Everyone knows Amsterdam, the beautiful capital of the Netherlands. But an other city in Holland which I love to visit is Rotterdam. The city is a mix of old and new architecture that really goes well together.
Nearby the city you can find a UNESCO World heritage site: Kinderdijk, with 19 windmills aligned together. As Rotterdam is just an hour drive from where I live and I had a few days off from work, I had to make a trip out of it!
What to see?
If the sun is out, there is no better way to discover this Holland city as the locals do: by bike. So go ahead and rent a bike if you feel like it.
Rotterdam has a few remarkable buildings! You have the famous Erasmus Bridge over the Nieuwe Maas river. It’s a perfect opportunity to bike (or walk) alongside the river and go up to the bridge. I also love the cute houses aligned on the other side of the river.
Across the bridge you also have “De Rotterdam” building, the large apartment building that looks like it is sliced vertically in parts. Yes that is how it really is called…
When you get back to the center you can check out the Cubic Houses, designed by Piet Blom. There are about 38 yellow houses in the shape of a cube lining up and 2 bigger ones, the “super cubes”.
You can walk underneath it and around it. These houses are for private use, but after many curious people asking the owners how it looks on the inside, there is now a “Look-cube” (Kijk-Kubus in Dutch) if you would like to see it from the inside. The entrance is €3 , but very worth it.
It is like a normal house, divided in 3 floors with:
– a ground floor entrance
– a first floor with an open living room and kitchen
– a second floor with a bedroom and a study room/second bedroom
– a top floor you could make it into a relax room and/or a little garden
Due the architectural and geometrical design of the houses you can see in some spots special shapes when you look up to the roofs. Like such as a star like the picture below.
Next of the Cubic Houses, you have an apartment building that looks like a big pencil. And that is exactly the name of it “Potlood” (= pencil in Dutch)
The luchtsingel is a project that connects North Rotterdam with the center and it consist of some public areas, a park and a yellow painted wooden pedestrian bridge of 390 meters. Which is a very cool place for some shots of course!
Where to eat?
Rotterdam has a really nice food hall: Markthal. The building itself is also a remarkable architectural building. It looks like a big arched bunker with windows and glass sides. And on the inside it is like a covered food market with all kinds of food and drinks stands and supermarkets.
The ceiling is super cool decorated with all types of food. So the perfect cool spot to have your meals will be the Markthal.
Some tips for food that you should try are:
typical Dutch fried fish, you can also put it in a sandwich, there are 2 fish stands you can choose from
– Churros and sweets:
delicious Churros and Poffertjes (small Dutch pancakes covered with powder sugar)
– Holland cheeses and sausages:
a few stands where you can buy and take home with you, we bought some sausages at Monsieur Saucisson.
– Yo Yo! Fresh tea bar: Bubble tea, our favorite was taro with coconut milk tea flavour
– Supersauer: Korean street food with burritos and salads
Where to stay?
If you are staying Rotterdam like we were, I suggest to stay in the center close by the old harbour (Oude Haven in Dutch). Like this everything is walkable, like the food hall, the river, the cube houses and the shopping streets.
Where we stayed: citizenM Rotterdam. I just loved this hotel. It has smart rooms, meaning you can control many things inside the room with an iPad like lightning, blinds, curtains, TV,… It also has a very personal touch with little quotes everywhere for the guests. The hotel also is around the corner of the food hall and the cube houses.
And if you pick a harbour view room, you will have the amazing view on the square “Gelderseplein”, the old harbour and the “White House”, a national heritage site in the Netherlands and the very first 10-storey building of Europe build in Art nouveau style in 1898.
After waking up and checking out, you could go for breakfast or lunch at the markthal before leaving for Kinderdijk. It is about 20 minutes by car and the site is a small town.
You could eat something there, but a much better and fun thing to do is to have a picnic in that beautiful landscape. So get some drinks/ snacks/ prep meals/ salad/ sandwiches/ or whatever you like at the Markthal and get going.
It’s a small town and you can park your car on the street close by the entrance, or you can pay €5 for the parking at the entrance.
The site itself has free entrance for walking and biking. You can rent a bike at the beginning at the gift shop. I suggest to come early to be able to rent it. When we arrived in the afternoon there was no more bikes available. But either way, walking is still amazing there, so it wasn’t a problem.
If you would like to take a boat ride or visit the 2 windmills museums, you will need to buy a special ticket at the ticket shop for it.
Try to plan your day on a sunny day, so you will enjoy it even more so… like having a nice farm made ice cream and of course taking good pictures!