist attractions or the hidden spots that only real Rotterdammers know, you have to see them. Art, culture, activities, nature, beautiful buildings and innovative ideas. Rotterdam is one big must-see if you ask us.
Let's start with the coolest street in Rotterdam: the Witte de Withstraat. Why is this street so cool? It's just a little different from other streets. It is full of art, culture, delicious food and fun. Here you will find a number of cool art galleries, street art, cocktail bars and unique shops.
For example, take a look at Kunstinstituut Melly, where they exhibit art by contemporary artists. Or shop at Danny de Cactus, the most colourful store in Rotterdam where they have Middle Eastern home decorations such as nice lamps, plants, dream catchers and much more. Another great place to go is Mystiek, a spiritual shop where they also give readings such as palm reading and laying tarot cards.
If you want to discover Rotterdam at night, there is hardly a better place than the Witte de With. At night the street is filled with lively people having a drink. For example, drink a cocktail at Spikizi, a beer at Café de Witte Aap or treat yourself to a big burger at the Vegan Junkfood Bar.
When you leave the Witte de Withstraat, you will immediately enter the Museum Park. Here you will not only find museums such as the Boijmans van Beuningen, the NAI or the Kunsthal, but this has also become the home of the beautiful, unique Depot.
There's no denying that this is a must-see. That becomes clear as soon as you come face to face with this forty meter high mirrored building in the shape of an egg.
In the Depot, the Boijmans van Beuningen exhibits its collection to visitors. Here you can browse - independently or with a guide - between no fewer than 151,000 art objects. You can also learn a thing or two about conservation and restoration here; a unique extra that you don't normally get to see in a museum.
Don't forget to include a short stop on the roof terrace, which you can visit in the autumn of 2021. 75 trees have been placed here, so that you are in a forest at a height of 35 meters, with a beautiful view. How cool is that?
For the next must-see we cross the Erasmus Bridge. Here you will find the Kop van Zuid, one of the absolute top places in Rotterdam with unique buildings and a New York atmosphere.
Are you coming by subway? Then you can immediately admire one of the most special stations in Rotterdam, namely the Wilhelminaplein. A station with cool futuristic shapes, designed by Zwarts & Jansma architects.
With the station behind you, you come face to face with De Rotterdam, an architecturally beautiful building with three interconnected towers that provide space for offices, apartments and the Nhow hotel. Our tip is to stay here overnight, because this gives you a beautiful view over the Erasmus Bridge and the Maas.
In addition, the Kop van Zuid is the site of the warehouses and is home to Hotel New York, the former management building of the Holland-America Line. But the Kop van Zuid is still an important place for sailing travellers. This is because regular cruise ships dock with tourists who come to explore the city.
For a bite to eat at the Kop van Zuid you can go to the Foodhallen, this is a hall located in the warehouse, filled with several nice restaurants. Or check out By Ami, where not only the interior, but also the dishes are colourful. For delicious sushi we recommend Mood.
Not a must-see, but a must-try! We naturally want to return to the centre of Rotterdam from the Kop van Zuid. And we do this with the water taxi. A boat trip on the Maas is of course an absolute must if you want to experience a city like Rotterdam.
From the Kop van Zuid you can easily board at the water taxi ranks, after which you sail at great speed over the waves back to the city centre. During your ride on the Maas, you can admire the city from the water. On the one hand De Rotterdam and Hotel New York and on the other the Euromast, the new Zalmhaven tower and of course the Erasmus Bridge.
Once back in the centre we naturally want to admire the Coolsingel, the city boulevard on which the City Hall is located and under which the Koopgoot runs. Just down a side street from the Coolsingel and there you will find the Schielandshuis, a building from the 17th century and one of the oldest historical buildings in Rotterdam.
Our tip is to visit the secret garden of the Schielandshuis, where you can sit down and order something delicious in the restaurant.
We continue the must-sees of Rotterdam and make a short exit to the Noordereiland. For this we also have to cross a bridge, but this time it is not the Erasmus Bridge, but the red Willemsbrug. The nice thing about this bridge is that it offers a beautiful view of the nearby Erasmus Bridge. A walk with a top view.
Another reason why you really should make the crossing to the Noordereiland is because of De Hef. An enormous, sturdy and green bridge that separates the Noordereiland from the Feijenoord district.
For a bite to eat or a drink, you can go to pop-up restaurant A La Plancha in the summer: a top place in the city. This restaurant is located on the Maas and is inspired by Mediterranean fish restaurants. A La Plancha therefore means “from the plate”. Fresh seafood, a breeze through your hair and a beautiful view of the centre of Rotterdam. What more do you want?
When walking the Willemsbrug back towards the centre, you will already see the next must-see. On your right is the water Aloha. A low-waste restaurant, located in the old Tropicana pool. The fact that it is an old swimming pool is also clearly visible. But this makes it extra authentic if you ask us.
Aloha is all about dishes and drinks from the local area, which represent the season. A creative method and unique dishes with as little waste as possible. Not only do they get their products from local farmers, they also pick their own ingredients in the Rotterdam countryside, they have their own vegetable garden and they make their own liqueurs, vinegars, misos and soy sauces.
Our tip is to choose a table on the terrace and order the oyster mushroom bitterballen. Be sure to ask how they get these Rotterdam delicacies, because the story will surprise you!
We continue our route to the Oude Haven, for a piece of Rotterdam history. Did you know that the first jetty here was already built around 1350, making it the oldest port in Rotterdam? This is also where the iconic White House is located: the first skyscraper in Europe.
Of course we admire the history of the Oude Haven with a drink in our hands. Because the Oude Haven is the place where the terraces bulge with people that are enjoying drinks and snacks.
Sip cocktails at Stockholm or Noah, eat Indian cuisine at 91Spices, sit down for a hip lunch at Lot & Daan and enjoy Michelin-starred dishes at Fitzgerald.
Feel like shopping? Then walk to the MAHO quarter, a nice part of Rotterdam Centre filled with unique boutiques and cool coffee bars.
For original interiors and the best gadgets, you can go to Homestock, for example. Do you want to shop vintage? Then we recommend Hendrikus - where the owner has managed to acquire cool design items and sell them in his shop - or Very Cherry. Also recommended are LOT Boutique and Imagine By Kim, where they sell nice clothing items and accessories.
For a coffee we recommend Nine Bar, a cosy place with an Australian vibe. For a juice you go to Sajoer, eat pizza at De Pizzabakkers, snack at Tante Nel, have a beer at Bokaal and drink cocktails at Botanero.
Our last must-see is a yellow wooden bridge, which connects Rotterdam North with the centre. It is no less than 390 meters long and takes you past places such as Biergarten, the Hofplein fountain, the Schieblock, café Bird and Park Pompenburg.
That this place is a must-see was not always the case. The area around the bridge has been forgotten for years. A blind spot in the centre of the city. Such a shame! The Luchtsingel was created to give this area a boost. A wonderful addition if you ask us, because De Luchtsingel has exactly that raw edge that Rotterdam is known for.
Walk it, take pictures and take in the centre of Rotterdam. A real must-see that should not be missed during your visit!