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There are best things to do in Rotterdam Netherlands this weekend from the seeing the cube houses to tasting delicious food at the food market.
As Netherlands second-largest city, Rotterdam boasts a rich historical heritage intertwined with its identity as a major port. But there’s so much more to this vibrant city than meets the eye.
Prepare to be enchanted by Rotterdam’s seamless fusion of old-world charm and cutting-edge innovation. With its famous harbour and reputation as one of the most walkable cities in Europe, Rotterdam offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for every traveller.
In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through the best things to do in Rotterdam, showcasing its unique blend of modern architecture, world-class museums, delectable eateries, and an endless array of exciting activities.
If you’ve already visited Amsterdam and want to see a different side of Netherlands, then a weekend in Rotterdam should be on your city break list.
Don’t have time to read the whole article? The best Rotterdam tour is this Harbour Boat Tour with a near-perfect ⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating.
If you are looking for a cool place to stay in Rotterdam check out my review of Cityhub Rotterdam, a capsule hotel in Rotterdam’s hottest neighbourhood.
Best Things To Do In Rotterdam This Weekend
In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the 22 best things to do in Rotterdam, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this dynamic city.
1. Do A Rotterdam Walking Tour
One of the best things to do in Rotterdam is a walking tour of the city centre. I was excited to wander the city of Rotterdam with my energetic local guide from Rotterdam Pages walking tour.
Our guide Haas broke down the history of Rotterdam and why it’s considered a new city – with such modern architecture compared to other cities in the Netherlands like Amsterdam and The Hauge.
Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and lies on the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt river delta. After almost being wholly destroyed due to bombing during the second world war the centre of Rotterdam was rebuilt.
But, instead of rebuilding in the old European architecture the people decided to rebuild the city with more modern innovative architecture.
Starting at the Central Station, the tour took us along the side streets, Maritime Museum Rotterdam, harbours an iconic building in Rotterdam, like the first skyscraper in Europe and end at the famous Marthal.
Where our guide advised us where the best places in Rotterdam were to eat (non-tourist and budget-friendly), as well as other fun things to do in Rotterdam. I would highly recommend this walking tour of Rotterdam if you want to find out more about the city you are visiting. We also saw some of the top Rotterdams attractions during the walking tour.
⭐️ RATING: 4.6 out of 5 Stars (49+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 4 hours | 🎟️ BOOK NOW
2. Rotterdam Highlights Bike Tour
Or you can kickstart your Rotterdam adventure with a thrilling 2.5-hour bike tour through Rotterdam’s city center that takes you to the best attractions in Rotterdam. Marvel at the breathtaking skyline views, cross the iconic Erasmus Bridge, and delve into the history of the renowned Holland America Line.
With a knowledgeable local guides leading the way, this bike tour guarantees an immersive experience and insider insights into Rotterdam’s vibrant culture.
⭐️ RATING: 4.8 out of 5 Stars (284+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 hours | 🎟️ BOOK NOW
3. Rotterdam Boat Tour
To truly appreciate Rotterdam’s maritime significance, a boat tour is a must. Hop aboard a boat, and embark on a captivating journey through the extensive harbours and ports. One recommended option is the Spido Harbour Tour.
Sit back and relax in modern boats with comfortable seating, as a knowledgeable guide provides commentary on the city’s history, architecture, and notable landmarks. Enjoy unobstructed views of Rotterdam’s skyline and witness the bustling activity of one of the world’s busiest ports.
Consider the hour and a half Harbour Cruise with a Live Guide for an unforgettable experience.
⭐️ RATING: 4.2 out of 5 Stars (2249+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1.5 Hours | 🎟️ BOOK NOW
4. Visit the Rotterdam’s Cube Houses – Kijk-Kubus
No visit to Rotterdam would be complete without marvelling at the iconic Cube Houses designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, it is one of the coolest things to see in Rotterdam.
The houses are tilted at a 55 degrees angle and intertwined amongst themselves like branches of trees and collectively create a forest which was the thought process of Piet Blom as part of the Blaakse Bos development. The 38 yellow cube houses, held up by hexagonal pillars, over a pedestrian bridge. is one of the top Rotterdam attractions.
Approaching the cube houses, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after walking underneath the homes, examining them from all angles, it dawned on me that the houses were so intricately intertwined like some yellow forest that I couldn’t tell where one house began and another end.
Although the cube houses contain about 1,080 square feet of floor space, approximately 270 square feet, is usable due to the sharp angles of the architecture. These 270 square feet distributed between four floors – (and here I thought space in London was terrible).
If you want to know what to see in Rotterdam, the cubes houses are a must and one of the stops on the Rotterdam Pages walking tours.
If you want to experience what it would be like living in one of these cube houses, then you are in luck as there is a cube house showroom converted into a museum which is open to the public daily from 11 am to 5 pm. Entry Price Euros 2.5.
If you want to take it a step further and sleep in one of the cube houses, then you can book a room using Stayokay Rotterdam.
5. Erasmus Bridge – Erasmusbrug
As we explore Rotterdam’s architectural wonders, we can’t miss the majestic Erasmus Bridge. This cable-stayed bridge is not only a functional piece of infrastructure but also a work of art in its own right.
This bridge is like a symbol of Rotterdam, rising from its devastating history to become a beacon of modern technology and a beautiful city.
The bridge used by pedestrians, joggers, cyclist and trams and on a lovely day it is easy to spend 30 minutes are more watching the different ships, water taxis and people move across the bridge and water underneath.
This steel suspension bridge spans the Nieuwe Maas of the Rhine and runs from the combination of the Noord and Lek rivers. The Erasmus bridge is the second largest bridge in the Netherlands spanning 802m and is nickname “The Swan” due to its shape.
The bridge has a bascule section that opens to allow larger ships through. Walking across the bridge is one of the top 10 things to do in Rotterdam.
6. Explore Euromast and Rotterdam Harbour
Still looking for the best things to do in Rotterdam? For panoramic views of Rotterdam, head to the iconic Euromast, an observation tower that offers breathtaking vistas of the city and beyond. The towers stands at 606ft and is the tallest building in Rotterdam.
Daredevils can indulge in thrilling activities in Rotterdam like abseiling or the thrilling zipline adventure. To experience Rotterdam from a different perspective, embark on a harbour cruise and witness the city’s bustling maritime activity. Exploring Rotterdam from the water provides a unique and memorable experience.
⭐️ RATING: 4.4 out of 5 Stars (808+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 45 minutes | 🎟️ BOOK NOW
7. Visit the Markthal Rotterdam
Five minutes’ walk from the Cube houses is the Markthal (Market Hall/Food Hall) Rotterdam one of the best places to visit in Rotterdam for amazing food. A visit to the Markthal Rotterdam is a must for any food lover or architecture enthusiast.
Walking up to and into the futuristic Markthal was like walking up to a portal that could transport you through time and space to another dimension, crafted by being of far greater intelligence than that of humans. Being a kid from the 80’s this was like something straight out of Star Trek!
The horse-shoe shaped building with a semi-circular grey façade and a large windowed section facing out to the surrounding courtyard serves as both a marketplace and a residential building.
The building boast market and food stalls (with 100 various places to eat) on the ground floor, parking spaces underground and apartments on the upper floors. But to me, the winning feature of this building is the artwork covering the ceiling by Arno Coenen. Visiting the Rotterdam Markthal is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam.
The artwork called ‘Horn of Plenty’ and shows multicoloured flowers, plants, fish and insects. Is called the largest artwork in the world. Also, check out the parking lot of the building – I bet you’ll never hear that for things to do in a city before.
The Rotterdam Market Hall was built on top of a century-old buried village and during the building of the Makthal archaeological artefacts were found on the site, and some of these artefacts are now on display in the parking lot known as the De Tijdtrap exhibit.
If you want to know what to see in Rotterdam, the market hall is a must and one of the stops on the Rotterdam walking tours. You can also do a food tour of the Markthal Rotterdam.
⭐️ RATING: 4.8 out of 5 Stars (17+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 4 hours | 🎟️ BOOK NOW
8. Paul McCarthy’s Santa Claus
Looking for unusual things to do in Rotterdam Netherlands? Then visit the Paul McCarthy’s Santa Claus. This piece of public art commissioned by American sculptor Paul McCarthy in 2001 for the city’s orchestra building, Schouwburgplein square near De Doelen.
But, by looking at the statue, you can tell it caused a lot of controversies and was never installed at Schouwburgplein.
The people of Rotterdam objected to the statue, not for reasons of religious tolerance, but instead because they found the tree in its Santa Claus hand to be too sexual.
So, if you are looking for things to do in Rotterdam for free, this intriguing piece has now found a home in Eendrachtsplein, after being displayed at various sites around Rotterdam. This is one of the more interesting Rotterdams tourist attractions.
9. Witte De Withstraat
If you’re looking to get the party started then Witte De Withstraat is the place to be. There is a variety of café’s, bars and restaurants, giving more options than you’ll know what to do with it.
It is also the street that you’ll find a bounty of cool street art in Rotterdam on and the side streets are not to be forgotten either in this area. People watching in Witte De Withstraat is also a must.
But do look out for cars and motorbikes as this is a busy road with people slipping on to the streets and sometimes you’ll end up walking into the street or towards oncoming traffic. Visit the Witte De Withstraat is one of the top things to do in Rotterdam at night.
10. Discover Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen and Depot Boijmans-van Beuningen
Another Rotterdam things to do for art enthusiasts, is to visit the Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, known for its impressive collection spanning centuries of art history. Explore the museum’s distinct architecture and delve into the world of renowned artists.
Additionally, visit the adjacent Depot Boijmans-van Beuningen, a state-of-the-art preservation facility with open-view activities. Witness the art preservation processes firsthand and gain a deeper appreciation for the meticulous work behind the scenes.
11. Indulge in the Food Hallen
One of the top Rotterdam places to visit for an unforgettable culinary experience, head to the Food Hallen in Rotterdam. This popular spot is a haven for street food enthusiasts, offering a wide variety of cuisines and drinks to satisfy any craving.
From local specialties to international flavours, the Food Hallen guarantees a delightful gastronomic journey. Situated conveniently for a night out, this bustling food destination provides the perfect ambiance to enjoy an evening in Rotterdam.
12. Fenix Food Factory
On the advice from one of the hosts at the CityHub Rotterdam hotel, I visited Fenix Food Factory. He said this was a cool place with inexpensive food in a relaxing environment and I was hooked.
Fenix food factory is in the district of Katendrecht a former prostitution area that is now a hotbed of all things modern and trendy.
You can delve into an array of world food, take part in food tasting and workshops at Fenix Food Factory. They also emphasise and promote fresh and local produce such as coffee and craft beer at the factory. Also, you have a killer view of the harbour from the factory and is one of the best places to visit in Rotterdam Netherlands.
13. Brunch at Dapur Indonesia on Sundays
Wondering what to do in Rotterdam? Treat yourself to a delectable Sunday brunch at Dapur Indonesia, a renowned Indonesian restaurant in Rotterdam. Indulge in a fusion of Indonesian and Western dishes, combining traditional flavours with contemporary twists.
With a warm and inviting atmosphere, Dapur Indonesia provides a unique dining experience that will leave your taste buds craving more.
14. Take a Day Trip to Kinderdijk To See The Windmills
Venture outside Rotterdam for a day trip to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the mesmerising waterways and admire the 19 authentic windmills, which stand as a testament to Dutch engineering in controlling water.
Take a boat ride to fully appreciate the picturesque landscape and learn about the fascinating history of windmill technology. This day trip from Rotterdam is an opportunity to experience the quintessential Dutch countryside just a short distance from Rotterdam.
⭐️ RATING: 4.8 out of 5 Stars (12+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 9 hours | 🎟️ BOOK NOW
15. Immerse Yourself in Rotterdam’s Art Museums
Rotterdam is a paradise for art enthusiasts, boasting several renowned art museums. Explore the vibrant Witte de Withstraat area, known for its contemporary art galleries and cultural events.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Van Nelle Fabriek, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases antique industrial designs and the rich history of this former coffee, tea, and tobacco factory.
16. Catch a Performance at Schouwburgplein Square
For a dose of culture, head to Schouwburgplein Square, a lively hub of artistic performances in Rotterdam. Admire the modern architecture of the Witte Huis, an iconic building in the area.
Take in the contrast between the old and the new as you immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this cultural hotspot.
17. The Witte Huis
The Witte Huis, or “The White House,” holds a special place in Rotterdam’s history. As a surviving building from World War II, it serves as a reminder of the city’s resilience. Marvel at its Art Nouveau style and unique features, which make it stand out among the surrounding modern architecture and is one of the best things to see in Rotterdam.
Designated as a National Heritage Site, The Witte Huis is also recognised as the first high-rise building in Europe. Take a moment to appreciate its beauty and significance of this historic building.
18. Rotterdam Central Station
One of the things to see and do in Rotterdam is visit the Central Rotterdam Station. The city of Rotterdam is full of modern architecture, and the Rotterdam Central Station is one of those building. A total reconstruction of the station began in 2004 and completed in 2014.
Rotterdam Centraal Station (or Central Station as it’s boldly named), has become a destination piece on its own, triangular shape with the very tip of the building pointing towards the sky (this building too could be mistaking for an alien vessel).
Some of the features from the original stations are included in the new train station – such as the letters in the clock. I would recommend visiting the Central Station at night when it’s all lit up and less busy.
The station is one of the four central stations in the Netherlands – connected to destinations including Amsterdam, Den Haag, Paris, Lille, Brussels and Amersfoort.
19. Maritime Museum
Immerse yourself in Rotterdam’s maritime heritage at the impressive Maritime Museum Rotterdam. Explore one of the largest maritime museums in the world and discover a treasure trove of cartography, maritime memorabilia, and art.
From historic ship models to interactive exhibits, the museum offers a fascinating insight into Rotterdam’s seafaring past. Be sure to check out the notable exhibitions and artefacts that showcase the city’s rich maritime history.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the museum near the Markthal and the Cube Houses for a well-rounded experience. You can can also get there by water taxi 47.
20. De Rotterdam
Another amazing building to see in Rotterdam is the De Rotterdam from across the water at the foot of the Erasmus bridge. The De Rotterdam was created as vertical city of three interconnecting multiple purpose towers stacked on two layers that form a glass plinth.
The building consists of offices, a hotel, conference facilities, shops, apartments spread over six floors. The De Rotterdam is the largest building in the Netherlands, with a floor area of approximately 162,000m2.
De Rotterdam’s stacked towers are arranged in a subtly irregular cluster and depending on the angle at which you view the building, what you see will be different. They’er are also some killers views of the city skyline and the Erasmus bridge from the rooftop of the De Rotterdam at night.
21. SS Rotterdam
Step back in time aboard the SS Rotterdam, a retired ocean liner that has been transformed into a hotel and museum. Learn about the ship’s history, explore the luxurious interiors, and imagine the glamorous voyages of the past.
Guided tours provide access to the ship’s bridge and engine room, offering fascinating insights into its operational mechanisms. Consider getting a Steamship Rotterdam Audio Tour Entry Ticket to make the most of your visit.
22. Enjoy Rotterdam Zoo
Perfect for a family outing, Rotterdam Zoo offers a captivating experience for both young and old. Discover the unique architecture of the zoo’s enclosures while encountering diverse animal exhibits.
From elephants to giraffes and everything in between, Rotterdam Zoo provides an opportunity to connect with wildlife and learn about conservation efforts. Remember to purchase your admission tickets in advance to skip the queues and ensure a smooth visit.
⭐️ RATING: 4.6 out of 5 Stars (660+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1 Day| 🎟️ BOOK NOW
What To Do In Rotterdam This Weekend
Visiting Rotterdam you’ll get a city that seamlessly blends its historical significance with contemporary allure. From awe-inspiring architecture to world-class museums, vibrant markets, and picturesque windmills, the city offers a wealth of attractions and activities in Rotterdam for visitors to enjoy.
There are so many things to do in Rotterdam for a weekend and the above list can be your starting point for your city break in Rotterdam.