28 Jul Travel Guide – Rotterdam
It was not until too long ago that Rotterdam was just a little-visited stop on the Netherlands tourist trail. The city that was completely bombed in the Second World War, gave visitors little reason to stick around. Recent years, however, have seen the city blossom into a chart-topping travel destination of global significance. Driven by experimental architecture and cutting-edge design, its post-war industrial buildings and dingy townhouses now harbor creative studios, craft-beer breweries and sleek boutiques showcasing the city’s homegrown talents with pride.
Enjoy a grand view from the highest tower in The Netherlands while savoring a culinary highlight on offer from sunrise to sunset. Greet the morning with a fresh cup of coffee, opt for high tea (literally) with a range of sweet and savory delights or indulge in a top-notch dinner while you watch the ten thousands of lights from the city as the sun goes down. Book a table in advance as a spectacular view often leads to a spectacular high demand.
Located in a previously abandoned subtropical swimming park, Aloha Bar now serves sustainable local food and hosts the best parties in town. With a simple but solid cocktail – and wine list and prime views of the mighty Maas river, their outdoor terrace (located in the former outdoor pool area) is one of the best spots in town for a G&T at sundown, followed by a midnight dance. You can leave your swimsuit at home, because the pools now have tables, chairs and lounge seats instead of water.
A horseshoe-shaped building, this landmark project houses food stands, restaurants and luxury apartments, as well as an exhibition on archaeological treasures found in the building site. As you wander amongst the market stands for a quick snack, look up to enjoy the massive artwork sprawling across the ceiling, also known as the Dutch version of the Sistine Chapel.
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
Located in the heart of the museum quarter, Boijmans van Beuningen is one of the Netherlands’ oldest museums. Its exhibitions, however, are often refreshingly contemporary. Works on display span more than a century and range from Bruegel’s The Tower of Babel to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors.
The SS (steamship) Rotterdam is a floating and historical attraction. From 1959 to the end of 2000, it was the service of the famous Holland-America Line. Attend a guided tour, dine at the restaurant, relax at the pool on the front deck and spend the night in one of the unique rooms with portholes.
The 38 cube-houses are one of the city’s most photographed architectural icons. Gazing up at the amazing cubes, you cannot help but wonder how they can be inhabited. They have to been seen, both inside and outside, to be believed.
Perched right next to the Maas – seemingly balancing on the edge – Boompjes offers a simply stunning view, day or night. Easy accessible by land or water, take the water taxi or a private boat for an impressively unique arrival.
With low-key cool hotels, excellent bars and a food scene that will have you reaching for a fork, Rotterdam rivals the allure of New York and London. Find here the eateries that top our ‘do-not-miss’ list.
This homely drinking den is the second outpost of Kaapse Brouwers, one of the leading breweries in Rotterdam’s burgeoning craft-beer scene. Choose from one of more than 20 brews on tap or ask for their ever-changing specials. A warm hang-out with good vibes only, the venue is heaven for beer lovers, but also for young creatives who are looking for a nice but Instagrammable spot, night owls or to simply enjoy an afternoon drink. Cheers!
De Gele Kanarie
A popular after-work hangout serving (mostly) local craft beers and comforting bites. Admire their in-house brewery through the glass floor and taste the fruit of that labor by ordering the signature “Gele Kanarie”, a fresh, hoppy ale with hints of citrus.
A hotel bar minus the hotel, Rose Rouge has all the quirks of an Instagram hotspot: millennial pink walls, floral wallpapers, velvet-and-chrome furnishing and rainbow-hued drinks. The photogenic cocktails are expertly crafted with small-batch spirits and surprising ingredients like yuzu, rhubarb and edible glitter.
Gym & Gin
At Gym & Gin, everything is about balance; balance in refined food, balance in a healthy lifestyle without forgetting the enjoyment. The venue’s palette of pistachio with emerald complements create a relaxed yet opulent atmosphere where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whatever you choose from the menu, everything revolves around quality and honest products.
With over 160 gins in stock, Ballroom has the most extensive gin collection in Europe. A fine spot with a chic but modern look, indulge in a fresh, fruity, herby, spicy or sweet G&T and savor a ball plate sharing platter. Stay until after midnight as the dinner tables will be cleared to make room for the dance floor.
Hidden somewhere in the city centre of Rotterdam (nobody knows where), Dr. Rotterdam is a secret cocktail bar that goes beyond all your expectations. What you will find when you make an appointment at Dr., you will never know in advance. The doctors in the bar will resolve all your ailments – even those you did not know you had. Ready to make an appointment?
You can drink beer in any cafe, sure, but this open-air bar takes ordering a cold one to a new level. A cozy beer paradise in the center of the city, it is hidden among concrete, but with sun. On Friday afternoon, the weekend starts well with tap beer and live music. As Biergarten claims, “The best things in life are simple. Beer, BBQ, music, sun and lovely people.”
When temperatures rise, there are few better places for some R and R than the Kralingse Plas, a park just outside the city centre. Do as the locals do and bring some wine, baguettes and spreads (there is a supermarket nearby to stock up) to set up an impromptu lakeside picnic, or snag a table at one of the many cafes along the water.
Hotel New York
Situated in the former head office of the Holland America Cruise Line – from where thousands of people travelled to North America – Hotel New York is couched right at the Rotterdam port. The wrought-iron stairs, suitcases and photos from that time give the building a nostalgic feel. Tip: Hotel NY’s sister, Hotel Chicago, will open in 2020, complete with roof terrace and an impressive “floating” swimming pool.
Suite Hotel Pincoffs
Located alongside the river, Suite Hotel Pincoffs houses classic luxury suites with an inspiring interior. A national monument where authentic elements adorn the walls and ceilings and where you can enjoy sweeping views of both the city and the river.
Hotel The James
Do not let The James’ velvet chair, boutique looks and chic logo fool you: this new three-star property comes with a surprisingly wallet-friendly price tag. Within walking distance from the Central Station, it is a perfect base from which to explore the city. Rooms are snug, decorated in black, gold and a touch of retro.
Have any favorites we need to add to this list? Let us know in the comments! We are always looking for cool, new places to eat/drink/shop!