Visit Rotterdam – Historical Tram
Ride the Historical Tram City Tour Line 10 for a great way to visit Rotterdam. The Historical Tram hop on – hop off city tour includes the Erasmus Bridge, the Euromast, Delfshaven, the Spido, Central Station and the Museum Park. Because the attractions when you visit Rotterdam are so spread out, it’s an easy way to get an overview of the city. Be sure to time your visit, because the Historical Tram only operates in July and August and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Visit Rotterdam – Euromast Tower
The Euromast Tower is a 328 foot high viewpoint over the city. Try viewing, dining or rappelling. Tourists are better off to skip the Pancake Boat at the base of the tower, because it caters to local children’s parties. Take a Rotterdam Harbor Cruise with Spido instead. Spido harbor tours are about 10 minutes east of the Euromast Tower by taxi. Or try Raderstoomboot De Majesteit – a luxury paddle steamer that cruises the harbor while serving dinner.
Visit Rotterdam – SS Rotterdam
SS Rotterdam originally transported emigrants to New York, but the steamship is now a museum. SS Rotterdam is on the opposite bank of the river from most other attractions. Also near the SS Rotterdam is the Vertical City (De Rotterdam) and the Hotel New York. Hotel New York used to be the headquarters for Holland America Line, but they moved their headquarters to Seattle, Washington.
Rotterdam Cube Houses
The Rotterdam Cube Houses are inter-connected cube homes tilted 45 degrees. The Cube Houses don’t have normal straight cornered walls inside. These houses are private homes and public viewing will depend on whether an individual owner allows visitors. The Cube Houses can be reached by bus or metro traveling to Blaak Station near the Old Harbour.
The Markethal is at the opposite end of the square from the Cube Houses. The Markethal indoor market provides yet another example of unique Rotterdam architecture. The design of the building is almost as interesting as the variety of foods available in the Markethal market.
Visit Rotterdam – More Sights
Delfshaven – includes the Museum Rotterdam, the Shipyard De Delft, the Old Mill and the Pilgrim Fathers Church, whose members left in 1620 to catch the Mayflower to America.
Old Harbour – includes the White House “skyscraper” built in 1898. A popular place to have a drink or a meal.
Maeslant Barrier – modern engineering protecting Rotterdam from flooding.
Arboretum Trompenburg – botanical garden.
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Wereldmuseum for fine art.
Summer Carnival and Wereldhavendagen World Port Days in September.
Day Trip to the Kinderdijk Windmills
Take a day trip to the Kinderdijk windmills from Rotterdam on the Nehallenia tour boat. Kinderdijk windmills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Kinderdijk windmills area is a small water district. You can also be reach the Kinderfijk windmills in just over a half an hour by vehicle from Rotterdam. Although water levels in the Netherlands are mainly controlled through modern technology, Kinderdijk has 19 traditional windmills operating at the site.
Tours are run by volunteers. You can go inside an operating windmill. Volunteers teach you about the history of the area, the ways that water levels are managed and how the windmills are maintained. On a day trip to the Kinderdijk windmills, you can take a small boat ride through the canals or bike along the canals. Learn more about Kinderdijk on our Rhine River Cruise blog.
Other Rotterdam Day Trips
- Travel 40 minutes north to the Hague.
- Travel an hour north to Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse – the premier garden stop in the Netherlands. Sorry, but the gardens are only open in the spring, when the tulips bloom. See our Amsterdam Layover blog for more about the Keukenhof Gardens.
Visit Rotterdam – Hotels
- citizenM Rotterdam – at the Old Harbor
- nhow Rotterdam
- Hotel New York, formerly the headquarters for Holland America Line.
The North Sea is a big factor for Rotterdam weather. Rotterdam weather is cool in summer and usually near freezing in winter. The height of summer is July and August when average highs reach 72 F (22 C), while lows average 56 F (13 C). From December to February, the winter highs average about 44 F (7 C) with lows just above freezing. Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year, but is slightly lower in April and May. Visiting in the first week of May gives you the chance to catch the end of the tulip season. The trade off is that the Historical Tram around the city only operates during the summer season.
Get to Rotterdam
Rotterdam The Hague Airport is about 20 minutes north of the main Rotterdam Central Station (Centraal). You can get to Rotterdam airport by bus on Stadsbus #33. This airport isn’t nearly as big as Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, so passengers are more likely to arrive in Amsterdam and take the train to get to Rotterdam. The train takes about 45 minutes, provided that you don’t stop at the Hague along the way. Rotterdam also has high speed train service to Belgium and France.
Rotterdam was so heavily bombed in World War II that it doesn’t have an Old Town. So, you will find that you need to use transit to get to Rotterdam attractions and sights. The Rotterdam transit system is excellent. There are 5 metro lines, plus a series of trams to get you wherever you need to go. Buying tickets is easy and if you need help, English is commonly spoken. The Historical Tram City Tour Line 10 runs during the summer months only.
Visit Rotterdam – Background
Rotterdam gets its name from the dam built on the Rotte River in 1270. The city of Rotterdam sits in a maze of water flow from the delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt Rivers. About 1 million people live here in the province of South Holland. The port of Rotterdam (Europort) is the largest port in Europe. Most of the original city of Rotterdam was destroyed in World War II by the German Luftwaffe. Instead of trying to rebuild traditional styles like other cities, Rotterdam has built ultra modern architecture. Engineers and architects will be mesmerized by the of distinctive, eye-catching buildings around Rotterdam.