September 11, 2023
As summer comes to an end and the leaves start to fall from the trees, Rotterdam offers lots of fun things to do both outdoors and inside. No matter rain or shine, this amazing city is sure to keep you busy as you explore its many facets. Here are our top tips for things to do in Rotterdam in autumn.
Sightseeing with Splashtours
Just because the temperature goes down doesn’t mean you should stop sightseeing in Rotterdam with all its amazing architecture. The Splashtours amphibian bus is perfect for an autumn day, whether the sun is out or hiding behind the clouds. With this one Rotterdam boat tour you’ll see the city both from the streets and the water.
An enthusiastic and funny guide will tell you all about what you're seeing outside the windows throughout the tour. You'll learn all about some of the older ports of the city, such as the Veerhaven, as well as the backstories of the city's skyscrapers. After crossing the Erasmus Bridge, the bus will literally dive into the river with a spectacular splash. While on the water you'll see sights such as the SS Rotterdam, Hotel New York and the White House, Europe's first high rise building.
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See the windmills in Kinderdijk
The UNESCO World Heritage listed Kinderdijk windmills are only 30 minutes from Rotterdam city centre by public transport or by Waterbus. We recommend the second option, as it will take you straight to the windmills from the Erasmus Bridge. A visit to Kinderdijk will introduce you to the incredible way the Dutch have been managing water for over 1000 years.
Kinderdijk is home to 19 windmills which were built around 1740, most of them continue to be inhabited to this day. Two windmills are open to the public every day, each with its own unique story. A ticket to Kinderdijk includes entry to both these windmills, as well as a boat tour, entry to a pumping station, a floating exhibition and audio tours.
Explore top museums
If it happens to rain during your autumn visit to Rotterdam, you can explore some of the amazing museums this city has to offer. The Kunsthal is an icon of modern architecture and art, with 20 different temporary exhibitions throughout the year. For an exploration of the diverse Dutch photography scene, you will want to head to the Nederlands Fotomuseum.
A new addition to the museum scene in Rotterdam is the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen (opened in 2021). It is the first publicly accessible art depot in the world, with over 150,000 objects in its collection. The Depot is divided into fourteen compartments with everything from paintings, black-and-white and colour photography to metal objects, organic and non-organic materials.
A walk in the park
There is more to Rotterdam than ports and architecture as it is also one of the greenest cities in the Netherlands. In autumn many of the city’s parks offer amazing walking routes to enjoy the golden leaves. The Kralingen Forest is a beautiful oasis on the outskirts of the city, with both cycling and walking paths, as well as playgrounds, windmills and restaurants.
If you prefer to stay closer to the city centre, than Het Park around the Euromast is the place to go. The park's many pleasant paths are lined with more than 400 varieties of trees, which are sure to gives a beautiful display in autumn. On the north-eastern edge of the park sits historic garden Schoonoord, a picturesque garden full of surprises.
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Not to miss indoor attractions
If museums aren’t where you want to hide from the rain, then Rotterdam offers plenty of other indoor attractions where you can stay dry. At Miniworld you can discover the city in a unique way, here a day lasts only 24 minutes and at dawn 27,000 inhabitants wake to live their lives in this miniature city. On the other side of Rotterdam Central Station, you can play all sorts of arcade games at POING, including Pac-Man, Pong and Air hockey.
A city so much associated with the water is certain to also offer fun attractions on board its many boats. Near the Euromast, you can hop on board ‘De Zwarte Zwaan’ for a fun game of laser tag under water in the hold of the boat. Across the water, on the SS Rotterdam await two fun escape rooms, you can either try to make sure you make it to the ship on time or attempt to escape from the ship’s cold storage rooms.
Discover the flavours of Rotterdam
One indoor location in the city you can’t miss whether the sun is shining or the rain is coming down, is the Markthal. This unique architectural structure is an indoor marketplace with a beautifully painted ceiling. Here you’ll find fresh and varied food with around 90 stalls, 20 shops and restaurants to peruse.
If you are looking for a fun place to eat on the opposite side of the river, head to the Foodhallen on the Kop van Zuid. Here, 10 different stands serve a wide variety of cuisines from all around the world as well as local delicacies. There is something to enjoy for every flavour palate!
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