If you want to explore a modern city that has chilled vibes and some pretty amazing architecture, then Rotterdam is the city for you!
We honestly had no idea what to expect. With a week to go before Christmas, we anticipated busy streets and tourists everywhere, but we were so, so wrong. In actual fact, what we got surprised us in the most delightful way possible. Not only did we get to see some fantastic sights, drink incredible beer and eat some pretty tasty street food, but we also got a city that anyone could settle down in – no problem. All we’d need to do is learn how to use the cycling roads!
Here’s a rundown of how we spent our day, with some tips on where to go and what to eat and drink!
10:30am – Arrived at Centraal Station
We used FlixBus to cheaply get from Brussels to Rotterdam, which I thoroughly recommend for any traveller wanting a cheap and stress-free way to travel around Europe. The drive itself was peaceful and easy – just straight up the highway. We passed some gorgeous early morning rural sights along the way too!
We arrived at Centraal Station, and took a walk south towards the Cool District, which mainly had high street stores and the odd café. Stopping for breakfast at HEMA, we got a cheap, but filling start to the day. The café part of the store is located on the top floor, which looked out onto the insanely quiet streets.
11:00am – A slow stroll to Markthal
Quickly picking up some souvenirs (my standard postcard haul) we took a steady walk towards Markthal – Trip Advisors’ top attraction for the city. This indoor market boasts a wide variety of street food vendors, from brightly glazed American donuts to Korean sushi burritos (and of course you can get fresh and gooey Dutch waffles). If you love food, then this is the ultimate attraction.
Just around the corner from the market is Laurenskerk, the last remaining medieval church in the city. Unfortunately for us it wasn’t open on the day we went, but even still, the outside of the church is a beautiful sight.
14:00pm – Beer on a boat at Vessel 11
On the way we walked past the maritime museum. Perhaps with more time, we would have given it a visit, but we wanted a pint, so of to Vessel 11 we went.
Probably the coolest pub we’ve ever been to! Again, the chilled nature of Rotterdam followed us here, as we drank pint after pint in this classic British boat turned pub/restaurant. You can also rent the HotTug, a wood-fired hot tub that lets you cruise the evening away in relaxing style! Unfortunately again, one forgot to include a swimming costume on a trip to Northern Europe in December, so we missed out on that!
16:00pm – Another walk towards Erasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrug)
Nicknamed the Swan, the bridge and its surroundings was a breath-taking sight for a high-rise lover like myself. We watched it from late afternoon to early evening (sipping on Heineken in the pub/grill Brutus Beer over the road) as the modern city lit up to reveal yet an even more modern ambience.
19:00pm – Back to Martkhal for dinner
Even though we spent a good hour inside the market during the afternoon, we decided to come back for some Chinese street food at Let’s Wok! Freshly woked in front of us, we chose the sauce and vegetables ourselves and then topped it with some tofu. A perfect veggie meal!
Although at first glance Rotterdam does not seem like the ultimate tourist attraction, we assure you that you’ll have a great time soaking up the atmosphere of this chilled out city. The relaxing vibe was contagious, to say the least. Next time, we’ll visit for longer than 10 hours!
20:30pm – Back to Centraal Station
On the way, we just HAD to stop at McDonalds to try the infamous Stroopwaffel McFlurry!