April 20, 2022
Rotterdam is one of the Netherland’s most modern cities, as the city was completely rebuild after being bombed during the second World War. The modern architecture is what draws most people to this urban hub, that is sometimes referred to as the Disneyland for architecture lovers. But, Rotterdam has so much more to offer! Spend a weekend in Rotterdam to fully enjoy the many attractions and participate in the bustling nightlife.
In this Dutch city, you will are sure to feel the ‘city-vibe' and find a difference in culture from the other Dutch cities, as the Rotterdammers are known to be more direct and very open. This lively city is not to be missed! To make sure you are making the most of your weekend, or 48 hours, in Rotterdam, follow our tips!
Touring the city
The easiest way to make the most out of your trip and get a feel for the city, is by taking a tour. Board the Hop on Hop Off bus tours to get familiar with the city centre and see the eyecatchers of Rotterdam: stop by de Market hall and Cube houses, see the Euromast and Museumplein without all the walking in between.
As the city is built around the river de Maas, there is a lot you can see from the water. Combine a cruise with the Dutchies favourite dinner food: pannenkoeken! You will get the ideal combination of spectacular views of the Maas, the architecture and the Erasmus bridge with delicious freshly baked pancakes. You can eat as much as you like at the pancake cruise!
Can’t chose between a bus tour and boat tour? You don’t have to! Pick the splash tour as the ideal mix. Drive around the city and splash into the water with this bus-boat hybrid!
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Rooftop park picnics at ‘Luchtpark de Hofboven’
This sky park has yet to be discovered by the big crowds! For 100 years there was a direct trainline from here ‘station Hofboven’ to the Hague. With a length of 1,9 kilometres, the roof of the former station is the longest roof of the Netherlands. Enough space to build a public park, the city thought. And so they did. Rest your legs in the grass in this calm area overlooking the city.
Art in the open air museum
At the Museumpark you will have many options for whatever museum you are in the mood for, read our Rotterdam guide: ‘best museums of Rotterdam’. But to enjoy art in Rotterdam, you do not need to get inside a museum. You will find that Rotterdam is a great open air museum for street art and sculptures.
You can take a tour with a guide or virtual via an app to learn more about graffiti artists, like the colourful Rotterdam artist OX alien. Rotterdam even hosts its own annual street art festival, called ALL CAPS, where Dutch and international artist paint their way around Rotterdam Zuid to freshen, and brighten up this part of the city. With this map in your hands, made by the visual arts and public space department Rotterdam, you have an overview of all the artworks you can find outdoors!
A typical Rotterdam snack
In for a snack? You came to the right place! Rotterdam is a very multicultural city, and you can taste that. Walk down the longest shopping street of the Netherlands, de Nieuwebinnenweg, to find some of the best Surinam, Chinese, Turkish and African flavours. Do not leave Rotterdam without trying a freshly fried Surinamese Bara!
A Rotterdam classic is getting a portion of fries (with mayonnaise!) At Bram Ladage. ‘Doing a Brammetje’ has been a household name in the city for over 50 years. The secret? Freshly cut potatoes straight from local potato farmers. There are several Bram Ladage snackbars in Rotterdam, you will soon find out why these fries are so beloved by the locals.
From the city centre, cross the water to Katendrecht to visit the Fenix Food Factory, which, as the name suggests, used to be a factory and is now reborn into a food hall with lots of Fresh food, market restaurants, a brewery and lots of events. Still hungry? Cross the Rijnhavenbrug to ‘Kop van Zuid’ where you will find the Foodhallen Rotterdam, where you will meet amazing people and taste delicious food from all over the world.
Step into the history
Yes, there are still historical parts of Rotterdam! Even though the city is super modern, there are still spots where you will find a feel for the old days. One of the buildings that stands out for being one of the few monumental buildings surrounded by modern architecture, is Hotel New York at ‘Kop van Zuid’. This used to be the headquarters of the Holland America Line. Thousands of Dutch people came here to immigrate to the ‘new world’, for a better life in North-America.
In Katendrecht you will find the biggest passenger ship that the Netherlands has ever build, the former flagship of the Holland America Line: the SS Rotterdam. Now renovated into a hotel and restaurant and open to whoever wants to see this massive ship from the inside. Explore the ship and stop for a drink (or two) at the rooftop terrace, where you can dip your toes in a pool and enjoy the magnificent view of the skyline of Rotterdam.
Drinks and nightlife
Party people listen up, Rotterdam is where you want to spend your late nights! If you want a calm night, a crazy one, or anything in between, there’s plenty of options in this city. From drag to techno, Dutch hit parade at Coconuts at the Coolsingel or barhopping at Witte de With, a night out in this city will never be boring.
Start your evening with sunset cocktails at the Maaskantine. No matter the weather, it will always feel like summer here! Located on a bank of the Maas river you will find this outdoor restaurant with great holiday vibes, picnic benches along the water, a heated terrace and a city beach, just outside of the city.
In summer, festivals in Rotterdam come and go, but there’s one that will always stay: the ‘permanent festival’ at Keilecafe. This bar and pizza restaurant is situated at the M4H area, an up and coming area in a former rough neighbourhood. This place is a local favourite, you most likely will not find many day trippers and tourists here. Grab a sangria and dance the night away with live DJ’s.
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