Rotown, Roffa, Rotjeknor
Another weekend and another destination. This time to some places not been before, starting with Rotterdam on the first day, and moving to The Hague, Delft and Kinderdijk on the following day. Considering how easy was to come here on this occasion where the night before I flew into Dusseldorf and the following morning drove to Rotterdam. In around 2 hours we were there and ready to start with the sightseeing after leaving our staff at the hotel and so the car behind. Definitely there is no need at all for a car in the city since distances are not big and the city centre very compact with friendly walking distances.
Your first impressions will be of a very modern city with extremely well designed sky-rises. The forms, colours, shapes and heights; this is something unique to The Netherlands and specially to Rotterdam where there are many already built and many others on the way. Construction is quite frenetic everywhere but in few years time the skyline will become one of the most impressive in Europe, not for the height itself but for the incredible collection of buildings, some of which from world renown architects.
So why is that it is possible to build that much, so fast and without obvious restrictions? Well, the city was almost entirely razed to the ground during the WWII raids, therefore, much of what was built in replacement to what once stood to accommodate the population fast and cheap did not have any value aesthetically talking. Slowly, those ugly buildings are being demolished and replaced for the post-modern ones you get to see today.
Among the modern architectural landmarks is the Erasmus Bridge, without doubt, one of the symbols in the city. You can admire the views from either banks of the river. Catching the sunset and when the lights are on at dusk is a postcard perfect image.
A one day visit is all you need in order to enjoy all the sights. Although it is the second city after Amsterdam, it does not have many sights itself. It is in the other hand and as explained above, a rather new city that will be extremely valuable in the eyes of anyone interested in modern architecture as I am. That’s why when you consider your plan, if a weekend is all you have you could easily visit Rotterdam in a day while the following reach The Hague and even combine it with something else such as incredible Kinderdijk where you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed windmills.
As for food, you can always get any of their “street fast food” anywhere. From croquettes, sausages to fries. Fries is one of their top dishes by excellence in that sense. And yes, all of this is really tasty and good, not the healthiest though. The question is, what is the secret locals do that they are not fat while still eat this kind of food? Well, I guess they can burn it later on their bicycles. Restaurants are everywhere, easy to find a great deal and difficult to be any tourist trap or bad quality. Generous portions and super friendly staff everywhere.
For more information about the city visit Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. The Netherlands currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Rotterdam
- City Hall (Stadhuis) Right in the city centre is one of the most beautiful 19th century buildings and one of the few to survive the heavy bombings during WWII.
- Grote of Sint Laurenskerk Church of Saint Lawrence, the patron of the city, dating back to 1449 and one of the few buildings standing after the bombings during the war.
- Paradijskerk Church Although not an old church itself, from 1910, the main purpose of its construction was to preserve the baroque interiors of the 1719 predecessor church.
- Pilgrimfathers’ Church Dating from 1417 is of special importance and history as it is the place from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail to the new world.
- Kathedrale Kerk van de HH Laurentius en Elisabeth It’s the cathedral of the city dating back to 1907.
- The Cube Houses or Kubuswoningen in Dutch, soon after construction they became one of the landmarks in the city. Located by the marina, it’s shape is hard to miss.
- Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge) Another of the city’s landmark, it connects north and south of the city.
- Holland America Line Building Located on the southern part of the city across the Erasmus Bridge is the former headquarter of the cruising line Holland America established in 1873. Now the New York Hotel.
- Old Harbour Nicely revamped and redeveloped, the promenades around are great places to walk and admire the new architecture rising and the many shops from the naval museum.
- Maritime Museum By the Old Harbour, you can see many of the ships, cranes and railways simply by walking along the promenade but if you want to access the ships itself you will need to pay admission. One of the highlights is the Museumschip De Buffel, a 19th century gunboat.
- Het Witte Huis or White House is one of the historical buildings easily recognisable for its elegant façade. Located by the old harbour.
- Euromast Is the observation tower from where you will get the best views of the city. It’s one of the listed members of the World Federation of Great Towers.
You can get easily to the city either by plane, where apart from Rotterdam Airport you have a choice of nearby secondary airports serving mostly low cost airlines; by train from the countries nearby, specially Germany, or driving from neighbouring countries in no time. The city is a very important transport hub in Western Europe linking major European rail and roads. From Dusseldorf where we came from is 220 kilometres that translates in 2 hours and a half. Quite comfortable distance, much more near from Maastricht, Liege, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and next door to The Hague and Amsterdam to name just a few of the nearby great destinations.
Within the city you have a good choice of metro, trams and countless buses. But since almost any tourist area is walking distance you don’t really need anything unless when you cross over to the other side of the Erasmus Bridge, moment I recommend you take the tram to avoid what otherwise would be a long walk if you are coming from the city centre, and depending on the season of the year, certainly you will want to avoid getting frozen on your way.
There is a good choice for all tastes and pockets. Getting a good deal is not hard in this city, and of course the best you can do is to get somewhere near the centre so you avoid the need of taking public transportation to/from the hotel hence being able to walk almost everywhere. As opposed to Amsterdam where you will end up at quite high fares under the same circumstances.
Unfortunately I cannot recommend the hotel I stayed over as I lost the reservation email to retrieve these details. Nevertheless, good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo or Ebookers.